What is the Importance of
Non-violence is the cardinal
virtue recognized in Sanatana Dharma or any universal tradition.
Non-violence is the supreme Dharma, the great law of life. To the
extent that we fall from non-violence we cease to be truly religious
and lose our connection with God.
Dharma means natural law and
the most basic natural law is to remain in harmony with our fellow
creatures. No creature likes to suffer. To attune ourselves with the
nature of all beings, we should not seek suffering for any being.
Non-violence, therefore, is the foundation of all true ethics of
truthfulness, honesty and non-stealing. Non-violence in Hinduism is
the universal great vow. Only if we have an attitude of non-violence
toward all beings can we have true universality.
Non-violence means not to
wish harm for any being in thought, word and deed. It is not merely
a matter of refraining from physical violence. Nor is it just a
matter of refraining from military action. It means non-violence in
our own homes and families as well. Nor is it limited to human
beings. It means to not be violent towards plants, animals or the
Earth itself, which means to restrict our consumption of meat and
our use of energy for personal pleasure.
Non-violence is not only in
regard to our own action, we should not support or condone violence
by others, which is not to attack it but to withdraw any association
that we might have with it.
Non-violence is the best way
to Self-realization because if we see the Self in all beings and all
beings in the Self, we cannot possibly wish harm to anyone. Violence
is the denial of religion which, first of all, should be peace. To
use violence to promote a religion - whether through thought, word
or deed - is to deny the real spirit of religion. To try to make a
religion spread through the use of force is not to spread religion
but irreligion. This at least is the Hindu view.