Saturday, August 14, 2010

From ‘Along the Ganges’ by Ilija Trojanow

…..the story of the shishya who asks his guru: “How long will it take for me to achieve liberation”

“A whole life,” the guru answers.

“And if I try very hard?”

“Several lives!”

“But what if I give it all I have?”

“Then you will never attain it!”

In the sixth century BC, the principle of Ahimsa was developed in the area that is today Bihar. The concept of radical non-violence was formulated and put into practice by the parishads, communities of hermits living in the forests that in those days covered most of the land. This magnetic field also influenced Jainism and Adaita. In all three religious concepts, non-violence is defined far more extensively than the usual understanding of not harming other creatures. According to Advaita, you practice violence when you term the other as ‘other’. The concept of atman, the omnipresent soul, sees every human being as infinite and unlimited, and therefore he is not equal to his neighbours but merged with them as well as with god. If one limits one’s neighbor, one limits oneself. Ahimsa opposes any language of segregation, it calls upon us always to see the common behind the divisive. As a result, Ahimsa could protect humans against manipulation through fictive identities, whether of a national, ethnic or cultural character.


No comments: