- Religion and Philosophy
Relevance of Ahimsa in words
Ahimsa means non-violence. Ahimsa in terms of action was what was considered the best form of retaliation to achieve freedom for India by Gandhiji. What about ahimsa in our day to day language?
There is a famous saying in Tamil, which says, "A wound inflicted by fire will heal whereas a wound created by the tongue/words does not". This is very true. But in today's world how relevant is this?
Patience has become the virtue of the bored! Even with children these days, sweet words do not seem to work for long, you have to bribe them or give something in return to get things done. Beyond a limit, anger takes its place, has an impact on our choice of words and in turn the result we want.
With many many "not-so-right" things happening around, with the concept of "Dharma" losing its sense, with self-judgement on the decline, with no fear for one's own mind or God when wrong things are done, how will pleasant words and ahimsa in words have any effect?
I have had many incidents where unable to bear the atrocity happening, I started questioning. Initially, I started with polite words and framed my sentences in the most unoffensive way as possible. I found that this had absolutely no effect! I just get weird looks in return, which either imply I am jobless or mean they do not really care!
The moment I use words which can prick conscience, the effect is instantaneous. Is this a right approach?
Let me cite an example. Across India, in all tourist places, the shops have extra cost above MRP on all products especially eatables and if it is a cold drink that you are buying it will have additional price for the "cooling"! I question this everywhere I go, asking why should I even pay a rupee more than the MRP? Just questions or refusing to buy seemed to have absolutely no effect!
Then I decided to change my approach. Apart from questioning and refusing to buy, I started telling in a harsh way that their conscience should prick for taking extra money and that the money they earn in such dishonest way will never stay or grow! This seemed to have a profound effect.
The shop keepers did not give me the products at the correct price but somewhere deep down their heart, the sleeping conscience woke up! They were scared that my words would come true about money! They came back fighting, saying I had rights to refuse to buy but never curse them!
This made me think, the shopkeeper would definitely be thinking about this incident at least for a day, which might or might not change him, but at least it will make him think which otherwise he would never do!
Even when the right things are told in the ahimsa way, they do not seem to reach where they should. The same message if conveyed in a "not-so-ahimsa" way does appear to have an effect! This really made me think - Ahimsa - does it hold relevance any long? In actions? In words? In thoughts? No was my answer after recounting many many incidents in my life so far.