Ahimsa or the principle of non-violence is the first of the ethical
teachings of classical Yoga. It is expected to be applied directly
in the life of an individual, in thought, feelings and in action.
Some factors would seem to require common sense and others require a little
conscious consideration, importantly remembering that gentle persuasion
is not weakness.
Commencing with our own physical training it relates to an attitude of
quiet persuasion rather than a bullying of muscle and sinew. It is believed
that the body intelligence responds to kindness and will co-operate to
extraordinary extent to please in physical exercises and controls. This is
why we should take care to elect the wisest path in the goal to control the
body and have a constructive purpose behind mastering Asanas, for instance.
To do otherwise can open the door to mindless performances of physical skill.
In this present outer world of material ambition, hostility, aggression and
violence beyond reason,gentleness is a rare quality and remains predominantly
to be nurtured to expression in the female nature, through the Moon aspect of
Hatha Yoga, just as strength is the province of the male.
Ahimsa is adopted in attitude towards others that can also be acceptance of
differences but is not to be applied with sacrifice of one’s own values and
freedoms. We must seek for wisdom in dealings with others and most of us
need to find time to meditate upon the complexities social life presents.
Ahimsa symbolises the dissolving of any idea of hurting, harming or wishing to
hurt, kill or harm any living creature whether by thought or action. This is
sometimes resisted by our reluctant emotions or feelings in the course of
self culture and self control encourage by the yogic teachings.
Ahimsa can be applied to indirect actions of others, such as the killing of
innocent animals and creatures which have the capacity to give comfort on one
hand when considered ‘pets’, or to provide food when eaten. However, it is not a
conscious decision of an animal to offer itself for our table,so must be considered in
the light of the human, its custodian. Those who understand and love animals wish
no part in their slaughter and consumption refrain from eating meat,as demonstrated
by the vegetarian who understands the spirit of Ahimsa.
Loving kindness inspires the life of spiritual people and is the heart of all human
growth in culture. In this, we must be also kind to our own self and avoid harshness
and cruelty of any kind and yet deal with the outer world that has different values.
In the face of all the concerns of material life, it is good to know that gentleness
and kindness can pave the path to eventual peace, both within and without.