Views on Compassion


In the various Hindu traditions, compassion is called daya, and, along with charity and self-control, is one of the three central virtues.  The importance of compassion in the Hindu traditions reaches as far back as the Vedas, sacred texts composed over a period to 1500 B.C.  While the early Vedas sometimes glorify war and the worship of the war god Indra, Indra too is compassionate towards humans & humanity, though he is war god, he is discompassionate towards Asuras – The evil people who cause sufferings to human race, the later Vedas demonstrate a greater sensitivity to the values of compassion.  The central concept particularly relevant to compassion in Hindu spirituality is that of ahimsa.  The exact definition of ahimsa varies from one tradition to another.  Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word which can be translated most directly as “refraining from harmfulness.”  It is a derivation of himsa which means harmful, or having the intent to cause harm.

The prayers of Vasudeva Datta, for example, a 16th century Vaishnava holy man or sadhu, exemplify compassion within Gaudiya Vaishnavism.  He prayed to the Lord Krishna asking him to “deliver all conditioned souls” because his “heart breaks to see the sufferings of all conditioned souls”.

Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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