Matters of Life & Death

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Ahimsa
  • Ahimsa is the principle of non-violence.
  • Ahimsa can be used as an argument for vegetarianism and against abortion and euthanasia.
  • Ahimsa was a motivating factor in the work of Mohandas Gandhi in his struggle for India’s independence from the British Empire.
Suffering

Hindus view suffering as a natural part of life.

  • Moksha is seen as release from suffering.
  • Karma is seen as the main cause of suffering.

Thus people cause their own suffering through their actions in previous lives.

Most Hindus consider it part of their dharma to try to alleviate the suffering of those around them.

Abortion

Views on abortion is are varied.

  • Some Hindus say all life is considered to be sacred and come from God – therefore abortion is wrong.
  • Some people follow the teachings on Ahimsa and say abortion is wrong but can be permitted if the mother’s life is at risk.
  • Others approve of abortion basing their view on Krishna’s advice to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. The soul “is not slain when the body is slain” and therefore believing that the soul cannot be destroyed and that the soul of an aborted foetus will simply be born into another body.
Euthanasia

Hindus who oppose euthanasia use the principle of Ahimsa to argue that it wrong to harm or kill another human being.

They use the same principle to argue against suicide.

Hindus who support euthanasia use the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to argue that as the soul cannot be harmed, euthanasia simply releases it so it can move on to it’s next life.

Creation

“May men & oxen both plough in contentment… Auspicious furrow, we venerate you. We pray you, bless us and bring us abundant harvests” Rig Veda 4.57

The whole of the natural world is seen as scared as Brahman is within all creation. Therefore, Humans should respect & live in harmony with nature.

Forests are very important – it is here that Krishna spent much time.

Hindus also respect animals.

Most Hindus are vegetarian, the cow is considered sacred.

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