Saturday, January 18, 2014

"I am the captain of my soul."

“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

      Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word which means to cause no harm or injury, a term interchangeable with non-violence. Non-violence is more than just the absence of violence;  it is a way of taking positive action to resist oppression or bring about meaningful change. Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues and important tenets of the major Indian religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism).  As a multidimensional concept ahimsa is inspired by the premise that all living beings (including animals) hold their own spark of divine spiritual energy. Essentially, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself.
 ( Galatians 5:14 " For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." ) ( "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.")—Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
 Even the ancient Greeks followed a form of ahimsa- "What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others." – Epictetus. Why is it so easy to speak of such concepts but almost impossible to live by them?

      The formidable Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in the principle of ahimsa and the application of non-violent civil disobedience. As an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using non-violent civil disobedience based on his own Christian beliefs. Why is non-violence the most difficult code to honor in the world when the majority of ethical beliefs, philosophies and major religions espouse we should love, respect  and live in peace with one another? Non-violence is not passivity but creative activity and a recognition of our shared humanity.

  MLK once stated -"The choice is not between violence and non-violence but between non-violence and nonexistence."   When you look into the eyes of another human being, what do you see?