In the endeavour to better oneself it is important to keep on analysing one. And the standard by which one which one has to measure oneself is the Bhagavad Gita. Because in the Gita the Lord has clearly mentioned all those qualities which makes a person better and makes her or him beloved of Him.
Shri Caitanya Mahhaprabhu has left just 8 verses called as the Siksastakam or His 8 fold instructions.
You can read the entire text here but one verse is my absolute favourite:
trinad api sunichena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
If you read the words clearly ‘lower than a straw in the street and tolerant than a tree’….It is good to read isn’t it? But is it so easy? I mean so humble that anyone can step on you and so tolerant that you stand tall in rain or shine, cold or heat is not easy at all. Maintaining your cool even if someone insults you or takes you for granted is not easy at all.
You may think where is she heading? Let me elaborate. Growing up in Bhilai I was an outsider because I was the so called ‘Madrasi’. Everyone belonging south was a Madrasi. Then when I came down South I was the person who had lived in hte North, so again an outsider. When I was in Bahrain I was an outsider. So technically I have never belonged but that doesn’t matter either because the only thing that matters is that I belong to Krishna. But what irks me is when people show their superiority. This place doesn’t have good vegetables as my place. This place doesn’t really have any seasons. People from North re aggressive. People from South are shallow. And then it becomes personal too sometimes. How can you be so quiet? Your son is quiet too just like a girl. Why is he wearing pink? Isn’t pink for girls? My son heard the last quote and was quite candid, ‘Krishna made all the colours, he didn’t label any colour as for boys or girls’. End of argument.
Which made me think that though Krishna said,
ahimsa ksantir arjavam
Humility, pridelessness, nonviolence, tolerance, simplicity, approaching a bona fide spiritual master, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control are some of the constituents of the path of knowledge.(BG 13.8)
And all these qualities are so difficult to adapt. Arent we prone to boasting or to flaunt ourselves. Humility is really a very difficult virtue. I mean how do you or what do you do when you are attacked or insulted. How can you be aloof?
We often tend to forget that every individual, society or nation has its own plus points and minus but who are we to judge. Why is it so difficult to accept the other just as they are. The answer is ignorance. We like to gloat to show our importance because we don’t know how good the other person is.
But does that mean we accept others insults, their taunts because we are humble. To a limit maybe yes but not always. Humility and tolerance should be to a limit that your confidence is not shaken. I will repeat a story often told before:
Narad muni met a snake who was very aggressive. He explained to the snake the virtues of non violence. The good teacher that he is, Naradmuni converted the snake to the path of non violence and went his way. After sometime when he returned he thought of meeting the snake again to see how he was doing. He finds the snake in a battered condition. Though the snake had turned non violent, the people didn’t know about it and thinking him to be dangerous had beat him black and blue. Narad muni smiled and said, ‘Child, yes you are non violent now but when people were attacking you, you could have shown your fangs, they would have run away.’
And that is what we have to do. Be humble, respectful and nonviolent but when attacked show your fangs politely.
It is a long way when all the people respect each other and not show superiority, it will be a long time before the North South divide is crossed. ( to tell the truth we show solidarity and unity only when we are abroad). But World peace begins with individual transformation; let the others be; let’s start our transformation now.