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and perform the same tasks ourselves. We have no problems seeing flaws in others, but the majority of the time; we fail to acknowledge our own shortcomings. In reality, we cover up our own mistakes and weaknesses to help ourselves feel better through taking extensive measures to conceal our dark parts while highlighting only our good points. Although it is difficult to do, yet we should strive to ensure we do not overestimate our own virtues while at the same time, intentionally amplifying the flaws of others. It is easy to pick faults in other people and this is because in reality, we do so in order to gain subconscious enjoyment from finding negative aspects in others. Based on this, the most enlightened people are those who accept their own ambiguity. Why must we cast judgment upon others? What good can come out of vilifying strangers, other than appeasing our own insecurities? We consider others as being full of flaws, but through our own selfish measures, consider ourselves to be flawless individuals. Instead, we should focus on the positive characteristics of others, and not on their negative traits. Guru Sahib says that one should receive virtues while consciously pushing their vices aside. If we speak negatively about other people, it goes against our own spiritual way of living. The very purpose of religion is to control and improve oneself and not to criticize others. We should always speak nice of other people and find the goodness in them which we can take away and make improvements in ourselves. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (Ang 766) Let us speak of goodness, wherever we go and sit; let us skim off the Ambrosial Nectar, and drink it in. In fact, the pure soul sees all others as superior to himself. A person that is full of ego has a tendency to criticize others while the person with a pure mind never sees faults in others. Only a person that considers himself as superior to others sees faults in others and not in himself. Such a person tries to hide good qualities of the other person and hide his own bad qualities. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (Ang 186)
Do not say that anyone is good or bad. Renounce your arrogant pride, and grasp the Feet of the Lord. It is our weakness to criticize others, while we do not make any attempt to improve ourselves. We should try to correct ourselves instead of criticizing others. We try to ignore our weaknesses. In this way we are not true to ourselves. We should set an example for others to follow. We should behave to others as we expect others to behave towards us. Sheikh Fareed Ji says: (Ang 1378) Fareed, if you have a keen understanding, then do not write black marks against anyone else. Look underneath your own collar instead. Before criticizing others we should look in the mirror, as although we may be criticizing them, we may actually be indirectly chastising ourselves due to us having the same shortcomings. Do not point out a splinter in someone else’s eye when you have a plank of wood contained within yours. In other words, how much of the unappealing behavior is that which we reject in ourselves and instead, find it easier to see the problems in others? Sri Guru Amardaas Ji says: (Ang 115) This mind is a mirror; how rare are those who, as Gurmukh, see themselves in it. When we have flaws in ourselves, we would seriously dislike it if someone ignored all of our positive points and just continued pointing out our own shortcomings to us. This principle not only transcends the spiritual world, but also to the ego-driven world as well. We oftentimes judge others on being late or not showing up to religious events but in reality, how many functions do we attend ourselves, and when we do attend these functions, how often do we attend these functions for the right reasons in the first place? What about the many functions that we skip, or are too lazy to get out of bed for? The age-old saying will forever hold true, “Do onto others as you want to be done to you.” No matter what religion, or lack thereof, this phrase encompasses all. When tossing rocks from the so-called glass houses that we live in, we forget our own vulnerability and throw stones at other people in the form of criticism. We should be careful how we treat other people. How correct is the statement that a camel cannot see the crookedness of its own neck, but can see very far ahead of itself? This analogy is important to understand as it is about pointing out other persons’ sins and not seeing our own. It is about not changing the way we go about
our lives as we criticize others, while being guilty of the same or worse. We pick up on the faults of others, but remain blind to their good qualities. There are always weeds in a garden, but we shouldn’t forget to appreciate the flowers but this is often not the case because we instantly become miserable looking at the number of weeds and ignore all else. This means that we should appreciate the good points of others and not to dwell on their bad points. We should not say insulting things to other people because they could easily do the same thing to us. Therefore, we should be careful how we behave, because in trying to harm others we could bring trouble on ourselves. We should not gossip about other people, if we have secrets of our own. We are more interested in finding faults rather than seeking out the goodness in others. Whatever we see in others is only a reflection of our own self. If we accuse somebody of being bad, it is only because our feeling towards that person is bad. Whatever impression we have about others is a reflection of our feelings towards them. Everything is just reflection. We do not have the right to find faults in others, because our assessment of a person is solely limited to our experiences with him. No one has the right to criticize others. There are so many other aspects of a person’s personality that we do not know. Another analogy that will help us to realize how quickly our perception can be flawed is through looking through a tint or a lens. When we put on red glasses everything appears red and when we put on blue glasses everything appears blue. Only those people who fail to recognize this truth resort to criticism. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (Ang 85) We are good at talking, but our actions are bad. Mentally, we are impure and black, but outwardly, we appear white. It is peculiar that we appoint judges on a daily basis, to decide the fate of others. Instead of deciding the fate of others, we should judge ourselves. Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji says: (Ang 148) O Nanak, if someone judges himself, only then is he known as a real judge. Whatever we tend to find in others, is actually just a reflection of our own self. When proceeding through life, we must fulfill three different tenets. The first is that we should try to do well to those who have done harm to us, and forget the harm altogether. Secondly, we must disregard the help that we have given to
others; otherwise we will be expecting a reward for our actions. Lastly, always remember the help and service others have performed for us. Whether it is a close family member, or a total stranger, always express our gratitude. These are three simple rules, but very difficult to follow. Bhagat Kabeer Ji says: (Ang 1364) I am the worst of all. Everyone else is good. Whosoever understands this is a friend of mine. Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji says: (Ang 51) The whole world is engrossed in bad and good. God's devotee is above both, but those who understand this are very rare. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji says: (Ang 728) I am not good; no one is bad. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji repeatedly identifies himself with the lowly and poor – those same people that society has rejected. Through this omnipotent understanding of the world, Guru Sahib has bestowed upon us the notion of judging ourselves to achieve eternal bliss. Sri Guru Amardaas Ji says: (Ang 757) He calls others bad and good, as long as he is in duality. If we commit ourselves to practicing abstinence from fault finding in others we will instantly reap the abundance of spiritual rewards that will follow. In fact, the pure soul sees all others as superior to him and considers his own being to be insignificant. The further we move from our original pure consciousness and depart from goodness and start gravitating towards ignorance, the more our tendency to criticize others will show itself. The closer one comes to his original pure identity, the more he shows humility and freedom from seeing the faults in others. From this, the further one falls from his pure identity, the more he feels superior to others and begins to see faults in them and not in himself. This is the beginning of the end for this individual as ego has taken over his soul, and it is at this point that this person’s downfall is
imminent as he has forgotten that his blessings and success have all come from God and all glory belongs to heaven. Bachans of Dhan Baba Isher Singh Ji of Nanaksar: • • • Do not point a finger at others, if you like to lead a virtuous life. And you should lead such a virtuous life that no one gets an opportunity to point a finger at you. You should look at your own misdeeds and not at the misdeeds of others. That means that you should look towards the positive side of others and negative side of yours.
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