Dhaya or Compassion – Do Animals have it?

What is Dhaya or Compassion?
(Reproducing the Blog I wrote a few Years back in Sulekha)

You wdn’t have missed this news item today :-

‘Reshmabano Rangrez of Dani Limda of Gujarat,aged 30 yrs,blew the cover of her husband Shahzad’s terror plans to the police and he was held for the 13/7 terror attacks in Mumbai..She was threatened by her hubby that he wd blow her too when she reported the matter to the police..She was rewarded Rs 4 Lacs but she doesn’t have even a Bank Acct to deposit the amnt..’

Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is or about to be stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Our scriptures call it Dhaya….

In his valedictory speech,Pujyasri Swami Dhayanada Saraswathi emphasized the nature of Dhaya..One need to search for this quality which is natural to him/her..But in our anxiety to accumulate wordly pleasures,we forget this golden aspect of ours…Empathy can give much more satisfaction than anything else in one’s life..It is a feeling which is to be experienced…It is universal to all Religion!Infact we must try to learn a lesson or two from the trees which silently absorb Carbon Dioxide to give us Oxygen and the Sun which methodically evaporates the salt waters from the seas and desalinate them to give us back as pure water..Karunamurthi!

Compassion or karuna is at the transcendental and experiential heart of the Buddha’s teachings.
He was reportedly asked by his personal attendant, Ananda,
“Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is a part of our practice?” To which the Buddha replied,
“No. It would not be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is part of our practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice.”

There is no scriptures which doesn’t emphasise this highest goal of every human as a day to day,practice.. Compassion is said to be the quintessence of dharma and the mark of a true Hindu…

When I was in St.Joseph’s college,Trichy,there was a great Principal Father Exchrart..He was a strict disciplinarian and as Warden of Clive’s Hostel,he used to be a terror ,especially during silence hour ,which has to be observed from 8Pm to 8AM and he used to fine us, if he happens to even hear a hissing noise or if anyone went to bed before 10 PM.

But he was extremely compassionate, that often we used to have food festivals on a Sunday..purely Vegetarian,as he had earmarked Clives to be a Vegetarian Hostel!He used to earmark a day towards the end of the Academic Year for students who are fond of taking photos with him and he wd go to the Joseph’s studio and wait..One by one we wd stand by him and take pictures..Students like me who wanted his autographs,he wd smilingly give and I still remember what he wrote on mine ..

St.Joseph's College 61-62

St.Joseph’s College 61-62

“Donot do unto others what you donot want othersto do unto to you..”

(I went and saw him after my marriage, with my wife at Shenbaganur in Kodai when he was suffering from advanced Cancer on his face..even then he was so cheerful and blessed us which I value th most in my life!)
I started collecting such quotes over a time and thought it worth quoting here ..

“Wound not others, do no one injury by thought or deed, utter no word to pain thy fellow creatures”
(The Law Code of Manu, Hinduism).

“Do not do to others what you would not like yourself” ( Confucianism).

“If you do not wish to be mistreated by others, do not mistreat anyone yourself” ( Zoroastrianism).
“We obtain salvation by loving our fellow man and God” ( Sikhism).
“Having made oneself the example, one should neither slay nor cause to slay. . . . As I am, so are other beings; thus let one not strike another, nor get another struck. That is the meaning” (Dhammapada, Buddhism).

“One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire” (Anusansana Parva ,Hinduism).

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Judaism).

“Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matthew ,Christianity).

“Not one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself” ( Islam).

Infact ,inn Qaran in the beginning of every chapter it reads

‘In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful’

Lord Rama asked Ravana ..after Ravan was stripped of all his Weapons on the First Day’s Battle..
‘Inrupoi Naalai Vaa..’.
(you can go back and come again tomorrow,fully equipped)

Compassion and that’s why in Hindu Scriptures,we emphasise that if at all one desires a human form it must be like Lord Rama!

Do Animals have Compassion?
Watch this and you decide!


About s.rajah iyer

An MBA.. Interested in writing,Reading..Indian Philosophy
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