How to remain non-violent?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readSep 14, 2020

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: Does Spirituality ask us to be non-violent? And Spirituality also asks us to fulfill our duties. So, in today’s world when we are subjected to any kind of violence, it may be physical, emotional, mental, how duties can be fulfilled along with non-violence?

Acharya Prashant: A lot of images are there in your statement. First of all, non-violence is not just a particular code of conduct. Non-violence is just about not seeing oneself as limited. Not unnecessarily building boundaries for oneself.

Allow me to clarify. I said nonviolence is about not seeing oneself as limited and not building boundaries around oneself. How is that non-violence?

What is violence?

Listener: Seeing other as separate from oneself.

AP: Wonderful. Seeing others as separate. And whenever somebody is separate, what you are saying is, I am this much and you are outside of me. So, my interests then do not include you. Whatever I have to achieve, in whatsoever ways I have to live, I have to live, be, achieve, and die, all by?

L: Myself.

AP: Myself. So, in that sense, just the being of the other is violence. You see, I will die, and you will continue living. Is this not violence? I am suffering, and you are laughing, is that not violence? So, I am separate from you. This separation, this otherness, is violence. Violence need not wait to be manifested as violent conduct. Violent conduct may seldom occur. Violent conduct may even be suppressed by rules of law or morality or even fear. Even fear can make you suppress violent conduct. Fear, that the police will get you. So you will not allow for the conduct to be violent. But still, the mind will remain violent. Because the mind is seeing the rest of the world, the entire existence, as the implicit or explicit enemy. Sometimes an open enemy, at other times, a stranger. And whenever somebody is a stranger, he is an implicit enemy.

Are you getting it?

Spirituality is about not taking existence as an alien or separate place. Not as a strange place. Spirituality is about belonging to existence. Not belonging to a narrow household, or caste or

Acharya Prashant