The Deeper Meaning of “Ahimsa”


I have a question in regards to ahimsa. I was curious about the use of leather. as a practicing yogi I still have ties to the native american ways and know that they use leather although in their sacred practices they honor all of spirit's creation including animals. I have been wondering lately about my own use of leather such as a pair of mocassins and second hand/recycled leather goods that I have and want to do what is most dharmic as a meditator and devotee. blessings.



Dear C,

Thanks for your interesting question about leather. In Autobiography of a Yogi, when Yogananda leaves for a pilgrimage with two other boys, he makes a point of saying that they gave away their leather items since these were not appropriate for a pilgrimage.

On the other hand, he HAD leather items before heading on this pilgrimage. I have seen a pair of his shoes in his Encinitas Hermitage, and they are leather. I have also seen that Swami Kriyananda wears leather shoes sometimes.

I think that we should focus our attention on the most important aspects of the path, such as strengthening our meditation practice and deepening our love for God. Ahimsa should be focused on the thoughts behind what we do, especially in terms of respecting the Divine in each person.

I don’t think wearing leather moccasins is a big deal one way or the other. I think it would be much more important to clear out any negative thoughts toward other people, if you tend to have any.

Blessings on your journey,