I was searching the roots of all famous Sanskrit quotes. But this one “Ahimsa paramo dharmaha“( अहिंसा परमो धर्मः ) did not yield any results in internet. More than 500 results and just “Ahimsa paramo dharmaha”. Every one is happy mentioning only up to there. The meaning is Non-violence is Ultimate religion (or duty). The sentence is repeatedly gets mentioned whenever Indian philosophy and tolerance is explained, especially context of explaining ancient Hindu (sanatan dharma), Buddhism, Jainism and Gandhian philosophy.
One result gave the latter part of it. धर्म हिंसा तथीव च – “Dharma himsa tathaiva cha “. Now that means Violence is also religion (duty). I am getting different meanings out of them.
1. Non-violence is the ultimate duty of life, and in some contexts violence is also. Here what is the extremity of the context?
2. Try to follow Non-violence and given no choice follow violence (for protect your self). This is most optimistic meaning I have taken
Anyway the sentence is frequently mentioned, but forgetting the second part of it. It’s something like Ashvathamaha hato kunjarah, telling half truth. If some one has a better explanation, or complete hymn please leave a comment.