Your Child is Ugly
He was sitting in the train staring into space while his three noisy children were running around causing mayhem. “Why isn’t he stopping them?” she thought annoyingly. “What kind of a father is he?”
Suddenly, almost as though he heard her thoughts, the man came out of his trance. “Please forgive me,” he said to the lady sitting beside him. Looking at his carefree and happy children, he seemed oblivious to the chaos they were causing. And then softly, he said, “We are on the way to the hospital where their mother has just passed away from an accident.” Still looking at his children, he said, “I want to see them this happy for as long as I can. After today, nothing will ever be the same.”
Mystics explain that human beings are the top of creation because they are the only species that have the power of discrimination – the ability to determine right from wrong. The purpose of this precious gift of discrimination was for human beings to make the right choices for themselves, towards their own progress and evolution.
But somewhere along the way, under the influence of the ego, human beings started to use this faculty to judge everyone and everything but themselves. Consider how many things in everyday life are subject to judgment: the weather, politics, people, food, behaviour, clothes, attitude; every moment of the day people are judging something or someone. “The weather is awful,” “She is so talkative,” “That politician is a fool,” “The food was horrible.”
People render judgment too easily and often without considering the consequences. In fact, often we don’t even realize we are being judgmental when we make comments about situations or people. The question arises, what exactly does “being judgmental” mean?
The dictionary defines the word “judgmental” as a negative word used to describe someone who has or displays an excessively critical point of view; one who forms an opinion without knowing all aspects of a situation or one who thinks of himself as superior to others.
The Sufi mystics have said that to not pass judgment on others is not just a question of kindness, etiquette and sympathy; it is considered an attitude of worship towards the Lord. It is based on the realization that the Supreme Father is the creator of all and therefore all beings are his children. It is from this perspective that they equate judging others with pointing out the defects of a child. Would anyone ever say to a mother, “Your child is ugly”?
In the same way, mystics remind us that the Lord resides in the heart of every living being. By judging or pointing out the defects of others, we are doing so in the presence of the divine Parent.
Beware of injuring the heart of any man. God lives there. To those who break another’s heart, the gates of heaven shall ever remain closed.
Maharaj Jagat Singh, The Science of the Soul
Sant Mat teaches us that every human being is a complex creation of past actions and reactions whose thoughts and behaviour are based on the individual’s karmic DNA. There is no way of knowing what a person has been through to reach his current disposition in life. It is impossible to understand why people behave the way they do or what part of their mental, physical and emotional history from hundreds and thousands of lifetimes has led to a particular action or behaviour.
Pundit Lal Chand, a close friend and colleague of Sardar Bahadur Ji, recalls an incident in 1921 when he felt unhappy with one of his laboratory superiors. One day, he complained bitterly to Sardar Bahadur Ji about the behaviour of his senior colleague. Sardar Bahadur Ji listened quietly to him and then said:
Every man’s mind and understanding are conditioned by his own previous karmas, and though he tries to project himself in his best light before others, he thinks and acts according to his karmas. If you do not approve of a person’s thoughts and actions, it does not mean that you should hate him, nor does it entitle you to speak ill of him. Never hate anyone; any caste, creed, race or nation. Slander and hatred are unpardonable sins.
Maharaj Jagat Singh Ji, as quoted in Heaven on Earth
After Sardar Bahadur Ji urged Pundit Ji to go to his colleague and seek his forgiveness for speaking ill of him, the man was deeply moved. From then onwards, he always treated Pundit Ji with affection and respect.
The fact is, passing judgment on others is an act of monumental pride. It exposes the state of our own heart and reveals our lack of capacity for kindness and empathy. When we judge others, in that moment of weakness, we forget that we too have flaws and weaknesses.
He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Bible: John 8:7
Instead of judging, the saints advice us to have a charitable view – to accept everything and everyone as they are. And the only way to attain this level of surrender is to keep taking the “medication” of meditation.
By focusing the mind on simran as much and as often as possible, we keep the ego at bay. Replacing negative thoughts with simran cleanses the vessel of the mind, preparing it to receive the nectar of Nam.
It is this elixir of love that subdues the ego, and washes away all the negative qualities of the mind. Only when the mind is pure does one see the spark of God in everyone. And at that stage, automatically, there is no more judging, only understanding, acceptance and love.
Indulging in criticism or praise is sinful because no one can be described as he really is. If we must praise anyone, we should praise our Guru, and if we must find fault with anyone, it should be with ourselves.
Soami Ji Maharaj, Sar Bachan Prose