Changing the world through a little Ahimsa

Ahimsa, meaning non-violence is one of the components of Yama, the first limb of Ashtanga yoga. According to BK Iyengar, he describes Ahimsa as beyond the boundaries of non-violence, kindness. Kindness or compassion for each other is one of the dire needs in our society nowadays. One may think of kindness or compassion as helping your next-door neighbor with his babysitting or even giving some spare change to the disabled woman on the wheelchair on the street. One may think of such acts as insignificant in changing the world; he or she may not imagine the act of giving or having the heart to help others as one of the instrumental elements in changing the society in a macro level.

 

According to a research done in 2010, the huge loss of biodiversity and the huge increase of nitrogen in our environment are two biggest causes of concern in environmental protection. The study further states that if the trend continues on without adequate intervention, that by 2050, 30% of our wildlife species will be extinct. It is not hard to dissect the reason what is causing such damage to our environment and its inhabitants; the answer is pollution.

 

If we further break down what is causing pollution, we would be looking at farms using chemical fertilizers instead of compost, which is mainly used in organic farms. What these chemical fertilizers do to the environment is rarely brought to attention; these chemical fertilizers often contain high levels of nitrates and only a portion of the nitrates get absorbed by plants, the rest would eventually make their way into water bodies and pollute them. The high levels of nitrate in rivers, lakes and oceans mean the fertilization and blooming of algae; this in turn results in the depletion of oxygen and massacre of marine life. The farmers are fully aware of this and to prevent this from taking place, a little Ahimsa is needed. This means producing crops that with awareness of consequences rather than with greed

 

Not just in the agriculture, even in corporate practices and politics. As corruption increases, the gap between the rich and the poor increases with it. If only there is less immoral collusion between the rich corporates and the government, the people will suffer less. We need compassion and we need a little Ahimsa.

 

Nevertheless, there will always be the question whether humans are innately selfish and the claim that being compassion is a futile act. However, according to Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk and ‘the world’s happiest man’, he disagrees. He claims in his book, “Altruism’ that the claim humans are innately selfish is armchair science. There has not been good scientific research to show that. He further believes through meditation and acts of loving kindness that we are able to generate this seed among others and change the world.

 

 

Lou (YTT Tirisula Yoga 200 hrs)