Equanimity about people

— Maragatham Raghavasimhan


We need equanimity to live with people. The Gita says; “He, who is of the same mind to the good hearted, friends, enemies, the indifferent, the neutral, the hateful, relatives, the righteous and the unrighteous, he excels”. We catagorise people based on their relationship with us, and our relationship with them. A person may be our well-wisher, another may be our intimate friend, yet another an enemy. One may be neutal or indifferent friend, yet another a relative or a loved one..

Remember, a person may be friendly to me., but inimical to someone. I may be friendly to someone and neutral with respect to someone.
Taking myself as the reference point. I need to live with all these types of people. They may be close relatives or mere acquaintances.

The Gita advises us to have equanimity[samata] with respect to people. There are two kinds of people-those who have difficulties and those who are difficult. We have to live with them, learn to accept every individual, without agonising over why that person is the way he or she is. For instance, we see various types of trees,plants and flowers and fruits in the garden and accept them as they are. We do not say that an apple should be like a mango, a mango like an orange and so on. We accept that the mango as it is, an orange as it is and the lemon as it is. We do not complain about the sourness of the lemon and insist that it should be like a mango. Similarly with vegetables-the bitter guard is bitter and that is its speciality.

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We visit a zoo and enjoy seeing all the animals, without saying that a lion should be like a tiger,a tiger should be like a deer and so on. We do not see a lion that is tame like a cow. We want to see a lion to be like a lion, true to its nature. We also know that we can go near a deer but we can't go near or play with a tiger, a lion or a snake. We don't hate those animals, we just accept them as they are.

We do not complain that the fire is hot. Being fire, it is hot. We accept the fact and learn to use it. If we have to live with different kinds of people, we should know their nature. We will have to understand who is inimical to us and which person is friendly towards us. We should understand , without beginning to catagorise each one as good or bad, or wondering why that person is what he/she is. Based on our knowledge of the persons, we should modulate our relationship with them. If i know that a particular person is dependable, I can entrust him with responsible work, but if i know that he is not dependable, then i should avoid giving him any major work.

There is no point in constantly complaining about people. The first step is accept them as they are. The next step is to learn to relate with them in an appropriate manner.
In our relationship with people, equanimity [samabuddhi] means acceptance of all. With respect to experiences, it means maintaining our balance of mind. With respect to objects, it means looking at things as they are, understanding their value and dealing with them accordingly.
Reflect deeply on these thoughts and assimilate them, so that they become useful in your daily life.


About the Author
Maragatham Raghavasimhan [M.A.M.Ed] served as a teacher nearly 36 years and retired as a Headmistress. Currently frequent and popular contributor to leading Tamil Magazines.

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