Do not injure the Feelings of Others – Keep all happy

In order to tread the path of spirituality it is necessary to abstain from injuring the feelings of others and to imbibe the virtue of sympathy with others and to hearten them. Injury to the feelings of others produces darkness in the heart, while sympathizing with others and keeping them satisfied fills the heart with light. Injury to feelings of others results in impurity and disfiguration, while sympathy leads to beauty and decoration. One leads to hardening and difficulties, while the other leads to softening and simplicity. Injury to the feelings of others means causing pain to their hearts.

This takes three forms:

  1. Mental: Control your mind so that the thought of injuring others does not enter it.

  2. Vocal: Keep watch on your tongue so that it may not utter any improper words. It should not be soiled with impolite or abusive words. Abuse is one, but its reverberations are many. Evil words lead to disputes, disharmony and sufferings. An angry man in uttering improper words uses the basest of abuses and wants to win the field, but a saint admits defeat and keeps silent. Abuses are like live coals and emit smoke of anger, rage and backbiting. One can be called a sadhu only if he gives them up.

    The abuse is one when it comes, but many when it reverberates. Oh Kabir, if it is not returned, it remains one only. Abuse leads to disputes, sufferings and disharmony. He who admits defeat is a saint; he who quarrels is mean. Abuse is a live coal and anger, deceit and backbiting are smoke. He who remains aloof from them is called a holy man.

    Kabir Sahib

    Drink wine and burn the carpet. Set fire to the Ka'aba. Become the dweller of the idol house. But give up injuring the feelings of others.

  3. Bodily or Physical: Control the body so that none of the organs, hands or feet may cause harm to anyone. To cause pain to another man's heart is violence which is forbidden. He who wounds the heart of others by his words or actions is a great sinner. A society, tribe, religion or nation which injures, either openly or secretly, another for gaining its own ends can be classed as a sinner. Among the various classes (varnas), violence in the shape of mutual opposition is taking place. This is so even in religious institutions. They go on working for or against each other and hurt the feelings of others. Meat eating is bad, but the religious leaders (monopolisers) are in reality man-eaters and drinkers of the blood of the people. They are cutting them to pieces by talking ill of others, calling them parsimonious and other bad names. They are sowing sin at the root of duties (dharma) and increasing suffering and unrest in the world.

The heart is the true mosque of God. It is the temple of the Lord. Everyone's heart is the Lord's tabernacle. He who causes pain to hearts strikes and breaks that temple. He who causes pain to others not only desecrates and ruins the temples of others, but demolishes the temple of his own heart also. The world is like a machine and we are its parts. Even if one part is injured, the machine cannot run properly. Even if one organ of the body ails, the whole body becomes restless. The world is like a body of which we are parts. How can we be happy if we injure any organ ? If one understands this, he does not injure any living being or any other inanimate object, to say nothing of injuring a man. His whole way of thinking, speaking and acting changes. Mind, speech and body are the means of doing both evil and good. A man becomes the doer of evil and good through them. To think ill of others is a sin of the mind. Jealousy, hatred and enmity are evils of the mind. Harsh words, criticism of others, speaking ill of them and abusing them are sins of speech. Wrong actions are sins of the body. These include adultery, killing and violence. Non-violence is the just duty.

Not to hurt the feelings of others by thought, word and action is a good principle. This can only happen when we have love for the Lord who pervades all. A seeker after spirituality never hurts the feelings of others as he believes that all are His creation. On the other hand, he sympathizes with them. Guru Arjan Sahib says that he who wants to attain complete happiness should practise truth and consider the transcendental One as pervading everywhere. Contemplate on Name and by becoming dust of all merge in the Lord.

He who wants complete happiness should practise truth, should consider the transcendental One as present and contemplate on Name. By becoming dust of all he merges in the Lord. He does not cause sufferings to anyone and sympathises with all.

Gauri War M5, 322-8

He who knows the Lord is not proud. Violence and greed leave him. He who is proud does not give up violence and greed.

Sarang M1, 1198-2

Guru Nanak says that we should be compassionate to the Lord's creatures and engage in charity.

Be kind to all creatures and do charity.

Asa War M1, 468-11

Kabir says a man should always be kind-hearted and should never be hard-hearted. From ants to elephants, all are creatures of the Lord.

Be kind in heart and never be hard-hearted. All are creatures of God - from ant to elephant.

What is meant by keeping others happy or pleased? This does not mean that we should follow like a shadow, or should improperly cajole or flatter them. We should have sympathy and compassion for all. Sympathy is nothing but pleasing others. We should, as far as possible, not think ill of others by speech, act or thought. The vessel of the heart should not be polluted by thinking ill of others. If one has love for the Lord and sympathy and good wishes for His creation, then all thoughts of hatred, jealousy, enmity and stinginess disappear of themselves. The path of the saints is that of love, and true dharma (duty) is to love all.

To love the Lord and His creatures and not to injure anyone (non-violence) is the duty of man. The learned have included the virtues such as

  1. Mercy
  2. Contentment
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Truthfulness
  5. Sweetness
  6. Austerity
  7. Charity
  8. Purity in dharma.

Only a Dharmatma (dutiful person) is endowed with these virtues. He is the best among men.

He to whom truth is fasting, contentment the sacred place, knowledge and contemplation the baths, compassion the Lord and forgiveness the rosary, is sublime.

Sarang War M1, 1245-9

Guru Nanak says that the true sacred thread (Janeo) is made of cotton of compassion, thread of contentment tied in the knot of continence and spun with truth. Such a thread never breaks and is not soiled.

When with compassion as cotton, thread of contentment is spun with twist and tied in knot with continence, such a sacred thread is fit to be put on. Oh Pandit, wear it.

Asa War M5, 471-2

Those who wear such a thread are really blessed. These virtues will now be briefly discussed in the next Chapter.