Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, this is a very common thing. In India, we had a program with about 20,000-25,000 people. I usually say that anyone who comes to the ashram should leave their worries and problems here, and go back home with a smile.
One lady said, ‘My problem is my mother-in-law, can I leave her here?’
I told her, ‘Wait, let me ask your mother-in-law what is her problem! And your husband! He may say, 'Both of them are my problem, can I also leave them here?’
I told that lady, 'Look, you have a mother, right? Did you not fight with your mother on a routine basis? When you fought with your mother, you forgot it the next day. In fact, your mother was even harsher than your mother-in-law!’
She said, ‘Yes, but she is my mother!’
I said, 'It is the same. Your mother-in-law is also your mother. They belong to same category, same age group. In fact, she is a little more cautious because you are the daughter-in-law so she doesn't scold you as much as your mother. Why don't you win her over with your love? Why do you take what she tells you so seriously?'
When you fight with your mother, do you stop talking to your mother? Do you hate your mother because your mother was not very nice to you? No! So, treat your mother-in-law the same way as your mother. You know she has her limitations, and her own life, so why don't you win her over with love? What is the big thing?
Most problems happen because of the way we talk. You may want to have a carrot salad, and your mother-in-law may want a celery salad. So, on one day let her have her way, and on another day you have your way. What is the big thing about it? You don't need to be bogged down for this, or hate her for this. How long are they going to be on this planet? Anyway, you are going to be here longer than her.
Imagine yourself in the same position. You have a son that grows up, gets married, and the daughter-in-law comes to your home and she hates you. Would you like to be in that situation? Would you like to be in a situation where your own daughter-in-law hates you and takes your son away from you? You would not like that, then why do you do that?
We live in a world that is so complex, people are so different, and we have to live with them. See, there are all types of animals living in the forest, from tigers to deer. They don't say, 'I am going to live in a separate forest and you live in a separate forest'. Sometimes you become a deer, and sometimes you become a tigress, that is okay. You don't have to be a deer all the time. But don't be a tigress all the time and keep frowning at someone. Even they don't prey all their life. They remain like the deer, sometime at least, when they are not hungry. So, endure people at home. Be a beacon of light, a beacon of joy to the home you have gone to. Know that you can change the situation and you can change people. If you find that an old dog cannot learn new tricks, they are too old, then accept them the way they are. Never mind! It is necessary for us to see life from a bigger picture.
If you hate someone too much you will have no freedom from them. You will be born with them or they will be born to you. Then you are stuck with them for your lifetime; not only this lifetime but even the next lifetime. So it is better that you make peace and be happy with them so that you get freedom.
Suppose you hate your mother-in-law and she hates you, and she dies or you die, both of you are going to come back to finish the score again! I tell you, it is going to be tougher the next time, much tougher. It is better you swallow the bitter pill or whatever their tendencies are and forgive them and give only joy. Be compassionate and stop hating people.
If you are a daughter-in-law, you have gone into a house which is very challenging, your first challenge is to see how you can win over the people's mind and heart.
Know that you have the capacity to change people, especially when you are on this path. We are changing the mindsets of terrorists, even they are getting transformed, can't you change the mind of that one poor lady? If not change her, why not just accept her the way she is? She maybe singing off tune, let her sing. Sometimes, off tune singing becomes a fashion, it becomes a new style of singing. Let it go on and have patience.
Wisdom can pull you through this sort of mental self created agonies.