H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

AKRITA DROHA (not generating hostility)

By Matsya Avatara Dasa

From the book: the 26 Qualities of the Spiritual Researcher

Other meanings:

not insolent, not provoking


not making any enemy

not quarrelling with anyone

not hurting anyone (with thoughts, words or actions)

Akrita droha is the virtue of one who does not create hostility. It is a great quality: it means that an individual, while performing his task and accomplishing his role, including the social role, does not create hostility in others, and not because he is a passive personality, he abstains from action and is uninterested in what happens around him, but because he acts in a positive and constructive way, developing good relationships and contributing to the creation of a healthy and productive environment around himself.

Some persons create tensions, conflicts and agitation wherever they are, even inducing generally pacific persons to quarrel and fight.

Among the meanings of the term droha we find "damage, evil, perfidy, cheating, offense", while akrita means "not doing". Sometimes in Sanskrit language a virtue is described as the absence of a defect, and this has an interesting psychological value, because it contains an indication on how to proceed in order to develop one's personality: first of all abstain from this, and later you will be able to operate according to the objective you want to attain. Akrita droha is a person who is delicate, sensitive, and therefore has a healthy and strong intelligence properly performing its main function of discernment, something that distinguishes us from the animals and also from less evolved humans.

One who possesses this virtue tries not to cause damage or commit offenses, or to start destructive dynamics, that will later have a heavy effect on the prospects of future life.

We can also consider the importance of good example: our personal behavior influences other people and can induce them to do the same things. Action carries within itself a principle of repetition and emulation. This psychological law has a universal value, both on the individual and on the collective mind. Once we have performed an action, once we have activated an event, this keeps reproducing itself in the unconscious memory, where it lies in the form of latent recording, or samskara, to bubble up in the moments when the ego becomes weaker due to sleepiness, hunger, tiredness, or some trauma. Thus we should not delude ourselves about getting rid of an evil action simply by pretending we have forgotten it.

In Bhagavad-gita, akrita droha corresponds to ahimsa, generally translated as "non-violence". However, the non-violence indicated as ahimsa is something very deep and includes not only the field of action, but also the fields of word and even thoughts.

To be ahimsa or akrita droha also means, for example, not generating fear and sense of insecurity, because in fear and insecurity people become restless or aggressive.

In the beginning the neophyte is completely concentrated on the application of a virtue at the time, but with practice behavior becomes modified and simultaneously includes more of them. Of course this cannot be improvised, but it must be attained through a constant spiritual practice (abhyasa), emotional detachment (variagya) and the careful, merciful and loving care of a good spiritual guide. In fact very rarely a person will be able to overcome his own limitations exclusively with his own devices; if that were possible, we could legitimately ask why he has not done so yet.

Akrita droha is also a tolerant person; there is in fact a very close connection between tolerance and absence of conflicts. It is necessary to make a clear distinction between tolerance and endurance. At some point, tolerance must lead us to the solution of the problem; at the time when time, place and circumstance are favorable, a tolerant person who has kept his silence or pretended not to see, finally solves the problem or takes the opportunity to educate and correct. Endurance is not negligence or indifference, but is a part of tolerance; however when it is not supported by planning, it does not consider a positive alternative that leads to a solution, it consumes the component of virtue and changes into something corrupt, in a passive, tamasic attitude1. Such passivity can even generate addiction and tie the victim to his torturer, therefore it is doubly repulsive and there is a moral duty to react according to one's possibilities.

There are many shameful situations, one of the most obvious is constituted by the slaughterhouses, towards which a passive acceptance is simply guilty. Mankind needs a different level of culture, a range of values that enables us to understand the priority of life, otherwise passive endurance becomes indifference and creates degradation.

Human beings have a tendency to commit mistakes; if we do not tolerate the mistakes of others, and we take hard action against every little fault, conflicts are generated. Being tolerant is the best way to teach someone not to commit the same mistakes again. If someone makes mistakes but does not disrupt our way of life, does not cause us damage, we can avoid taking note of them, but this is not tolerance: real tolerance comes into play when the behavior of others is hurting our interest.

There can be two reasons why an individual does not become agitated then suffering damage due to the actions of others: one is because he has not realized he is being hurt, and thus in this case he is not tolerant but rather foolish. The other reason is because he is trying to understand the causes that originate that destructive behavior, to help those who have triggered it. Only when the causes have been pinpointed, we can neutralize the action that causes disturbance, aggression or damage.

A characteristic of tolerance is the understanding of the causes that create conflicts, thus, sooner or later, one who is tolerant will find the way to respond adequately. The person who is akrita droha will find the way to give satisfaction to his interlocutor, not by blocking him but trying to help him attain what he wants without causing damage to anyone; this requires a high level of intelligence.

Not generating conflicts does not mean becoming an accomplice of someone who aims at attaining an adharmic purpose, that leads to a wrong direction, but it often means taking one's distance. This offers two possibilities: neglecting the badly oriented person, allowing him to sink away, or competently show the danger, the uselessness or the destructiveness of the path he has chosen. This is a difficult task because it is not difficult not to create conflicts with those who share our same goals, but it takes a lot of ability and balance to avoid conflicts with those who are walking in the direction that is opposite to ours. We need to act "surgically" at the suitable time.

Very often conflicts with others are just a projection of one's own inner conflicts, of one's own dissatisfaction.

Qualities such as kripalu, akrita droha, and others that we will study later need an inner state of satisfaction and contentment, in Sanskrit santosha. A discontented person is often agitated and anxious, therefore he is unable to be kind to others, and sometimes can even become unpleasant. Individuals who are suffering from inner conflicts, dissatisfied and imbalanced cannot avoid creating hostility. The seed creating the many selfish activities is precisely dissatisfaction, and therefore it is necessary to work organically on all the twenty-six qualities, because each one of them needs the others in order to be developed and integrated, just like the treatment of an organ of the body needs the other organs to be healthy.

Egotic impulses are the most elementary and animalistic instincts, that in the modern cultural tendency towards "natural life" risk becoming destructive. We do not aspire to become animals, that are entirely natural: we want a combination of culture and nature.

We have already mentioned the indolent person, one who turns his back to a problem, who does not want to expose himself and does not take a stand because he does not want to be involved. Superficially we could say that such a person does not create conflicts, while actually he becomes the accomplice of conflicts because unreasonable disengagement towards the evils of society causes the aggravation of such evils; if those who perform bad actions find some obstacles their bad actions become less prominent, while if they are surrounded by a crowd of uncommitted people, their unhealthy actions prosper.

In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna remarks that every person must perform his duty: a father must take action when his children behave in a bad way, and teachers must educate their pupils.

A child, a younger brother, a subordinate, can be corrected by someone who has the authority to do so, and if this is accompanied by authoritativeness, generally the correction is successful. For such correction to be effective, the person who corrects needs to be free from anger and from personal resentments, and to be solely acting for the benefit of his ward. In this way, the subordinate will not only correct his behavior, but will also develop a strong sense of gratitude towards the person who has facilitated his change.

1 From tamas: ignorance, inertia, dullness.

No comments:

Post a Comment