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Dr Sripada Gopalakrishna Murthy
Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 2
Month : June
Issue Number : 3
Year : 1967

To criticise others is indiscretion:

 Criticising oneself is discretion. (Mother)

WE hear nowadays in buses, trams. parks, trains, queues, almost in every place where men gather, unrestricted criticism of men and matters. Everywhere is voiced forth a feeling of deterioration of morals and principles in men of all walks of life. “The merchant is raising the prices of all commodities day by day: the man of influence is gathering money by all means at his disposal: the teacher is spoon- feeding students by dictating questions and answer for money; the contractor is spoiling the project by adulterating the building materials and bribing the supervisor for connivance; the manager of the office is passing false bills to help himself to a a radio-set; managements are winking at students copying to claim high percentage of passes for their institutions: students are getting interested more in collective extra activities than in individua curricular work for which they joined a college: honesty, sincerety of purpose. and patriotism have disappeared altogether.” The reader may say that more criticism is quoted above than what can actually be heard. We respectfully submit that in his field of activity he might have heard only one or two of the above criticisms but each one of the above can be heard in its relevant atmospher..

A visitor to Mother spoke out one day, some of the above feelings and exclaimed that such men are all happy while honest men suffer through their goodness. Mother replied, “You see them all happy. Then, why couldn’t you make yourself also happy like them?” “What?” he said in surprise. “by following their example?”” You say that they are happy! You can also be happy like them!” Why complain? If happiness is your goal. make yourself happy like them; if goodness is your goal, make yourself good. Why do you think of another’s advantage in a field you are not interested in taking up?”

One who criticises others for their bad ways is nevertheless envious of the comforts they enjoy. He would very much like to have all those comforts for himself. He would like to build a two storied house, he would like to maintain a car. put on expensive dress, secure a marital alliance with rich people, etc. But he does not have enough money, and he attributes other’s rieliess to bad methods of earning and his own Sad plight to good conduct. He does this while speaking out, but rarely in intros pection. If he is really good and happy about it why should he worry about bad methods of earning money, and the happiness that such methods acquire for those bad men? He is unhappy because he hasn’t got that money, and if an opportunity were to be available, he would grab it. If then someone were to criticise him. he would retort. Who is honest today? What good is served if I let this go? Some undeserving bloak will get it and snatch away the land I want to buy by offerring more money. The great good man will thus slide down the slopes of his eminence to levels exposed! to easy criticism! The fall starts with his tendency to criticise others’ barl conduct. He ought to avoid such tendencies if they are bad, but not wax eloquent and speak about wealth and happiness obtained by bad means! The moment he starts criticising men for their methods. the emphasis shifts from methods to men, perches on their happiness liquifics to dis-satisfaction at one’s own plight, and gets cast into new moulds. Criticising others is therefore the height of indis cretion

The evil effect of criticising others is no more patent in any ther field of activity than in the spiritual one. The quarrels of the advocates of Dwaita. Visishtandvaita and Adwaita do not take them an inch nearer the goal as long as they argue to establish the superiority of their belief and their understanding of Reality. “To the person who practises, any book, the Bible, or the Koran, or the Geeta is good. He who cannot strive in any path sits with books spread before him and starts comparing and contrast ing and ends up in condemning instead of comprehensing!”, said Mother Criticism of others’ philosophies breeds in one a feeling of self-aggrandisement and high scholarship. It diverts one from action and stultifies spiritual progress. “Dharmatchyuti”, said Satyasai starts with speaking about Dharma instead of acting according to it”, Criticising others is clearly worse than talking about Dharma.

Criticism of one’s own self would help in perfecting oneself further and further. It would act as a deterent in cleansing us of evil and also as a barrier against further evil flowing into our being. It would decreast the stock-pile of evils we are aware of and push our responses towards good. criticising others would add to our knowledge of bad means continuously and influence our actions gradually

Discretion is espacity to distinguish between right and wrong. and the not capacity to discover the evil ways of everyone we see. Criticism necessarily follows such a finding. Criticising one’s own self is good discretion, as one would carefully weigh right and wrong before discarding his possessions as wrong. Mother would always. point out worse faults in her children, when they criticise others and thus help them to criticise themselves. We shall not say that he abuses others badly from the platform. Even if he does it, he does it publicly, without fear of any kind. We abuse those whom we don’t like silently or behind their backs He is so much the better.” “Snakes are certainly better than men. They harm us only when we harm them. But we harm even those we don’t know,” Mother chides mildly,

To criticise others is indiscretion now and at any moment; criticising oneself is discretion.

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