The Doctrine of Ahimsa has been universally accepted as a basic principle
of all religions. Ahimsä or Non-violence is a fundamental part of the Jain teachings and is based on love and kindness for all forms of
life. It has been pointed out in Jain scriptures that even the thought of evil is as bad as the action resulting in
injury. It takes non-violence to its highest form in thoughts, words and deeds.
The killing, which is done through the careless activity of thought, speech and body, is violence.
- Tattvärth Sutra of Umäswämi
Ahimsä is disciplined behavior towards every living being.
- Dashvaikalika Sutra (6/9)
Absence of violence of any sort towards all beings at all times is Ahimsa.
Gautam Buddha has been called the Lord of Compassion. The God of Hindus is
called Dayalu, Kripalu. "Thou shalt not kill" is one of the ten commandments
in the Holy Bible.
Ahimsa is not a cover for cowardice, but it is the supreme virtue of the brave. Exercise of non-violence requires far greater bravery
than that of swordsmanship. Cowardice is wholly inconsistent with non-violence. Translation from swordsmanship to non-violence is possible and, at times, even an easy stage. Non-violence, therefore,
presupposes ability to strike. It is a conscious deliberate restraint put upon one's desire for vengeance. But vengeance is any day superior to passive, effeminate and helpless submission.
Forgiveness is higher still. Vengeance too is weakness. The desire for vengeance comes out of fear of harm, imaginary or real. A dog barks and bites when he fears. A man who fears no one on earth would
consider it too troublesome even to summon up anger against one who is vainly trying to injure him. The sun does not wreak vengeance upon little children who throw dust at him. They only harm themselves in the act..
- Mahatma Ghandhi
In trying to enforce in one's life the central teaching of Gita, one is
bound to follow Truth and Ahimsa. Perfect renunciation is impossible
without perfect observance of Ahimsa in every shape and form. - Mahatma Ghandhi
Through the successful efforts of Mahatma Ghandhi in making
non-violence in word, thought, and deed, the basis of all struggle for political liberty, freedom, and self government, the word Ahimsa
has acquired a word-wide recognition.
Ahimsä is not to be practiced at the physical level only but at a mental one as well. In other words, ‘Man’ (mind), ‘Vachan’ (speech), or ‘Kaya’ (body) states. Even hurting someone’s feelings is himsä. In fact, ‘Violence is the presence of evil thoughts, feelings or attitude’.
Ahimsa or non-injury, of course, implies non-killing. But, non-injury is not merely non killing. In its comprehensive meaning, Ahimsa or non-injury
means entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any
living creature, either by thought, word, or deed. Non-injury requires a harmless mind, mouth, and hand. Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injury. It is positive, cosmic love. It is
the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love. Ahimsa
is true sacrifice. Ahimsa is forgiveness. Ahimsa is Sakti (power). Ahimsa is true strength.