Slander and Pride Keep Man Away from God
There is no sin greater than calumniating others. It is a pernicious practice that harms both the slanderer and the slandered. It is the object of the former to cause pain to the latter who usually is not within earshot. What, then, is the gain? Slandering pollutes the slanderer's mind. It is a polluted mind that seeks pleasure in calumny. So one who seeks or finds pleasure in calumny may safely conclude that he is quite far from God. Indeed, it is a safe guess that the degree to which one indulges in calumny is an index to one's distance from God. So whoever cares for his own true interest should eschew slander and devote his tongue to chanting nama. A sincere sadhaka should always remember that when he sees a fault in another person, he has in himself the same fault in some degree; so he should make an effort to uproot it from his own mind and plant nama in its place.
Often a person is aware of his shortcoming, aware also that it is a hindrance on the path to God, but is powerless to eradicate it. Some, for instance, have an evil eye, and if they see a good thing, even admire it, that thing will, in some way, suffer or go bad. At such times it is often futile for the person to try to cure himself of it; the company of a godly person may bring about a cure.
Scholastic achievement often draws a person away from God. An unlettered but devout pilgrim may, with his implicit faith, realize God, whereas an erudite person may read tomes about paramartha and may remain a Doubting Thomas. A man may store bagfuls of almonds, dates, and such other things in his house, but what is their use unless the tonic things are eaten, digested, and go to form blood and sinews? Similarly, what is the use of merely reading learned books unless their teaching is assimilated and brought into day-to-day practice?
God cannot be attained by mere physical toil or austerity; so do not undertake laborious activities for the purpose. What is wanted is sincere, selfless, intense love, and any effort made out of love is soon forgotten. Be brimful with love for God, and for mankind; you will then lose yourself in the flood of love which you find filling all creation.
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