A Criticism Should Go With Compassion And Care

Thu, 10/05/2012

Montreal, Canada

Love is something that you can never get rid of. It is your nature. Either it presents itself in its pure form or it presents itself in a distorted form. Either there is pure love, or pure love gets expressed in a distorted form.

What are the distortions of love? Anger, jealousy, hatred, greed and possessiveness. All these paraphernalia, negative emotions are nothing but love upside down. Even blame is love. Do you see what I’m saying?

If you don’t like somebody, you would simply move away from them. If you keep blaming, that means you really like them. You can’t stay away from them, you can’t get away from them and that is why you keep blaming them.

What is the use of blame? See, you blame someone and if that person is really a culprit, for the first time it will provoke him, but if you keep blaming him, he becomes numb to it; he doesn’t care. Suppose someone is a real thief, and you keep telling him, ‘You are a thief’, you are wasting your time blaming him, because every time you say it, it doesn’t matter to him. It doesn’t touch him at all.

The whole day, you stand on the top of a tower and keep shouting, ‘He is a thief, he is a thief’, so what? A thief will never feel affected by it.

So, a true culprit doesn’t get affected by your blaming him or her. If he is not a culprit, if he is an honest person, really genuine and you blame him, it pierces his heart; it touches his soul, stirs his soul. If that person is a yogi, he will use it for his benefit.

Blaming your mother-in-law is not going to give you anything positive in return. You may get a lot of problems! Instead of blaming them, take this opportunity as an exercise for you to maintain your equanimity.

If that person is a yogi meaning, the one who has some wisdom, he will say that people praise and they blame, but I have to keep my equanimity. So a yogi uses it as an exercise to maintain his equanimity and wishes only good to everyone. If the person is not that wise, if it pierces his heart and he feels the pain, it rebounds back to you. So, in either case, it will not serve the purpose to blame someone, and write badly about them day and night.

There are some people who I have heard write only negative about The Art of Living, day and night. At least by this, they are following what we are doing! They write all sorts of rubbish. It doesn’t matter to us. What their purpose is, we don’t know. Do they want to prevent others from coming to The Art of Living? I tell them it is not going to work. People will anyways come. If they write negative, more people will be curious to know what it is and they will anyway come. So, they are simply wasting their time and energy.

So, blame does not lead you anywhere and does not give you any result. Suppose by your blaming, you can correct somebody, that is excellent, but the thing is you cannot correct a culprit by blaming him. You can only correct him with love, compassion and communication. Blame means no communication.

If a real culprit is there and you want to correct him, you can only do it through communication. And if it is not a real culprit, your whole exercise is futile. Are you getting what I’m saying? Your whole exercise is futile because you are blaming and blaming, and it does not help.

Say, in your home, someone is incorrigible and they irritate you. Your mother, your father, spouse, children or somebody irritates you, what do you do? You keep blaming them. Your blaming your mother in law is not going to give you anything positive in return. You may get a lot of problems! Instead of blaming them, take this opportunity as an exercise for you to maintain your equanimity; your inner balance. So, if everything is okay, if everybody is praising you and you say that I am a very balanced person, it doesn’t mean much. It doesn’t make any sense.

If a bunch of people or even one person is blaming you for what you have not done and you still keep your balance then that means you have achieved something, you have gotten somewhere, and you have risen to some level. Are you getting what I’m saying? You need such an opportunity. Somebody blames you and you are able to maintain your equanimity, knowing what they are doing is completely rubbish and false.

So, for someone who is blaming an innocent person, it is not going to do them any good, even though the victim sends them blessings. Those who blame the innocent, it is not such a good thing. However, constructive criticism is essential.

This does not mean that you always say good things and nice things even when you feel nothing is okay. You put a smile on your face, but you feel very angry inside. This is not going to work. We should be genuine. We should be honest. You know, suppressing anger inside is also another problem. At the same time, being a time bomb all the time or a timeless bomb is even dangerous. So, we need a certain balance in life, certain wisdom. Silence, meditation and all these practices will take you in that direction.

Now, don’t tell me, ‘Oh, I have been doing meditation for so long but I still lose my temper’. Never mind. If you were losing your temper a hundred times, now you are losing it a dozen times. If you were losing your temper a dozen times, maybe you lose it a couple of times now. So, it always reduces.

You can never say that it does not work at all. When you blame someone, just analyze what your purpose of blaming is. You want to correct the person, is that why you are blaming? Or are you blaming just because you want to vent out your emotions? What is your attitude? Why do you want to do it? Venting out your emotions or blaming someone only shows how immature you are, how much jealousy you have, how you have no control over your own mind, and how much more you need meditation and all this. Isn’t it?

There is a very beautiful couplet in Kannada which I used to study in school. It says, ‘If you have built a home in the forest and you say that you are scared of animals, what can I tell you? You have built a home on the seashore and then you are scared of waves, what can I advise you? And you have built a home right in the middle of the city, and you are averse to noise, what can I advise you? In the same way, having built a home on the top of a hill, you say that you don’t like breeze, you don’t like wind and you are scared of wind, what can I tell you? Similarly, being in this world, in the society, if you are scared of blame and praise and say that I don’t want to be praised or blamed, what can I tell you? I take refuge at the feet of my lord and then there is comfort wherever I am. The only comfort is the refuge at the feet of the lord’. It is so beautiful!

Which is the place where there is no fear? That is when I take refuge at the feet of the Divine. In school, we used to laugh at these little poems in our textbooks. But now I think they have removed all these poems.

So, that used to be a lesson for us, that if someone blames you or criticizes you or they praise you, you should treat them the same, you should not be worried about it. Stand up to criticism. And give constructive criticism with compassion. A criticism should go with compassion and care. That works. Blaming is out of anger, jealousy, hatred and does not work. It does not yield any result.

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