Questioner: Show us how to practice ahimsa.
Dadashri: Most important of all, you must not hurt or inflict pain on any living being that fears your mere presence. Animals and insects instinctively flee from you in fear, and so you must not harm them. It is fine for you to eat grains such as wheat, millet, oats and rice etc., because although they contain life, that life is in an unconscious state and does not perceive fear, whereas insects will flee from you when they sense danger. You must not harm any life-forms starting at the level of two-sensory organisms such as fish, which move around, all the way to five-sensory organisms, including insects. Even a bedbug is terrified when you catch it, so you must not kill it. Do you understand this?
Questioner: Yes, I understand.
Dadashri: Secondly, do not eat after sunset.
Thirdly, in practicing ahimsa, you must exercise control over your speech. How do you feel when someone tells you that you are worthless?
Questioner: I feel very hurt.
Dadashri: So in the same way you must realize that others too feel hurt if you said such things to them. Hurting people is violence, so you should not utter such words. If you want to practice ahimsa then you should be very conscious about violence in speech. You cannot say to others anything that hurts you yourself.
You should not have bad thoughts either. Nor should you entertain thoughts about cheating someone of his possessions or taking things from people without compensating them. Even thoughts about accumulating or hoarding money are considered violence, because it deprives others of their share. You should not have any such thoughts or intentions.
Questioner: Are these the only three things I need to observe for ahimsa?
Dadashri: No, there are still some more points. You should never eat meat or eggs. Nor should you eat potatoes, onions and garlic, even when you have no choice. Onions and garlic are considered hinsak foods because they contain properties that incite anger in a person, which in turn hurts others. Any other vegetable is acceptable.
The Lord tells you to first take care of human beings. Here is a guideline: Be aware to not hurt any human being, even in the slightest degree, through your mind, speech and actions.
The five-sensory living beings such as cows, chickens, goats etc., come next. You do not have to worry about these as much as you should about humans, nevertheless you should be careful and not harm them in any way.
The two or more sensory living organisms are next. Any food that comprises one-sensory organisms is the best kind of food to eat. Those who desire liberation should not eat foods composed of two or more sensory life-forms. The more senses in the life-forms in your food, the more your merit karma is used up. You should not take on the liability for violence against lives with two or more senses.
We humans must eat to survive, but when we consume food, we incur a liability because the food we eat is made up of at least one-sensory life-forms. When we eat this food, we are responsible for the violence that arises in the act of eating. But the Lord has allowed us the freedom to eat because of our high merit karma balance. In the act of eating these life-forms, although you incur a liability, the benefits you gain are much greater. The nourishment sustains you and keeps you alive and because you do good deeds, you earn merit karma. For example, if you earn hundred points from your good deeds, in destroying these lifeforms, you lose ten points. The ten points you lose is credited to the life-forms you kill, which will earn them a higher birth. This progression into higher life-forms is a natural process in the universe. They will progress from a single-sensory organism to a two-sensory organism and so on. This is how the evolutionary process takes place. In providing benefits to humans, these lifeforms also reap benefits for themselves. But people do not understand this science.
So, you must not interfere with the violence that occurs as a result of eating single-sensory life-forms. To do so involves ego. The single-sensory life-forms do not run away from you in fear, so you should not have any qualms about whether or not to eat them. This is the way of life. You cannot survive without eating and drinking.
The entire world is composed of life-forms. Actually, the whole world is a collection of life-forms. The basis of life is at least single-sensory. You cannot eat anything that does not contain life; moreover there is nothing in this world that is devoid of life. You can only eat food that contains life because that is the only way you can nourish and sustain your body. Everything we eat is at least one-sensory, if not more. The Lord does not forbid the consumption of single-sensory organisms, because they do not contain blood, pus or meat. There will be no end to it if you start worrying about the single-sensory life-forms. In fact you are not to worry about them at all. People on the other hand have become overly concerned with insignificant things and have dismissed things of greater importance. You should not worry about the violence that occurs at the minuscule level.