WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS
"You will surely be tested in your possessions and yourselves. And you will surely hear many insults from those to whom the Book was given before you, and from those who idolise things. But if you are patient and conscientious, then that is the resolve which will determine affairs."
"To advice, they do not listen; that their quarrel would cause their own destruction, they do not know, and therefore their hatred does not cease; - but those who do realise the Truth, shall have their quarrel put to an end, and restore Peace." Buddha
"When a person thinks deeply of sense-objects, he feels an attachment for them. Attachment gives rise to desire and desire breeds anger. From anger comes delusion which results in loss of memory. The loss of memory causes destruction of discrimination and from the ruin of discrimination the man perishes."
"But what I tell you is this: Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left. If a man wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your cloak as well. If a man in authority makes you go one mile, go with him two. Give when you are asked to give; and do not turn your back on a man who wants to borrow." Jesus Christ
DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA
Suppose someone insults you; what will you lose by his insult? You should not respond to such insults with any agitation or excitement. If you remain peaceful all the anger of the other person may freely pour out. But if you try to obstruct the other person's strong feelings by preventing him from venting his anger, it could possibly lead to a dangerous situation. Consider as an example that someone has become sick, that he is feeling quite nauseous and is throwing up the contents of his stomach. What is the reason for his being sick and vomiting? It is because some impurities, some toxic substances have entered his stomach. Wherever there are impurities you will soon find germs, and along with them come sickness and diminution of health. For this reason, it is most important that no impurities enter your system. The body is carefully arranged to immediately throw up and expel any toxins that attempt to enter it. When the body reacts naturally by vomiting out the poisons, it would be incorrect to give medicies to stop that vomiting. If medicine is given, the toxins will not be thrown up; instead they will remain in the stomach and soon poison the whole system. Therefore, one should allow all the impurities to come out and not obstruct them by giving medicine. After all the impurities have been thrown up, then one can give some medicine.
Once the vomiting and nausea are over, a person will feel very weak. Then he will do whatever you ask; that is when he will obey you. So this is the best procedure to follow when someone is vomiting out poison. The same thing applies whenever a person is very angry and is vomiting out his poison in that form. Let him do it; do not obstruct him. Whatever he wants to say, let him say it as long as he wants to. Until such time as it all comes out, you should remain peaceful and patient. Why should you subject yourself to disturbance and excitement? Instead of becoming upset, your patient attitude will actually promote feelings of peace and happiness within you. This itself is the experience of heaven; why should you deny yourself the joy of such heavenly feelings?
The quality of patience is a most important quality. Of all the good qualities a person can have, patience and forbearance rank at the very top. Swami has said a number of times that forbearance is truth, forbearance is righteousness, forbearance is non-violence, forbearance is happiness. Forbearance really is equal in value to everything that you can find in all the worlds. (Dis on BG 245)
REASONS FOR CONFLICT
Still, there are but three reasons for the final fight everywhere: wealth, dominion and woman. But take the instance of the Yadavas. They had no such reason to fall out among themselves in mortal combat. It appears as if destiny was the only overpowering reason for this cataclysm.
"The Yadavas were rolling in plenty. They had no lack of grain or gold. And their wives? They were models of virtue, faithful and devoted. They never deviated from the wishes or commands of their husbands. They could not bring insult or discomfiture to their lords from any quarter. How then could faction and internecine strife raise their heads so suddenly among them?"
Arjuna replied: "My dear brother! We see the outer circumstances, the processes which result in the final event and in our ignorance we judge that this set of causes produced these effects. We guess the nature of emotions and feelings from what we gauge from events. But circumstances, events, emotions and feelings are all simply 'instruments' in His hands, serving His will and His purpose. When the moment comes, He uses them for His plan, and brings about the fight He has willed. He is the embodiment of time; He comes as the master of time and, through some denouement of the plot, He finishes the drama. That which brought about birth brings about death, too. He finds reason for both, in the same degree. Do we seek to know why there was a birth? Then, why seek to know why death occurs? It occurred; that is enough. Reason-finding is a superfluous occupation.
He causes beings to create beings and He causes beings to end beings. Bodies get born, bodies die; nothing more serious happens at birth or death. This has been taught us often by Vasudeva. Why then should we doubt or deviate from the steady courage He has sought to give us?
You might say that it is not just that He who caused us to be born should be the person who kills us. Between birth and death, man too has some capacity to earn merit and demerit, and this has some influence on the course of events. Within these limits, the Lord plays the game of football with birth and death, and life." (Bhagavatha V 66)
BECOME AND INSTRUMENT
"Arjuna, whoever offers Me with love, either a leaf, or a flower, or a fruit, or even some water... such devout offerings coming from a pure heart, I will surely accept. Whatever you do, whatever you eat or sacrifice or give away, whatever austerity you perform, offer that to Me. Then you will be free of the consequences of your actions, and soon your mind will become calm and endowed with renunciation. Possessed of evenness of mind and having abandoned the fruits of your actions, you will be freed forever from the fetters of birth. Therefore, resign every action to Me. Fix your mind firmly on Me. I will perform all your actions through you and liberate you from all sins. Fear not. By My grace you will overcome all obstacles.
But if from self-conceit you do not listen to Me, you will surely perish. You may think, 'I will not fight', but impelled by your sense of duty, your own nature will compel you to fight. What out of delusion you do not wish to do, you shall do in spite of yourself. Arise Arjuna! With the sword of knowledge that I have given to you, cut to pieces this ignorance and the delusion that springs from it, which doubts the very truth of Divinity that is present in your heart. Arjuna, stand up and achieve glory! You are pledged to uphold right action (dharma)! The forces of unrighteousness have become rampant. You must encounter them and destroy them. Take refuge in Me, Arjuna. Think of Me at all times... and FIGHT! It is not you who will kill these heroes, but I. I am the world's creator and sustainer, but I am also the mighty world-destroying time that devours all. These warriors in hostile armies have already been slain by Me.
Arjuna, you are merely the instrument through which I act. Here, I give you a vision of My universal form in which you can see the oneness of all existence." (Dis on BG iii)
Let us take the case of Arjuna. He had the forethought; all the suffering and all the miseries that are likely to accrue if he fought this war, were thought of even before he commenced the war. He asked the question, "Why do I kill all my relations and all my elders?" He said that he would rather go out and beg for this food than ask for the kingdom after killing all these people. He further said that apart from the kingdom which he would get if he won this war, even if he was promised heaven itself if he won the war, he would not be willing to enter the war and kill all his relations. He would rather give up both. He prayed to Krishna to get him out of this mess. Thus Arjuna gave up all desires, was prepared to sacrifice all the pleasures of this world and the other world and he surrendered completely to the Lord. We can recognise in him a person who deserves to be taught the Gita.
What earned for Arjuna the right to be taught by the Lord is the fact that he stood in complete and total surrender and was prepared to take whatever instructions the Lord would give. It is to such a person and under such circumstances that one can give the sacred meaning of the Sastras or the sacred significance of the Divine. Every one will have to deserve this, earn this by good conduct, by good behaviour and by doing good things. (SSB 72,107)
It is for this reason that Krishna told Arjuna, "Arjuna, you are attached to quite a few sense objects; therefore you are ruffled by events. You have not been able to develop concentration, and you have not been able to establish Me in your heart. Continue and cultivate constant practice, and you will get concentration of mind. Only when you have concentration of mind will you be able to surrender to Me. At all times and in all places always think of Me. Whatever work you are doing, think of Me and Me alone. Remember Me with love and with faith.
"Even when you are waging a war, think of Me and fight. This is not an ordinary war; this fight you are now becoming involved in is not like a quarrel between you and some other individuals. What you are fighting most of all is your own weakness, your bad habits, all your limitations and frailties. Thinking of Me, wage this inner war and win. Remember you are not just fighting a war against others. You are fighting your own inner sense organs; so, do not quit until you have achieved victory, until you have controlled them and fully mastered them."
Prahlada also spoke of this inner fight to his father, the powerful demon king, Hiranyakashipu. He said, "Father, you have won many wars and have gained lordship over numerous worlds, but you have not been able to win a victory over your own senses. By winning all the worlds outside you have become a powerful king, but only when you can control your own senses will you be king of the whole universe. If you keep being defeated by your inner senses, how can you ever win a lasting victory against your enemies outside? When you win over your inner enemies, then you can easily win over the external ones, also."
When is this possible? Only when you surrender yourself to the divinity. You say, 'my objects', 'myself', 'my people'; as long as you have such feelings it will not be possible for you to surrender. (Dis on BG 23)
Here is a small example to illustrate the relationship between the body and the soul. When we go on a good tar road, our shadow falls on dirt that is in the side drain. Even if you go on a beautiful road, the shadow may fall on dirty things. But the dirt does not cling to the shadow. You must try to tread on the right path, but should not fall in the dirt along with the shadow. What you must learn is to do good things with the body; you should contemplate about good things with your mind. Cultivate good thoughts and perform good deeds. Sometimes, people ask: "Yes, we should learn to love everyone, but what should be done if the other party hates us in spite of our loving them so much?"
Why should you be bothered whether others reciprocate your love or not? Your duty is to see that you do not swerve from the right path. Since someone is doing harm, if you also hate, how can you claim that you are still good? You must also endeavour to see that others act in the same manner. If you want to delve deep and experience true love, you leave all bodily considerations, cultivate one-ness with the Atma. Then you will have the right vision. The same Atma exists in all. You should see everyone with one-ness with the Atma, but not differentiate them by looking at attributes such as height, weight and status. I will give an example with myself as the basis; I love everyone - I love even those who do not love Me. I do not ask whether they are loving Me or not. We must see whether our love is pure or not. Hatred has no place at all in Me. People who do not want Me also come to Me when need arises and bend before Me. (SSB 72,194)
It is because you see the diversity, ignoring the unity, that there is so much restlessness and lack of peace in the world. For instance, nations are many, but earth is One; stars are many, but sky is One; beings are many, but breath is One. Therefore, if man remembers this Unity in diversity, there will be no room for differences, quarrels or wars in the world. (SSB 90,33)
Everywhere now, one can hear the cry, "World Peace, World Peace", but the number of persons who can tell how it can be attained is very small! There is no one who can even picture correctly what exactly is meant by shanti or peace. For, if one has acquired true peace and experienced it, the turmoils and confusions of the world will not be cognised at all. You cannot be aware of its absence if you have it. Peace means, "the giving up of the activities of the senses". How can such peace be spread and 'promoted', by any one who has gained it? It can be experienced, but, it is incapable of being exchanged from person to person. The best that can be done is to show the way to others, to inform others of its sweetness. How can another's hunger be appeased by your eating your food? The diner alone derives satisfaction from the dinner. Peace too is of such a nature. Each has to earn and experience it for himself, so that all may have it. Love and fortitude are enough to confer peace. But, you should not concentrate n mere outward show; let these virtues saturate your thoughts, word and deed; that is the way to establish world peace also.
Certain others declare that prayer can bring about world peace and they ask people to pray. Of course, it is good to pray; but, peace can never be gained by that alone. Prayer must be united with practice. You should not pray for one thing and practise another. Such prayer is only a means of deception. The words you utter, the deeds you do, the prayers you make, must all be directed along the same path. While repeating prayers for world peace (loka santhi), if you cannot patiently put up with others, if you slander others and look down upon them, you yourself will have no peace; you will have turmoil instead! And, with the turmoil, all the attendant sorrow and pain!
Through world peace, individual peace too can be cultivated. When food is taken by the hand to the mouth, chewed and swallowed, the essence spreads to every part of the body. So also if the hands are engaged in acts promoting peace, and the tongue engaged in prayers for peace, by these two means, the essence of peace will spread into all parts of the world, which is but the body of the Lord. The peace of the world is the basis for genuine peace. (Prasanthi V 40)