Mahavira, the Jain prophet of nonviolence and an advocate for the principle of Ahimsa (Universal Love), said 2500 years ago that all beings have the natural desire to live and thrive.
Wanting to be safe, happy, and in a nurturing community is not unique to any particular country, culture, religion, or spiritual tradition. In fact, it is not even unique to human beings. Animals, birds, sea creatures, plants and trees, and all forms of life seek safety and nurturance.
Enjoying success at the expense of others and by harming others, including nature and the environment, cannot be sustained over the long term. This is a simple but an ancient truth.
According to the law of karma, if we wish to have peace, we should respect life as sacred and minimize any type of violence to all forms of life. If we wish to have peace, we have to give peace. Giving peace to others is a powerful form of healing.
Ancient as well as modern sages teach us that violent actions and thoughts create anxiety and fear in the one who holds them. Unless we free ourselves from violence, we cannot have peace of mind and we cannot make progress on the spiritual path.
My friends, prejudice, hatred, and incomprehensible violence are part of human history. We see such things in the present age as well. Sometimes when we see the news, it seems like the whole world is burning in the fires of fear, hatred, and rage.
Do not be discouraged at hearing and seeing such things! Remember that individuals in every era, country, religion, and culture have been able to demonstrate the innate capacity of human beings to love, to nurture, to heal, to be peacemakers, and to forgive without reservation.
You can read the stories of ancient sages like Buddha, Mahavir, Jesus, and so many others and see how they reacted in the face of contempt and hatred. Sri Ramana Maharshi was beaten with a stick on one of his legs by the thieves that broke into the Ashram. Sri Ramana offered them the other leg and said that they could hit it as well if they liked.
The story of Jesus in his final moments is well known. Even in the middle of unbearable pain, torture, and humiliation, Jesus prayed to God for his tormentors and said, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Like two lovers who are inseparable, Ahimsa (Universal Love) and wisdom go hand in hand. Both point to the precious nature of all life and the sacredness of the present moment. Be present in the present moment and let compassion guide your way.