Besides Sage Patanjali, the concept of ahimsa was spoken of in India by Lord Mahavira—propounder of Jain dharma (599-527 B.C.E. The yoga practice of non-violence can easily move into all aspects of your life. Finding inner peace through ahimsa will in turn allow us to come to peace in interactions with others. Every decision we make is inspired by our vision to empower a community of individuals to come together to build a more conscious world. This discipline and thoughtfulness about food should extend to all areas of one’s life. For example, some yogis don’t eat meat. It is an indispensable condition for liberation from the cycle of reincarnation, the ultimate goal of Jainism. It is eating less, eating your last meal before sunset, eating while sharing, eating that which is in season and local. Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. One could even say that the global ecological crisis that is threatening the entire human race is the consequence of an echoing back of our own negative thoughts, words and actions. This translates to all aspects of our lives. Instead of letting the limits of your body create stress, make the decision to intentionally respect and even love the limitations your own body has. The Concept of Ahimsa in Vedic Period The principle of non-violence or ahimsa was little known or respected during the Vedic period. Ahimsa, (Sanskrit: “noninjury”) in the Indian religions of Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, the ethical principle of not causing harm to other living things. Speech is prana in action. Stop clinging to the need to scold yourself with negative, violent thoughts. This may seem contradictory, but ahimsa leads to a path of peaceful living. You can incorporate ahimsa into daily activities. We can then accept ourselves totally, no matter how flexible, how strong we may be in any given moment. If at first there was nothing, the very first thing was a sound vibration, and from there, everything sprang into existence, and the material world was born. While this religious approach may not suit all, I believe there are some principles which could be shared more broadly to become part of the foundation of a sustainable future built on principles of respect, compassion, and discipline. Negative thinking sends out messages to the body that trigger the fight or flight response. One does not cancel out the other. It’s always the first step in yoga because it teaches the yogi to stop harming ourselves and others, (including non-human animals). In a broader sense, ahimsa means "universal love and compassion." This often happens against ourselves. It needs to be experienced rather than understood. Ahimsa is an ancient Indian principle of nonviolence with respect to all living beings. MAHB Blog: https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/ahimsa/. Yoga is a great way to access ahimsa in our daily interactions. When our thoughts contain negative responses like disappointment, resentment, or guilt, when we feel shame, we are subtly creating violence. Literally translated, ahimsa means Essentially, yoga is about taking things into practice, not simply learning theory. And Western science is now coming on board as well: quantum physicists have been studying the role of vibration at the root of matter itself. Instead of bringing in those negative emotions and working against us, our bodies start working with us. You can achieve this by embracing love: learn to love deeply, and also to be loved. Ahimsa can be distilled into a practice of non-violence in all aspects of life, from the physical to the mental and emotional. Anyone, regardless of experience, can get frustrated when the physical components of yoga don’t move forward as quickly as planned. Expecting too much of yourself and putting all responsibility in your own hands is a type of violence too, as is expecting that the world will run according to your design. When we speak, we are naming our reality while using the power of the breath to form and express our words. This often happens against ourselves. come to peace in interactions with others. But embracing ahimsa means not pushing yourself to harm. Gandhi, Maneka Sanjay | September 13, 2016 | Leave a Comment We must, however, learn to fully experience these negative feeling without reacting negatively to them. When Dorna Djenab was five, she was so hyper and excited that as her father puts it ‘she’d go beyond the circuit of gravity’ and was therefore very prone to accidents. Each soul is of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion. Copyright © 2021 Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere. When I sat down and started to work on the key concepts of yoga, I started with the idea … Optimists may even live longer than those who think of themselves as pessimists. Violence is fuelled by anger and hate. Ahimsa – The Understanding  All living things have the ‘spark’ of the creator (divine spiritual energy). Nikola Tesla said, “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” The very foundations of our Universe, of matter and thought, appear to lie in sound vibration. Yoga gives you the chance to practice non-violence in your mind at the same time. We inflict violence on others daily in subtle ways, but this is simply an outward expression of the war that goes on inside of everyone. Questions should be directed to joan@mahbonline.org. Let go of expectations of what you should do. You’re being violent towards yourself and the world at large with these kinds of mindsets. The Jain concept of ahimsa is very different from the concept of nonviolence found in other philosophies. Ahimsa has been a part of Buddhist tradition since ancient times. Consciously put non-violence into action. The thoughts themselves don’t necessarily cause harm. Non-violence is defined by honest compassion and true love. This, in turn, lowers the immune system, and that then makes us more likely to experience physical pain and sickness. You don’t need to push these thoughts away ” just recognize them. Ahimsa is a principle of equality, respect, and balance in which nothing matters more than life in any of its forms or origins. A Jain, Buddhist, and Hindu doctrine expressing belief in the sacredness of all living creatures and urging the avoidance of harm and violence. Theological Justification of Nonviolence in Various Religious Traditions When we do this, our bodies respond. Since the age of sixteen, yoga has been an integral part of her life. Ahimsa: the Concept of Non-Violence in Yoga When talking about Yoga, the concept of non-violence almost always comes to mind. To understand how non-violence can manifest in our lives each day, we must first learn how subtle daily actions and responses contain elements of violence. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of India. Key concepts of Yoga, what are they? How could so much – the diversity of our planet, the vastness of our solar system, the unknown reaches of space – come from nothing? & is therefore a central idea in their attitude towards the concept of war & peace. This may come as a surprise if you consider yourself a non-violent person. The term is derived from the root word himsa, meaning "to cause pain," and the prefix, a, that means "not." We can understand ahimsa as the being mindful of thoughts. She is grateful to many teachers who have inspired her through their spirit or physical form - including Rumi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Nisargadatta, Maharshi, Papaji, Osho, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Doug Keller, Julie Gudmestad, Judith Lasater, Tias Little, Roger Cole, Richard Hittleman and Matt Gluck. I was born a Sikh but have always felt a Jain. ]have traced the origin of Ahimsa to Jains and their precursor, the sramanas. Jains consider nonviolence to be the most essential duty for everyone (ahinsā paramo dharmaḥ). Cultivate your awareness of your own thoughts to find if there are hints of violence against yourself or others in your life. Ahimsa means non-injury. Brief notes on Gandhian concept of non-violence (Ahimsa). Ahimsa is derived from the Sanskrit verb root san, which means to kill. 4. Ahimsa, commonly referred to as “nonviolence” but more literally translated from Sanskrit as “absence of injury” is an ancient concept originating in the Vedas—Indian spiritual and philosophical wisdom dating from as far back as 1900 BCE, or nearly 4,000 years ago. By practicing yoga daily, you can confront your own inner darkness impartially and with compassion. Ahimsa is the concept of compassion to all living things. In the practice of yoga, it is important to understand that the same life flows in the veins of all creatures.Swami Kriyananda Everything works according to its nature. Himsa means harming a living being. But according to the Jain philosophy , violence refers primarily to injuring one's own self – behaviour which inhibits the soul's own ability to attain moksha (liberation from the cycle of births and deaths). Start to practice simply observing your thoughts instead of reacting to them. The doctrine of ahimsa believes that all living creatures are sacred and as human beings, we should avoid harm and violence against any living creature. Consider the life you live, and evaluate the suffering it causes. Violence disguises itself well; it manifests in words, actions and even inner thoughts. A link to reset your password has been sent to you. Jain vegetarianism is central to ahimsa. In the Vedic period of early Hinduism ritual sacrifice of animals and the subsequent consumption of its meat was a pre-dominant custom. How to Balance Your Divine Masculine and Feminine Energies, How to Work the Power of Goddess Durga into Your Daily Life, Panchakarma: An Ayurvedic Cleansing Method, In Search Of The Divine Masculine And Feminine, How to Use Mudras to Regulate the Five Elements of Your Body, Yoga for Better Sex: Bring Your Practice into the Bedroom, The Mind, Body, Spirit Morning Ritual You Won't Want to Skip, 7 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Injuries and Prevention, 11 ways to get get back into the yoga swing of things, You Are Beautiful: 3 Ways to Release Self-Judgment, The Healing Power of Ayurvedic Self-Massage, Proprioception: Developing Body Awareness. Ahimsa, rightly understood, is the ultimate weapon; it turns ones enemy into a friend, thereby banishing the possibility of further conflict. Mahatma Gandhi was of the view: Bal Gangadhar Tilak has credited Jainism with the cessation of slaughter of animals in the brahamanical religion. Anything said or done in this world is echoed back with the same intensity. Acting out of our fears is a form of violence to the self. Violence only leads to destruction, poverty and more injustice. In Sanskrit, ahimsa means “non- violence” or “non-harming.” Key concepts of Yoga: Ahimsa . Practice of ahimsa involves refraining from causing physical and psychological pain to any living being. It can even cure illness. Though the Yoga Sutras emphasizes on the concept of the self, its very first limb nonetheless acknowledges the self in the grander scheme of society and the world. Download as PDF, Pigeon-feeding inside the Jain temple by Gaía Passarelli | Flickr | CC BY-NC 2.0. And again, it’s not just those pesky bad thoughts we have about ourselves that do this. This Key Concept of yoga is brought to you by our very own Elvis enjoy. When you turn your yoga practice into a complete lifestyle, ahimsa can guide your daily interactions with yourself and others. Ahimsa is usually translated as ‘non-violence’, but I also like to translate it as compassion. The aim of ahimsa is to prevent the accumulation of such karma. Unlike cortisol, dopamine brings strength to the immune system. In fact, according to Gandhi, Truth and non-violence are the two sides of the same coin, as Ahimsa connects a person to other humans as well as to God. However, holding onto thoughts and letting them repeat again and again in your mind is what in the end turns into actions or words of violence. The fight or flight response secretes cortisol, which you might know better as the stress hormone. To me it means the training of the body and mind to appreciate everything – want nothing. Dopamine is that chemical that makes you feel good and relax. In the physical sense, non-violence means not pushing yourself over the edge. 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