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yajvan
08 May 2008, 11:09 AM
Hari Om
~~~~~

Namaste,

The last two posts offered some ideas on satya and aparigraha¹. I thought to continue to discuss the 5 yamas called out by Patañjali. For this post ahiṁsā, the first yama/restraint (or vrata) is discussed.

This ahiṁsā अहिंसा we know as non-injury. Some call this non-violence. This infers to all beings ( even ourselves). At the ultimate level this ahiṁsā when in full bloom brings no harm in thought, deed, word or action. This observance is substantial -to bring no harm to any being.
What of swatting a fly? Or a mosquito? Some even argue , what of bacteria, or the insect world so small that when you walk or drive one brings death to these creatures. It seems to be easier not to bring violence to another person, as it's more overt. Yet the notion here is to do the least harm while on this earth.

What to say then of ones diet? for the sadhu pursuing a spiritual path eating meat, flesh, foul and eggs must be considered to be withdrawn from ones diet. In the Mahabharata¹ Yudhishtrhira asks Bhishma a few questions and says, You ( Bhishma) have informed me many times that the abstention from injury is the highest religion. Yet in sraddhas, however, that are performed in honour of the Pitris, persons make offerings of diverse kinds of meat. Yudhishtrhira then asks:

How can meat be procured without slaying a living creature?
What are the faults one incurs by eating meat?
What are the demerits one incurs who eats meat by killing a living creature? Or of him who eats meat buying it from others?

Bhishma says, Listen to me O' scion of the Kuru race, what the merit is that attaches to the abstention from meat.

Those high souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength, and memory should abstain from acts of injury.
The merit by a person with steadfastness of vow adores the deities every month in horse sacrifices¹ is equal to him that discards honey and meat.
The seven rishis, the Valakhilyasm and the rishis that drink the rays of the sun applaud the abstention from meat.
Bishma continues and says, Narada muni has said that the man who wishes to increase his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures meets with calamity.
The man who has eaten meat then gives it up acquires merit by such an act that is so great that a study of all the vedas or a performance of all the sacrifices cannot bestow its like ( or its equal).
The period of life is shortened of persons who slaughter living creatures or cause them to be slaughtered ( i.e. demand for meat).
One should never eat meat of animals not dedicated in sacrifices and that are slain for no reason.

I thought those were the interesting parts relevent to this post.

Svami Laksmanjoo offers his observations on this ahiṁsā. He says one who maintains this non-violence, this non-injury influences his enemies by this state of being be non-violent. Yet he cautions the sadhu to avoid those conditions that put him/her in the company of those that choose this life style. He quotes Tantraloka as an example, it says Even if you are not a thief and yet you associate with thieves you are also considered to be a thief.

What then are the benefits of practicing ahiṁsā to the fullest? Chapter 2 sutra 35 of the Yoga Sutras says the followng:

ahimsa-pratisthayam tat-samnidhau vaira-tyagah
ahiṁsā - as mentioned above, non-violence, non-injury
ratishayam- to stand firm as the remedy
tat - thus, in this way
vaira: hostility or inimical , revengeful
samnidhau - presence. nearness, close proximity
tyagah- leaving behind; to abandon

Three views are offered
Version 1
By establishing a firm alignment (pratishayam) in ahimsa (non-violence or non-harm), then that presence (samnidhau) will leave behind (tyagah) harm (or hostility) and disease (vaira).

Version 2
As the yogin becomes established (pratishayam) in ahiṁsā all beings coming near (samnidhau) (to him/her) cease (tyagah) to be vaira (hostile)

Version 3
No power on earth can make two mutual enemies enter into combat in the presence of him, who being established in ahiṁsā, does not harm anyone.


pranams

1. Words Used

aparigraha is to back-away from and release (from the behavior of, since it is a yama) of grasping, binding and seizing. Therefore apaigraha is a most descriptive term for the absence of hoarding. Some people in the West call this avarice or being greedy and covetous.
Satya सत्य is true , real , actual , genuine , sincere , honest , truthful , faithful , pure , virtuous , Reality.
Mahabharata - Anusasana Parva, section CXV ( or section 115).
Bhishma भीष्म - when born was given the name Devavrata. for more on Bhishma, see the following HDF post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=15089&postcount=2 (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=15089&postcount=2)
This post is offered by syvedi40 on why the name Bhishma ( meaning terrible , dreadful) was given http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=21512&postcount=8 (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showpost.php?p=21512&postcount=8)
The bhAghavataM says that there are only twelve men in the whole world who know the ins and outs of dharma in all its subtlety. These twelve are: BrahmA the Creator, Narada the roving sage, Lord Siva, Lord SubrahmaNya, the sage Kapila, Manu the law-giver, the boy-devotee Prahlada, King Janaka, Bhishma; King Bali, the boy-sage Suka - the reciter of the bhAgavatam and Yama, the Lord of Death and Dispenser of Justice.
Thus Bhishma happens to be one of the twelve most knowledgeable people on dharma. It was fitting therefore that when Yudhishtira, at the end of the mahA-bhArata war wanted to know all the subtleties of all the different types of dharma, he was asked to go to Bhishma by Lord Krishna Himself.



Yudhishtrhira was the eldest Pandava. His name means yudhi or 'in battle' + sthira or 'steady, calm, unperturbed'; so Yudhishtrhira is he that is steady or unperturbed in battle.

harekrishna
22 August 2009, 01:27 AM
Dear Yajvan,
Ahimsa is one of the concepts that I have been trying to understand. Patanjali Yog Sutras do not describe how to observe Ahimsa, and offers the effects that one can see when Ahimsa is practised. You have kindly translated that Sutra.
The question is - in real life what constitutes Ahimsa. Taking one extreme of - non-killing of any being - is not possible. We routinely kill lower level of life - such as plants, bacteria etc - for food and sustenance.
Here is one view and I would appreciate your response to it.
Tattiriyopanishad of Krishna Yajurveda lays out five layers of existence - Annamaya, Manomaya, Pranamaya, Vigyanamay and Anandmaya. At each existence, a discriminatory power is provided such as - food, thoughts, breath, viveka and atma. The existence is dualistic (punyama and papamaya) - sukh/dukh etc. At each level of existence, using this discriminatory power and logic, non-killing of punyamaya existence is ahimsa. I believe - annihilation of papamaya existence is not ahimsa. And, so tackling terrorists, killing man-eater tigers, hanging habitual serial killers are not himsa, because they are papamaya.
Regards,
Hare Krishna

Eastern Mind
22 August 2009, 12:44 PM
Namaste, Vanakkam

The issue is complicated. When the yamas were written there wasn't the science of microbes we have today. There also weren't cars and such, machines that may coincidentally hit animals.

I think scripture is a guide, but in the end you have to trust your own gut. your own intuition. Here are some more points to consider.

Terrorist - What is a terrorist? The Sri Lankan government used this word over and over to justify the killing of innocent civilians. For the Tamils, the 'terrorists' were freedom fighters. This is just an example, one of many. I personally would have to be very very careful deciding who is the REAL terrorist, before killing one.

Man-eating tigers - Again, is it possible to capture the tiger, and move it? We do this in Canada with bears, and with cougars. Only after the bear or cougar is proven to be returning again and again do the authorities put them down. Of course, if it is directly in a human attack, they are put down. If I had a gun (wouldn't happen) and a bear was attacking my child, or any person for that matter, I'd shoot it, no qualms at all. there is really no other alternative.

Serial killers ... Most countries have abolished the death penalty because the governments have recognised the alternative of life imprisonment as a method of protecting others. In my personal opinion, this is the correct thing ... focus on the protection of citizenry. Death penalty just seems barbaric, and full of revenge.

These are hypothetical situations, and good for discussion purposes.

But currently I have a moral dilemma at our temple. There is a wasp nest under a sidewalk that is the usual location for a Chaturthi parade stop. There is a very real possibility of someone getting stung, and also a real possibliity of an individual having a severe allergic reaction. I am the chief landscaper there. This is not my decision. Ganesha's stewards are the current board of trustees. I'll report what we do in a couple of days.
What do people here think?

Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
22 August 2009, 01:13 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~~

Namasté harekrishna,

I wrote

What then are the benefits of practicing ahiṁsā to the fullest? Chapter 2 sutra 35 of the Yoga Sutras says the followng:

ahimsa-pratisthayam tat-samnidhau vaira-tyagah
ahiṁsā - as mentioned above, non-violence, non-injury
ratishayam- to stand firm as the remedy
tat - thus, in this way
vaira: hostility or inimical , revengeful
samnidhau - presence. nearness, close proximity
tyagah- leaving behind; to abandon


EM points out some relevent facts to consider. I have been taught and understand the notion is simple ' do the least amount of harm' . When you have a choice, choose non-injury.

Now what of these terrorists? Many go to the Mahābhārata for guidence. I also look to another (complimentry) location. The book is called the Yoga Vaśiṣṭa. A conversation (teaching) between Vaśiṣṭa-ji to Śrī Rām , he says the following:

" He who fights a battle which is in accord with scriptural injunctions on behalf of a righteous king of unblemished conduct, whether he dies or lives, is a hero. Yet he who fights for an unrighteous monarch, who tortures people and mutilates their bodies, even if he dies fighting in battle he is a beast or criminal and goes to hell. He who fights for a king that delights in harassing others (whether a king or not) they too go to hell. Yet the one who fights to protect the cattle, holymen, friends, or those that have taken his asylum, he is an ornament of heaven."

praṇām

harekrishna
23 August 2009, 12:07 PM
Yajvan and Eastern mind, Namaskar!
Thanks for your clarifications. Yajvan, as I read your response, sometimes it is actually necessary to resort to killing, that can actually classify as ahimsa. One way to understand it is that it should cause minimum amount of non-injury and non-killing to the world. Sometimes removing unwanted elements from existence saves more lives, and is ahimsa.
Krishna exhorts Arjuna for the rightful war to get rid of Duryodhana for the greater good. Because ultimately, getting rid of Duryodahan will result into lesser himsa. Moreoever, one need not feel bad about it. Not to feel guilty, Krishna says ultimately nothing is being destroyed, let us look at Gita Verse 2.17 first -
अविनाशी तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततं ।
विनाशमव्ययास्य न कश्चित कर्तुमर्हति ॥
By what all these is pervaded, know that to be indestructible. This immutable form is not going to be destroyed by anyone. So, at the highest level of existence, nothing is being destroyed. This is the Anandmay loka.

Taking this to case of bees that Eastern mind says, I would think it is better to remove the bee-hive. Bees will go to a new place, and people coming to the temple will not be hurt by bees. It does cause bees tough time, and some bees might die. However, overall, it will cause less-injury because it protects human beings from getting stung.

Om Shanti.
Hare Krishna

Eastern Mind
23 August 2009, 01:23 PM
Vanakkam harekrishna:

Alas, moving the hive was not a possibility. It was a wasp called a yellowjacket wasp, and the hive was underground under a sidewalk. They can and do become aggressive when disturbed. After discussion with a board member, I created a "Beware of Wasps" sign and posted it at the spot. Even then they were getting aroused while I hammered in the sign. The board member and I decided it might be easy to have the parade of Ganesha pass by quickly. I'm still a bit worried as these wasps do respond to color and flowers, and there will be many colorful saris, and garlands decorating the parade deity.

I have yet to receive any feedback, and I am not attending the function. We'll see.

Good idea for most bees though, I would think.

Aum Namasivaya

Eastern Mind
23 August 2009, 11:15 PM
So here is the bee update. I did go to temple tonight. The evening had about 150 people and I gess there was about 400 there this morning. They ran out of prasadam. A person was asked to stand nearby the spot and do verbal warning as well the sign, They moved the food table to a different spot, and nobody got stung. So it was a successful decision. These wasps will die off in the winter except for the queen or a queen egg, and they will build in a diffrent location next year. One devotee insisted you can talk to them, and ask them to build elsewhere. What do others think of this? I also wonder if there isa connection karmically between wasps and WASPsm the acronum.

Aum Namasivaya

satay
26 August 2009, 08:00 PM
Namaskar,

Bees...they wanted the darshan so who can stop them. Isn't the lord there to offer protection to 'all' his devotees? If someone did get stung, that would be working out their karma...

However, seems that it all turned out fine.
my 2 cents.

Eastern Mind
26 August 2009, 09:08 PM
lol

So now I am talking to them. I told them this year was an exception. I said, "Why don't you just go build down in the ravine, away from this temple. God Ganesha is there too, you know. In fact there are more flowers for you there too. So to get along with your life brethen, we humans, on this fire planet, I suggest that is what you do. Besides, there are some not so nice humans around here that may just have to expose of you. You and your kind are not always welcome. For example if you go and build over there by the door of the temple, it would not be smart. The people who let you off the hook this year would most likely do a mass murder on you next year. Its good advice for you so I think you should listen. I am the head gardener here, and I don't want any trouble. We've lived in peace for quite some time. Lets keep it that way."

Aum Namasivaya

Aum namasivaya

Eastern Mind
12 June 2010, 06:04 PM
Vannakkam : I am going to counter the 'Hindus lack morality ' argument on another thread with postings on yama-niyama. Yajvanji already started it. I will be using this site as a reference point. I hope the moral Hindus here enjoy adding to any discussion.

http://veda.wikidot.com/yama-niyama

The first one is quoted here.


YAMA 1 — Ahimsa, Non-harming

Practice non-harming, not harming oneself and others by thought, word or deed, even in your dreams. Live a kindly life, revering all beings as expressions of the One Divine energy. Let go of fear and insecurity, the sources of abuse. Knowing that harm caused to others unfailingly returns to oneself, live peacefully with God's creation. Never be a source of dread, pain or injury. Not harming the environment. Not speaking that which, even though truthful, would injure others.
This also includes the principles of ethically correct nutrition and, which is no less important, getting rid of coarse emotions, which are the result of ill thoughts and often lead to rude words and actions.
One can make ethical mistakes, including crimes, as a result of either ignorance, lack of understanding of the universal order and of one’s own place and role in it, or out of indulging in the emotions of spite, condemnation, resentment, anxiety, fear, etc., which are vicious manifestations of the lower self.


This site examines ten yamas and ten niyamas. There are different versions of Patanjali's writings, as you know.


The wasps are not back this year. Perhaps the talking I gave them last year was effective. Usually they nest later in summer though.

Last night there was a frightened mole (An underground furry squirrel mammal) trying to hide in one of the lower windows and it was interesting to watch the children watch the mole. All they did was watch, and eventually they watched it skedaddle off. It struck me as sharp contrast to western values where the poor thing may have been chased tortured, or killed in some cruel inhumane manner. But these were HINDU kids, so the thought didn't arise.

We also had a woodpecker nest in a tree beside the temple. The children enjoyed watching the baby birds grow up. I believe that there is an osmosis effect in Hindu culture. Non-violent parents bring about beautiful non-violent children.

Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
12 June 2010, 06:56 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté



Krishna exhorts Arjuna for the rightful war to get rid of Duryodhana for the greater good.
Yes this is true yet one must keep in mind Arjuna is a kṣatriya and it is his duty to fight i.e. to always exert himself for the destruction of robbers and wicked people as he should put forth his prowess in battle. There is no higher duty for him then the suppression of robbers.
Yet would this have been Kṛṣṇa's directive to say a vaiśya or brāhmaṇa ? I think the instruction would have been different.

This whole notion of non-injury (ahiṁsā) is a big deal. To practice it requires much attention ( watchfulness). Over time it gets easier to help the bug or the bee, the spider or the gopher verses just mindless eradication.
Who has not swatted at a fly or mosquito ( I know I have many times ). And what to do if one's home becomes infested with rats? Now what? We do the best we can to our ability, but still take responsibility for our actions. What more can we do ?

One must start somewhere to begin.


praṇām

yajvan
28 June 2010, 01:20 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast

I wrote earlier,


This ahiṁsā अहिंसा we know as non-injury. Some call this non-violence. This infers to all beings ( even ourselves). At the ultimate level this ahiṁsā when in full bloom brings no harm in thought, deed, word or action. This observance is substantial -to bring no harm to any being.
What of swatting a fly? Or a mosquito? Some even argue , what of bacteria, or the insect world so small that when you walk or drive one brings death to these creatures. It seems to be easier not to bring violence to another person, as it's more overt. Yet the notion here is to do the least harm while on this earth.
I read the words of svāmī Lakṣman-jū which he comments upon ahiṁsā and says when fully practiced it takes one swiftly to their goal ( in this case he is discussing mokṣa).


The more I read and study, non-injury comes up again and again. I am thinking 'why so much attention to this ? I see the value but is there more that I am missing ? '.

To this I happen to arrive at a discussion between vyāsa-ji and his son śuka in the mahābhārata. He speaks to him of the vānaprastha āśrama ( vana =forest , forest dweller, or 3rd halting place) in life.
He mentions this vānaprastha never takes note of the evil acts of others, never listens to what is said in dis-praise of others or himself - if this occurs he should remain perfectly silent. This is the medicinal treatment prescribed for him. Hence even listening that discusses injury to another is not healthy.

Then vyāsa-ji says the following - engulfed within the dharma of ahiṁsā is every other duty and observance. He who forswears ( swears off) the religion of injury (called tikśnaṁ tanuṁ) succeeds in attaining mokṣa whence is the assurance of harmlessness to all creatures.

This is absolutely brilliant. Within just this one thing , ahiṁsā, all other dharma-s reside. It is said acts are fraught with injury to others. That is why kṛṣṇa informs us in the bhāgavad gītā how to deal with actions and the wisdom of being without the 3 guna-s - outside the whole field of action ( possessed of the self or ātma-vantam).

When one transcends the 3 guna-s then this field of injury is also left behind. Estabished in yoga perform actions kṛṣṇa tells us. This yoga is the union of the Supreme, which is outside the field of action. If we look to the 4th chapter, 41st śloka, kṛṣṇa says he who has renounced actions by the virtue of yoga ( i.e. estabished in the Supreme) O' winner of wealth ( arjuna), whose doubts are rent asunder by knowledge who is possessed of the Self (ātma-vantam) him, actions do not bind.

praṇām

words

Veda vyāsa वेद व्यास, the one who compiled the veda-s, or kṛṣṇa dvaipāyana

śuka - means the bright one, a parrot. śuka is the a son of vyāsa and known as the narrator of the bhāgavata-purāṇa to king parikṣit
tikśnaṁ tanuṁ -
tik+śa + naṁ ;
tik = to wound or injure + śa = śastra + na= as it were, like , as tanu - is the body , person, self; some say svakā tanu 'one's own person'; in this application it is considered 'body'.
Hence the body (tanu) of knowledge ( śastra) that addresses injury i.e. the sacrifical acts
ātma-vantam - ātma=Self + vanta or van = possess, win , become master of

kiya kabooter
22 August 2010, 10:55 AM
Thank you, Eastern Mind, for directing me to this thread. I have many thoughts but don't have the time just now to respond. I'll be back, though. Thanks.

Adhvagat
15 November 2010, 09:11 PM
Great informations and conclusions, Yajvan.


hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté


Yes this is true yet one must keep in mind Arjuna is a kṣatriya and it is his duty to fight i.e. to always exert himself for the destruction of robbers and wicked people as he should put forth his prowess in battle. There is no higher duty for him then the suppression of robbers.
Yet would this have been Kṛṣṇa's directive to say a vaiśya or brāhmaṇa ? I think the instruction would have been different.

This whole notion of non-injury (ahiṁsā) is a big deal. To practice it requires much attention ( watchfulness). Over time it gets easier to help the bug or the bee, the spider or the gopher verses just mindless eradication.
Who has not swatted at a fly or mosquito ( I know I have many times ). And what to do if one's home becomes infested with rats? Now what? We do the best we can to our ability, but still take responsibility for our actions. What more can we do ?

One must start somewhere to begin.


praṇām

I've heard that in this age of Kali, we are all considered to be sudras. I'm not exactly sure from where in the sastras one can conclude this.

First, what should we get from this? How should we see ourselves in this present condition?

Second, if we are indeed considered to be sudras, what should be the guidelines for our spiritual path?

Or maybe this varnasrama classification doesn't directly affect our spiritual life?

Om Tat Sat

Eastern Mind
15 November 2010, 10:09 PM
lol

So now I am talking to them. I told them this year was an exception. I said, "Why don't you just go build down in the ravine, away from this temple. God Ganesha is there too, you know. In fact there are more flowers for you there too. So to get along with your life brethen, we humans, on this fire planet, I suggest that is what you do. Besides, there are some not so nice humans around here that may just have to dispose of you. You and your kind are not always welcome. For example if you go and build over there by the door of the temple, it would not be smart. The people who let you off the hook this year would most likely do a mass murder on you next year. Its good advice for you so I think you should listen. I am the head gardener here, and I don't want any trouble. We've lived in peace for quite some time. Lets keep it that way."

Aum Namasivaya

Aum namasivaya

Vannakkam: Apparently my talking worked as there were no wasp nests in the way of people out there this year.
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/images/icons/icon7.gif

Aum Namasivaya

Adhvagat
17 November 2010, 12:41 PM
Vannakkam: Apparently my talking worked as there were no wasp nests in the way of people out there this year.
http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/images/icons/icon7.gif

Aum Namasivaya

EM, I was curious about the outcome but end up not asking.

Seems like when we're in tune with the Lord with are in tune with everything.

Om Tat Sat

Eastern Mind
17 November 2010, 12:59 PM
Vannakkam Pietro: This particular type of wasp is very interesting. I believe they 'think' as a group. At other times I noticed that if you are nasty to one, then the rest will be nasty back, over time. One summer we had a neighbour kid in the yard, and there was a wasp nest under the back porch. He stomped on one and killed it, and he also just like pestering them. That summer my family had more stings than any other summer. Every time you even walked past the porch, they'd get all alert and defensive.

So its 'You leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone'. Other wasps do know how to swarm, and scientists who have studied honey bees know they communicate by certain flying patterns, something like writing messages in the air.

We humans underestimate the intelligence of animals. Our egos extend beyond our interaction with humans alone. Another example is with cattle. I grew up on a mixed farm. We had a small herd of beef cattle. In the spring during calving season, the cows had to be fed twice a day in a separate location from their calves. The mothers took turns babysitting or protecting all of the calves while the rest fed. So one mother would fast each day in turn for the overall protection of the group. This was some 50 years back. It may not occur today as the beef industry has worked hard at breeding the intelligence out of cattle.

Aum Namasivaya

Adhvagat
13 December 2010, 10:53 PM
Ok, should I feel bad about killing mosquitos?

One thing I began to do is knocking them out instead of crushing then, just wave a single hand fast and you make them hit the wall and fall knocked out in the ground, they usually wake up after some 5 minutes or so, must be years of deep coma in mosquito time! LOL

Anyway, sorry for the silliness but It's a serious concern nonetheless.

Om Tat Sat

Arjuni
13 December 2010, 11:42 PM
There's an interesting section of Swami Śivananda Radha's Radha: Diary of a Woman's Search in which she talks about bedbugs in the ashram, and her misery in trying to meditate and pursue spiritual practices while covered in painful itchy welts and barely able to sleep.

As she grew in sense-control and will, the bugs and their bites no longer tormented her; indeed, coming to grips with them was a part of her training in ahiṁsā and God-realisation.

A mosquito's life span ranges from a few days to a few months. How short a time, and how presumptuous of us to end that life because of impulse and aggravation.

I could argue that mosquitoes spread disease, and certainly coming from New Orleans and working in the medical field, I've read ample historical and modern evidence of that (though in the West, it's Lyme disease now rather than yellow fever and malaria).

But could one also not argue that lack of compassion for even the smallest creature is also a disease? King Shibi cut his own flesh to save "only" a dove, after all. The mosquito feeds by its instinct, but I am supposedly "superior" to a bug because I can think, and act beyond instinct...

I can take medicines to stop disease; I can use topical ointments to stop bug bite itching; I can't bring the dead back to life. Even if it is "only" a mosquito.

Food for thought.

Indraneela
===
"I wait the power of one like thee, O Indra, gifts of a Helper such as thou art, Hero.
Strong, Mighty God, dwell with me now and ever."
Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.

yajvan
04 August 2011, 01:59 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté


I read the words of svāmī Lakṣman-jū which he comments upon ahiṁsā and says when fully practiced it takes one swiftly to their goal ( in this case he is discussing mokṣa).

The more I read and study, non-injury comes up again and again. I am thinking 'why so much attention to this ? I see the value but is there more that I am missing ? '.

To this I happen to arrive at a discussion between vyāsa-ji and his son śuka in the mahābhārata. He speaks to him of the vānaprastha āśrama ( vana =forest , forest dweller, or 3rd halting place) in life.
He mentions this vānaprastha never takes note of the evil acts of others, never listens to what is said in dis-praise of others or himself - if this occurs he should remain perfectly silent. This is the medicinal treatment prescribed for him. Hence even listening that discusses injury to another is not healthy.

Then vyāsa-ji says the following - engulfed within the dharma of ahiṁsā is every other duty and observance. He who forswears ( swears off) the religion of injury (called tikśnaṁ tanuṁ¹) succeeds in attaining mokṣa whence is the assurance of harmlessness to all creatures.

benefits of ahiṁsā

ahiṃsāpratiṣṭhāyāṃ tatsamnidhau vairatyāgaḥ || 35
(ahiṃsā pratiṣṭhāyāṃ tat samnidhau vaira tyāgaḥ)

ahiṃsā - as non-injury. Some call this non-violence.
This infers to all beings ( even ourselves). At the ultimate level this ahiṁsā when in full bloom brings no harm in thought, deed, word or action. ( see the 1st post of this string)
pratiṣṭhāyāṃ - to stand firm , based or rest on ; established ; to stand , stay , abide , dwell
tat - that
samnidhau - sam - together with , along with + nidhā - to be contained or situated or absorbed in , to rest in
vaira (from vīra) hostile , inimical , revengeful
tyāgaḥ - giving up; leaving , abandoning What this says IMHO,
the one that is firmly established in ahiṃsā those that approach/come near abandon hostility.

What does this suggest? No animosity comes to one that rests ( firmly established - pratiṣṭhāyāṃ) in this practice of non-injury.

Now one must ask - what is firmly established ? It is my opinion that being grounded in ahiṃsā means in thought, deed, and action.

praṇām

words

Veda vyāsa वेद व्यास, the one who compiled the veda-s, or kṛṣṇa dvaipāyana
śuka - means the bright one, a parrot. śuka is the a son of vyāsa and known as the narrator of the bhāgavata-purāṇa to king parikṣit
tikśnaṁ tanuṁ -
tik+śa + naṁ ;
tik = to wound or injure + śa = śastra + na= as it were, like , as tanu - is the body , person, self; some say svakā tanu 'one's own person'; in this application it is considered 'body'.
Hence the body (tanu) of knowledge ( śastra) that addresses injury i.e. the sacrifical acts
ātma-vantam - ātma=Self + vanta or van = possess, win , become master of

yajvan
05 August 2011, 01:32 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

Some progressive thinking on ahiṁsā leads us to the other 4 yama-s:

satya is true , real , actual , genuine , sincere , honest , truthful , faithful , pure , virtuous , Reality. We know there are two levels or experiences of this. One is the spoken word, the truthful word, some call this honesty.
asteya or non-stealing

brahmacarya - the conventional view: state of an unmarried religious student; a state of continence and chastity yet we talked of its components brahma+carya; Brahma as the creator, the creative impulse of all + carya is conduct. So , both put together, it is the conduct of Brahma, the source, Brahman. The path that leads to Brahman.

aparigraha is to back-away from and release (from the behavior of, since it is a yama) of grasping, binding and seizing. Therefore apaigraha is a most descriptive term for the absence of hoardingWhat is very interesting here is these additional 4 yama-s help one perfect ahiṁsā.

With truth one is outside falsehood and is not deceiving anyone.
With asteya one is not taking another's resources and diminishing another.
With aparigraha one removes themselves from hoarding , taking more then needed and leaving others with less.Let me ask the astute HDF reader, how does brahmacara support the notion or advance ahiṁsā in one's self ?



... that which is first (ahiṁsā) is last ( the goal). We start with ahiṁsā , and it blossoms with the
development of the other yama-s. How brillant the sages are to see this.

praṇām

yajvan
05 August 2011, 04:32 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté



What is very interesting here is these additional 4 yama-s help one perfect ahiṁsā.

With truth one is outside falsehood and is not deceiving anyone.Many say, yes I will speak the truth, the unvarnished truth. In the spirit of ahiṁsā the words must be chosen properly. They should not inflict grief but are to be said for one's benefit.

praṇām

references
more on the yama of truth can be found here : http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=2953

sunyata07
05 August 2011, 04:44 PM
Namaste Yajvan,

Thank you for helping us to understand a little deeper the yamas that can lead to a true state of ahimsa. I think we discussed this before somewhere on HDF, and some members were trying to debate which was of greater virtue: satya or ahimsa? I would say ultimately, one should not lie (unless to spare a life in a dire and extreme example), but at the same time, words must not be harsh, malevolent or unkind. And spoken always with respect for that person to whom you're speaking the truth to.


Let me ask the astute HDF reader, how does brahmacara support the notion or advance ahiṁsā in one's self ?


I have been mulling over this for a little while, and my suggestion is that perhaps it has to do with the responsibility one has to other parties involved? To keep the mind and desires under control is to avoid from entering into relationships that could potentially hurt others; if sexual desire and lust runs rampant, there is a risk that someone could get hurt. This is just my rough guess, though.

Om namah Shivaya

Arjuni
05 August 2011, 08:41 PM
Namast, all,

Let me ask the astute HDF reader...

Oh, Yajvan, you ask an intriguing question and then tack the qualifier "astute" onto the request for responses! I'll pretend I didn't see that part, and reply anyway. :p

Following Sunyata's thought, whom I think is on the right track - with brahmacarya defined as conduct that leads to the source. Or conduct honouring the creative impulse, perhaps....

There is equanimity in creation, in that God does not judge some of us as inherently better than others. To enter into any relationship with another person does set up a 'ranking' based on preference, when we determine that person's companionship, form, appearance, etc. more preferable than others'. That indeed will cause pain at some point, most certainly. So on an emotional level, we already know we are likely to hurt, and be hurt by, anyone to whom we are attached.

On a spiritual level, close relationships can create karmic entanglements. For a husband and wife, that relationship is desirable and dharmic, for it is sanctified, witnessed by the Devas, serves to unite the couple so that they may help each other on the path of dharma. But non-marital relationships create more burdens of karma, can entangle both partners further in delusion and sense-pleasures, pull both of them further from moksha. And while the motive for such relationships may feel well-intentioned, on a spiritual level it causes harm. If we see people as desirable bodies, interesting minds, there is great incentive to pursue such relationships with them. But if we see people as divine essence, then the most truly loving thing we may do is help them along the spiritual path. The elevation of satsang, rather than the snare of kāma.

Returning to the idea of attachment, it seems that attachment - because of the inevitable pain it causes - opposes ahiṁsā by its very nature. If the end result of the yamas is indeed the first, ahiṁsā, then perhaps the yamas serve to dispense with attachments so that the bud of ahiṁsā, cultivated by the beginner aspirant, may fully blossom with the adoption of the other four yamas. A few thoughts on what each yama might achieve:

One who adopts Satya will lose attachments to pride, dignity, and ultimately, appearances. They will be their true selves instead of a projected image.

With Asteya, the aspirant will delve within those true selves, and end attachments to entitlement, greed, jealousy, feeling that the world "owes" them something, and generally, the ego, which competes with other egos and feels it must triumph at any cost. They will learn calm generosity with all beings.

The one who pursues Brahmacarya will apply that generosity to their relationships with others. They will release their attachments to sense-pleasures, seeing others as objects for one's enjoyment or annoyance, and external forms. They will see the souls within and learn to honour others as the Creator might.

With Aparigraha, one severs attachments to things, to hoarding, to the fear that there will never be enough. Having learned that appearances, competition, sense-enjoyments, and forms are all false, they will seek the sense of fulfilment and "enough" in the only remaining source - the true Source.

And the person who finds a home in God will have no reason to harm, and will have the wisdom, experience, and self-discipline to harm none. Hence, ahiṁsā.

Indraneela
===
Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.

yajvan
05 August 2011, 09:18 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté sunyata, indraneela (et.al)

It is rewarding to read your responses as you add a nice dimension to the conversation.

you mention

There is equanimity in creation,
and


To keep the mind and desires under control is to avoid from entering into relationships that could potentially hurt others
This notion of knowing brahman is that of sama¹ - evenness. One's demeanor is that of balance and treating others in a likable and even manner.
Yet too brahmacarya is study and knowledge. The study of right action. Through this, the intellect is honed, and behaviors are improved as to do the right thing - thus avoiding harm to others.
On a higher note, that of being infused with brahman, then each action is in accord with the laws of nature - no harm comes to any one or thing, as all things are an extention of one's self , there is no other to harm.

Yet in the beginning we are the student, and in the end we are brahman.

praṇām

words
sama - same , equal , similar , like , equivalent , like to or identical or homogeneous

yajvan
06 August 2011, 11:02 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

Based upon the conversations above we can come to the conclusion that ahiṁsā is a very important value for one that is set on practicing yoga. Yoga here is yuj युज् to yoke or join . To what ? Initially the Self.

So, we can assume this ahiṁsā is a big deal. Within the mahābhārata the ṛṣi tulādhāra ( tulā+dhāraḥ - who possesses or upholds balance, even-ness ) informs us of the following:
They that are seeking ordinary happiness practice this duty of universal harmlessness for the sake of fame; they that are truly skilled practice the same for the sake of attaining brahma. What ever fruit one enjoys by tapas or by yajña or practicing liberality (giving, generosity and broad-mindedness), by speaking the truth and by heeding wisdom may all be had by practicing the dharma of ahiṁsā.

Per this whole string we know too that patañjali-ji has called this out in his yama list. Yet he takes it further.

In patañjali’s yogadarśana, the 3rd chapter called vibhūti pāda, he calls out various siddhi-s or perfections. He calls out in the 23rd ( some may have this as the 24th ) sūtra, and says:

maitryādiśu balāni
maitrī = friendliness + ādiśu = aim or intent ( some say 'and the others') + balāni = powers, strengths
Note that since this is a sūtra the words 'by practicing saṁyama' is implied as this is defined in the initial instruction of this 3rd chapter itself.

This formula says the power (balāni) of friendliness is the intent (ādiśu) by practicing saṁyama on friendliness ( maitrī ) and others (ādiśu). This 'and others' means other virtues like compassion, goodwill, harmlessness (ahiṁsā ) etc. Hence one can increase the quality of universal harmlessness and friendliness offered to all creatures via ones sādhana.

For those that are not familiar with this term saṁyama , let me offer the following ( that I have posted before).

Saṁyama (संयम) defined by Monier Williams Dictionary is considered holding together , restraint , control; concentration of mind. Yet I find this a 'clinical' definition, devoid of practice or experience. The sense of control maybe mis-leading to many. The word control comes with the following: dominate, command, to hold in check and more extremely to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread ( like in controlling a forest fire perhaps).

I not a fan of the word 'control' as it suggests effort. With effort expended saṁyama becomes a fleeting idea. This saṁyama is more towards the notion of holding together, gently, then 'restraining or controlling' . It's a very delicate thing that happens when practiced.

If I had to define it i.e. the Monier Williams Dictionary offer, I would add one operative word, formula.
This saṁyama is the formula for (gently and with minimum effort) holding together dhāraṅā, dhyāna, and samādhi within the field of consciousness.

praṇām

yajvan
07 August 2011, 02:56 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté




maitryādiśu balāni
maitrī = friendliness + ādiśu = aim or intent ( some say 'and the others') + balāni = powers, strengths

If one is settled, possessed, steeped in friendliness from where can hiṁsā¹ arise ? This is the wisdom offered by patañjali.


praṇām

words
hiṁsā - injuring , injurious , mischievous , hostile . It is said there are 3 kinds: mental - bearing malice, verbal - abusive language, personal - acts of violence .

yajvan
11 September 2011, 06:30 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté



Based upon the conversations above we can come to the conclusion that ahiṁsā is a very important value for one that is set on practicing yoga. Yoga here is yuj युज् to yoke or join . To what ? Initially the Self.

So, we can assume this ahiṁsā is a big deal



If we take this ahiṁsā to another level we are informed of the following in the 31st sūtra ( chapter 2) of patañjali’s yogadarśana.
He says,

jātideśakālasamayānavacchinnāḥ sārvabhaumā mahāvratam ||

The previous verse ( 30) offers the 5 yama-s which include ahiṁsā. So with this sūtra it is a continuation of the conversation; hence we can add to the front of this sūtra 'applying the yama-s aforementioned in the 30th sūtra ' - we then begin with this 31st sūtra, as it says ( in general) :

These yama-s become a great vow (mahāvratam) when they are praticed or applied on all occasions (sārvabhaumā¹), unlimited ( some say unrestricted) by birth, place, time, (jāti-deśa-kāla-samaya-anavacchinnāḥ)

The implications are far reaching. One can practice ahiṁsā yet in a limited manner. Let me give an example. The fisherman practices ahiṁsā, yet for his profession he does not extend this to the fish he catches. The kṣatriya¹ can practice ahiṁsā when there are no threats to country or the population. When this is violated then ahiṁsā is now at the back and one's duty comes to the forefront.

Yet for the yogin the practice of ahiṁsā is for all time, place and birth. Doesn't matter what the condition is - what place (varṇa -rank) or birth (jāti) one is brought into ;in every instance, this non-injury is to be practiced - that is why it is mahāvratam, a great vow.
My teacher¹ has said, with proper practice ( or the blooming of yama and niyama) not even the thought of harm arises in one's mind. That is because of the influence of Being being refreshed and established on the level of one's actions. Harmony within one's self has no room for hiṁsā even to arise.

praṇām

words


sārvabhaumā = sārva + bhaumā
sārva = relating to all , fit or good for all, universal
bhaumā = produced or coming from the earth
kṣatriya are those that posess or wield kṣatṛa - power; a member of the military or reigning order
A review of the 8 limbs of yoga : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqfs24_2SvY&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqfs24_2SvY&feature=related)

orlando
28 September 2011, 02:43 PM
[FONT=Tahoma][SIZE=3]This ahiṁsā अहिंसा we know as non-injury. Some call this non-violence. This infers to all beings ( even ourselves). At the ultimate level this ahiṁsā when in full bloom brings no harm in thought, deed, word or action. This observance is substantial -to bring no harm to any being.

About thought...I have a (serious) question.

In a book written by a shivaite guru I did read that playing violent videogames violate ahimsa.
Is this true?

P.S: please note that my english is enough low.

yajvan
28 September 2011, 02:56 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté and salve BoG,



About thought...I have a (serious) question.

In a book written by a shivaite guru I did read that playing violent videogames violate ahimsa. Is this true?

P.S: please note that my english is enough low.

Your English is fine...

re: Your question , one must ask, do the games create hiṁsa (harm) ? If this is true then one does harm to ones own self.

I am not a big fan of video games overall ( again, this is me only); it does not leave me in a peaceful state, condition or the feeling of any accomplishment. It serves me little, so I avoid most all (video) games as the affects are negative for me.

praṇām

yajvan
28 September 2011, 04:00 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast



... one does harm to ones own self.

From where can come the greatest harm ?

If we look to the 3rd śloka of the īśāvāsyopaniṣad ( īśāvāsya upaniṣad) it talks about those that are the killers of the Self or ātma hano janāḥ . Who would do such a thing! Who does such harm! It is those (us) that live in complete ignorance - not even knowing there is ātman (Self).
The wise inform us that not knowing one's Self is equal to killing one's own Self.

praṇām

words

īśāvāsya = īśā + vāsya
īśa = Supreme; complete master
āvāsya = inhabited by , full of
Hence īśāvāsya is the Supreme that inhabits or dwells (va) in all; We come to say from the 2nd śloka that it is īśa that covers all or everything (sarvaṁ)

Ramakrishna
30 September 2011, 11:39 PM
Namaste Bhakta of God,



In a book written by a shivaite guru I did read that playing violent videogames violate ahimsa.
Is this true?


Well, for that guru it is true.

But I have heard of this idea before as well. I believe it definitely has some merit to it, as studies have shown that children who play violent video games are more likely to commit violent crimes when they grow up. But of course this certainly isn't true for everyone, or even most people.

As for the act itself of playing violent video games, I personally don't think it violates ahimsa. People should be cautious, though, and not get too much "into" the game. I think the main thing to watch out for is to not have actual violent thoughts in your mind as the game is being played. It is possible to play a violent video game and to not have actual violent thoughts in your mind, as I have done it before :)

Jai Sri Ram

smaranam
01 October 2011, 08:35 AM
Namaste

I would say such games are ante-thetical to being on a spiritual journey of peace, ahimsa and Love - prema, Love of God. One may argue, "But mom I am a kshatriya ! I have to practice, and I am so detached"

1. The younger the person in age OR
2. the more advanced the person spiritually, i.e. inner koshas subtly vulnerable, - in both cases it is hiMsA.

Think - a six year-old goes to an approved kids-only website where some people have gallantly loaded some violent video games -

Mom checks to make sure everything is OK
"Ha ha ha mom, look, they are hitting each other with a knife"

Shocked, what do you say ? "No sweetheart, it is not a knife it is a sword" ?(A Japanese game).

The child is so innocent that he does not know the difference, has never seen a sword before. All he knows is knives are for cutting fruit and veggies other foods, and it is "so funny" that they are using it to "hit"

Was it necessary to introduce that idea to the child in the first place ?

I am all for letting children be innocent as long as they can, then they fill their lives with increasing common sense and good, so when they do stumble across bad, they know the difference.

Similarly, the further down on the spiritual path one goes, the thick-skinned-ness wears away, the thick skin peels off, and although detachment is there, it is for inevitable events that may occur. Such games (a voluntary option) seem a pointless waste of time.
I may not be looking at some aspects forgive me (like enhancing dexterity and reflex etc. for whatever reason people play them - play pipe dream or jess ball then).

Radhe-KRshNa

orlando
01 October 2011, 02:41 PM
I do not know if this question has already be done.

My question is: does the Patanjali/Yoga-sutra/Raja yoga concept of ahimsa include the being vegetarian?

yajvan
01 October 2011, 03:07 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast



My question is: does the Patanjali/Yoga-sutra/Raja yoga concept of ahimsa include the being vegetarian?

Do you know another way of doing non-harm?

Let me offer this...

In the anusasana parva, section CXV ( or section 115) of the mahābhārata, yudhiṣṭhira-ji asks bhīṣma-ji a few questions.
He says, you ( bhīṣma) have informed me many times that the abstention from injury is the highest religion. Yet in sraddhas, however, that are performed in honour of the Pitris, persons for their own good should make offerings of diverse kinds of meat.

How can meat be procured without slaying a living creature?
What are the faults one incurs by eating meat?
What are the demerits one incurs who eats meat by killing a living creature? Or of him who eats meat buying it from others?Bhīṣma then says, Listen to me O' scion of the Kuru race, what the merit is that attaches to the abstention from me.

Those high souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength, and memory should abstain from acts of injury.
The merit by a person with steadfastness of vow adores the deities every month in horse sacrifices is equal to him that discards honey and meat.
The seven rishis, the Valakhilyasm and the rishis that drink the rays of the sun applaud the abstention from meat.
Bhīṣma continues and says, Narada muni has said that the man who wishes to increase his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures meets with calamity.
The man who has eaten meat then gives it up acquires merit by such an act that is so great that a study of all the vedas or a performance of all the sacrifices cannot bestow its like ( or its equal).
The period of life is shortened of persons who slaughter living creatures or cause them to be slaughtered ( i.e. demand for meat).
One should never eat meat of animals not dedicated in sacrifices and that are slain for no reason.praṇām

Eastern Mind
01 October 2011, 06:44 PM
Vannakkam: Personally, I wouldn't play violent video games. Ahimsa in its puret sense, in my belief, is THOUGHT, WORD, and ACTION. So that pretty much covers it.

Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
26 November 2012, 05:54 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namast


This ahiṁsā अहिंसा we know as non-injury. Some call this non-violence. This infers to all beings ( even ourselves). At the ultimate level this ahiṁsā when in full bloom brings no harm in thought, deed, word or action.

We have talked of this ahiṁsā on multiple occasions. Yet we have not considered rakṣaṇa. What is this ? Rakṣaṇa - the act of guarding , watching , protecting , tending (of cattle) , preservation.


The scenario for discussion
Ahiṁsā is doing no harm. Yet what of preventing harm to others ? Animal A is going to do harm to Animal B . What should you do? What can you do ?

Person A is going to do harm to Person B, what can (or should) you do ? Does one intervene ?

Is there an action one can do that can mitigate the situation so no harm occurs ? Or does one stand back , keep out of the way?
It seems, allowing harm to happen just does not feel right - yet if it takes harm to stop an action is this inside or outside of ahiṁsā but perfectly reasonable for a śaraṇa (protection, guarding) to occur ?

If you care to share your ideas, or any śāstric references, please add to the string as you see fit.

praṇām

1. śaraṇa - refuge , protection , refuge

Eastern Mind
26 November 2012, 08:31 PM
Is there an action one can do that can mitigate the situation so no harm occurs ?



Vannakkam: Thank you for the resurrection of thread. Once I stepped in at school. One kid was about to swing a floor hockey stick at another student's head. But usually a mere signal of presence was sufficient. Each individual situation has such variety, and extenuating circumstance, no?

I've gone outside to stop a neighbour cat and my own from fighting.

So ... when possible, and when it is seen as unnatural, I think our dharma is to step in.

But the problem is the use of discrimination and clear thinking in making such a determination. Striking with the reasoning of it being a preventive measure would basically be saying that my neighbour's cat was, at some point, going to come over and attack my cat. Therefore I should go kill it before that happens. So I see this as false reasoning.

Each individual circumstance has to be weighed, and consideration of alternatives. I will drive may car through a grasshopper infestation on a warm summer evening, killing many of them, yet later that same evening blow a mosquito off my forearm. So go figure. :)

Aum Namasivaya

orlando
29 November 2012, 01:04 PM
Namaste all!


I would say such games are ante-thetical to being on a spiritual journey of peace, ahimsa and Love - prema, Love of God.

I agree.
In fact I don't play anymore such videogames.

Who am i
11 January 2013, 01:16 AM
[Bhīṣma then says, Listen to me O' scion of the Kuru race, what the merit is that attaches to the abstention from me.

One should never eat meat of animals not dedicated in sacrifices and that are slain for no reason.All,

Im little concerned on one of replies by Bhisma.Is he justifying people to eat meat after dedicating to GOD? In Villages in tamilnadu,people kill lot of goats on name of sacrifice for village gods like karuppasamy,Munisamy and eat them.

Each people has different understanding on Ahimsa but im pained by the sufferings those animals go through.