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Bhartṛhari has explained the secret of why people quarrel with others (Paraguṇa paramāṇūn parvatīkrutya...). Your own hill-sized defect appears to you as a mere trace, while a trace of defect in others appears to you as big as a hill. Conversely, a trace of goodness in you appears to you as a hill and a hill of goodness in others appears to you as a trace. If you want to avoid quarrels, you must reverse your mentality. You should see a trace of your own defect as hill and a hill of defect in others as trace. Similarly, you should see your hill of goodness as a trace and a trace of goodness in others as a hill. Whenever there is an issue in the family, do not scold anybody. Even if someone scolds you, do not scold them back. Speaking harshly with others will only worsen the quarrel. Shri Shirdi Sai Baba said “The one who gets scolded must thank the person scolding him because the scolder is clearing the sins of the scolded.” Pointing to a pig, Baba said, “The scolder is comparable to this pig, which cleans the surroundings by eating excrement.” Shri Satya Sai Baba has said “If you keep silent in response to the scoldings of the scolder, the scoldings return to the scolder like unaccepted registered letters that get sent back to the sender”. This step of silence is very important. It is the primary step in bringing peace. By your silence, you are leaving the law in the hands of the omniscient God. He alone can know the truth behind the case. He will certainly punish the sinner at the appropriate time and place. Avoid biased judgments of people Everyone must understand that every human being has both merits and defects. Only angels have all merits and only demons have all faults. Human beings are in between angels and demons, having both merits and faults as said in the Gita (Aniṣṭamiṣṭaṁ miśram ca...). A human being may exhibit a merit in one context and a fault in another context. Taking just one particular context, you cannot decide that a person is totally meritorious or totally faulty. Our observation about any person is only partial because we are unable to study the person throughout his or her life. Moreover, the person might appear to be of a certain nature externally, but internally he or she might be something else. We are unable to know any person in and out. Based on a situation or incident, whenever we say that a certain person is either good or bad, we have made an error of judgement. You should never conclude that any person is 100% good or 100% bad. The inquiry into the incident must be impartial; without the influence of caste, gender, blood relationships and so on. Such an impartial inquiry can only be done by the omniscient God. Impartially listen to both sides in a quarrel In any quarrel, there is invariably the contribution from both parties. It takes two hands to produce a clap. You must be extremely careful and avoid forming your impression about a person based on someone else’s report. You should never be influenced by the report of only one party without hearing the other party’s report. You should always keep your mind neutral till you hear the counter-argument from the other side. Then, you should use your sharp intelligence to analyze and find out the truth. But to arrive at the truth, you must pray to God for His help. The Veda says that one should be impartial till both sides are heard (Alūkṣā dharmakāmāḥ...). Keeping yourself neutral and impartial till you hear the other side, is called balance of mind. A person who has it is called a sthitaprajña (Sthirabuddhirasammuḍho...—Gita). Reverse the quarrel-causing attitude The basic cause for a quarrel is the attitude inherent to every human being that “I am 100% correct and the other person is 100% bad.” Bhartṛhari has said that if we want to avoid quarrels, we must reverse this attitude (Paraguṇa paramāṇūn parvatīkṛtya...). According to him, quarrels take place when you see a trace of your own merit as a hill and a hill of your faults as a trace; similarly, when you see the hill of others’ merit as trace and a trace of others’ faults as a hill. Quarrels will not occur when you reverse this attitude and start seeing a hill of your own merit as a trace and a trace of your fault as a hill; similarly, when you see the trace of others’ merit as a hill and a hill of others’ faults as a trace. Unless we change our attitude in this way and fix this new attitude in our mind constantly, peace is not possible. Avoid ego, provoking words, threats and revenge Showing your ego, using provoking words and threatening the other person must be totally avoided. If you use any of these in a quarrel, even a beggar will not bend before you. Finally, you alone will end up in a total loss. You must know that even a beggar is protected by God. You should always express peace, kindness and love for everybody. If you do this, even a demon will eventually change and in the end, you will get total benefit. You must know that even in a demon, there is the possibility of change. Whether it is a total loss or a total benefit, the other side will also equally share it with you. Can the loss to others provide even a trace of benefit to you? Never! But if you provide even a trace of benefit to others, it will yield a hill of benefit to you, in due course of time. In the Mahābhārata, Dharmarāja, the eldest of the five Paṇḍava brothers, was terribly cheated and insulted by their evil cousin, Duryodhana. In spite of that, Dharmarāja wanted to avoid a war against Duryodhana. He was prepared to accept just five villages in the place of his due share of half the kingdom. Eventually, due to the ego of Duryodhana, the war did take place and it caused a hill of loss to Duryodhana and his brothers, the Kauravas. Unfortunately, an equal hill of loss was also suffered by Dharmarāja and his brothers. All the sons of the five Pāṇḍavās, were killed. Knowing this possibility of unacceptable damage to both sides, Dharmarāja had wanted to avoid the war at any cost. But his wife, Draupadī wanted revenge and was rigidly bent on having a war. Revenge should never be taken by our hand; it should always be left to God. When a person slaps you once, you slap him back once in revenge. But if you leave the revenge to God instead, God might slap him a hundred times! Jesus said “The revenge is Mine”. One human being cannot punish another human being for his or her faults since only a faultless person can punish the other. But it is impossible for a faultless human being to exist. The omniscient God knows every human being fully. He knows everyone; not only in this life but also in all their past lives. He knows each one both externally as well as internally. He also knows each and every deed done by all. Hence, God alone can judge any human being perfectly. He alone is eligible to decide the most appropriate punishment for each person and give that punishment to the person. When a prostitute was about to be punished by the public, Jesus told the people that the first person punishing her should be the one who has not committed a single sin! We do not know any person fully because we are not with the person all the time, throughout the person’s life. Besides, we can only know the person externally. Whatever goes on inside the person is unknown to us. Our knowledge is neither full nor deep. On the other hand, the administration of God is always perfect and no injustice can ever happen in it. There may be some delay in punishing the sinner because God gives some time to the sinner for rectification. If you keep silent during that period, God will compensate your loss. If you are determined to have your revenge, you will also be punished by God without any compensation to you! Had Draupadī kept silent and given up the idea of revenge, God would not only have destroyed evil Kauravas, who refused to change, but He would have also saved the children of Draupadī from their deaths. But Draupadī could not give up her continuous burning attitude of revenge and as a result, she was left childless. Besides, Draupadī was not a hundred percent free of blame. Duryodhana had not cheated the Pāṇḍavās and abused her for no reason. Draupadī had laughed at Duryodhana when he fell in the Mayasabhā, the wonderous court of the Pāṇḍavās. She had spoken hurtful words to him. If she had not done that, Duryodhana might not have got the idea of revenge towards Draupadī. Of course, Duryodhana was highly sinful since the magnitude of his revenge was extreme, even for the small sin of Draupadī. Hence, Duryodhana was punished by God severely. Even Dharmarāja was punished by God in that he was forced to leave the kingdom and live in the forest for twelve years. Dharmarāja’s sin was that he should not have accepted the invitation for gambling. Gambling is a sin that is prohibited by the ethical scripture. Focus on the spiritual path The analysis and method of arriving at correct conclusions is similar in both pravṛtti (worldly life) and nivṛtti (spiritual life). Rigid fools who are full of ego are like demons who neither know what is correct in pravṛtti nor what is correct in nivṛtti (Pravṛttiñca nivṛttiñca, janā na vidurāsurāḥ—Gita). Such people are always dominated by rajas (ego) and tamas (ignorance). Due to ego, they do not listen to others and due to ignorance, they do not know what is right by themselves. Even God cannot convince such people. Still more dangerous are those who are not actually asleep but are pretending to be asleep. Among the two paths, pravṛtti (worldly life) and nivṛtti (spiritual life); one should concentrate on nivṛtti. The fruit of nivṛtti follows the soul forever in all the future births and it leads the soul to the eternal goal. The soul travelling in the main line of nivṛtti, should not get disturbed by issues related to pravṛtti or worldly life. (Vimūḍho Brahmaṇaḥ pathi—Gita). A student pursuing the main line of studies in an educational institute should not get disturbed by issues related to the hostel-administration. If you have the talent and capacity to simultaneously do well in both, it is good. But if your capacity is limited, then you must confine yourself only to the main line of nivṛtti. Even if it initially appears that your pravṛtti is not going very well, the divine administration of God will ensure that everything will get rectified in due course of time. All you need is a little patience and the understanding that your knowledge is limited and superficial. Criticism must be always taken as friend, which provokes you to analyse yourself and rectify to uplift you. Praise must be taken always as enemy, which makes you blind preventing you to see your defects and creates false impression of possessing those superimposed merits to down you. You should be pleased on hearing your criticism and should be furious on hearing your praise. Every human being has some defects without exception and existence of merits is not certain. Hence, you will never be disappointed in the analysis to find out your defects mentioned by the criticism. You may be disappointed to find merits in you by analysis on hearing your praise. The critic is interested in your welfare whereas the person praising you is interested in his welfare through your help! In the very first instance, you should become positive to your criticism and should become negative to your praise. People are reverse to this and become negative to criticism so fast to criticise the critics immediately as breast for tat! Similarly, they become positive to the praise and help or at least praise back the people praising them! You should apply this policy regarding yourself and your religion also. Every religion was very good due to very good establishers and followers in the past and is very bad due to the present followers, who are very bad at large. Hence, at present, defects are inevitable in yourself and in your religion. You can be proud of the past state of your religion and the same pride shall not be extended to the present state of your religion. When somebody criticises your religion, you become angry thinking about the past state of your religion. You must receive the criticism in view of the present state of your religion. Whenever you criticise anybody or any religion, you must establish in the beginning about your only intension, which is for the rectification and for the welfare through rectification. Unless one is convinced about your intension, don’t open your criticism on the individual or the religion to which that individual belongs. This will develop good atmosphere for receiving any point from other person. Whenever discussion takes place, both of you must revise the following points before starting discussion:- i) The defeat of any person is not personal, but defeat of a point only with which no person can be identified like identifying himself with his body! A point in your brain is not like your registered property so that its loss can pain you. ii) Both of you must realise that you are discussing to find out the truth only, which will benefit you both. The person, who lost his point, shall feel himself benefited since he avoided the loss due to his wrong point. The person, who won in his point, shall not feel as if he has defeated the opposite person in the war and should feel satisfied that he helped somebody to rectify his wrong point, which is the service of God. The winner shall also thank the runner for giving an opportunity to confirm his right point. The runner is also congratulated in the end of the game for playing well in the game. The Only Starting Point in Life:- The only starting point in life, which (life) is both worldly (Pravrutti) and spiritual (Nivrutti) for a human being, is acceptance of existence of God with unimaginable powers and development of devotion to Him. In fact, Pravrutti and Nivrutti are not separate lines to have separate beginning points. In the line of Nivrutti itself, the distance from the beginning point up to the intermediate station (success in Pravrutti) is Pravrutti. Hence, the beginning point as well as further journey up to intermediate station is a part of Nivrutti only. This means, both Pravrutti and Nivrutti have the same beginning point as mentioned above. Nivrutti is development of devotion to God to become close to Him and hence, Nivrutti needs the acceptance of existence of God and development of devotion to Him. But, surprisingly, both these (existence and devotion) are similarly required as foundation steps in Pravrutti also, if you analyze Pravrutti. Success in Pravrutti is resistance to the attraction towards sin. This attraction is based on your excessive attraction to your worldly bonds. If your attraction is diverted to God having more attractive personality, your attraction towards worldly bonds, at least, decreases coming to normal level, which is sufficient to resist your attraction to sin. Based on this logic only, the Gita says that the devotee of God succeeds soon in Pravrutti by becoming supporter of justice or opponent to injustice (Kshipram bhavati dharmaatmaa...). Hence, without succeeding in Pravrutti, you can’t travel further in Nivrutti since Pravrutti itself is the front part of Nivrutti. WWW.universal-spirituality[.]org Universal Spirituality for World Peace