Week 2 Sanga
Sanga 2: Ahimsa (Without Cruelty)
Content: Watch this video
Ahimsa means to act in a way that causes the least harm. It is a principle that is referred to often in the Gita. In the Mahabharata, Krishna says that all dharma, all good acts, are dependent on this one principle. The Gita tells us that a truly thoughtful person will lead a life of non-cruelty and non-violence. Such a dedicated person develops the virtues of compassion and tolerance.
In our lives we need to make decisions every day that affect the world around us. A life minimizing our negative influence on the world helps us make decisions that are respectful and balanced. A life of ahimsa includes avoiding the harm of offering cruel words, withholding goodness or knowledge, and being neglectful of ourselves. Ahimsa is a principle that informs all our behavior and all our relationships, and which defines our character and integrity.
Personal Discussion Questions:
- What do you do that is harmful to other souls? Create a list. What do you do that is helpful for other souls? Create another list. How do you define harmful/helpful?
- Is being Vegetarian enough? What about Vegan? Is that too far? What are you doing to do save the planet?
Philosophical Discussion Questions:
- In today’s world I don’t think I can really not harm souls. Even when just walking on grass, I’m causing pain. So does what I eat really have that much of an effect?
- Ahimsa seems to be a larger idea - built upon the first principle. The embodiment of Sama-Darshana is to not want to harm those that are equal to me.
- With Krishna on the battlefield - to the naked eye, Arjuna killing everyone might be seen as the greatest harm and therefore the least principled approach to Ahimsa. Do we need a guide to help us see what is Ahimsa? How do we understand this?
- What about the discussion of using things in Krishna’s service? What about using things that might be harmful to our environment for His service? Does he accept it? Is it OK?