In the context of the war started by putin and his minions, which entails millions of tragedies, threats to all mankind and the annihilation of our own country, I want to discuss the fundamental principle in yoga - Ahimsa.
Ahimsa (the principle of "non-violence") is the first thesis of the first stage of yoga - Yama. It was not an accident, that Patanjali has put this particular topic in the first place among all other yoga principles. Yama is the universal moral and ethical human regulations and society as a whole. Without studying these internal motives, the mind can be very restless, since the clarity of perception of oneself and the world at the same time is a big question. Yama is the first step in mastering yoga, while in theory only after mastering the first step you can move on to the next. In practice, things are a little different. Each of us, coming to yoga, most likely started with asanas (asanas, by the way, are the 3rd step of yoga). We plunged into the world of yoga from asanas, because they are visible and common knowledge, they are about working with “physics”, they are about health, they are about the better feelings. Few people know about “yama” (the first step of yoga) and “niyama” (the second step of yoga), and even fewer of those who practice it. Such studies are given (and many simply do not need) are incredibly difficult, because they are connected with our mental and intuitive body, and work on them will accompany changes in the perception of oneself and the world. Such kind of study requires advanced skills in information filtering, self-talk, and introspection.
You can read more about the other 8 pillars in Sasha's article. In it, Sasha describes ahimsa as never (under any circumstances) harming anyone (including himself).
One of our common teachers interprets the meaning of this principle through the word “benevolence”, which implies human behavior based on the desire to bring people (and nature as well, because nature is also a living organism) goodness, peace, well-being and participation. Moreover, this behavior through a personal example should kindle the same desire in other people.
The principle of ahimsa is rather about the transformation of the inherent human nature of the tendency to oppress others, striving for personal realization, for a new quality of life - benevolence - embodying the unity of all living beings and nature.
Ahimsa should be considered in several planes, starting with the simplest, although I don’t see anything simple here at all:
- non-violence in actions (we do not harm by actions).
- non-violence in words (we do not offend with words).
- non-violence in thoughts (we eradicate even thoughts about harm or revenge on others for whatever their actions or inactions).
A few sentences about the great philosophical work "Bhagavad-Gita" and how the concept of "Ahimsa" is embroidered in it.
I tried to write in a simpler way, but I imagine that for those who have not read / have not watched, it will be still be difficult. After reading this book and watching the entire Mahabharata series (Sasha and I watched more than 250 episodes, but they really looked very easy, but made you think about a lot), there is no doubt that two of the main moral and ethical messages of these artifacts are “ Ahimsa" and "Dharma" (the universal law of life or human destiny).
In the Bhagavad Gita, Ardjuna (a super correct warrior hero, the follower of Ahimsa (he is the embodiment of the noble motives of man) faces the dumb choice for him to go to war (again, here metaphorically refers to a psychological duel in a person’s head - between “light” and "darkness") with their relatives (Ardjuna's relatives are very bad guys who took power by the most terrible methods (they are the embodiment of base passions, desires and emotions of a person). The battle takes place on the field (metaphorically this is a human body). A dumb choice is because Arjduna follows Ahimsa, and on the other hand, because of his Dharma is which is service (the duty of a warrior for Ardjuna is to stop the lawlessness that has taken root due to the power of lust, including the battle, although before the battle he and his brothers had tried to solve this issue peacefully). It is important to say that Ardjuna does not hate his relatives, despite all that they have done to him and his family until the moment of the battle. The beginning of the battle took place with Krishna (the embodiment of wisdom), who ultimately convinces Ardjuna to fight with relatives (vices and lusts) through such concepts as Dharma (the purpose or nature of Arjuna is a warrior who honors Ahimsa, but the duty of a warrior is to protect the truth based on knowledge ), self-realization and explanation of the consequences of the war (the same duel of "light" and "dark" sides of human nature).
The conclusion of the Bhagavad Gita is not a war in the physical plane, but rather to do everything so that there are no wars, to get rid of all it's grounds. Ahimsa is Dharma.
And war .. war never changes, and in any war there can not be a winner, all parties of the conflict come out of the war only as losers.
Everything described above, even in theory, looks like an incredibly complex thesesis, not to mention the implementation of the principle in practice. Everywhere and everywhere we are confronted with the violent side of human relationships (yes, yes, all the same actions / words / thoughts): in the family, in the parking lot, with housemates, on a hike for help at the citizen centers, finding out in disputes who is better and cooler , surveying sports matches, in wars between states and even in relation to oneself, calling oneself names and scolding himself for his mistakes, considering himself unworthy of anything. There is a constant fight free-for-all and a showdown. The reason is attachment and lust for material things, self-interest. The only question is how much such a struggle is filled with meaning, how much the truth is distorted (knowledge of the world is needed to be able to distinguish true from false), how much people participating in the dispute crave harm to their opponent (depends on the degree to which our emotions, ignorance, intolerance can blind and dehumanize to harm another living being). Ahimsa, in my opinion, is the most scrupulous work to ensure that throughout our life we cause as little harm to everything around us as possible. Each time try to catch yourself thinking why something unbalances our minds and leads to the thought of harm to another person / animal / plant and ask questions: what do I feel, why do I feel it and is it possible not to respond with violence in this situation .
Peace for everyone ! :)