Sahrdayam sammanasyam vidvesam krnomi va¡
Anyo anyamabhi haryata vatsam jatamivaghnya
- Atharvaveda 3/30/1
"I create kindheartedness, understanding and amity for you. As a cow loves her newrborn calf, so should you have love for one another".
Tact and understanding are interrrelated. Only those who are tactful can develop mutual understanding, and only those who know the art of such understanding can be tactful. The whole edifice of jivana sadhana
stands on these two pillars of behaviour. Any deficiency or malfunctioning in them makes the course of life topsyrturvy. Many practical difficulties and mental disorders crop up like weeds and prevent the growth of inherent potentialities.
Those who aspire for jivana sadhana
and development of their inherent capacities must be thoroughly proficient in the art of tactful dealing and mutual adjustment, because only when there is a certain level of peace in outer life, could there be attainment of calmness and concentration in the inner life and uninterrupted flow of spiritual consciousness. Persons oblivious of the essence of jivana sadhana
often neglect this truth. As a result, not only their daily life becomes disturbed, but their interior also remains uneasy, sad and restless.
To emerge out of this syndrome, we should develop deep understanding of our practical life. In the words of the great poetrsaint Kabir, our behaviour should be such as "auron ko sheetal kare, apahu sheetal hoye" (makes others cool and remains cool itself). How all this could be possible in the present atmosphere of jealousy, ill will and suffocation, and if possible, what could be the methodology to cultivate these attributes? This question may be agitating the minds of readers. But for the practitioner of jivana sadhana, the solution is very simple. We have just to assimilate some key elements of lofty thought and conduct in our lives.
We will have to honestly accept the truth
that it is the thought and emotions which we sow in the soil of life that, after germinating and growing according to the seeds, appear before us as the harvest r As we sow, so we reap. Therefore, we should always be alert about what we are thinking of others, what is our feeling towards them. Any ill feeling or ignoble thought must not be allowed to gain foothold in the mind under any circumstances, regardless of what feelings others may be harbouring towards us. For his malevolence, the other person will be responsible, and he, not we, will reap its poisonous fruits in due time. If we react by reciprocating in kind, thorns will start littering our lives too. Hence we should imbibe this verity of life well this very moment.
Now for the key to behaviour, the first point to note is that our behaviour is two layered. In the first layer come those persons with whom our dealing is very intense and intimate, for example, members of the family. The second layer comprises of all others whom we meet for some reason for a specific duration. This duration could range from a few minutes to a few years. In our behaviour towards the intimate persons, we should try to understand minutely their personalities, their tastes and their sentiments, and try our utmost never to be the cause of their hurt. Another important thing in this regard is that while we should perform our duties towards them, we should, on our part, have no expectation from them. This attitude will ensure both mutual adjustment and tactful dealing.
Of the persons in the second layer, too, we should try to develop an objective understanding of their personilities. It is true that this requires keen insight, but the external aspects of the personality can be gauged even with common sense. With this understanding, we will be able to identify the particular aspect of a person's personality with which we can have a working adjustment. In routine interaction, we should consciously avoid interfering in another's private life or offering unsolicited advice. Giving opinions or sermonizing all the time without rhyme or reason strains mutual cordiality.
Param Poojya Gurudev was supremely proficient in the art of pragmatic behaviour and mutual understanding which was often noticed in small events and gestures in his life. Whenever a visitor came, Gurudev would get up to give him a welcome. He would draw a chair himself and offer it to the guest even if many parijans
be present there. If any of them attempted to help him, he would politely decline and say "It is my responsibility". "Give respect, take advice" r Gurudev was a personification of this aphorism, whereas we are wont to do the reverse, i.e. we give advice and expect respect.
Another key to tact and understanding is to distribute pleasure and share pain. Gurudev used to become very moved to see anyone in misery. He was ever ready to sacrifice every pleasure to mitigate a visitor's sufferings and would spend a big part of his tapa
acquisition for this purpose. His followers have to tread this very lofty path. Their behaviour towards others and their mutual relationships should be suffused with love. If difficulties come in the way they should bear them stoically and at no stage should thus get perturbed by adversities.
A conversation was going on between Yagyavalkya and Janak. Janak was asking how to recognize the path if there is no medium for radiance.
Yagyavalkya suggested the names of sun, moon, stars, fire, lamp etc. and also indicated gurus and shastras. But the king wanted to know that if all the provisions, arrangements, avenues come to an end, where will the light come from?
Yagyavalkya then told about the last alternative r our inner intellect and reasoning. Using these like the oil and the wick, the difficult paths can be recognized.