There are four important moods or attitudes that we have to keep in our life.
1. Friendliness towards those who are happy. We need to be friendly with those who are enjoying their life and those who are on cloud nine. If we are friendly towards them, then there is no jealousy.
2. Compassion towards those people who are unhappy. If you are in the same boat, you cannot save them. So friendliness is no good with people who are miserable. What is good? Compassion. If your friend is miserable, if you are friendly with them, you will also get miserable. That’s where the karma principle holds good. Compassion.
You should be happy when you see people who are doing good and meritorious work. Don’t try to pull them down. Generally, you try to pull down someone who is progressing. The problem with journalists is that they criticise people when they see that they are progressing.
I’ll give you an example. One of our teachers met a journalist and showed him all the work that we do – all over the world and in India. Around 10.6 million people participated in the Mission Green Earth project. A pledge was taken to plant and nurture 55 million trees. When this was presented to a committee, they commented that no work happened in Nagaland. My dear, there are already so many trees in Nagaland, why not look at the work that has been done elsewhere?
You try to find fault in everything. ‘You are planting so many trees. Oh, you want publicity.’ We don’t need any publicity, we are getting enough already.
What do you call these minds? There is a term in the Bhagwad Gita – asuya. It means an intolerance towards good work. It is the tendency to find fault in anything.
In the Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna: you are anasuya, i.e. devoid of fault-finding eyes. Lord Krishna was also anasuya. That is why, many people would try to find fault in him.
3. Ignore the ones who commit sinful work. There could be someone who doesn’t behave well with you, despite your good behavior towards them. Then it’s their problem. They could be mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law or neighbours too. When you sit for meditation, then the neighbours will switch on loud music or increase the television’s volume. They know the time that you sit for meditation and hence misbehave.
With people who do things that are incorrect, your attitude should be that of ignoring then. Then your action can be one of correctness. But if you are emotionally upset, then your mind starts thinking of ideas to teach them a lesson. Your behaviour indicates that you want them to change because it’s inconvenient for you.
When you want to teach them a lesson, it never happens because you are doing it with anger. The one who has true compassion can teach people a real lesson. One who says, ‘Look my dear, what you are doing is not good for you.’ Then they will listen, it touches their heart. But if you say, ‘What you are doing is hurting me, then they will not listen.’
Have this attitude: ‘Come what may, I will not get hurt. If someone is going to be nasty, I will learn to be compassionate.’
The anger is boiling inside them, so don’t welcome their negativity into your system. That’s where you need to shield your mind. We need to save our mind. We say – save the planet, save the environment, save this and that, but nobody says save the mind. Think they have left that task to us.
We have to go with this slogan – save your mind at all cost.
4. A sense of belongingness. When someone dear to you progresses in life, doesn’t it make you happy? It does. That attitude is good. Say, a close friend gets selected for Miss Universe or becomes a champion in hockey. You feel happy that my friend won the gold medal in Olympics, long jump or 1,000 metres race. So, you feel proud and happy. That sense of happiness, of compassion, of joy, protects the mind. Maharishi Patanjali gave the sutra in yogasutras.
Your mind will float in grace, if you can have these four attitudes. Not going, ‘Bang, bang bang… you are a cheater’. My dear, relax. Others may be a cheater and you are no better than a cheater, because you are also spreading negativity in a different fashion.
When you have these four types of attitudes, relax. Knowing that everything will be taken care makes a big difference in our lives. Otherwise, if you wake up and see, corruption is rampant. This corruption has entered every field, including religion. Many religious people try to convert people from one faith to another by giving money. Just to increase the number of followers! When you read about the actions of so-called religious priests in the newspapers, your mind will get agitated. And when you are angry, you cannot do anything that will bring you peace. An agitated person cannot bring peace to the world. If you yourself have been suffering with bondage, how can you liberate others? So, the way to make our mind strong, pure and clear is by having these four attitudes.
Otherwise, it’s so difficult. Like when you commit a mistake, you expect others to excuse you. This is because the mistake happened in an unconscious state of mind.
Suppose someone invited you for a party at their home and you couldn’t turn up or you went late. Suppose they are angry at that. And they hold on to that anger for all their life, what can you do? Small things are made into mountains. We need to check that. That’s why we need all these silence programmes to introspect:
Are we so rigid that everyone wants to run away from us?
Are we so stiff that it becomes miserable for others to live around us?
How many people feel comfort around us or in our company?
Are you that pleasant personality that everyone feels comfortable around you?
And to what degree has it manifested in you?
Look back and see: How much were you unlikeable in the past and how much do people like you now. You don’t have to make an effort for people to like you. Are you being pleasant? Even when you have to point out a mistake, you can do it in a skillful manner.
Suppose you have to work with a boss, who is foolish and nasty, how do you work with them? With skill. You have to tell the boss: ‘You are the best, you know everything. I have an idea, but you know it better.’ Then the boss will say: ‘Yes, yes, it’s correct.’
The boss will want to ascertain his position as boss. You are shaking his position to make an action come out of it. It’s not going to work. Do you see what I am saying? People are so insecure: about money, relationships, health, friendship, prestige, status in society. They are insecure in every angle. You live in such a world, it’s a mental case. It’s a gone case. You hardly find people who are healthy and established in self.
In Bali, they say, Om swasti astu. Swasti means health, may health be upon you. Swasti really means the one who is established in spiritual health. Like your liver should function normally, heart should beat properly. Brain should perceive things related to this reality. When all the organs are doing their job, then you are healthy. Similarly, Swasti means being established in the Self. The greeting of Om swasti astu means ‘May you be in yourself! May you be in the best of health: spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.’
When you see people are not centered in their life, a small thing can trigger and put them off track. Isn’t that so? And you have been doing that also. A small comment, someone criticizes you, you went off, not one day, but months together, refuse to see them.
Someone says, ‘You look like a ghost.’ Say, ‘Yes, I am a holy ghost.’ Have some humor. Humor can save you through all these rough weather.
Make it fun!
I heard that a minister in India once said, ‘All these beautiful women are getting married to fools. They have fools as their husbands.’ His wife said, ‘Don’t keep complimenting me all day. Enough is enough, you have complimented me enough.’
Instead of telling her husband, ‘Why do you keep looking at beautiful women? Blah, blah, blah…’ the wife skillfully silenced him.
So, when you tell people, ‘Why do you love me so much?’, their love increases. But if you ask them to prove it to you, then you are creating a situation which is so heavy, so unpleasant. Got it?
Sri Sri Ravishankar