In this article we are going to make a collection of Swami Vivekananda‘s quotes on Ahimsa (Devanagari: अहिंसा, Bengali: অহিংসা) or Non-injury.
- Ahimsa (non-killing), truthfulness, purity, mercy, and godliness are always to be kept.[Source]
- All great teachers have taught, “Resist not evil,” that non-resistance is the highest moral ideal. We all know that, if a certain number of us attempted to put that maxim fully into practice, the whole social fabric would fall to pieces, the wicked would take possession of our properties and our lives, and would do whatever they liked with us. Even if only one day of such non-resistance were practiced, it would lead to disaster. Yet, intuitively, in our heart of hearts we feel the truth of the teaching “Resist not evil.” This seems to us to be the highest ideal; yet to teach this doctrine only would be equivalent to condemning a vast portion of mankind. Not only so, it would be making men feel that they were always doing wrong, and cause in them scruples of conscience in all their actions; it would weaken them, and that constant self-disapproval would breed more vice than any other weakness would.[Source]
- Never producing pain by thought, word, and deed, in any living being, is what is called Ahimsâ, non-injury.[Source]
- Non-injuring has to be attained by him who would be free. No one is more powerful than he who has attained perfect non-injuring. No one could fight, no one could quarrel, in his presence. Yes, his very presence, and nothing else, means peace, means love wherever he may be. Nobody could be angry or fight in his presence. Even the animals, ferocious animals, would be peaceful before him.[Source]
- The Buddhist tenet, “Non-killing is supreme virtue”, is very good, but in trying to enforce it upon all by legislation without paying any heed to the capacities of the people at large, Buddhism has brought ruin upon India.[Source]
- The test of Ahimsa is absence of jealousy.[Source]
- There is no happiness higher than what a man obtains by this attitude of non-offensiveness, to all creation.[Source]
- There is no virtue higher than non-injury.[Source]
- These practices — non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity, and non-receiving — are to be practised by every man, woman, and child; by every soul, irrespective of nation, country, or position.[Source]
- This duty of non-injury is, so to speak, obligatory on us in relation to all beings. As with some, it does not simply mean the non-injuring of human beings and mercilessness towards the lower animals; nor, as with some others, does it mean the protecting of cats and dogs and feeding of ants with sugar — with liberty to injure brother-man in every horrible way! It is remarkable that almost every good idea in this world can be carried to a disgusting extreme. A good practice carried to an extreme and worked in accordance with the letter of the law becomes a positive evil. The stinking monks of certain religious sects, who do not bathe lest the vermin on their bodies should be killed, never think of the discomfort and disease they bring to their fellow human beings. They do not, however, belong to the religion of the Vedas![Source]
- There is, however, only one idea of duty which has been universally accepted by all mankind, of all ages and sects and countries, and that has been summed up in a Sanskrit aphorism thus: “Do not injure any being; not injuring any being is virtue, injuring any being is sin.”[Source]
- To his enemies the householder must be a hero. Them he must resist. That is the duty of the householder. He must not sit down in a corner and weep, and talk nonsense about non-resistance. If he does not show himself a hero to his enemies he has not done his duty.[Source]
Swami Vivekananda placed a great emphasis on the principle of “ahimsa” or non-violence in his teachings. He believed that non-violence is a fundamental principle of spirituality and that it is essential for personal and social transformation.
Vivekananda taught that non-violence is not just about avoiding physical violence, but also about avoiding mental and emotional violence. He believed that all forms of violence, whether physical, mental, or emotional, are interconnected and that true non-violence must be practiced in all aspects of life.
In his lectures and writings, Vivekananda emphasized the importance of developing compassion and empathy towards all living beings. He taught that by developing compassion and empathy, we can learn to see the interconnectedness of all living beings and understand that harming others ultimately harms ourselves.
Vivekananda also believed that non-violence is essential for achieving inner peace and spiritual growth. He taught that violence and aggression are manifestations of ignorance and that by practicing non-violence, we can overcome ignorance and achieve a higher state of consciousness.
He also taught that non-violence is not a passive principle, but rather an active one. He encouraged people to actively work towards creating a more peaceful and harmonious world by promoting non-violence and compassion in all their actions and interactions.
In summary, for Swami Vivekananda, non-violence or Ahimsa is a fundamental principle of spirituality, essential for personal and social transformation. He believed that non-violence is not just about avoiding physical violence, but also about avoiding mental and emotional violence. He encouraged people to actively work towards creating a more peaceful and harmonious world by promoting non-violence and compassion in all their actions and interactions, ultimately it is a path towards inner peace and spiritual growth.