Ahimsa or non-injury is a key virtue in several religions. It is taught by all the Saints and religions not to hurt anyone. It is preached as the ultimate dharma of a human being. The essence of ahimsa is expressed in these words of Mahatma Gandhi – “Ahimsa or non-injury is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practice it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence.”
The meaning of the word ahimsa or non-injury is “not causing injury to any person or any being.” When the word injury is used, people think it is only beating or killing, but injury is of various kinds as below.
1. Injury through actions – This translates to causing injury through physical actions like beating, causing physical pain, killing, etc.
2. Injury through words – This translates to causing injury through scolding, abusing verbally, using foul language, gossiping, etc.
3. Injury through thoughts and emotions – This translates to causing injury through thoughts and emotions.
Why does a person hurt others? Below are 6 reasons.
4. Lack of control over one’s thoughts and emotions
5. Lack of control over one’s speech
Why did all Saints and religions taught not to hurt others? It is because when a person hurts another person, indirectly, he will be hurting himself. When someone inflicts pain on the other person, below consequences need to be faced.
7 negative effects of hurting others:
1. When a person thinks of hurting others or hurts others and inflicts pain, harmful hormones are released in the body, and in the long run, this causes several diseases like high BP, paralytic stroke, heart attack, etc. One need not hurt others, but just the repetitive thoughts and emotions of hurting others is enough for the body to release hormones.
2. Hurting others robs one’s peace of mind. It becomes impossible to have inner peace.
3. It leads to sleep disorders.
4. Aura of the person fills up with negativity, and due to this, the person attracts negative situations in life.
5. It is said that hurting others causes bad luck.
6. Hurting others leads to poor relationships in life, which lack love and joy.
7. The quality of life goes down.
Injuring others is not only harmful to the other person, but it is harmful to the self as well. So, injuring others should be avoided as much as possible. Below are some pointers that can help us reduce the amount of hurt we cause to others.
7 ways to reduce injury to others:
1. Say no to child abuse: Beating a child is common in some households, and this should stop because when a child is abused physically, the pain goes deep into the subconscious mind and affects the child’s confidence and self-esteem. Beating a child impacts the child negatively, both physically and mentally, and leaves scars in the innocent heart of a child. One can discipline the child without beating. By being assertive and setting the rules together with a child, disciplining is possible. But beating a child creates hatred, resentment, and low self-esteem in the child, leading to several emotional issues in the long run. In Hinduism, the physical body is considered a temple. So, injuring someone’s body by beating is equal to hurting the divine. So, don’t beat any person, any animal, and especially a child.
2. Say no to harsh words: Think multiple times before abusing someone through words because harsh words can cause deep injury that lasts for a lifetime. When you need to criticize someone, do it assertively using the right language rather than abusing or using wrong words.
3. Foul language is not cool: Usage of foul language is seen as cool by some people due to the influence of western media, and they tend to use such words commonly in life. However, these foul words carry negative vibrations, and they impact the person who uses them negatively. They impact one’s thinking negatively. So, avoid using foul language.
4. Stop thinking negatively about others: Many people think that they are not injuring anyone by thinking or feeling negatively about others. This is not true. When we think negatively about others, our negative thoughts and emotions enter the other person’s aura and cause injury. This injury leads to relationship problems. So, stop thinking negatively about others.
5. Say no to gossip: Gossiping is a common pass time and fun for many people. It happens in office lunchtime, functions, gatherings, etc. When we gossip about others, we are sending negative vibrations to the other person through our words, and this impacts the other person negatively. Whenever we send negativity to someone, by laws of nature, the consequence is we need to face the negativity in our own life. We receive what we give. This is one of the main reasons why relationships deteriorate because people commonly gossip about in-laws, bosses, and others thinking that gossip does not impact the other person. But it does impact and leads to relationship problems. So, stop gossiping.
6. Practice meditation: Meditation gives the ability to gain control over one’s thoughts and emotions. It reduces anger, greed, and helps in maintaining one’s cool. It increases the inner strength to do the right actions. This is a great tool that can help in practicing non-violence. Practice meditation regularly.
7. Prayer: Pray to the divine to bless you with the ability to practice ahimsa. When you pray sincerely, the divine strength and blessings flow to you and start giving you the inner strength to do the right thing.
In life, no one can practice 100% non-injury. Injury happens knowingly or unknowingly even through simple actions like cutting a vegetable or killing cockroaches etc. Some basic level of violence is part of survival. However, unnecessary violence should be avoided as much as possible, and one should strive to practice non-injury to the greatest degree possible.
“Strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence, no matter how little. Even the very process of living is impossible without a certain amount of violence. What we have to do is to minimize it to the greatest extent possible.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Vedas sum it up beautifully as – Ahimsa Paramo Dharma!