Chapter 4.5 from "Study Circles for Divinity 
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4.5 NON-VIOLENCE


WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"But I say unto you, that you resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also  ...  for if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you."    Jesus Christ

"He who is called a noble one is not so if violence to living beings by him is shown. Only the one who shows non-violence to all living beings as a noble one is known."    Buddha

"Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you, and to reject for others what you would reject for yourself."    Mohammed

"Never return hatred for hatred, nor injury for injury. Desiring thy highest good, thou must strive to free thyself from evil ignorance."    Sri Krishna

"The righteous man is the one who is truthful, just, charitable. He looks after my creations, respects them and protects them. He is the man I shall bless forever."    Zarathushtra


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

THE PATH OF NON-VIOLENCE

Non-violence is the highest form of right living, the divine Law which is the highest of all virtues. The principle of non-violence means the promotion of mutual love along with achieving and maintaining goals of peace and unity. That is the main feature which is a recognisable sign of being human. Non-violence means refraining from violence released by passionate feelings and controlling oneself. The non-violent are recognised by their patience. Impatience is the mother of violence. Violence is the sign of an animal nature. (090695)

Gandhi was teaching the aspect of non-violence to the people in many ways. The meaning of non-violence is that either in thought, word or deed you should not cause harm to anybody. Gandhi took a vow that, till the end of his life, he will follow this. But, on one occasion, when he saw a cow suffering from pain, he could not bear it and advised the doctor to give an injection to end the life of the cow. Thus, in order to help the suffering individual, we may sometimes have to harm him. The only way in which one can take the path of non-violence is to recognise Oneness of the Atma that is present is all living beings and regard them as equal. (SSB 77,235)

What God loves more are the flowers blossoming on the tree of man's own life, fed and fostered by his own skill and sincerity. They are the flowers of his virtues grown in the garden of his heart. Of these, the virtue of non-violence, is the very first. This involves much more than abstention from harming living beings. One should desist from causing pain to any living being, not only by deeds, but even by words and thoughts. One should not entertain any idea of hurting another, or humiliating another. (061081)

The Lord can never design violence and blood-shed. Love is His instrument; non-violence is His message. He achieves the correction of the evil-minded through education and example. But it may be asked, 'Why did Kurukshethra happen?'. It was a surgical operation and, therefore cannot be described as an act of violence. The surgeon saves life through beneficial use of the knife. (310872)


NATURE AND NON-VIOLENCE


I shall tell you of one form of worship which will endow you with divine strength. Godhead expresses itself initially as the five elements: the sky, the wind, the fire, the water and the earth. All creation is but a combination of two or more of these in varying proportions. The characteristic nature of these five elements are: sound, touch, form, taste and smell; cognised by the ear, the skin, the eye, the tongue and the nose. Now, since these are saturated with the Divine, one has to use them reverentially and with humility and gratefulness.

Use them intelligently, to promote the welfare of yourself and others; use them with moderation and with the idea of loving service to the community, to all. Appreciate the plenty and the preciousness. You know from experience that excessive quantities of wind or fire or water are injurious to health. Drinking more water than needed is a torture; inhaling more air is suffocating. Fire in moderation can warm or serve to heat and melt; but, beyond a certain limit, it is a holocaust. Even sound, beyond a certain limit, is a calamity, a weapon which can distract and drive people mad.

So, efficient use of these is itself a form of worship. The body is equipped with mechanisms which ensure a steady degree of warmth, beyond which or beneath which man cannot be healthy and active. Nature is in essence Divinity itself. All this is Divine. All this is God. So, tread softly, move reverentially, utilise gratefully. (151066)

Man is mislead into believing that nature is his rival which has to be defeated and conquered; he struggles and suffers loss and pain in the process. He considers it heroic to undergo travail in what he calls conquest of nature. But if only he feels kinship with nature, as equally saturated with Divinity, and proclaiming with equal clarity the immanence of God, he can be happier and much more restful and content. When you see everywhere, on every inch of ground, in every being, small and big, the footprint of God, nature is seen in a new vesture of glory, a manifestation that demands worship, rather than exploitation and enslavement. (260972)

The tree can teach you forbearance and tolerance. It offers shade to all, irrespective of age, sex or religion, nationality or economic status. It helps with fruit and shade even the foe who lays his axe on its trunk. (260772)


NON-VIOLENCE & NATIONS

"The sacrifice of a living being to confer happiness here or hereafter, though accompanied by the recitation of all the appropriate ritual formula is a selfish act, and so it deserves discouragement. To kill, so that you may live longer and with fuller joy is a reprehensible act", Buddha declared. It is comparable to the disgraceful pride of those who swagger like bullies because they have the atom bomb which can reduce to ashes entire states and vast cities. Only those who base their actions on the universal principle of God that dwells in every being and prompts every deed, thought and word, can deserve the gratitude of mankind. (231165)

NON-VIOLENCE & THE ONE

The limbs of the body have to work in unison for the common purpose of sustaining the body and keeping it fit for its prime mission. If one limb quarrels with another or refuses to cooperate or help, the entire body, including the refractory limb, will suffer. When you see a thorn on the road the feet move away; the eyes saw and immediately sympathetic vibrations warned the feet. The love and cooperation between the eye and the feet come from the Atma within and the love which is its very nature. (040475)

When your teeth bite your tongue do you get angry at them for hurting? Do you break the teeth that hurt it so? No. For, teeth and tongue are both yours, both you. Similarly, he who hurts yours and you, are both limbs of the same body, God. Feel that oneness and avoid hate. (080768)

You must look upon all as limbs of your own body and, just as you would try to heal any bruise or wound on any limb as quickly and efficiently as possible, you must heal the woes and pains of others to the best of your ability and as far as your means allow. (190270)

You wear coloured glasses and see everything through those glasses. Correct your vision, the world will be corrected. Reform yourselves, the world will get reformed. You create the world of your choice. You see many, because you seek the many, not the One. Try to subsume the many in the One; the physical bodies of yourself and others, the family, the village, the community, the state, the nation, the world, thus progressively march on towards more and more inclusive loyalties and reach the stage of unity in thought, word and deed. This is the spiritual discipline of Love, for love is expansion, inclusion, mutualisation. The individual has to be universalised, expanded into the Cosmic Form. When you enter upon this spiritual discipline, you have to suppress all tendencies of hatred, greed, envy and malice, and concentrate on expanding love toward all, at all times. (100674)

The One appears as the many, to the prejudiced eye. Clear the eye of the cataract of ignorance, and it cognises all as One. In fact, you will see with your eyes, only yourself, everywhere. You talk only to yourself, to whomsoever your speech is addressed. You are pleased with yourself; you hate yourself, you harm yourself. There is no other! (July 1974)

God is everywhere. When He is recognised and adored as the Indweller of your body, it becomes a Temple, and is no more a burden. God is shining, announcing Himself through you; He is expressing Himself through every thought, word and deed that emanates from you. In the temple that is built and put together, we have an idol that is sculpted and modified by man. But, in this temple that is gifted by God, God shines in His own light, and manifests in His own glory as love, power and wisdom. He shines and manifests thus not only in a single body, but in all bodies. He is the indweller in each; so when you insult, injure or inflict infamy on another, remember you are inviting the pain to visit your own self for, the other is none other than your own self. (280475)

All this is inhabited by God. Every person is a sanctuary of the Divine Atma. Therefore, if you hurt others, you will hurt God who resides in them. (SSB 79,154)

Adhering to one's own likes and dislikes, however harmful it may be to the interest of the culture of the country, is very injurious to both. When the hand is amputated, it is not merely the limb that suffers; a great quantity of blood also flows out from the rest of the body and makes the system weak and exhausted. So too, when one separates himself from the society or Nation and insists on a path that is not part of the culture and traditions, not only does he lose support, he harms the nation too. (040275)


HARM NO-ONE

Even if you cannot love others, do not hate them or feel envy towards them. Do not misunderstand their motives and scandalise them; if you only knew, their motives might be as noble as yours or their action might be due to ignorance, rather than wickedness or mischief. Pardon the other man's fault but deal harshly with your own. If you cannot help another, at least avoid doing him harm or causing him pain. That itself is a great service. What right have you to find fault with another or talk evil of him? When you say that nothing can ever happen on earth without His will, why get annoyed or angry? Your duty is to cleanse yourself and engage in your own purification. That endeavour will bring you the cooperation of all good men and you will find strength and joy welling up within you. (020858)

But you can begin with little things; you can avoid causing annoyance to others, is it not? Even if you are unable or unwilling to do service to others, at least, if you desist from causing harm, that is a meritorious service indeed! For example, take the words you speak. I always say purification of words leads to cleansing of the mind. That is why I insist on quiet talk, sweet talk and little talk; on harmonious talk; no anger, no heat, no hate. Such talk will cause no quarrel, no blood-pressure and no factions. It will promote mutual respect and love. Then again, do not cynically laugh at the good that others do or at the spiritual practices of others. Inquire, but do not insult. Respect the sincerity of the other man; respect also elders and men with more experiences than you. In company behave in a well-mannered way, showering brotherhood and joy on all around you. (210960)

Love; do not hate or harm. Even mosquitoes can pride themselves on the capacity to injure and harm, and cause disease! Bugs can do likewise; so if you feel proud of the skill to harm, you are only demeaning yourselves. Love and serve; that is the best spiritual striving, that will reward you most. (130871)

The demon came roaring like a wounded tiger, and advanced ferociously at the Little Divine Boy. Krishna turned his sweet charming face at him, and rewarded him with a lovely smile. That smile disarmed the demon; the longer he came under its influence, the weaker became his vengeance and venom. At last, the demon became as docile as a lamb. When the other two awoke, they were surprised at the victory that Krishna had won by the weaponry of love. You cannot destroy anger by anger, cruelty by cruelty, hatred by hatred. Anger can become subdued only by forbearance; cruelty can be overcome only by non-violence; hatred yields only to charity and compassion. (260972)

Ascribe value to pure hearts and dedicated deeds, never indulging in talk that hurts others. When you intend to harm another, the evil recoils on you. The grief which you suffer is only an echo of the grief you inflict on another's heart. So, when you have injured another, pray for pardon, repent and resolve never to do it again. Through genuine prayer, mountains of evil can be pulverised and destroyed. From now on, decide that your words shall be soft and sweet, your acts beneficial to others and your thoughts always about how to serve others who are weaker and less prosperous. (141276)

You should not give room for impurity or pollution in the heart. You can make your life sacred by following the golden rule: "Help ever, hurt never". (14049)

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