International Day of Non-Violence

“There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.”

Mahatma Gandhi
The Story of My Experiments with Truth, 1927

Mahatma Gandhi’s first Salt Satyagrah was inspired by Imam Hussain’s non-violent resistance to the tyranny of Yazid. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have studied the history of Islam and Imam Hussain (A), and was of the opinion that Islam represented not the legacy of a sword but of sacrifices of saints like Imam Hussain (A).

Mahatma Gandhi wrote:“My faith is that the progress of Islam does not depend on the use of sword by its believers, but the result of the supreme sacrifice of Hussain (A), the great saint.”

The sculpture "Non-Violence"
The sculpture “Non-Violence”

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on October 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. This day is referred to in India as Gandhi Jayanti. It is, the United Nations writes, an opportunity to “disseminate the message of non-violence” with the goal of “securing a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding”.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi inspired countless others with his philosophy, including Nobel Prize-winning scientist Albert Einstein. In celebration of non-violence, and the history of social change it has helped achieve, here are few quotes from cultural leaders on the topic:

  • “Gandhi’s views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil,” — Albert Einstein

  • “Non-violence doesn’t mean we have to passively accept injustice. We have to fight for our rights, we have to oppose injustice. Gandhi fervently promoted non-violence, but that didn’t mean he was complacently accepting of status quo. He resisted, but he did so without doing harm.” — Dalai Lama

  • “Non-violence means avoiding avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse t0 shoot a man, but also refuse to hate him.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • “We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace. We need love and compassion.” — Mother Teresa

  • “Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” — Thomas Edison

 

 

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The best and worst parts

Once Luqman’s master said to him: “Slaughter this sheep for us and bring the best two pieces from it”, so he brought out the tongue and the heart.

After few days, his master said: “Slaughter this sheep for and bring the worst two morsels from it”, so he brought out the tongue and the heart.

His master said to him, “I told you to bring out the best two pieces, and you brought these, then I told you to bring out the worst two pieces, and you brought these!”

Luqman Hakeem said “There is nothing better than these if they are good, and there is nothing worse than these if they are bad.”

Source: Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 5/499

हकीम लुकमान

एक बार हकीम लुकमान से उसके बेटे ने पूछा, ‘अगर मालिक ने फरमाया कि कोई चीज मांग, तो मैं क्या मांगूं?’

लुकमान ने कहा, ‘परमार्थ का धन।’

बेटे ने फिर पूछा, ‘अगर इसके अलावा दूसरी चीज मांगने को कहे तो?’

लुकमान ने कहा, ‘पसीने की कमाई मांगना।’

उसने फिर पूछा, ‘तीसरी चीज?’

जवाब मिला, ‘उदारता।’

‘चौथी चीज क्या मांगू?’

‘शरम।’

‘पांचवीं?’

‘अच्छा स्वभाव।’

बेटे ने फिर पूछा, ‘और कुछ मांगने को कहे तो?’

लुकमान ने उत्तर दिया, ‘बेटा जिसको ये पांच चीजें मिल गईं उसके लिए और मांगने के लिए कुछ भी नहीं बचेगा। खुशहाली का यही रास्ता है और तुझे भी इसी रास्ते से जाना चाहिए।’

The Emperor and the Seed

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by-still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful-in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

The Prophet taught, “Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to Al-Fajur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fajur (wickedness) leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8:116]