Vishwa Yoga | How to deal with people?

Vishwa Yoga

Authentic Tantric Perspective - Ancient teachings for the modern life

How to deal with people?

We meet a different kind of people in our daily life; some are friends, family members or acquaintances. We experience that each of them behaves or act differently. Sometime some of them may act in such a way that in few moments we simply lose peace of our mind or we do not know how to handle them appropriately so that our peace of mind stays intact. Here is a way to first determine the type of a person and then utilizing the right key for our own peace.

While reading Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation of The Yoga Sutras and came across this advice – “Whether you are interested in reaching Samadhi (bliss) or plan to ignore Yoga entirely, I would advise you to remember at least this one Sutra. It will be very helpful to you in keeping a peaceful mind in your daily life. You may not have any great goal in your life, but just try to follow this one Sutra very well and you will see its efficacy.”

The Sutra he is referring to is 1.33. “By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.”
Ah, can you imagine a sense of undisturbed calmness in your mind, body, and spirit? Delicious! So what is Patanjali speaking of in this Sutra? He suggests that in your daily life you will come across people expressing 4 energetic forms or locks.

The following are four locks that define kind of person
  1. Sukha - the Happy people
  2. Duhkha - the Unhappy people
  3. Punya - the Virtuous people
  4. Apunya - the Wicked people

At any given moment, you can fit any person into one of these four categories. And, following are the four keys to use while dealing with respective person:
  1. Friendliness
  2. Compassion
  3. Delight or Gladness
  4. Disregard or indifference

When you see a happy person, use the "friendliness" key.

Why should Patanjali say this? Because even four thousand years ago there must have been people who were not happy at seeing others happy. It is still the same way. Suppose somebody drives up in a big car, parks in front of her huge palatial home and gets out. Some other people are standing on the pavement in the hot sun getting tired. How many of those people will be happy? Not many. They will be saying, "See that big car? She is sucking the blood of the laborers." We come across people like that; they are always jealous. When a person gets name, fame, or high position, they try to criticize that person. "Oh, don't you know, her brother is so-and-so; she must have pulled some strings somewhere." They will never admit that she might have gone up by her own merit. By that jealousy, you will not disturb her, but you disturb your own serenity. She simply got out of the car and walked into the house, but you are burning inside. Instead, think "Oh, such a fortunate person. If everybody were like that how happy the world would be. I will also get that one day." Make that person a friend in your mind. That response is missed in many cases, not only between individuals but even among nations. When some nation is prospering, the neighboring country is jealous of it and wants to ruin its economy. So we should always have the key of friendliness when we see happy people.

So what about the next one, the unhappy people?
"Well, Swami said everybody has their own karma; the unhappy person must have done some wretched thing in his last birth. Let him suffer now." That should not be our attitude. Maybe, they are suffering from previous bad karma, but we should cultivate compassion. If you can lend a helping hand, do it. If you can share half of your loaf, share it. Be merciful always. By doing that, you will retain the peace and poise of your mind. Remember, our goal is to keep the serenity of our mind. Whether our mercy is going to help that person or not, by our own feeling of mercy, at least we are helped.

Then comes the third kind, the virtuous people. When you see a virtuous person, feel delighted. "Oh, how great they are. Isn't it great that such people exist." Do not envy them; don't try to pull them down. Appreciate the virtuous qualities in them and try to cultivate these qualities in your own life.

And lastly, the wicked are full of vice.

We come across wicked people sometimes. We can't deny that. So what should be our attitude? Indifference. "Well, some people are like that. Probably I was like that yesterday. Am I not a better person now? He will probably be all right tomorrow." Do not try to advise such people because wicked people seldom take good advice. If you try to advise them, you will lose your peace.

Be Careful – Do not Advise Wicked People – here is a short story

I still remember a small story from the Pancha Tantra which I was told as a small child. One rainy day a monkey was sitting on a tree branch getting completely drenched. Right opposite on another branch of the same tree there was a small sparrow sitting in his hanging nest. Normally a sparrow builds its nest on the edge of a branch so it can hang down and swing around gently in the breeze. It has a nice cabin inside with an upper chamber, a reception room, a bedroom down below and even a delivery room if it is going to give birth to young ones. Oh yes, you should see and admire a sparrow's nest sometime.

So it was warm and cozy inside its nest and the sparrow just peeped out and seeing the poor monkey, said, "Oh my dear friend, I am so small; I don't even have hands like you, only a small beak. But with only that I built a nice house expecting this rainy day. Even if the rain comes for days and days, I will be warm inside. I heard Darwin saying that you are the forefather of the human beings so why don't you use your brain? Build a nice small hut somewhere to protect yourself during the rain."

You should have seen the face of that monkey. It was terrible! He was so envious!! "Oh, you little devil. How dare you try to advise me? Because you are warm and cozy in your nest you are teasing me. Wait, you will see where you are!" The monkey proceeded to tear the nest to pieces and throw it to the ground and the poor bird had to fly out and get drenched like the monkey.

This is a story of the envy of the wicked I was told when I was quite young and I still remember it. So sometimes we come across such monkeys and if you advise them, they take it as an insult. They think you are proud of your position. If you sense even a little of that tendency in somebody, stay away. They will have to learn by their experience. By giving advice to such people, you will only lose your peace of mind.   

Comments (2) -

  • seema

    3/4/2012 5:42:10 AM | Reply

    Wicked people cause trouble to the people around even if you don't advise.
    Don't think just based on one little example you have.
    Think with a broad mind. Your advises may cause pain someone's heart and hurt someone.
    So, be careful while advising others.
    For example, if somone is not married because she can't afford a dowry or she is not beautiful or have some problem and you advise, you need to get married soon because you are getting old, this is a worthless and hurting advise. And if you ask a virtuous person to become unvirtuous because he/she is not having fun like you, that's again a worthless and dangerous advise. Your advise has to be timely and good and useful........

  • YogiVishwa

    3/4/2012 6:58:17 AM | Reply

    Seema, Please read carefully, I am not advising to anyone. I simply provided the information from the Book “The Yoga Sutra  of Patanjali”  translated by Sri S. Satchidananda. I liked this sutra and thought it will be helpful for someone who might find useful. It is up to the person how (s)he utilizes.