Educate and ignore people who do sinful acts

Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Knowledge Sheet 31

Continued from the previous Patanjali yoga sutra post on dealing with people who do meritorious acts.

Ignore people who do sinful acts - ‘upeksha’. If somebody says some untruth, just brush it off. It is not worth thinking about them. We do the reverse, we do not think about people who do meritorious acts but we keep thinking about people who do sinful things. We do not ignore them. We keep chewing on it.

In all the newspapers there are big reports about somebody who committed a murder or some heinous act. Their whole story and their picture appears in the paper. Of course, nowadays people are beginning to write some positive stories about people. But comparatively very little, isn’t it? So when you see people doing sinful things, educate them and ignore them.

Not just ignoring, but educating

You educate them out of compassion and ignore them. Otherwise you keep that in your mind and start worrying. You think somebody is imperfect and you keep thinking about it: “They are imperfect, they are imperfect.” And you become imperfect yourself. You are no better than them, you are equally imperfect. You are even worse than that person. You think that the person is wrong. You think you are right? Just look into you, your acts are worse than that person's. Remember something: when you point a finger at somebody, “You made a mistake", three fingers are pointing towards you. You are three times more responsible.

But if you stop saying you, me, then you turn inwards and it is one. The whole lecture could be in silence. Not you, not just me, but all. That is all. That is yoga, which unites this, this, this and this!

Maitrikaruna muditopekshanam sukhadukhapunyapunyavishayanam bhavanataschitta prasadanam

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Patanjali knew very well that humans have such feelings. He knows that the mind cannot have the same feeling towards everybody all the time. Feelings keep changing and feelings can be developed. So he said, have these feelings: friendliness, compassion, joy and happiness and ignore sinful things. Be indifferent – upeksha – to sinful things.

In this way, the chitta, your mind, is pleasant – ‘chitta prasādanam’ – gracious. In the gracious mind, one becomes one-pointed very easily. Practice one thing: devotion to one thing or one aspect. Even if that becomes very difficult, he says, he will give you one more sūtra.



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(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)