Fig 1: Distinctive transition in the nucleus of Aura – while making Living water to Non-Living Water.
2. Practical necessity of Ahimsā
One important principle declares that “All souls render service to one another” – Parasparopgraho Jivanam. One cannot exist independently. The law says that living beings have to share their pain and pleasure with others. Though humans are the most developed LB, nature has provided everyone’s role to be played by them for peaceful co-existence with each other. This phenomenon of mutual help and support can be seen at all levels of existence. Micro-organisms help in the digestion of food in the stomachs of all beings. Trees provide food to all creatures and worms assist in agriculture.
Hence if Humans want to live and exist peacefully, it is mandatory that they practice respect for all other types of LB. Otherwise, their own existence is bound to be threatened as per the above law. The principle of equality propounds that everyone has a right to live. The directive principle is not “living on others” or “living by killing” but “living with and for others”. That means the welfare of human society depends on mutual co-operation, the sacrifice of our own interest for the sake of our fellow beings, and regard for other’s life. The existence of society depends not on claiming our own rights but accepting the rights of others too.
Acharang Sutra 1 / 4 warns : “तांसे अहियाई, तंसे अबोहिये।” एकेन्द्रिय जीवों का अनर्थ उपयोग मनुष्य जाति की दुर्गति करनेवाला है। That is, “Irresponsible use and killing of one-sensed LBs is going to be disastrous for the mankind.”
As such, Non-Violence (NV) towards all types of LB has to be understood as a practical necessity in the world for our existence.
3. Categories of Himsā
“Himsā is done in many shapes and forms, with or without motives. It encompasses himsā committed for basic bodily needs for food, clothing, shelter, and medicine, secondary needs and desire for physical beauty, for sports and entertainment, for furnishings, for transportation, for societal and religious customs, and stemming from ego, anger, hatred, greed, control, power, and dominance over others.” Himsā has been classified into the following four types:
i). Deliberate or aggressive violence i.e. intentional killing,
ii). Protective violence, resulting from opposing attacks on one’s life, property, or country,
iii). Occupational violence, resulting from the industrial or agricultural activity of the individuals for earning their livelihood,
iv). Unintentional but indirect injury to living beings, resulting from acts necessary for a normal life, like cooking or cleaning, etc. called Arthja Himsā
4. Minimizing the Hinsā
i) Equality of Souls
Accepting the rights of others is a strong pillar of non-violence (NV). It calls for restraint i.e. curbing his limitless desires to consume and possess things. Environmental degradation due to too much spread of consumerism can be checked only by the self-imposed discipline of limiting desires and possessions. It checks both poverty and luxury with the objective of Gandhiji’s trusteeship model of wealth management.
While observing proper vigilance in indulging in himsā, one exhibits respect for the right to live even for micro-organisms and for one-sensed Living-Beings (LB), like water, air, fire, earth minerals. In fact, they form the basic structure of the environment. Voluntarily curbing their consumption and use would change the mindset of society. The most important formula for practicing NV and showing compassion towards one-sensed LB is to use three R formula in our consumption of resources. It means, to Reduce, Re-use and Recycle the resources that should become the norm of an individual as well as of society. To explain its applicability at root levels, we take up a few examples.
ii). Minimizing the Needs:
All laities can renounce the first type of non-violence i.e. intentional killing. However, he should indulge in the other three categories, only after observing proper vigilance. That means he must imbibe an attitude of frugality and of minimizing the requirements.
It means, he should minimize food, clothing, and other requirements, which are sourced from slaughterhouses or involve cruelty to animals and insects having 2 or more than 2 sensory faculties. He should also not indulge in trades like slaughtering, fishing, hen-farming, and even brewing.
iii) NV towards Water:
Since freshwater resources are depleting fast and are getting polluted, we can counter this problem by showing respect for it by reducing its killing i.e. by improving our wasteful Habits and optimizing its usage in following easy way.
#. In agriculture, maximise its effect by adopting drip irrigation in place of normal water channels.
#. Be vigilant and reduce violence by adopting the 3-R formula i.e. Reduce consumption by efficient water delivery system, Re-use used water for a secondary purpose, Re-Cycle the used water after decanting or after treating with ash powder in various domestic activities. Some examples of showing our respect and compassion towards water can be seen in our following frugal habits and in efforts in reducing Himsā / consumption.