I read an article on the french version of Wikipedia where it was said that Ahimsâ was personified as a goddess with Ahimsâ dévî, wife of the Dharma god.

I understand what Ahimsâ is but I have trouble understanding the relation between Ahimsâ and Dharma because for me they are concepts.

Can someone explain me who is exactly Ahimsâ dévî and if there is traditional representation of her for exemple?

The french wikipedia link (part Personnification):

Dans la mythologie hindoue, ahiṃsā est personnifiée par Ahimsâ dévî, la déesse de la non-violence : elle est l'épouse du dieu Dharma (devoir universel), et est donc sa Shakti ; elle est la mère du dieu Vishnou.

English translation :

In Hindu mythology, is personified by Ahimsa Ahimsa Devi, the goddess of non-violence: it is the wife of the god Dharma (universal duty), and so is his Shakti; she is the mother of the god Vishnu.

  • can u share that Wikipedia link? – Itachi Uchiha May 8 '15 at 13:49
  • I added the link and the quote in the message. – MARTIN Damien May 11 '15 at 12:58
  • The Wikipedia article is seriously confused if they're calling her the mother of Vishnu. – Keshav Srinivasan May 11 '15 at 13:58
  • All these deities are minor forms of Adi Parasakti and find provenance in devi bhagavatam/devi mahatmyam. – user1195 Jan 11 '16 at 11:38

Various Puraans mention that thirteen of Daksha Prajapati's daughters were married to Dharma but none of those is Ahimsa. For example, Vishnu Puran Chapter 8 mentions the following wives of Dharma:

The patriarch Daksha had by Prasúti twenty-four daughters: hear from me their names: Sraddhá (faith), Lakshmí (prosperity), Dhriti (steadiness), Tusht́i (resignation), Pusht́i (thriving), Medhá (intelligence), Kríyá (action, devotion), Buddhi (intellect), Lajjá (modesty), Vapu (body), Sánti (expiation), Siddhi (perfection), Kírtti (fame): these thirteen daughters of Daksha, Dharma (righteousness) took to wife.

These seem to be the names of qualities associated with righteousness rather than the names of actual people still out of the given names perhaps Shanti could come close to Ahimsa. Further verses also mention their offspring strengthening our opinion about the abstract nature of these names:

The progeny of Dharma by the daughters of Daksha were as follows: by Sraddhá he had Káma (desire); by Lakshmí, Darpa (pride); by Dhriti, Niyama (precept); by Tusht́i, Santosha (content); by Pusht́i, Lobha (cupidity); by Medhá, Sruta (sacred tradition); by Kriyá, Dańd́a, Naya, and Vinaya (correction, polity, and prudence); by Buddhi, Bodha (understanding); by Lajjá, Vinaya (good behaviour); by Vapu, Vyavasaya (perseverance). Sánti gave birth to Kshema (prosperity); Siddhi to Sukha (enjoyment); and Kírtti to Yasas (reputation). These were the sons of Dharma; one of whom, Káma, had Harsha (joy) by his wife Nandi (delight).

Interestingly, the spouse of Adharma is also mentioned in this verse as Himsa both of which are opposites of Dharma and Ahimsa respectively:

The wife of Adharma (vice) was Hinsá (violence), on whom he begot a son Anrita (falsehood), and a daughter Nikriti (immorality): they intermarried, and had two sons, Bhaya (fear) and Naraka (hell); and twins to them, two daughters, Máyá (deceit) and Vedaná (torture), who became their wives. The son of Bhaya and Máyá was the destroyer of living creatures, or Mrityu (death); and Dukha (pain) was the offspring of Naraka and Vedaná. The children of Mrityu were Vyádhi (disease), Jará (decay), Soka (sorrow), Trishńa (greediness), and Krodha (wrath). These are all called the inflictors of misery, and are characterised as the progeny of Vice (Adharma).

As regard the mention of her being Vishnu's mother, that is explained by a similar list of Dharma's progeny mentioned in the Bhagvat Puraan. Following the order observed in the list of Dharma's wives, their children are, Rita (truth), Prasáda (favour), Abhaya (fearlessness), Sukha, Muda (pleasure), Smaya (wonder), Yoga (devotion), Darpa, Artha (meaning), Smriti (memory), Kshema, Prasraya (affection), and the two saints Nara and Náráyańa, the sons of Dharma by Múrtti.

Both Nar and Narayan are mentioned as Lord Vishnu's incarnations in the Puraans which is also confirmed in the Mahabharat:

In days of yore, O Partha, I was, for some reason, born as the son of Dharma, O chief of Kuru's race, and in consequence of such birth of mine I was celebrated under the name of Dharmaja. I took birth in two forms, viz., as Nara and Narayana.

Hence the sentence you have quoted in your question may actually be referring to this relationship and consequently it may help us identify the Goddess Ahimsa with Murti the mother of Vishnu.

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    Changing normal text to bold is not a substantial edit. Please edit only when you are updating your answer. – Sarvabhouma Feb 20 '18 at 6:56
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    It may not be substantial but it may be required to highlight certain things that were missed while answering the question earlier. I don't see what the problem is with that it doesn't affect anyone or bother anyone for approval. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Feb 20 '18 at 7:05
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    See What is edit questions and answers?. Just adding bold or italic is a trivial edit. It doesn't improve anything in the post but it bumps hte question unnecessarily. The edits should be done in the same way whether they require a review or they don't. These come under trivial edits and are discouraged. – Sarvabhouma Feb 20 '18 at 7:10
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    I feel if an edit doesn't bother anyone there shouldn't be any harm in it. Too many rules and regulations about such trivial things make this site unnecessarily bureaucratic. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Feb 20 '18 at 8:09

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