Silently hear everyone. Accept what is good. Reject and forget what is not. This is intelligent living. – Chinmaya
“A mixture of opposites is this world;
Therefore, O brethren, may you live in this world;
With the wisdom of a swan bird.”
Thus say the scriptures.
The swan has neera – ksheera viveka. From a mixture of milk and water, it takes only the milk and leaves behind the water content. The above quote asks us to do the same.
Mahatma Gandhi once received an abusing nonsensical letter running into pages. He took out the paper clip and kept it safely for future use. The letter, without a second glance, was thrown into the dust-bin.
Intelligent living demands silent listening. And silent listening demands a silent tongue and a silent mind.
An immature, egoistic, impure mind can never listen. While hearing it is either switched off from within, or it is busy trying to safeguard the ego by framing arguments to defeat the opponent. It sees and hears only what it wants to see and hear.
Such biased, selective listeners remain trapped in the cocoon of their ignorance leaving no scope to learn anything from life.
A true listener listens to learn, to know; not to judge or to win. He takes part in discussions; not in arguments. For him, knowledge is the highest priority; not the ego-satisfaction. He is ready to bow down and to admit his mistakes; he is ever willing to correct himself. The ego, the villain, is never allowed to interfere anywhere, anytime.
Such silent listeners alone can appreciate and imbibe everything good; they alone can detect and reject everything worthless.
As the President of the United States, when Abraham Lincoln was about to give his inaugural address, one man, a rich aristocrat, stood up and said, “Mr Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family.”
The whole Senate laughed; they thought they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln looked at the man and said politely, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family, and there will be many others here…. Because the way he made shoes, nobody else can.
He was unique. His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul in it. I want to ask you, have you any complaint? Because I know how to make shoes myself. If you have any complaint I can make another pair of shoes. But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius, a great creator and I am proud of my father.”
The whole Senate was struck dumb.
It is impossible to escape criticisms in this world. Even Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, the incarnations of the Lord, were not spared. But how to react these criticisms is purely left to our choice. The above quote guides us in handling criticisms.
When Rabindranath Tagore, the great poet, was subjected to intense criticism, one of his admirers, Sharat, complained to him, “Sir, I cannot take it anymore. Why don’t you retaliate?”
Tagore smiled and replied calmly, “You already know Sharat that it is not possible for me to get down to the level of those who criticize me or abuse me. I have my own level. I can retaliate only if I come down to their level, and this I can never do. I don’t have time for such petty matters. And if you look at it from my angle, it is not important either.”
There is a saying, “Arguing with a fool only proves that there are two!”
The one who uses every situation to reform oneself alone is considered wise. The rest busy themselves with others’ defects and waste their lives.
Ibrahim, the famous Sufi saint, was travelling once with his followers. One of his opponents, who had climbed a tree, spat on the head of the saint just when he was passing under it. The devotees of the saint became terribly angry and they rushed forward to catch hold of the person. But the saint forbade the followers to take any action.
He told his followers, “His mistake can be corrected with a small piece of cloth. But how will you correct your own mistake of beating him? There is no piece of cloth in the world which can correct such mistakes.”
Always the wrong persons teach the right lessons in life.
Intelligent living is all about making the right choices. Every choice made is an iron blow upon the lump of iron which our bodies are, manufacturing out of it what we want to become.
Sea is common to all; some take pearls; some fishes; some return… just with empty hands and wet legs!
The world is common to all. What we get depends on what we strive for.
O M T A T S A T