How do we become more tolerant?
Mental Health Series: How do we become more tolerant?
We have infinite faults within us. What faults can we claim not to have? Being under the control of Maya, it is natural to have all these faults in abundance. And these faults are like vices from infinite lifetimes and are very strong and powerful. You cannot get rid of them just like that.
God and infinite Saints have appeared many times in front of us and they left this world. Yet we could not get rid of our faults. We have so many faults like anger, lust, greed, jealousy, hatred, hypocrisy, etc. These are all manifestations of Maya. Therefore, if a soul is under Maya, then all these faults will exist forever in that soul. These faults exist whether you are sleeping, awake or in deep sleep. They exist at all times in all these three states. But at different times, they manifest themselves in different measures, sometimes they are very big and sometimes small. So accordingly, sometimes we are calm and at other times, our faults are so powerful that we may even become insane.
How does this happen? First, we create desires, and if they are not satisfied, anger manifests. Once anger manifests, then our judgement becomes clouded. When our judgement gets clouded, then our intellect fails and all the knowledge that you had gained from Guru and scriptures is gone during this state. When you forget everything that your Guru taught you, then your intellect also stops working. Then, a person can go to any state to achieve his desires.
People can keep saying anything. The Saints declare openly, it’s fine to say anything or abuse them in any way, as all this has no effect upon them. Instead, the person saying these negative things to them will get tired and give up. After all, they are just mere words made up from alphabets and mean nothing more. They are simply some words which we have learnt as a child and have been modified to make up these words like greedy, angry, etc. So the other person can keep saying, “You are greedy, you are lusty,” etc. However, we should not let it bother or affect us. Maybe he loves doing such. We should just ignore such people.
Once, a person was abusing Lord Buddha the whole day without stopping to even eat or drink. His throat became dry and his saliva started to fall from his mouth. Seeing this, Lord Buddha smiled and told his student to give him some water and food, as he must be tired of giving abuses since morning. He has put in such efforts. Hearing this, the person looked at Lord Buddha in puzzlement and shock, not being able to understand his behaviour and reaction. The person thought that he had abused Lord Buddha so much and yet, instead of getting angry, he is giving me food and water, so I can regain my strength and continue to abuse him again.
Saints go to an extent of saying that every human being is aware or may not be aware of the philosophy, that we have all the faults within us, because we are under Maya. And all these faults are a manifestation of maya. This is such a small thing, but do we all know this? You might say that you all know it, but you are wrong. You don’t really know this. If you were always aware of this knowledge, then you would never succumb to these negative faults. Then no matter what happens, you will say that you already know about it. You would be aware of your faults.
The other person, by being angry and by merely twisting some words here and there cannot turn me into a bad person. I will preserve my mental state. And whatever he had said was anyway right, so why should I feel bad? If we call someone by their designation, then they won’t feel bad. A commissioner doesn’t tell you to call him a DSP (another title) or by any other title. A teacher simply accepts that he is a teacher. A teacher doesn’t say that he should be called a principal. No one feels bad.
Then what suddenly happens when you hear someone pointing out a mistake of yours? Why do you feel bad? If someone were to say that you are a very good man, however, you have a slight temper. Slight temper, is all he said. Just by hearing this, your slight temper becomes full-fledged temper. You confront that person, “What did you say about me?” This means that you have so much anger in you that just because someone commented that you have a slight temper, you become so angry.
All these faults exist in everyone and will continue to exist till you become God realised. No one in the world can challenge this. These faults exist even in ascetics, so what to speak about us ordinary people. They have big siddhi powers, yet they cannot get rid of these vices. You can develop other powers but cannot get rid of these faults. You will be able to get rid of these faults only, when with God’s Grace, you are able to get rid of Maya. There is no possibility of getting rid of these faults before that.
A clever person may be able to hide these faults somewhat. You may abuse someone and they still may keep smiling. Maybe they are afraid of you and that is why they are smiling. A boss scolds an employee saying that you always come late and the employee smiles and gives excuses but internally, the person is thinking that even the boss comes late everyday. And just because he is a little bit late, the boss is scolding him unfairly.
So either out of fear, some people tolerate it or either they have some selfish motive behind their polite behaviour. You might humbly pretend that you are not feeling bad and the other person is right. But internally you are feeling bad, even though what the other person has told you is a fact. You are feeling hurt even at something that is true. When it is true that we have all the faults that can possibly exist, then why do we feel bad when someone points them out to us? This feeling bad is the biggest disease that we have and is a big impediment on the path of God. Why? Because this disease leads to an increase in our pride.
We feel bad when someone says that we are bad because we think that we are good. And if we let ourselves feel that we are good, then note that the first lesson on the path of bhakti is to be humble. This is the first lesson and the first condition on the path of Bhakti. Only if you fulfil this condition then will you move forward on the path of Bhakti, otherwise it is pointless. For example, in order to be a doctor or a lawyer, you need certain educational degrees. If you do not have them, then how will you qualify? Hence, you should be more humble than a blade of grass.
Even if you cannot be humble, at least accept the fact that you have all these faults within yourself. This is due to Maya so fully accept it. Having humility means when someone says you have a fault that you don’t have and yet you accept it. And why would you accept it? Because the person finding a fault can be wrong, but I am aware of my true self, and know that since I do have all the faults, no one can say something against me that is untrue.
And if we were to look at our past actions from our previous infinite lives, then you are well aware that Bhisma Pitamaha from Mahabharat had said, “I should be burnt at such a spot where no other body has been burnt.” So after a lot of contemplation, his dead body would be placed for burning at a certain spot, with consideration that no one else was burnt there. At each spot, Mother Earth would speak up, saying that hundreds of Bhishma have been burnt at that spot. So now what is left to say about others. Imagine, hundreds of Bhismas have been burnt.
Similarly, if we calculate how many sins we have committed in our past infinite lifetimes, then if we calculate each and every sin, including those that led to enormous sins being committed. For example, hatred leading to murder. Then we are guilty of having committed infinite sins. And all of these sins of ours are stored. They are called sanchit paap or sanchit karm. They are unlimited in nature and we all have them. And we will have to bear the consequences of all these sins, until we get God realisation, upon which they will be forgiven by God.
Just because we do not remember these sins which we committed doesn’t mean that we have been forgiven for them. Can anyone predict the future? Just because a person did not display that fault in the past, does that mean that he does not have this fault? He had this fault but was weak to display it earlier, now he is strong enough to display that fault. Because if he did not have that fault, then how did it manifest? It’s just like how a small fire burns slowly and then turns into an uncontrollable and massive fire that even the fire brigade cannot handle. Therefore, to expect that someone will not commit a big sin in his future is wrong. And also to expect that a big sinner cannot become a saint in the future is also wrong.
Therefore, we all have faults, but if we feel offended should someone point out our faults, then we won’t be able to become humble and get rid of them. We are not able to become humble because we carry this feeling of being hurt, should someone say something negative about us. Why? Because we have made it our life’s aim that people should only say good things about us. We don’t work towards actually being good but we want others to say that we are good. In this way, we waste our whole life and our energy in planning how to talk, behave, what to say to others and how to fool others, so that people think that we are good, rather than actually trying to become good.
We learnt this from people whom we believed were better than us. In the world whom we call very advanced and experts. Therefore, if this feeling of constant hurt gets removed from our mind, then our path to God will become very simple without any hurdles. There will be no ditches on the way. And if you actually set aside 5 minutes daily to think about your faults, then they will keep on reducing. We should contemplate why we got angry on such and such a day. Did that person say something wrong? And we know that every person is ignorant. And it is because of that ignorance that he said something wrong. Then what was the point of getting angry?
Every person has a reason for his or her behaviour. It could be because of the three modes of maya affecting him; namely sattvik, rajas, and tamas. Or someone may have hurt his selfish interests, due to having heard some gossip or they are simply confused. There can be many reasons why people behave the way they do. Because of any of these reasons, someone might say something hurtful, despite not having any bad intentions. We all need to understand this.
Just because of someone’s behaviour, why should we harm ourselves? Plus, if what they are saying is a matter of fact, then why should we be concerned. If you are pure, and the other person feels you are impure. So what? And if you are impure and the other person is calling you impure, then consider him as your friend and well-wisher. And if you do feel hurt, then understand that you are impure. The day we stop feeling hurt with what other people say, that day you can be assured that you have become pure. Now your heart has been cleansed. And then we will not fall into these traps of verbal words anymore.
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*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)
The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include - Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh, Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.