Thursday, May 30, 2024

Love everyone equally. The Bhagavad Gita says all souls are part of the same God.

Amlan Shekhar Baruah

We see so many conflicts happening around us and around the entire world. We see conflicts within our family, among different families, among different communities, among different cultures, among different countries, etc. We see innocent animals getting mercilessly abused, tortured, and killed by humans; innocent children getting abused and harassed by adults; the poor and powerless getting harassed and exploited by the rich and powerful, etc. What is the cause of all these conflicts? Is there only one cause or multiple causes of these conflicts? And what is the solution to stop all these conflicts?

Although some of these conflicts may seem different from and unrelated to the others, the root cause of all of them is the same. It is that people do not consider all living creatures to be equal to each other and therefore do not treat everyone equally. They believe that some creatures are inferior to others, while others are superior to others. This kind of mentality motivates the strong and powerful to exploit and take advantage of the weak and powerless.

In Verses 9 and 32 of Chapter 6 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna says to Arjuna:

“Those who see well-wishers, friends, foes, neutrals, mediators, the hateful, relatives, and saints and sinners with equal intellect are supreme.”

“O Arjuna, I regard them to be perfect yogis who see the true equality of all living beings and treat their joys and sorrows as their own.”

Then, in Verse 20 of Chapter 10, he says:

“O Gudakesha (Arjuna)! I am the atma (soul) that is seated in the hearts of all living creatures. I am the beginning, middle, and end of all creatures.

In verses 28-29 of Chapter 13, he again says:  

“They alone truly see, who see the Supreme Lord, the imperishable, abiding equally in all perishable beings. Indeed, those who equally see the Lord, who is equally present everywhere, do not destroy themselves by their selves/minds, and therefore, they reach the supreme destination.”

Conflicts take place because people identify themselves with only their bodies but not with their souls. They fail to understand that the soul is the true identity of any being and is equal to all beings. The body is just a temporary form, whereas the soul is permanent. The soul can exist without the body, but the body can never be alive without the soul. The body is just a vehicle, whereas the soul is the driver.

Karma yoga is not only about treating all situations equally and having an even mind in all situations. We should also apply this same principle to all living beings. It is important that we treat everyone equally, whether they are good or bad, humans, animals, or plants. We should not love someone and be indifferent to someone else. Instead, we should love everyone equally, because the atma (soul) residing in every body is exactly identical to ours, so every soul is equally good.

It is important that when we see someone who is evil or unlikable, we also try to understand that the good in them might just be asleep and can be awakened. We should still try to love them and appreciate their good qualities, and we should try to point out their bad qualities with love and respect rather than with hatred and insult. Only then might they be encouraged to rectify their bad qualities. If we see the good in everyone and love and appreciate them for it, then we will be encouraging others to become better as well. On the other hand, when we love someone, we should not neglect their bad qualities either. Instead, we should try to help them realize their flaws and correct those qualities with love, patience, and respect. Only then will their good qualities have more significance, because that will make them realize that we still love them despite their bad qualities. Thus, if we love everyone equally by praising their good qualities and respectfully pointing out their bad qualities (i.e., their sleeping good qualities), then we will always be encouraging everyone to become better and better. In this way, we will be able to love everyone and be loved by everyone.

Shree Krishna says in the Gita that He Himself is the Atma/soul that resides equally in all living creatures. So if we hate someone, it implies that we are indirectly disrespecting Krishna. And as Krishna is present in ourselves too, hating others implies that we hate ourselves too. If we harass, abuse, or mistreat anyone, it can be considered disrespectful to Shree Krishna and to all living beings. Therefore, we must love and treat everyone equally, remembering that Shree Krishna is present in all souls.  

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