Focus on Yourself

Day-3 LTP Challenge:  Think of a person in whom you have been finding faults. Think of three good things in that person.
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Date: 3rd May 2021

Someone rightly said, “Nothing is easier than fault-finding.”  With competitiveness and unrealistic expectations prevailing as a universal phenomenon, it has become second nature for us to criticize, find faults, and discuss other’s shortcomings behind their backs.  Earlier, we had talked about the need to restrain ourselves from gossip.  Today, on the third day of the Life Transformation Challenge, we will go a step further.

Besides refraining from gossiping, we must not even indulge in fault-finding in others.  The urge to find faults with others arises from the impurity of our own mind.  The nature of the virtuous mind is to see the good in others.  Whereas, the nature of the polluted mind is to gravitate to others’ weaknesses.  Let us illustrate how finding fault with others depends on the state of our own mind through the following ancient story.

There is a story about Yudhisthira and Duryodhana.  Gurudev Dronachrya instructed both of them differently.  He said to Yudhisthira, “Go and find somebody who is worse than you. If you do, come and report him to me”.  On the other hand, he said to Duryodhana, “Go out today into the city and see if you can find somebody better than you.  If you do, come and tell me about him”.

They both went out in search of such kind of people and returned in the evening to appraise Gurudev Dronachrya.   Duryodhana said, “Gurudev, I tried my best, but was unable to find anybody superior to me.”  Yudhisthira on the other hand said, “Gurudev I tried and tried and tried to find somebody worse than me and was unable to come across anyone until I found this man who was trying to pull water out from the well.  Since this was the Nirjala Ekadashi day, I thought, ‘What! He is wanting to drink water on this day, he is worse than me!’  However, the man started bathing with it when he took out the water.  Upon seeing this action, I thought to myself, ‘I saw defects in him. I am the worst.’”  Gurudev smiled after listening to the two of them and thought, “What a complete difference in natures of the minds of Duryodhana and Yudhisthira!”

So, remember when we point fingers at others, there are three fingers that are pointed towards us.  This world is a mixture of dualities.  The Ramayan states, “The Creator has made this world with dualities.  There is the day and the night; there is cold and heat; there is success and failure.”  In entities as well, the rose bush has the luxurious flower and the obnoxious thorn.  In the same way, everybody is a bag of virtues and defects.

Watch this video by Swami Mukundananda –

If our mind contemplates the defects of others, not only is it a poor reflection of our consciousness, instead, such contemplation only increases our own imperfections. The biggest loss though is that it turns our mind away from our infirmities because we are so engrossed about those of others.  This lack of care in eradicating our own weaknesses results in an escalation of our shortcomings leaving us full of defects.

We can understand this kind of nature with one simpler anecdote.  One father asked his two sons to get up early in the morning so that they would practice yoga for holistic health.  The eldest son got up and was practicing yoga with his father, whereas the younger son continued to sleep.  Upon seeing his younger brother, the elder one said, “Father look what a terrible boy he is.  He is sleeping when you had asked us to wake up and practice.”  Father replied, “My son, if you were to wake up early and see the defects in your younger brother, it would have been better if you had kept on sleeping.”

In the same way, people develop this kind of fault-finding habit.  Even though they go to spiritual congregations and attend inspirational gatherings, the mind, out of past habit, only chooses to see the defects of others.  Unfortunately, they are the ones who lose out.

That is why we need to transform this old habit. Rather than looking for others’ weaknesses, let us show our mind our own innumerable weaknesses.  We need to constantly examine our mind and be conscious of what kind of thoughts we keep in it.  We must confront of our habit of criticizing and pointing fingers at others and devote time to correcting our own flaws.

So, today on the third day of this Life Transformation Challenge, let us make a resolve, henceforth, I will not see the faults of others.  If my mind urges me to do so, I will divert it and show to it my own innumerable defects.  For that is the way to the light; that is the way forward and that is the way to enlightenment.  We will continue this journey in finding yet another life transformational gem of wisdom as we progress along.

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