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Hindu Teaching On Kindness

Hinduism, one of the world's oldest religions, has a rich tradition of teachings on kindness, compassion, and moral conduct. Kindness is considered a fundamental virtue in Hindu philosophy and is often closely tied to the concept of dharma, which is the moral and ethical duty that individuals are expected to follow. Here are some key teachings on kindness in Hinduism:

Ahimsa (Non-Violence): Ahimsa is one of the most important principles in Hinduism. It emphasizes non-violence and non-harming of all living beings, both physically and emotionally. Kindness is expressed through actions that avoid causing harm to others, including humans, animals, and the environment.

Karuna (Compassion): Karuna, or compassion, is another essential virtue in Hinduism. It involves feeling empathy and sympathy for the suffering of others and taking positive actions to alleviate their pain or suffering. Kindness and compassion go hand in hand, and practicing Karuna helps individuals develop a more caring and understanding nature.

Seva (Selfless Service): Seva is the act of selfless service or helping others without expecting anything in return. It is considered a noble and virtuous way to express kindness. Hindus believe that serving others, especially those in need, is a way to serve the divine and fulfill one's dharma.

Charity (Dana): Giving to those in need is a recommended practice in Hinduism. Hindus are encouraged to be generous and provide support to the less fortunate. Acts of charity, known as dana, can take various forms, including giving food, clothing, money, or other resources to those in need.

Hospitality (Atithi Devo Bhava): Hindu scriptures emphasize the importance of treating guests with kindness and respect. The phrase "Atithi Devo Bhava" means "The guest is God," and it reflects the belief that welcoming and taking care of guests is a virtuous and sacred act.

Forgiveness (Kshama): Forgiveness is seen as an act of kindness in Hinduism. Letting go of anger, resentment, and the desire for revenge is considered a way to promote peace and harmony in one's life and in society.

Loving-Kindness Meditation: While loving-kindness meditation (Metta) is more commonly associated with Buddhism, some Hindus also practice it. Metta meditation involves generating feelings of love, compassion, and kindness towards oneself and others. It is a way to cultivate a kind and loving heart.

Cultivation of Virtues: Hinduism encourages the cultivation of various virtues, including kindness, humility, patience, and generosity. These virtues are seen as essential for leading a balanced and righteous life.

  • With kindness conquer rage; with goodness malice; with generosity defeat all meanness; with the straight truth defeat lies and deceit. (Mahabharata)
  • Those without wealth may one day prosper, but those without kindness are utterly and incurably poor. (Thirukkural 248)
  • If you return kindness for injuries received and forget both, those who harmed you will be punished by their own shame. (Thirukkural 314)
  • To be free, shun the experiences of the senses like poison. Turn your attention to forgiveness, sincerity, kindness, simplicity and truth. (Ashtavakra Samhita)
  • What we give to this world comes back to us. Therefore, let us give love, kindness, help, sympathy and service and they will return to us, and we will stand strong as a towering lighthouse amidst the stormy waves of this world. (Dada J P Vaswani)
  • If one is without kindness, how can one be called a human being? (Mother Sharada Devi)

In summary, Hinduism places a strong emphasis on kindness, compassion, and moral conduct as integral components of a spiritually fulfilling and ethical life. These teachings promote the well-being of individuals and society as a whole and are deeply rooted in the religious and philosophical traditions of Hinduism.