Understanding Ahimsa And Satyagraha Through Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian activist, politician, philosopher and unwavering advocate of peace who led India to independence. He inspired global movements for civil rights and freedom. Many of Gandhi’s teachings are rooted in the principle of “ahimsa,” the sanskrit word for “non-violence.” In Gandhi’s philosophies, those who embody the law of ahimsa, particularly in the face of counter-violence, or “himsa,” are enlightened and blessed. Gandhi’s principle of “Satyagraha” or “loyalty to the truth” is the vast inner strength or “soul force” required to practice ahimsa.
Let’s take a closer look at Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas of Ahimsa and Satyagraha. These concepts fueled the Indian Independence Movement and remain a powerful source of inspiration for living a mindful, peaceful life today.
Observing The Everyday Himsa
It often starts small: a rumor is shared, a stranger is judged, an unforgiving self-critique unfolds in the mirror. An unperceivable web of harm forms a shield love cannot pass through. Unfortunately, himsa can be witnessed all around us. We are harmful (to ourselves and others) in the subtlest ways. Becoming mindful of this tendency to act in iniquity instead of love is the first step in overcoming himsa. Once we observe it, we notice. Once we notice, we have the capacity to change. Cut out the “Everyday Himsa” by starting small. Curb the negative self-talk, gossip, assumptions and apathy. Choose to love in action, and watch as the web unites humanity instead of blocking out its light.
An Interpersonal Nonviolence Movement
Gandhi’s practice of ahimsa liberated a nation and sparked a worldwide blueprint for non-violence. Lucky for us, the practice of ahimsa needn’t be so grandiose. First and foremost, it starts with the self. When we honor the self by silencing the inner critic, nourishing the body and focusing the mind, we start a movement from the soul. Practicing inner ahimsa encourages its outward overflow. From there, it gains momentum, becoming interpersonal. Once it reaches others, a movement is born. Make it your goal to spark this Interpersonal Nonviolence Movement, over and over again.
Truth Implies Love and Firmness
In Gandhi’s Satyagraha in South Africa, he explains: “Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders, and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, the force which is born of truth and love.” Truth is the cornerstone of ahimsa and satyagraha. Without truth, there can be no love, to the self or others. By being honest with ourselves, we seek what we truly need. By being honest with others, we offer them the same respect we give ourselves. For this, honesty becomes the force behind an ongoing movement of non-violence.
Closing Thoughts On Gandhi’s Ahimsa And Satyagraha
The union of ahimsa and satyagraha is the roadmap to peace. It’s up to us to start small. First, by observing. Then, by committing to self-care and love. Finally, by watching that peace ripple outward as it changes others. Gandhi’s legacy lives on in those who take the first steps in the journey to harmony.
Wear Your Truth
Truth is armor, shielding us from harm and exalting us to light. Speak and wear your truth courageously. Visit the Inspired by Stephanie Rose Collection for authenticity woven into bright, bold, inspirational fashion. Love in action—on and off the mat.