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“I’ve decided to stick with love; hate’s too heavy a burden to bear”

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was reminded of Martin Luther Kings’s spiritual influence by Ghandhi in Elev8’s recent post 4 Things You May Not Know about Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi received the spiritual principles of non-violence from his Indian culture where they practice Yoga.  In Yogic scriptures the practice of non-violence is called “Ahimsa”.  Ahimsa can be translated as “nonviolence,” but the meaning goes beyond that. Ahimsa is derived from the Sanskrit verb root hims, which means “desirous to kill,” and the prefix a- is negation. So a-himsa means literally “lacking any desire to kill,”

Initially, King believed that becoming a minister of the church would be the best way to lead his people to equality and freedom.

During a period of soul-searching, he had, in his words, “despaired of the power of love in solving social problems.” At this point, he was coincidentally introduced to the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi in a sermon by Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University, who had just returned from a trip to India.

King came to realize that Gandhi was the first person in history to re- invent the Christian ethic of love as a “a potent instrument for social and collective transformation.” It was a short journey thereafter to unreserved acceptance of the Gandhian technique of nonviolence as the only viable means to overcome the problems faced by his people.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. : 6 Pinciples Of Non-Violence

1.  Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.

2.  Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.

3.  Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.

4.  Nonviolence holds that suffering for a cause can educate and transform.

5.  Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.

6.  Nonviolence holds that the universe is on the side of justice and that right will eventually prevail.

Source: The King Center

Non-violence – Ahima – Yoga

Not harming yourself is an aspect of ahimsa, certainly, but it is of less importance than the directive to avoid harming others. If you limit your practice of ahimsa to being kind to yourself, you will deny yourself the ultimate benefit of yoga practice, which is everlasting happiness. Everlasting happiness is achieved by putting the welfare of others before your own.

Compassion is an essential ingredient of ahimsa. Through compassion you begin to see yourself in other beings. This helps you refrain from causing harm to them.

Take a few minutes to cultivate compassion for your inner stillness with this Yoga Flava Video Snack: Guided Meditation

Related Articles:

The Hymn Still Holds True: We Shall Overcome

How To Bring Dr. King’s Dream To Life In Your Community