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
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.
KINDNESS FOR SELF
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.
THE GLORY OF THE CREED OF TRUE MERCY (DAYA-DHARMA):
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 EXAMPLES OF TRUE MERCY
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
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.
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