The Practice of Ahimsa (Non-Violence)


I am writing in regards to the practice of ahimsa. I have said I will go metal detecting with my father and I am concerned about what damage I may be causing to the wildlife underground. I don’t want to upset my father though and turn him down. Do you have any advice?

—Steven Boardman, United Kingdom


Dear Steven,

I don’t know much about the electronics in metal detecting. Is it a “given” that their pulsing harms insects, grubs, worms and so on? Or is that in question also? I’m not a biologist, but the detector scans as you walk around, right? So it is not pointed for more than a second at any given section of ground, right? A few seconds, at most?

All I can offer to you, therefore, is an opinion. Personally, I would not be overly concerned. Consider what happens when you drive a car, walk across a lawn, or hike even on a trail. Most of what we do and the products and food we use and consume inflict far more violence than a metal detecting outing with one’s father. I would go so far as to say the time spent with your father is probably what the outing is about even more than metal detecting. “When a higher duty conflicts with a lower, the higher duty is more important.”

Okay? Blessings to you and your father!
Nayaswami Hriman