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SOCIAL INTERACTIVITY

MAITRI KARUNA MUDITOPEKSANAM SUDKHA DUKHA PUNYAPUNYA VISAYANUM BHAVANATAS CITTA PRASADANAM

By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.

Whether you are interested in reaching samadhi or plan to ignore Yoga entirely, I would advise you to remember at least this one sutra. It will be very helpful to you in keeping a peaceful mind in your daily life. You may not have any great goal in your life, but just try to follow this one sutra very well and you will see its efficacy (effectiveness). In my own experience, this sutra became my guiding light to keep my mind serene always.

Who would not like serenity of mind always? Who would not like to be very happy always?

Everybody, every being, wants to be happy.

So Patanjali gives four keys:
  1. Friendliness
  2. Compassion
  3. Delight
  4. Disregard

There are only four kinds of social locks in the world.

Keep these four keys always with you, and when you come across any one of these four locks you will have the proper key to open it.

What are those four locks?

They are:

  1. Sukha - the happy people
  2. Duhkha - the unhappy people
  3. Punya - the virtuous people
  4. Apunya - the wicked people

At any given moment, you can fit any person into one of these four categories.

THE HAPPY: FRIENDLINESS

When you see a happy person, use the "friendliness" key.

Why should Patanjali say this? Because even four thousand years ago there must have been people who were not happy at seeing others happy. It is still the same way. Suppose somebody drives up in a big car, parks in front of her huge palatial home and gets out. Some other people are standing on the pavement in the hot sun getting tired. How many of those people will be happy? Not many. They will be saying, "See that big car? She is sucking the blood of the laborers." We come across people like that; they are always jealous. When a person gets name, fame, or high position, they try to criticize that person. "Oh, don't you know, her brother is so-and-so; she must have pulled some strings somewhere." They will never admit that she might have gone up by her own merit. By that jealousy, you will not disturb her, but you disturb your own serenity. She simply got out of the car and walked into the house, but you are burning inside. Instead, think "Oh, such a fortunate person. If everybody were like that how happy the world would be. I will also get that one day." Make that person a friend in your mind. That response is missed in many cases, not only between individuals but even among nations. When some nation is prospering, the neighboring country is jealous of it and wants to ruin its economy. So we should always have the key of friendliness when we see happy people.

THE UNHAPPY: COMPASSION

And what of the next lock, the unhappy people?

Well, Swami said everybody has their own karma; the unhappy person must have done some wretched thing in his last birth. Let him suffer now." That should not be our attitude. Maybe, they are suffering from previous bad karma, but we should cultivate compassion. If you can lend a helping hand, do it. If you can share half of your loaf, share it. Be merciful always. By doing that, you will retain the peace and poise of your mind. Remember, our goal is to keep the serenity of our mind. Whether our mercy is going to help that person or not, by our own feeling of mercy, at least we are helped.

THE VIRTUOUS: DELIGHT

Then comes the third kind, the virtuous people. When you see a virtuous person, feel delighted. "Oh, how great they are. Isn't it great that such people exist." Do not envy them; don't try to pull them down. Appreciate the virtuous qualities in them and try to cultivate these qualities in your own life.

THE WICKED/VICIOUS: DISREGARD/IGNORE

And lastly, the wicked are full of vice.

We come across wicked people sometimes. We can't deny that. So what should be our attitude? Indifference. "Well, some people are like that. Probably I was like that yesterday. Am I not a better person now? He will probably be all right tomorrow." Do not try to advise such people because wicked people seldom take good advice. If you try to advise them, you will lose your peace.

SOCIAL CONFLICT

If a confrontation is in escalation and emotions are becoming fiery and the mind disturbed by negativity; anger, hatred, fear, or some other upset, then it is advisable to remove oneself from the situation, or give the opponent the victory in your mind, and to forgive most sincerely from the heart.

Whatever you do, do not provoke the situation into violence and stand firm by the vow of harmlessness (ahimsa). If you can escape the situation then do so, if not then you have a duty to defend yourself.


Summary

Is there any other categories you can think of? Patanjali groups all individuals in these four ways:

  • The happy
  • The unhappy
  • The virtuous
  • The wicked

So use these four appropriate attitudes:

  • Friendliness
  • Compassion
  • Gladness
  • Indifference

These four keys should always be with you in your pocket. Write them down in your diary or personal organizer if you feel it may help. If you use the right key with the right person, you will retain your peace of mind. Nothing in the world can upset you then. Remember, our goal is to keep a serene mind. From the very beginning of Patanjali's sutras we are reminded of that. And this sutra will help us a lot.


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