Ahimsa + Satyagraha = Intense Love

February 13, 2015

Every week, we feature excerpts by Gandhi that lend insight into his values and personal practices.

In a letter to Narandas Gandhi, he expressed his ideas on ahimsa (nonviolence) and Truth: "Satyagraha means 'holding to the Truth in every situation'. This is ahimsa, which is more than just the absence of violence; it is intense love."

July 28, 1930

The path of Truth is as narrow as it is straight. Even so is that of ahimsa. It is like balancing oneself on the edge of a sword. By concentration an acrobat can walk on a rope. But the concentration required to tread the path of Truth and ahimsa is far greater. The slightest inattention brings one tumbling to the ground. One can realize Truth and ahimsa only by ceaseless striving.

Ahimsa is not the crude thing it has been made to appear. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ahimsa. But it is its least expression. The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill of anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs. But the world needs even what we eat day by day. In the place where we stand there are millions of micro-organisms to whom the place belongs and who are hurt by our presence there. [...]

It is perhaps clear from the foregoing that without ahimsa it is not possible to seek and find Truth. Ahimsa and Truth are so intertwined that it is practically impossible to disentangle and separate them. They are like the two sides of a coin, or rather of a smooth unstamped metallic disc. Who can say which is the obverse and which is the reverse? Nevertheless, ahimsa is the means and Truth is the end.

--Blessings from Bapu
Source: CWMG, Vol 49, page 406-409

Be The Change

This week, pay attention not only in the ways that you don't harm other beings, but also how you are contributing with "intense love" in every situation.