This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
               Title   -  Sadhak and Sathi
               Author  -  Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)

      CHAPTER - 3


      The General Nature of Mercy

      Mercy generally means not to inflict pain on any living
      creature.  Observers of supreme and perfect mercy are those
      noble people have given up all the worldly activities and have
      adopted full time spiritual life (Sadhana).  However, the
      ordinary people can also resort to mercy to the best of their

      The General Order of Observance of Mercy:

      If we are vigilant in daily life, whether in social, domestic,
      or business affairs, we can certainly save many innocent lives
      from destruction.  We can prevent violence on the lives of ants,
      flies, bugs, cockroaches and such other small insects, if we are
      alert while we eat, drink, bathe, cook, arranging our books and
      other things.  If we become merciful towards these small
      insects, how can we possibly become cruel towards big animals
      like cows, buffaloes, dogs, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses and
      even human beings? Human being is considered superior of all
      life forms.

      The behavior described below is not only proper but essential to
      become merciful towards animals and human beings:

      If we have domesticated certain animals or have kept them for
      certain purposes, we should provide them with food and drink in
      time and due shelter from weather conditions like rain, heat and

      We should not demand excessive work from the above mentioned
      animals, or servants, or exploit them in any other way.

      A businessman should not indulge in shady deals to secure
      unreasonable excessive profits derived by unjustly depriving
      others of their wealth and hurting them.

      If some poor customer comes for the purchase of basic needs,
      such as food or clothes, and if he is a little short of money,
      let us not humiliate him but find a mutually beneficial solution
      and fulfil his needs.

      Let us become gentle and sweet in our behavior towards children
      and elders of the family, servants and subordinates, neighbors,
      people of our residential areas including the members of our
      society.  This will prevent conflicts, quarrels, and use of
      abusive or offending words; consequently no occasion will arise
      to inflict pain through insulting language.

      A Sadhaka should always be conscious of the fact that he never
      intends consciously to inflict any loss on others.  Thus, not
      only does he refrain from abusing others, but eventually from
      even wishing ill of others, as far as possible.

      The Particular Order of Observance of Mercy:

      After taking note of this general order of observance of
      mercy, let us now, proceed to understand its special
      significance.  The great saints have, by their unique knowledge
      of life, preached us the mercy that is subtle, scientific,
      and effective.  The result is that their religion (Dharma) is
      the supreme 'Ahimsa-Dharma' or complete abstinence from harming
      any living beings.

      Consumption of any non-vegetarian food, whether eggs, meat or
      fish, is indicative of intentional violence, reflecting extreme
      cruelty, since such meal cannot be prepared without depriving
      some living creature of life or potential life.  When we use
      onion, garlic, potatoes and root vegetables as food, many
      microscopic lives are destroyed.  Again, there is no vital loss
      of health if we abstain from consuming these root-vegetables.
      It is therefore proper for discriminating and pious people not
      to indulge in foods such as these.

      Taking food after dark makes it difficult to avoid destroying
      tiny insects.  Therefore, if we avoid taking food during night
      time as far as possible, it will also contribute towards the
      observance of mercy or compassion and non-violence.

      We should know the source of birth of living beings, if we
      desire to cultivate the ability to observe such a gentle
      mercy, this observance of true mercy is not possible if we
      walk on green grass, spill water without any purpose, needlessly
      pluck flowers while walking, dig earth purposelessly or consume
      ice, moldy flour, or stale fruits.

      Discriminating persons should, therefore, be careful and
      cautious.  The topic is expanded further in our chapter on
      Awareness of Soul (Atmajagruti).

      Observance of mercy described here is generally meant for
      the householder.  Deeper and more subtle observance is necessary
      in the duties of ascetics.  However, we shall not go into the
      details of the extensive topic here because it does not directly
      concern an average Sadhaka.


      So far, we have discussed the nature of worldly mercy.
      From the very beginning of time, the Soul, not knowing its real
      nature, subjects itself to feelings such as passion, jealousy
      and ignorance, subsequently destroying its virtues such as
      knowledge, vision, character, and divine bliss.

      In order to prevent such systematic destruction, a person has to
      engross in searching a way to prevent ignorance, passion,
      jealousy etc.  This is best way to exercise the concept of
      true mercy towards self or others.  A Sadhaka, therefore,
      should try his level best to observe absolute mercy.  Let
      us salute those masters of supreme meditation, and great saints,
      who having stemmed the tide of passion, jealousy and the like
      have firmly established themselves in the practice of absolute
      mercy or compassion.


      1. You stated in your sermon, O Master!  that no religion
         (Dharma) equals mercy.  With complete fearlessness, let
         living beings tackle their faults.  Truthfulness, character
         and clarity are purposeful only when coupled with true mercy,
         just the way the ray cannot shine without the Sun, the Soul
         cannot exist without true mercy.

      2. True mercy is the mother of the world.  It is a child of
         truth and divine bliss.  Mercy is the upward mobility.
         It is the only real wealth.  Actually it is the virtue of
         virtues.  Happiness of heaven and divine bliss is possible
         only through true mercy.  Only true mercy does good to all
         living beings and ends to all pains and calamities.

      3. If we, in our worldly life, look after the growth and welfare
         of our children with tender care, by what logic can we
         annihilate the offspring of other beings?

      4. Austerity, knowledge of scriptures, observance of vows,
         meditation, charity, and sound character are all resulting
         from true mercy.  The religion of true mercy should,
         therefore be observed with maximum effort, so that all other
         religious activities become fruitful.

      5. The best means to attain to religion (Dharma), is to be
         compassionate, humble and lofty in character.

      6. Violence in any form is an animal instinct, not a human
         instinct.  We would never resort to violence if we presume
         that human being always aims at the uplift of his soul.

      7. Merciful is the seed of the wish fulfilling tree
         (Kalpavruksha) of Dharma.  It endows all the being of the
         universe with every happiness and destroys all sources of
         sorrows.  May the Goddess of true mercy be ever victorious.

      8. In reality, the noble human being is merciful, compassionate,
         speaks softly, and conveys humbles through his eyes.

      9. All our sinful actions are destroyed by the Darshana or
         contemplation of those great noble persons who do not torment
         any being by body, mind or speech.

    10.  All faiths and all scriptures accept the doctrine that
         true mercy is the very basis of true religion.  When observance
         of true mercy is not the aim, exclusively sins exist.  Aspirants
         should not, therefore, under any circumstance or under any
         pretext, give up this virtue of true mercy or compassion and hurt
         living beings.



      Ishverchandra Vmdyasagar was a great and glorious famous native
      of the state of Bengal in India.  Once he was on his way to the
      village Kalna with his friend, Girishchandra Vidyasagar.  He saw
      a poor laborer lying on the ground.  He was suffering from
      diarrhea and was constantly vomiting.  His clothes were smelling
      bad.  Many persons placed their handkerchiefs over their noses
      and passed by with their faces turned.  The laborer's satchel
      containing all his possessions was lying next to him.

      When Ishverchandra saw the suffering man he understood the
      situation.  He lifted up the sick man on his shoulders and
      instructed his friend Girishchandra to follow with the man's
      possessions.  They walked to the Kalna village.  Arrangements
      were made at an rest house and a doctor was called for the poor
      sick laborer.

      The sick man became normal within two days with the help of
      proper treatment.  Then Ishverchandra said, "Well friend, my
      mission is over.  I shall go now."  He gave money to the laborer
      and left with his friend Girishchandra.

      The laborer was simply stunned by the true mercy of this godly

      Such was Ishverchandra Vidyasagar, the very embodiment of
      compassion.  His selfless service and his divine spirit of
      true mercy deserves our praise.


      Madanmohan Malaviya is known as the upholder of the Aryan
      civilization.  He was the founder of the famous Benaras Hindu
      University.  He was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.  He was
      a great scholar and educationalist who associated himself in the
      freedom struggle of India.

      Once as a student, as he was walking on the road, his eyes fell
      on a restless dog.  It was running back and forth because of a
      wound in its ear.  Malaviyaji approached the animal with food
      and took the dog to a veterinary hospital where the attending
      doctor gave him medicine for the dog and warned him, "Well
      Madanmohan, always be careful because sometimes such dogs are
      rabid and bite people."

      However, Malaviyaji had no fear.  He applied proper medicine on
      the wound of the dog and sat there till the dog slept soundly.

      What is our reaction when we see sick and dirty dogs?  Let us
      think of this and grasp the greatness of the virtue of
      true mercy in such legendary people and be aware of regarding
      every soul of living beings equally.

Back to Chapter List.
Back to the Home Page.