GRADATIONAL PRACTICE OF AHIMSA :
When thoughts of revenge and hatred arise in the mind, try to control the physical body and speech first. Do not utter evil and harsh words. Do not censure. Do not try to injure others. If you succeed in this by practice for some months, the negative thoughts of revenge, having no scope for manifesting outside, will die by themselves. It is extremely difficult to control such thoughts from the very beginning without having recourse to control of the body and speech first.
First control your physical body. When a man beats you, keep quiet. Suppress your feelings. Follow the instructions of Jesus Christ in his Sermon On The Mount: "If a man beats you on one cheek, turn to him the other cheek also. If a man takes away your coat, give him your shirt also." This is very difficult in the beginning. The old Samskaras (impressions) of revenge, of "a tooth for a tooth", "tit for tat", "an eye for an eye", and "paying in the same coin" will all force you to retaliate. But you will have to wait cooly. Reflect and meditate. Do Vichara or right enquiry. The mind will become calm. The opponent who was very furious will also become calm, because he does not get any opposition from your side. He gets astonished and terrified also, because you stand like a sage. By and by, you will gain immense strength. Keep the ideal before you. Try to get at it, though with faltering steps at first. Have a clear-cut mental image of Ahimsa and its immeasurable advantages.
After controlling the body, control your speech. Make a strong determination, "I will not speak any harsh word to anybody from today". You may fail a hundred times. What does it matter ? You will slowly gain strength. Check the impulse of speech. Observe Mouna (silence). Practice Kshama or forgiveness. Say within yourself: "He is a baby-soul. He is ignorant, that is why he has done it. Let me excuse him this time. What do I gain by abusing him in return ?" Slowly give up Abhimana (ego-centred attachment). Abhimana is the root-cause of human sufferings.
Finally go to the thoughts and check the thought of injuring. Never even think of injuring anyone. One Self dwells in all. All are manifestations of One God. By injuring another, you injure your own Self. By serving another, you serve your own Self. Love all. Serve all. Hate none. Insult none. Injure none in thought, word and deed. Try to behold your own Self in all beings. This will promote Ahimsa.
To be continued ...