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Sacred Texts Speak On AhimsaThe roots of ahimsa are found in the Vedas, Agamas, Upanishads, Dharma Shastras, Tirumurai, Yoga Sutras and dozens of other sacred texts of Hinduism. Here is a select collection.Peace be the earth, peaceful the ether, peaceful heaven, peaceful the waters, peaceful the herbs, peaceful the trees. May all Gods bring me peace. May there be peace through these invocations of peace. With these invocations of peace which appease everything, I render peaceful whatever here is terrible, whatever here is cruel, whatever here is sinful. Let it become auspicious, let everything be beneficial to us.--Atharva Veda: X. 191. 4Let us have concord with our own people, and concord with people who are strangers to us; Asvins, create between us and the strangers a unity of hearts. May we unite in our midst, unite in our purposes, and not fight against the divine spirit within us. Let not the battle-cry rise amidst many slain, nor the arrows of the War-God fall with the break of day.--Atharva VedaLet your aims be common, and your hearts be of one accord, and all of you be of one mind, so you may live well together.--Rig Veda X . 191The twice-born should endure high-handed criticism; he should insult none. While yet in his body, he should not pick enmity with anyone; he should not return anger with anger; decried, he should say a good word.--Dharma Shastras: VI.Nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, purity, sense control--this, in brief, says Manu, is the dharma of all the four castes.--Dharma Shastras: X.One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Yielding to desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma. --Mahabharata XVIII:113.8.Those high-souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength and memory should abstain from acts of injury.--Mahabharata XVIII:115.8.Ahimsa is the highest dharma. Ahimsa is the best tapas. Ahimsa is the greatest gift. Ahimsa is the highest self-control. Ahimsa is the highest sacrifice. Ahimsa is the highest power. Ahimsa is the highest friend. Ahimsa is the highest truth. Ahimsa is the highest teaching.--Mahabharata XVIII:116.37-41.It is the principle of the pure in heart never to injure others, even when they themselves have been hatefully injured.--Tiru Kural, Verse 312.If a man inflicts sorrow on another in the morning, sorrow will come to him unbidden in the afternoon.--Tiru Kural, Verse 319What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroying life, for killing leads to every other sin.--Tirukural, Verse 321Many are the lovely flowers of worship offered to the Guru, but none lovelier than non-killing. Respect for life is the highest worship, the bright lamp, the sweet garland and unwavering devotion.--Tirumantiram, Verse 197May all beings look at me with a friendly eye. May I do likewise, and may we all look on each other with the eyes of a friend.--Yajur Veda: 36.18.Spiritual merit and sin are our own making. The killer of other lives is an outcast. Match your words with your conduct. Steal not, kill not, indulge not in self-praise, condemn not others to their face.--Lingayat VacanasIf the diet is pure the mind will be pure, and if the mind is pure the intellect also will be pure.--Manu SamhitaAhimsa is not causing pain to any living being at any time through the actions of one's mind, speech or body.--Sandilya UpanishadWhatever I dig from Earth, may that have quick growth again. O Purifier, may we not injure your vitals or your heart. --Atharva Veda XIIWhen one is established in non-injury, beings give up their mutual animosity in his presence.--Yoga SutrasWithout doing injury to living things, flesh cannot be had anywhere; and the killing of living beings is not conducive to heaven; hence eating of flesh should be avoided.--Dharma ShastrasEveryone should make offerings to all creatures; thereby one achieves the propitiation of all creatures. Every day one should make gifts, even if it be only with a cup of water: thus one achieves the propitiation of human beings.--Yajur VedaThe injury that we have caused to heaven and earth, mother or father--from that sin may the domestic fire ceremony pull us out.--Taittiriya AranyakaWithout congestion, amidst men, She who has many heights, stretches, and level grounds, who bears herbs of manifold potency, may that Earth spread out and be rich for us. Let all the people milk Her with amity.--Rig Veda XII. 1The peace in the sky, the peace in the mid-air, the peace on earth, the peace in waters, the peace in plants, the peace in forest trees, the peace in all Gods, the peace in Brahman, the peace in all things, the peace in peace, may that peace come to me.-- Rig Veda XDo not injure the beings living on the earth, in the air and in the water.--Yajur VedaThe Lord said, 'Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and devotion, alms-giving, self-control and sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity and uprightness, nonviolence, truth, freedom from anger, renunciation, tranquility, aversion to slander, compassion to all living beings, freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty, courage, patience, fortitude, purity and freedom from malice and overweening conceit--these belong to him who is born to the heritage of the Gods, O Arjuna.'--Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 16Hindu Leaders Speak On Ahimsa"Refrain from killing knowingly even the trifling insects like a louse, a bug or a mosquito. Use no violence even to gain possession of a woman, wealth or kingdom. Never kill any animals even for the purpose of sacrifice. Non-violence is the greatest of all religions." --Swami Sahajanand"O lover of meditation, become pure and clean. Observe nonviolence in mind, speech and body. Never break another's heart. Avoid wounding another's feelings. Harm no one. Help all. Neither be afraid nor frighten others." --Swami Muktananda"Someone who believes in violence and continues causing injury to others can never be peaceful himself." --Swami Satchidananda"To be free from violence is the duty of every man. No thought of revenge, hatred or ill will should arise in our minds. Injuring others gives rise to hatred."--Swami Sivananda"You do not like to suffer yourself. How can you inflict suffering on others? Every killing is a suicide. The eternal, blissful and natural state has been smothered by this life of ignorance. In this way the present life is due to the killing of the eternal, pristine Being. Is it not a case of suicide?"--Ramana Maharishi, 1935"The Hindu sage who sees the whole of life.. If he does not fight, it is not because he rejects all fighting as futile, but because he has finished his fights. He has overcome all dissensions between himself and the world and is now at rest.... We shall have wars and soldiers so long as the brute in us is untamed."-- Dr. S. Radhakrishnan."By ahimsa Patanjali meant the removal of the desire to kill. All forms of life have an equal right to the air of maya. The saint who uncovers the secret of creation will be in harmony with Nature's countless bewildering expressions. All men may understand this truth by overcoming the passion for destruction." --Sri Yukteswar to Paramahansa Yogananda."If you plant eggplant, you can pluck eggplants. If you sow goodness, you can reap goodness. If you sow evil, you will reap evil. Do good to all. God is there, within you. Don't kill. Don't harbor anger." --Siva Yogaswami"The test of ahimsa is the absence of jealousy. The man whose heart never cherishes even the thought of injury to anyone, who rejoices at the prosperity of even his greatest enemy, that man is the bhakta, he is the yogi, he is the guru of all." --Swami Vivekananda"Strictly speaking, no activity and no industry is possible without a certain amount of violence, no matter how little. Even the very process of living is impossible without a certain amount of violence. What we have to do is to minimize it to the greatest extent possible."--Mahatma Gandhi My Socialism, 34-35."We are all of the same race and religion. We are holy beings established in Divinity itself. This truth can be understood only by those who have grasped it through the magical charm of a life of dharma--not by other means. Because of that, sages have emphatically proclaimed again and again that it is necessary to love all existing lives as one's own."--Siva Yogaswami."Do good to all. God is there, within you. Don't kill. Don't harbor anger."--Siva Yogaswami."May all be happy. May we never see a tear in another's eyes!"--Sri Sri Sri Balagangadharnath Swamiji."Using words that do not offend and not speaking ill of others is tapas of speech."--B.K.S. Iyengar. By Sri Swami Shivananda
The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh
Om sarveshaam swastir bhavatu
Sarveshaam shantir bhavatu
Sarveshaam poornam bhavatu
Sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
Sarve santu niraamayaah
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu
Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet
Meaning:Auspiciousness (swasti) be unto all; peace (shanti) be unto all;
fullness (poornam) be unto all; prosperity (mangalam) be unto all.
May all be happy! (sukhinah)
May all be free from disabilities! (niraamayaah)
May all look (pashyantu)to the good of others!
May none suffer from sorrow! (duhkha)
Om asato maa satgamaya
Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya
Mrityor maa amritam gamaya
Meaning:Lead us from the unreal to the Real
From darkness to Light
From death to Immortality
Om poornamadah poornamidam
Poornaat poornamudachyate
Poornasya poornamaadaya
Meaning:That (pure consciousness) is full (perfect); this (the manifest universe of matter; of names and forms being maya) is full. This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that remains is fullness.
- Peace invocation -Isa Upanishad
Om sham no mitrah sham varunah sham no bhavatvaryamaa
Sham na indro brihaspatih sham no vishnururukramah
Namo brahmane namaste vaayo twameva pratyaksham
Brahmaasi twaameva pratyaksham brahma vadishyaami
Tanmaamavatu tadvaktaaramavatu
Avatu maam avatu vaktaaram.Om shantih shantih shantih!
Meaning:May Mitra, Varuna and Aryama be good to us! May Indra and Brihaspati and Vishnu of great strides be good to us! Prostrations unto Brahman! (Supreme Reality). Prostrations to Thee, O Vayu! Thou art the visible Brahman. I shall proclaim Thee as the visible Brahman. I shall call Thee the just and the True. May He protect the teacher and me! May he protect the teacher! Om peace, peace, peace!Om saha naavavatu sahanau bhunaktu
Saha veeryam karavaavahai
Tejasvi naavadheetamastu maa vidvishaavahai
Om shantih shantih shantih
Meaning:May He protect us both (teacher and the taught)! May He cause us both to enjoy the bliss of Mukti (liberation)! May we both exert to discover the true meaning of the sacred scriptures! May our studies be fruitful! May we never quarrel with each other! Let there be threefold peace.Namaste sate te jagat kaaranaaya
Namaste chite sarva lokaashrayaaya
Namo dvaita tattwaaya mukti pradaaya
Namo brahmane vyaapine shaashvataaya
Meaning:Salutations to that Being, the cause of the universe! Salutations to that Consciousness, the support of all the worlds! Salutations to that One Truth without a second, which gives liberation! Salutations to that pure, eternal Brahman who pervades all regions!Om yaschandasaamrishabho vishwaroopah
Chhandobhyo dhyamritaat sambabhoova
Sa mendro medhayaa sprinotu
Amritasya devadhaarano bhooyaasam
Shareeram me vicharshanam
Jihwaa me madhumattamaa
Karnaabhyaam bhoori vishruvam
Brahmanah Koshoasi medhayaapihitah
Shrutam me gopaaya
Om shantih shantih shantih!
Meaning:May He, the Lord of all, pre-eminent among the Vedas and superior to the nectar contained in them, bless me with wisdom! May I be adorned with the knowledge of Brahman that leads to immortality! May my body become strong and vigorous (to practise meditation)! May my tongue always utter delightful words! May I hear much with my ears! Thou art the scabbard of Brahman hidden by worldly taints (not revealed by impure, puny intellects). May I never forget all that I have learnt! Om peace, peace, peace!Om aham vrikshasya rerivaa
Keertih prishtham gireriva
Urdhwapavitro vaajineeva swamritamasmi
Dravinam savarchasam
Sumedhaa amritokshitah
Iti trishankor vedaanu vachanam
Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Meaning:I am the destroyer of the tree (of samsar; worldly life). My reputation is as high as the top of the hill. I am in essence as pure as the sun. I am the highest treasure. I am all-wise, immortal and indestructible. This is Trishanku’s realisation. Om peace, peace, peace!Om aapyaayantu mamaangaani vaak
Praanashchakshuh shrotramatho
Balamindriyaani cha sarvaani sarvam brahmopanishadam
Maaham brahma niraakuryaam maa maa brahma niraakarod
Niraakaranamastva niraakaranam me astu
Tadaatmani nirate ya upanishatsu dharmaaste
Mayi santu te mayi santu.
Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Meaning:May my limbs, speech, Prana, eye, ear and power of all my senses grow vigorous! All is the pure Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny that Brahman! May that Brahman never desert me! Let that relationship endure. Let the virtues recited in the Upanishads be rooted in me. May they repose in me! Om peace. peace. peace!Om vaang me manasi pratishthitaa
Mano me vaachi pratishthitam
Aaveeraaveerma edhi vedasya ma aanisthah
Shrutam me maa prahaaseer anenaadheetena
Ahoraatraan samdadhaami ritam vadishyaami
Satyam vadishyaami tanmaamavatu tadvaktaaramavatu
Avatu maam avatu vaktaaram avatu vaktaaram
Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Meaning:Let my speech be rooted in my mind. Let my mind be rooted in my speech. Let Brahman (Supreme Reality) reveal Himself to me. Let my mind and speech enable me to grasp the truths of the Vedas. Let not what I have heard forsake me. Let me spend both day and night continuously in study. I think truth, I speak the truth. May that Truth protect me! May that Truth protect the teacher! Let peace prevail against heavenly, worldly and demoniacal troubles. Om peace, peace, peace!Om bhadram no apivaataya manah.
Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Salutations! May my mind and all these (the body, senses,
breath etc.) be good and well! Om peace, peace. peace!
Om bhadram karnebhih shrunuyaama devaah
Bhadram pashyemaakshabhiryajatraah
Vyashema devahitam yadaayuh
Swasti na indro vridhashravaah
Swasti nah pooshaa vishwavedaah
Swasti nastaarkshyo arishtanemih
Swasti no brihaspatir dadhaatu.
Om shantih, shantih, shantih! Meaning:Om, O worshipful ones, may our ears hear what is good and auspicious! May we see what is auspicious! May we sing your praise, live our allotted span of life in perfect health and strength! May Indra (who is) extolled in the scriptures, Pushan, the all-knowing Trakshya, who saves from all harm, and Brihaspati who protects our spiritual lustre, vouchsafe prosperity in our study of the scriptures and the practice of the truths contained therein! Om peace, peace, peace!Om yo brahmaanam vidadhaati poorvam
Yo vai vedaanshcha prahinoti tasmai
Tam ha devmaatma buddhi prakaasham
Mumukshurvai sharanamaham prapadye<
Om shantih, shantih, shantih!Meaning:He who creates this entire universe in the beginning, and He about whom the Vedas gloriously praise and sing, in Him I take refuge with the firm faith and belief that my intellect may shine with Self-knowledge. Om peace, peace, peace!Om vishwaani deva savitar duritaani paraasuva
Yad bhadram tanma aasuva
Meaning:O all pervading, Supreme Lord, the effulgent Creator, we place our faith and trust entirely in Thee. Keep away from us all that is evil and bestow upon us all that is good.Om agne naya supathaa raaye asmaan
Vishwaani deva vayunaani vidvaan;
Yuyodhyas majjuhu raanmeno
Bhooyishthaam te nama-uktim vidhema.
Meaning:O Supreme Lord, who art light and wisdom, Thou knowest all our thoughts and deeds. Lead us by the right path to the fulfilment of life, and keep us away from all sin and evil. We offer unto Thee, O Lord, our praise and salutation.Tvamekam sharanyam tvamekam varenyam
Tvamekam jagatpaalakam svaprakaasham;
Tvamekam jagatkartu paatruprahartru
Tvamekam param nishchalam nirvikalpam.
Meaning:O Thou my only refuge, O Thou my one desire, O Thou the one protector of the world, the radiant One. O Thou the creator, sustainer and dissolver of the whole world, O Thou the one great motionless Being, free from change and modification.Vayam tvaam smaraamo vayam tvaam bhajaamo
Vayam tvaam jagat saakshiroopam namaamah;
Sadekam nidhaanam niraalambameesham
Bhavaambhodhi potam sharanyam vrajaamah.
Meaning:O Thou eternal all-pervading witness of the whole universe, we meditate on the one Truth. We silently adore Thee and offer Thee our salutation. We take complete refuge in that one Almighty Being, the basis of everything, self-supporting and supreme, a vessel in the stormy sea of li Om dyauh shaantih Antariksham shaantih
Prithivee shaantih Aapah shaantih
Oshadhayah shaantih Vanaspatayah shaantih
Vishvedevaah shaantih Brahma shaantih
Sarvam shaantih Shaantireva shaantih
Saamaa shaantiredhih Om shaantih, shaantih, shaantih!
Meaning: (two interpretations)By Swami Shivananda, RishikeshO Supreme Lord, Thy celestial regions are full of peace and harmony; peace reigns on Thy earth and Thy waters. Thy herbs and trees are full of peace. All Thy forces of nature are full of peace and harmony. There is peace and perfection in Thy eternal knowledge; everything in the universe is peaceful, and peace pervades everywhere. O Lord, may that peace come to me!Meaning:(By Swami Abhedananda, Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, India)May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere. May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers. May peace flow over the whole universe. May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman. And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.Om peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!

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