The value of compassion being the foremost qualification for moksha
Pujya Swamiji, my Guru, Swami Dayananda, puts a great emphasis on the value for compassion for every seeker. For the seeker it is a value to be deliberately brought into one’s own life with reference towards oneself and others. For a person with nishtha in self-knowledge it is spontaneous.
Why does Pujya Swamiji put such an emphasis on the value of compassion?
When there is no compassion, one is judgemental and non-accommodative, with little understanding or acceptance of people and situations as they are. One holds on to one’s righteousness and ones anger, one becomes bitter, cranky, frustrated – one becomes very constricted. All this constitutes mala - impurity of heart. With this constriction of heart, how is it is possible to understand that what Vedanta is saying is that ‘I am THE whole’. ‘I am the whole’ means I am everything. But with so much constriction of heart one cannot accept life as it is and so one denies oneself one’s wholeness, and there is no fulfillment.
When there is a value for compassion one takes the effort to understand that everybody and every situation in life comes from a certain background and so everything really speaking is as it should be – in Order – Ishvara’s Order. Thus there is a readiness to understand, accept and accommodate people and situations even if they are not exactly pleasant! Living with compassion makes for samatvam – an eveness of mind, an expansion of the heart.
What I understood was that in Swamiji’s vision the person is whole. He never dismisses anybody as a criminal. He sees them as a person who has some areas of the psyche given to difficult and even offensive behaviour patterns. He does not hesitate to tell his disciples if something is wrong and it comes to his notice. At the same time, he takes the care to understand with compassion and gives them any number of chances to grow. That is Swamiji. His heart is so vast it is difficult to understand him if one’s heart is constricted. I wanted to understand Swamiji and so I chose to grow. Choosing to grow meant choosing to grow in compassion and giving freedom to people to be what they are.
Not internalizing was another big lesson I learned. Swamiji in one of his talks said “I am responsible for my actions, my behavior, and my feelings but I am not responsible for the behavior and feelings of others.” I have found in my life that most people internalize the problems of other people – and blame themselves when the problem is truly not theirs. I learned to be confident about myself and refuse to pick up others judgmental projections about me. Pujya Swamiji in his meditations also will take great care to make us understand how important it is to keep people outside and not in our head! That way we give people the freedom to be what they are and think whatever they want about us!
Om Tat Sat