How Do We Get Along with Others?

Path to Siva Commentary, Lesson 57


For peace in the world stop the war in the home." The key to world peace is inside the individual. The most important thing I can do today is be peaceful. Harmony, peace and tolerance radiate out to the community from the home and from the Hindu temple. "Everything is all right, right now." Affirmation is a useful tool to move out of a disturbed state of mind. Practice being in the eternal now.

Path to Siva, Lesson 57.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

This morning we are reading from Path to Siva, Lesson 57.

"How Do We Get Along with Others? [Live alone! Just joking, just joking.]

"Family and community are extremely important in Hindu culture, and relationships are valued above all else. Every day we have many opportunities to do good, learn, help and uplift others. Many people find it hard to get along with others. They are always arguing and holding on to hard feelings. In order to maintain harmonious relationships, we must be peaceful on the inside. Then we can make the most of the opportunities life gives us. We cannot do our best if we are worried or upset. Peace of mind, called shanti in Sanskrit, is more precious than gold, and our Hindu culture gives us many tools for protecting it. Worship, service and yoga are three main tools. Gurudeva also valued another tool, called consideration the art of not hurting the feelings of others. We are kindly and sensitive in thought, word and deed. We treat others as we would like them to treat us. We praise their good qualities and good deeds. We never argue or use harsh or angry words. That destroys the shanti for everyone present and causes hurt feelings. The Tirukural warns, 'The wound caused by fire heals in its time. But the burn inflicted by an inflamed tongue never heals.' If we do have a disagreement, we make sure to talk with the person, apologize and forgive, and settle the matter before sleep. By living in harmony with everyone, we have more joy in our life and we are more effective human beings. It is most important to get along with our close family. Harmony begins in the home and radiates out into all parts of life, bringing light, love and good will to every relationship."

Then we have Gurudeva's quote:

"Diplomacy, a kind of love--one not wanting to hurt one's fellow man, suppression of the emotions of hate and anger--brings about a kind of harmony. These are products of the intellect which when developed into a strong intellectual sheath is able to control the baser emotions through controlled memory, controlled reason and controlled willpower, the three faculties of our ability to govern forces of nature."

Very nice. Looking for stories to back this up this morning and remembered the United Nations, Millenium Summit of Spiritual and Religious Leaders which caused me to think about the difference between spiritual and religious which is another topic but it's a very good question, right? What's the difference between a spiritual leader and a religious leader? Gurudeva prepared a talk for it which he also made into a Publisher's Desk. And I'll read you the story about it.

"My Gurudeva, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami was boldly direct..."

You'll all agree with that, right? Boldly direct that's a beautiful phrase.

"Of peace he declared, for peace in the world stop the war in the home."

Bringing it to the home level. This was his message to 1200 delegates at the Millennium World Peace Summit of religious and spiritual leaders at the United Nations in August of 2000.

"While Gurudeva recognized the importance of governmental peace making he placed even greater emphasis on the role of the individual. He stressed at the United Nations and elsewhere that each individual who becomes more peaceful inside himself or herself creates a more peaceful planet and moves us a tiny step closer to world peace, one person, one home, one community at a time."

In other words, when people talk about world peace it's generally, never gets down to themselves, you know. It's talking about changing things in the outside world. Well, we'll change this, we'll change that, we'll do this in our schools, well we'll do this at the United Nations. It's all external. And Gurudeva's saying, well that's important. We're not going to say that we shouldn't do those things but we also want to do it, I guess we call it grass roots level. One person at a time coming up. That the key to world peace is peace inside the individual. The individual doesn't have inner peace, he or she is going to end up disturbing others because that lack of peace inside will manifest in actions outside. If the individual can find peace inside and maintain it then the home can be peaceful and that leads to peace in the community. So the individual, the home, and then the community comes third, or the neighborhood.

I think the point that the lesson makes nicely is that peace is more valuable than gold. In other words, it's under rated. We don't think about it or value it that much that the most important thing I can do today is be peaceful. We don't think of it in that terms. But, if you're peaceful then the family is peaceful, the neighborhood is peaceful, you're sharing peace with the people you meet during the day. But if you're not peaceful then that doesn't happen. And that's a large part of what religion tries to emphasize is, and all religions try and give us tools for finding peace.

I remember I gave a talk, it was at a kumbhabhishekam in Perth, Australia at the Siva temple there, moving from a small building to a very large one. Lots of interesting stories about that event. And, they had some governmental officials there. This was in western Australia. So it's the state of western Australia. Certain high, high officials in the government were there and I wanted to say something they could understand. I didn't talk about the murti, deities coming from the inner world and blessing, you know it, nothing mystical.

So, I said: The benefit of having this temple here is that those who attend regularly will be more peaceful because of that. Then I went on to explain the rest. And of course, the individual is more peaceful it means there will be more peace in the home and radiate out into the community in the form of tolerance. Tolerance is the word I used there because the idea of a mixed community, mixed ethnicities, mixed religions and so forth. We have more tolerance in the community just because we have more people worshiping at a Hindu temple. It radiates out and benefits the community in a very tangible way.

This happens to be the current "Publisher's Desk" I'm reading from, October. And it ends with a, one of my favorite stories. Captain Midnight. Remember Captain Midnight story?

"Worrying about the future is a frequent cause of discontent. Gurudeva teaches us to live in the now. He discovered a useful technique when he was just seven years old. His father was driving him in a 1934 motor sled."

This means there's snow. It's going from Lake Tahoe up to Fallen Leaf Lake on a back road so he's using a motor sled. There's no tires, it, from the skies kind of, motor sled.

"Heading home to Fallen Leaf Lake in a snow storm. When they got stuck he found himself worrying that he would be late and miss his favorite weekly radio program, Captain Midnight. The boy saw his awareness go off to the future and brought it back by telling himself 'I'm all right, right now. It hasn't happened yet.' Each time the worry came up in his mind he repeated:'I'm all right, right now.' Through this process he learned to control his awareness and vanquish his worries about what might or might not happen.

"Gurudeva urges seekers to practice being in the eternal now by asking the question: 'Am I not all right now, right this instant.' And answering: 'I'm all right, right now.'"

So that's a good one for worry. Worry is a common experience. And, has no benefit. Our children are out a bit to late, and we worry about it. Doesn't help them get home. You know, has no benefit. Just disturbs us. So generally what we're worried about doesn't happen. So it shows it was a waste of energy. And it, this is very practical statement in saying: 'I'm all right, right now.'

So Hinduism and Gurudeva's teachings gives us a number of tools to find and then maintain peace. It's very important and that the key idea is learning to take control of our state of mind. That's the point that, it's the overview point I'd say that, if you haven't, for people who haven't thought about that you ask them: "How are you today?" And they say: Well I'm sad, I'm worried, this or that. And they don't have the concept that if they're sad and worried they could change it. You don't have to stay the way you woke up, you know. You woke up sad or worried you don't have to stay that way all day. So, okay, you don't have to hope something will happen or hope somebody will say something to you and change your state of mind. You can actually change it yourself; that's the point we're looking at. And so, this is one of the ways. If we're worried we can use the affirmation: "I'm all right, right now." Gurudeva's teachings give us a number of tools. We, that's our "Insight Section," right this time? October is the tools? Think so yes. We have twenty tools. So in the October issue of Hinduism Today we also have separate book on tools.

And that's the main idea is don't just accept the state of mind you're in. If you don't like it move out of it. But to move out of it you need a tool. We have to find the right tool to move out of a state of mind you don't want to be in. So affirmations are a very useful tool.

Have a wonderful day.

Photo of  Gurudeva
Anyone can strengthen another's faith through encouragement, personal example, good natured humoring, praise, flattery, adulation, or take it away by the opposite methods.
—Gurudeva