Non-violence and the brotherhood of man

March 6, 2014

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All humans are one family.  All people are my children.
– Ashoka the Great, emperor during the Maurya Dynasty in India

After a terrible battle during which horrific things were done, Ashoka (304-232 BCE) felt great regret and remorse.

What have I done? he asked himself, as he viewed the death and destruction that surrounded him. It was a life-changing moment: He committed himself to Buddhism.

That led to his development of a plan for the brotherhood of man and world peace. Yes, way back then.And he was an early proponent of human and animal rights, making clear that all living things should be protected. He, like thinking people today, believed strongly that those who are cruel to animals will be cruel to people, too. So–he forbade the common religious practice of animal sacrifice. He was a man ahead of his time. Who thought deeply about his world and his deeds. And who followed his thoughts with words and most importantly, actions. How sad that in all those years, all those centuries, our world hasn’t changed very much, if at all.

How many generals of today walk around a battlefield with these thoughts?  Probably too few. The death and destruction of war impacts virtually every nation, still today. People are still cruel to other living beings. And yet, so many centuries ago, an emperor in India saw the futility of violence and tried to make a better world.

Just another piece of evidence that India, in fact, created an “empire of the spirit.”*

We are deep in discussion and research for our next trip to India.

*From the PBS documentary, The Story of India
12 comments on “Non-violence and the brotherhood of man
  1. Zachary says:

    Thanks for sharing, Ashoka had wisdom so long ago that we see missing today in Syria / CAR / Venezuela / Uganda / Ukraine / Pakistan / Afghanista / Iraq, etc. etc. If you follow international news there are tragedies everyday on this earth. People singlehandedly taking the life of another or of numerous people. I feel thankful and blessed I was born with the insight to know that this is not they way things should be and that I was born in a place where my life wasn’t at risk daily. It’s crucial for those of us that see a world needing Love, to keep sharing wisdom and kindness. This article helps do that, thank you!

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Zachary. The brotherhood of man as a concept seems so easy and yet the reality? it’s so hard. I hope for a better world one day.

  2. Thank you for sharing that—very interesting and raises a lot of questions, doesn’t it? I, too, hope for a better world someday. It seems there are plenty of us out there that are like minded in that . Thanks again for sharing this.

  3. Karen says:

    I’ve heard of a few military leaders who’ve followed the emperor’s example…but they’re really very rare. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. This — “How many generals of today walk around a battlefield with these thoughts? Probably too few.” — is far too true.

    Though-provoking post. It’s wonderful to see the impact your India trip has had on you. That’s the best kind of travel!

  5. Thank you for reminding us what is possible when we access our higher selves. When are you going back to India? Will be great to follow along.

    • admin says:

      It’ll probably be 2 years. I’m not sure you and I were connected in November, when I was there and then blogged for an entire month about it. On my website under Tripping, you can scroll back to Nov and Dec and see them all, if interested!

  6. Diane says:

    Wonderful post! I agree that philosophies like that of Ashoka the Great are wonderful. And though they seem as if they are making little difference, they truly are. One soul at a time.

  7. Kathy says:

    Very thought provoking post. I tend to wonder not only the generals but how many leaders wonder as well. Thanks for sharing

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