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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami


The Official Source For Srila Prabhupada's Original Books

A Deeper Aspect to Ahimsa or Nonviolence

Today I saw the news about the horrible bombing and shootings in Norway that left nearly 100 people dead. It really shook me because I’m originally from Finland, which is practically neighbor to Norway. I don’t think there is any other way to stop such senseless violence from happening except to really go to the root of the problem and work together to raise the level of our consciousness, individually and collectively. And I don’t think there is any more effective way to do that than to study spiritual wisdom and actually put those teachings into practice by mantra meditation, vegetarian diet, simple lifestyle, developing relationship with God, etc. — and then teach others who are willing to learn, even if just by your example.

At today’s Warped show in New York a girl complemented my shirt that says ‘Vegetarian’ on it. Prahlada was standing next to me and took the opportunity to show her the books where the culture of ahimsa, or nonviolence, originates from. She told me she was wiccan and really interested in reading the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Here’s something about ahimsa that stood out for me as I read the Gita recently:

“Nonviolence is generally taken to mean not killing or destroying the
body, but actually nonviolence means not to put others into distress. People in
general are trapped by ignorance in the material concept of life, and they
perpetually suffer material pains. So unless one elevates people to spiritual
knowledge, one is practicing violence. One should try his best to distribute
real knowledge to the people, so that they may become enlightened and leave
this material entanglement. That is nonviolence.”

I love it how in this purport to mantra 13.12, the spiritual master Srila Prabhupada offers a positive alternative to the concept of ahimsa. It’s not just about avoiding hurting other beings, but it’s also about being a part of the solution. (You know the saying, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, right?) He says that real nonviolence is when you help someone become aware of their soul so that they don’t have to suffer in the illusions of this temporary world. Of course, I think it’s good to start ahimsa with my own self first, become more conscious by reading the Gita and practicing meditation and such, and then being willing to tell others what I know. That’s just the human thing to do. <3

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