That heart which is hurt is violent. Here non-violence takes a very delicate and beautiful form. Non-violence, as far as the social structure is concerned, is restricted purely to not hurting other people; not fighting, not killing. But non-violence in the spiritual sense is a subtle inner adventure leading to self-knowledge. Is it possible to lead one’s life never hurting another, yet also never being hurt oneself.
If someone calls me a fool, I may feel hurt; and once I am hurt, I will bear that hurt for all time to come. However much I may mask it, in ten or fifteen years it may still come up as gossip or some other type of subtle character assassination. I have not forgotten. And that is violence. So, that heart which is hurt is violent. And likewise, when I am not hurt by others, I will not hurt another.
When will I not be hurt at all? When I realise that what is hurt is only the ego, my own self image, a shadow which is the product of my own ignorance. This is the fool that is hurt. Yet if I am a real seeker, endeavouring to dispel this shadow of the ego, I should mentally thank that person who pointed out the fool. My goal is to discover the ego and he has made that ego react. Now I can see that reacting ego and deal with it. So, if I feel hurt and call myself a spiritual seeker, I am insincere, I am not honest with myself. Non-violence and the quest for truth are closely related, universal disciplines.
So, non-violence is essentially the virtue of not being hurt. And the virtue of not being hurt is the virtue of having no self image. When the self image is completely eradicated, rooted out of the heart, then I am love. I do not love, I am love. I am non-violence. And whatever happens in my life is love, even if I am a butcher, even if I am a soldier. Even if my karma leads me in such a direction, in my heart there is no animosity, no ill-will, no aggression, no violence at all. Whatever actions proceed from that heart, mind and body will be good. So, to be good comes first and doing good is a mere extension of that being.