The Meaning of Ahimsa
Ahimsa or non-violence means abstaining from creating any harm or pain to any living thing, by deed, word or thought. To practise ahimsa, one requires a harmless mind. Ahimsa should not be considered merely as non-violence in a negative sense. It actually means practising positive love for all. The mind should be trained to replace hatred with love and forgiveness.
Ahimsa is for the Strong
The Ahimsa practitioner should be patient even when assaulted by rebukes, insults or criticisms. Extreme provocation should be dealt with through forbearance. Even enemies should not create evil thoughts or anger inside you, because ahimsa leads you to the ultimate truth.
Ahimsa is not mere pacifism. It cannot be practised without fearlessness and bravery, or by weak people. Ahimsa increases endurance and resistance and weans away the fear of death. Thus, Ahimsa is for the strong-minded. Even when you are assaulted with sticks and stones, you should not harbor any ill-will or bitter feeling towards the attacker. As the English poet Alexander Pope wrote, “To forgive is divine”.
The Benefits of Practising Ahimsa
Practising ahimsa results in the melting of hate. It develops will power. You can win over your enemies through love and not force. Even wild animals can be tamed by the faithful practice of ahimsa. Ahimsa develops and purifies the heart. Diligent and intelligent treading of the ahimsa path will enable the practitioner to see the unity and oneness of life. The individual gets supreme bliss and peace of mind.
The famous example of Mahatma Gandhi reminds the world even today of the benefits of practising ahimsa. He was able to defeat an entire empire through his steadfast practice of virtue and non-violent means to gain India’s independence. His example still stirs hearts all over the world. Thus, the practice of ahimsa will make the world a better and safer place for all.