The word “benevolence” is used regularly but many of us cannot really define the concept of this term. And yes, does that mean “goodness”? Or "kindness"? None of this, and it is for this reason that I did my research, because let's be honest, nowadays, we would take a hint of this concept sometimes too often used.
First, I went to look at the definition of this almost overused word. Lepetitlarousse.fr n We define it like this: “Disposition of mind inclined to understanding, to indulgence. » while Wikipedia.fr : « Emotional disposition of a will which aims at the good and the happiness of others »
In Sanskrit , it is the word “ maitrì ” meaning friendship/love or fraternity with the principle of disinterested action which would correspond to our word benevolence and for example in Buddhism, the name of the next expected Buddha is MAITREYA said The Benevolent.
In Hinduism (still according to Wikipedia), it is AHIMSA , one of the 5 yamas (ie a moral attitude to be observed) hence its importance in the philosophy of Yoga. Indeed, Ahimsa literally means " respect for life " or " non-violence ", that is to say that we are substantially in the idea of seeking not to harm.
As a lover of words, I find the term very interesting to decipher:
GOOD VEILLANCE: literally "to watch over the good of the other"
Like its Latin origin: “Bene volens”: who wants the good
We then move away from the word "kindness" which carries with it an insincere notion when, as we see above, benevolence implies a disinterested approach.
Benevolence is sincere and disinterested . The benevolent will seek the well-being of the other, despite rudeness, meanness, incompetence and other unpleasant behaviors. For the love of the other, whatever their color, gender, religion, hobbies, social class… And above all, the benevolent person will always avoid harming the other, despite the differences.
Fundamental moral observance in the philosophy of yogis and yet sometimes so difficult in today's world. Nevertheless, one thing to remember is essential to cultivate benevolence. We are part of the same whole. When someone harms another, he is hurting himself. We are all linked to each other. Yes, the street beggar, the crooked politician, Meryl Streep, you, me, your yoga teacher, the baker etc. We are all connected.
It is not for nothing that here at YUJ we cherish this word because we believe that for the world to change, it is up to us, at our level, to sow the seeds of benevolence so that tomorrow, reality be a little more beautiful.
It's up to you. Start by smiling! Smile at people in the street, at the Post Office (yes too!) everywhere!
Last little advice from a yogi: the more grumpy and unpleasant people are, the more benevolence we must show, make it a game! You will see it changes perspectives and makes you much happier!
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra:
I.33 “ Friendship, compassion and cheerfulness clarify and soothe the mind; this behavior must be exercised indifferently in happiness and in unhappiness, vis-à-vis what does us good as well as what does harm.
And if you want to go further, our great “Benevolence” hooded sweatshirts are on sale in our two studios, just to set an example! Perfect for cool spring evenings!
Allison - YUJ TEAM