by Renu Gulati January 19, 2020

The word ahimsa translated as non violence is banded about a lot. It lies at the very root of Hinduism and is the fundamental basis of human life.

I often equate ahimsa with respect. Respect of oneself followed by respect of other humans and all that exists in the universe.
Ahimsa is considered to be the parama dharma l, the supreme duty in Vedanta and in the eternal way of life, Sanatana Dharma, the root of Hinduism.

How do we interpret ahimsa in daily life. I would say respect oneself first. Where there is self respect, you are more likely to be respected by others. Self respect needs to be on a deep level, not a respect based on the money or status u hold. After all these can be ripped away from you at any time.

Self respect means self preservation and that means maintaining boundaries from all that which fails to enhance and empower your life. Being cruel to be kind is part of this. Some practical points for self respect

  1. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you
  2. Maintain a distance from those who can harm you.
  3. Don’t have eggshell relationships wherein you are always treading eggshells in case the other person is offended. Such relationships are demeaning and potentially explosive.
  4. Avoid relationships that cause fear and dread. Keep such people at arms length
  5. Avoid relationships where people are constantly blaming you and finding fault in you without clear communication headed for a solution
  6. Don’t let anyone disrespect your time. Time is your energy and life force. Being punctual is a part of respect.
  7. Avoid people who are constantly breaking their word. Committing to something and not carrying it out.
  8. Avoid people who backbite about you.
  9. Avoid those people who feel like they are draining you.

These suggestions apply to oneself too. That we too should be the change we want to see. We have to teach by example.
Without respect as the fundamental core of our life, we cannot be happy, no matter how hard we try.
Ahimsa relates not only to oneself and others but to how we treat others, animals and the environment.

The ancients worshipped the environment through prayers to the five elements that make up existence, space, air, fire, water and earth.

Once there is self respect and respect of all that exists there will be peace in the world.
How many wars are caused by religion and differences if opinion? Live and let live with respect is the solution



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