Ahimsa - The Science Of Peace: BALANCE / EQUANIMITY

Published: 19.01.2009


A human being is very weak, but also strong. Sometimes his strength becomes his biggest weakness and sometimes his weakness becomes his greatest strength. In fact, his uniqueness lies in this ambivalence. This adaptability makes him the most efficient creature in nature.

Nature has made man highly adaptable, physically as well as mentally. Moreover, it has equipped man with a mind with infinite capacity and scope. He turns weakness into strength, which at a point again becomes his weakness. Love-hate, greed-altruism, anger-equanimity, are some strange bipolar feelings which meet at their extremities or peak. When one peaks the other is born. Extreme love turns into (and also invites) hatred, and vice versa. That appears to be the reason for avoiding extremes of both.

The meaning of purity, in Jain or absolute terms, is not just embracing the mundane good; it is to be free of good and bad alike, or nullifying bad with good exactly. Vitaraag (free of attachment) necessarily includes Vitadvesh (free of aversion). In psychological terms, it means absence of sorrow in adverse conditions and absence of happiness in favourable conditions. The goal is absolute detachment and equanimity. But these absolute definitions are applicable only at a lofty spiritual level and should not be used as a venue of escape from normal worldly duties of doing good and avoiding bad. For all practical purposes, at the mundane level the importance of equanimity lies in realization of the fact that excess of a good thing may end up as bad. Therefore, excesses should be avoided and balance should be struck in all physical and mental activities.

In a dynamic system in balance, correction is required only to the extant required by the system. If you are obsessed with just one component, no matter how useful and beneficial it is, it will disturb the overall balance of the system and prove to be harmful. We will have to try to understand ahimsa accepting the basic premise that hurdles and struggles are essential constituents of the dynamic system that we know as nature. Just believing in abstract philosophical terms that ahimsa is a basic attribute of soul we will not be able to understand much. Ahimsa is a universal and eternal truth. It is a fundamental principle applicable to all facets of life and all dimensions of the physical world. It is not just about equanimity of feelings; it is also about balance in the physical universe. Anything conducive to balance is ahimsa.

Equanimity is neither numbness nor suppression. It is reining in and regulating natural reactions with the help of sagacity. Equanimity is achieved with the strength of exercising control over feelings and the capacity to understand the causes of action together with the consequences of reaction. Not to offend is part of ahimsa and is important. Equally important is not to get offended, which is part of equanimity. Practicing equanimity helps pacify aggression, which is a consequence of reaction.


Prakrit Bharati Academy
D.R. MEHTA, Founder & Chief Patron

First edition: 1987
Second enlarged Edition May: 2004
Third Edition July: 2008

© All rights reserved with the author

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Raj Printers & Associates, Jaipur, India

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  1. Ahimsa
  2. Equanimity
  3. Soul
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