Those seeking to lead a spiritual life may become curious as to what is ahimsa (non violence), and inspired to practice it.
But understanding how to live in non violence is not as simple as it seems, and practicing no violence in daily life can quickly become bewildering. To someone just beginning to cultivate non-violence, daily interactions might even begin to feel like the very definition of conflict!
In the book "Non-Violence", Gnani Purush (embodiment of Self knowledge) Dada Bhagwan offers key understanding on how to define ahimsa (non violence) and how to avoid kashaya (internal self harm).
Dadashri explains that kashaya is at the root of self harming, unhealthy relationships, and violence. Here, he teaches how to live in peace, offering profound knowledge of non violent communication, conflict resolution skills, and conflict management strategies.
The Right to Life for All Beings
Consider why a cat preys on mice and other rodents, but never touches a mole, even if it were hungry! Why?
The food that you receive without effort is the result of the punyas (good or meritorious deeds) from your previous life. A laborer, on the other hand, has to toil away to earn the money to buy food. So from now on make sure that you do not hurt any living being - human, animal or insect. On the one hand people pray to the Lord while on the other, they continue to hurt the very beings within which the Lord resides. How much courage does it take to kill animals or insects? People go around killing snakes and insects too readily, yet is it such a brave and noble thing to do? You can only destroy that which you are capable of creating.
From the relative viewpoint the bedbug is a bedbug, but it is a Pure Soul (shuddhatma) by the real viewpoint. Do you want to kill a Pure Soul? If you cannot tolerate it you should pick it up and put it outside. Man looks for his happiness through killing. Is it possible to kill and find happiness at the same time?
Questioner: What should we do if ants invade our house?
Dadashri: Just keep the door of that room shut. People find ants annoying, but in nature, such a nuisance only lasts a few days and in no time, the ants disappear. So just keep the room shut. If you pondered everything on your own you could even discover whether or not this nuisance is permanent or temporary.
Questioner: Most of the time the ants head for the kitchen, so how can we keep it closed?
Dadashri: That is just a false belief. Understand that you must move away from wherever the nuisance is. Keep two separate cooking areas in your home if you can. Keep a spare stove in your home. Surely you can forego a cooked meal for just one day! Killing is a very serious matter.
Questioner: We only kill them if they get in our way. We do not go out of our way to kill them.
Dadashri: For those who want to kill insects, such a situation will present itself to them. Those who do not want to kill will come across circumstances that will accommodate their intent.
Your circumstances will change if you make an effort to not kill for a while. The practice of killing will not stop unless you understand the law that governs this world, and as a result you will not be able to break away from the habits of this worldly life. If you kill an insect by accident, do pratikraman (asking for forgiveness).
Questioner: Will the use of insecticides affect us?
Dadashri: A change occurs in the subtle subatomic particles within you the very moment you kill something. Innumerable living organisms within you die. The killing you do externally is proportionate to the killing that takes place internally. There is an entire cosmos within you just as there is on the outside. So kill as much as you want to, but understand that the same destruction is taking place within you, for there is as much within the body as there is in the universe.
You can never be safe because there are so many 'thieves and pickpockets' around. But if the thought of picking someone's pocket or stealing from someone does not occur to you, then no one is going to steal from you. However, if instead of violence, you choose non-violence, you will not come across any circumstances of violence. That is the way of the world. If you could just understand this world- just once- your problems will be solved.
The Entity that Endorses is at Fault
Questioner: During the rainy season when there is an abundance of mosquitoes and flies, the municipal authorities tell us to spray our houses with insecticide. Is that a sin? But if we do not use the insecticides, there will be an outbreak of disease.
Dadashri: How is this different from what Hitler did with his bombs? This is 'Hitler' on a very small scale.
Questioner: But we are talking about the whole town here!! It is filthy in the rainy season and there are flies and swarms of mosquitoes everywhere. The local authorities are forced to use insecticides.
Dadashri: What difference does it make to you what the municipal authorities do? You should simply have the intent not to kill. Your only intent should be: "It would be better if things were not so."
Questioner: So are those who carry out the work for the municipal authorities responsible?
Dadashri: No. It does not concern them.
Questioner: Then who is responsible?
Dadashri: The workers just carry out their orders, but it is the head officers, the ones who give the orders who are liable.
Questioner: But for whose benefit do the officers give the orders?
Dadashri: They are simply doing their duty. It is not for us.
Questioner: But we are the ones who complain that the mosquitoes are a nuisance.
Dadashri: Those who do not wish to hurt do not file the complaint. Therefore they are not responsible. Those who complain are responsible. The liability therefore, falls on those who approve and endorse it.
Questioner: So does it depend on the individual's inner intent?
Dadashri: Yes, your inner intent determines the degree of liability you incur.
Questioner: If a mouse or a bird dies in a water tank, the tank will need to be cleaned out and disinfected. Will the use of the disinfectants kill all the living organisms in the tank? Who will be accountable for this sin? Is it the one who does the disinfecting or the one who makes others do it?
Dadashri: They are both responsible, but their intent of non-violence should stay. You should not have an opinion to kill.
Questioner: The inner intent is to prevent disease. If the water in the tank stays contaminated, the people who drink it will become ill.
Dadashri: Yes, but nevertheless, the wrongful deeds continue. If you take into account such wrongful deeds, then such deeds are constantly taking place in the world.
You have to take care of yourself and not worry about others. Each individual must look after himself. Every living being has brought with him, his life and time of death. That is why the Lord has said that no one can kill anyone. Such a statement cannot be uttered in public or else people may abuse it.
Who do you suppose will clean the contaminated water-tank in a household of ten people? It will be the person with the ego. He will say that he will clean out the tank because he is the right person for the job. All the liability without doubt will fall on that person - the one who takes on the 'doer-ship'.
Questioner: But he is doing it out of compassion.
Dadashri: Whatever it may be, he still commits a sin, which he will have to repay in the next life.
Questioner: Then what should you do? Drink the contaminated water?
Dadashri: You cannot alter the circumstances. The person with ego will not stop undertaking the doer-ship of cleaning up the tank. You will still continue to get clean water. You will always find someone with ego who will clean the water for you. Yes indeed, everything in this world is at your disposal, but it is your merit karma that falls short. The obstacles in your life will be proportionate to the amount of ego you exercise. When this ego is uprooted and its support is destroyed, the whole world will be yours. You will not lack anything. The ego is your only obstacle.