Every one of us has probably felt the beneficial influence of silence. Even the busiest people need to have breaks of silence in their work. Silence seems to be a necessary factor in our lives, yet we do not always realize the implications of the quietness we unconsciously seek and enjoy when we take a walk in a solitary meadow or in a forest or on a mountain. These quiet recreations may not occur very often, but when they do we cannot forget the spell that such solitary communion with nature leaves upon us.
In the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahâbhârata, the story is told how the hero, Yudhishthira, when asked by Dharma to tell what was the most wonderful thing in the world, replied, that it was the persistent belief of man kind in their own deathlessness in spite of their witnessing death everywhere around them almost every moment of their lives. And, in fact, this is the most stupendous wonder in human life.
The ideal of freedom holds a cherished place in human hearts, equalled in depth and intensity only by the feeling of love. To experience both is our natural state. Swami Vivekananda, the great mystic who at the turn of the century inaugurated the Vedanta movement in America, was a tireless adherent of freedom. He was fascinated by the historical account of the American struggle for freedom and independence.
Non-violence is the basis of all virtues. Ahimsa paramo dharmah—“Non-violence is the highest form of righteousness,” says the Mahabharata. Non-violence, or not harming anyone in thought, word and deed, is the highest value.