Sadhana: The Means of Spirituality and Ahimsa

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It is very evident from many references in Vedas, and especially the Rig-Veda that man has always desired to escape suffering, sorrow and any kind of injury which are the consequence of himsa [violence] through prayers. In spite of difficulty of assessing the condition to that prevailed in Vedic era, when Vedas were composed, it can also be well presumed from these references that right from ancient times for comfort and support people looked to Supreme Power, God; for, they were inclined to spirituality.

Spirituality and Ahimsa [non-violence] are in fact one and the same in the sense that both can be attained through Sadhana. That is why; savants of Vedic era concentrated more on prayer which is the simplest form of Sadhana for commonmen and composed the panes of glory to propitiate gods and ancestors calling upon them to bless and protect mankind from all those things that implied violence than preaching non-violence which can only be attained through a rather difficult process of Sadhana-‘Indriyanigraha’, i.e. control of senses. In this regard a story from Mahabharata can be quoted here.

It states that Maharshi Vishwamitra, who was formerly a king, relinquished his kingdom to do tapa. So severe was his Sadhana that he was soon known as Maharshi and was addressed so by all except Maharshi Vashishtha who always called him Rajarishi. It annoyed Vishwamitra and feeling insulted, he decided to kill Vashishtha, the only obstacle to his great fame. So, one day he went to his Ashram and hid himself behind his hut in order to kill him when sleep. It was a full moon night. Vashishtha and his wife Arundhati were sitting outside their hut and were talking. Vishwamitra heard Arundhati saying how beautiful the moon-light was, and Vashishtha’s remark that it was as lustrous as the tapa of Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra felt ashamed thinking that he had come to kill such a great soul who had noble ideas for him. Throwing his sword away, he went before him and saluted him with all reverence. Vashishtha welcomed him addressing him Maharshi Vishwamitra and asked him what had brought him there at that odd hour. Vishwamitra replied he had come there to kill him and asked him, “Why you who always called me Rajarishi welcome me as Maharshi?”

Vashishtha replied, “Because your Sadhana is complete today. You have overcome the violent emotions of envy, enmity, anger and revenge and thus have elevated yourself to the highest level of saints.”

Thus, it can be rightly inferred that through Sadhana one can overcome the violent emotions and he can attain the highest level of spirituality.

Dr. Ravindra Kumar is an eminent writer, Indologist, political scientist and a former vice chancellor of Meerut University, India, who authored and edited over 100 works on great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and on various social-cultural issues.