AMERICA 17-Mar-2014 Dr.A.Sreekumar Menon
The word gentle means tenderly, kind-hearted, soft spoken, considerate, understanding, forbearing, mild, having pleasant disposition, being leisurely or not hurrying and so on . We call a person whose character is perfect as thorough gentleman. Opposite of gentle is rough, brutish, abrasive, offending, hard etc. Being gentle is a personal attribute or personality characteristic. A gentleman is predisposed to behave in a particular way, which is socially approved. This trait expresses in different acts of ours .By looking at the acts, we can say whether a person is endowed with this value or not. If our predominant style of dealing with other persons shows this characteristic, then we are endowed with this human value .Gentleness comes out remarkably in the way we speak with others. Gentleman speaks softly, courteously and in friendly tone. He words would not hurt anyone; on the other hand they would be appealing to others. Our small and boneless tongue can wound others’ feelings and even leave permanent scar in their minds. Whether we win or lose in a dispute depends upon the first few words we utter. If we speak softly and tactfully, half the battle in getting across to other has won. We should exercise control on our tongue, so that it is used for good or noble purposes such as speaking high of merits in others and giving solace to grieve stricken. A kind word, as we have seen can give a great relief from grief or the sufferings of personal calamities, even if we don’t give any material support. The way we speak should be gentle or pleasing rather than offending other person Even if the speaker is a well wisher of the person, whom he speaks with, he would be misunderstood as his adversary. Autocratic people or people who have ego larger than themselves or those who like to display their authority and power on others and have condescending attitude towards others would not be polite , but would be harsh in the way they speak .Many times, we may have to deny or say ‘no’ to what others demand. We should say ‘no’ without hurting others. Generally people who enjoy superiority over others such as Boss over their subordinates, rich over poor, strong man against weak man, may not be polite in their conversations with others, which is not a healthy habit. Gentleness in speech comes out of sense of equality and humility. We should be gentle rather than being rash in every behavior of ours. Another interpretation of Gentleness is moral integrity in behaving with members of opposite sex. A gentleman never entertains libidinal motives, while mixing with members of opposite sex, on the other hand, behaves with them with perfect sense of equality .Many sexual scandals we hear result from lack of this moral quality . We enjoy the gentle touch of breeze, but not blow of heavy wind. Gentle touch of brush with colors with Artist’s hands results enchanting arts. Rough handling of anything creates chaos. Handling gently results in marvelous creations. It is imperative that we should develop this sterling quality which is expression of positive self-discipline or self-control.
20. Lack of fickle mindedness
Fickle mindedness means unsteadiness of mind or wavering of mind or being indecisive or not being resolute .Steadiness of mind is a good quality .Once we take a decision, we should stick to it. Once we determine to do something, we should carry it out. Of course, the decision should be arrived at after due deliberations or by examining the pros and cons of the matter . Similarly, we should be ready to act in a particular way, after due thought and consideration. Determination is firmness of mind .Persons who waver are like rolling stones which gather no mass. Success knocks at the door of those who are decisive and not those who are wavering. We find in Bhagavad Gita, warrior Arjuna, member of kshatriya family or family of people of valor, whose duty is to fight against unrighteous people and having undergone training in weaponry giving up arms during the critical moment of Kurushetra war, the act of which Lord Krishna disapproved. People who are indecisive are not dependable. We find great people like Gandhiji and Nelson Mandela had firm determination to root out colonialism, inspite of hardships they faced. This trait of being decisive can be cultivated by all of us with the strength of our will. There is a saying that” even if mountains shake, the minds of great people would never shake”. In other words, their determination is compared to mountains and it is stronger than mountains.
21. Brilliant Glow
Sanskrit word Tejah stands for brilliant glow, effulgence, vigor, dynamism, being energetic,, active, agile, brilliant radiance, shining , light, attractive appearance and so on. When we lead a life of virtues, our life gets transformed. The inner changes that take place reflects on our body and it’s appearance. We become appealing to others. It is not bodily complexion resulting from good food, ample rest and exercise, It is also is not due to costly make up , but a natural one. It is the brilliance of intellect, twinkling eyes of joy, cheerful face and gentle smile, which are captivating and which radiate peaceand serenity all around. It is a case of transmitting positive energy, which will have salutary effects on oneself and others, in addition to enhancing personal power for doing good . All those come out of inner self .There is a saying; face is index of our mind. It is very true. Our facial appearance changes according to changes in our moods and emotions. When we are under the influence of negative emotions like anger, sorrow, fear, contempt or sarcasm. jealousy etc, our facial appearance tends to be distorted. On the other hand if we are relaxed and under the influence of positive emotions such as love, friendliness, compassion, gratitude, forgiving , being in service of others and so on, we find the brilliance of those positive emotions reflecting on our face and in our general appearance, which makes a positive impact on others . It is said that we can see ‘halo or circular line of brilliance around the head of spiritually exalted people, who practice Brahmacharya meaning leading a positively regulated life.
A person who has this personality quality will be active and dynamic compared to person who is lethargic and indolent. He sees that he does not dissipate his energy in wasteful pursuits, on the contrary, conserves and shows action readiness and utilizes his energy to achieve noble goals. We should try to put a pleasant face.
22.Forgiveness and Forbearance
Forgiveness or kshema is a great quality .We should excuse those who harmed us , without developing hatred or being revengeful towards them . It needs large heartedness and unconditioned love .If someone offends us, the common reaction is indulging in counter offence or be revengeful or showing vendetta towards the person who offended or harmed and we lose our peace of mind. Even if we don’t go for counter attack, our mind will still be in an agitated state and would not be peaceful. On the other hand, if can forgive an offender, our mental peace is not disturbed .Our act of forgiving would also have salutary effect on the offender .He would realize his folly and most likely he would not repeat his act. We are also giving the person opportunity to correct him, without making him defensive .This trait is closely related to love, compassion and caring attitude. Gandhiji was a typical example of man of greatness who had forgiven those who insulted and even tortured him..
Forbearance is the capacity to bear mental agony due to some outside circumstances such as failure, defeat, loss, being insulted, facing powerful opposition and provoking situations. It also means boldness to face problems which crop us in daily living calmly and composed.
23 . Fortitude
Fortitude is the ability to continue on a task, however difficult it is till it is completed successfully .Generally, the tendency is to give up the task when one faces even the smallest of hurdles. There are still worse people, who do not take up tasks anticipating difficulties. We should reason out the pros and cons of any plan before we start working on it. Once we start work, we should continue to be motivated to complete the task and should not be deterred by obstacles on the way .It is a question of developing the habit. We would be able to sustain our interest , if we closely follow the progress that we have made and focus on it rather than being preoccupied by occasional failures. Any failure should be taken as a signal to readjust our strategy. In other words failures are stepping stones to success, if we try to learn from mistakes. We find great people like Gandhiji and Nelson Mandela, great scientist Newton showed this quality of resoluteness par excellence. Gandhiji was put in prison for a long time and had undergone all kinds of sufferings, but still he did not give up his goal of fighting for freedom. Similarly, Nelson Mandela, the father of the Nation of South Africa who fought against apartheid or discrimination by minority white against majority blacks and won freedom served 27 long years in imprisonment. Infact he spent most part of his youthful days in prison, in spite of this and long hardships he suffered while in prison, he never budged an inch from his goal of working for democratic rule in South Africa. He was the greatest political prisoner, world had ever seen. There is a common saying: ‘if there is a will, there is a way”, which is absolutely true. We should have strong will to pursue noble goals.
Purity means cleanliness .It includes both inner purity and outer purity. Inner purity is freedom of the mind from malicious motives and strict adherence to moral/ ethical qualities enshrined in our traditions. When we live the five fundamental human values of truth, righteousness, love, peace and non-violence, our mind gets cleaned up of all impurities. Committing sins or wrong deeds are impurities in our mind. Conscious attempt should be made to purify our minds, as Gandhiji did . He has given several ways of self-purification processes he adopted in the course of his life, which are guides to humanity in his Autobiography titled’ My Experiments with Truth’ .Though self-purification process may appear difficult in the beginning, but with will once it is completed, the resulting joy is inestimable. All the Rituals prescribed in all the Religions are for purification of mind of man.
External purity means and keeping cleanliness of the body and environment.. The popular saying ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness ‘is very true. Keeping the place and the things in place, we use is just a matter of habit. We should also keep our body clean and hygienic, which are necessary for good health, if lost everything is lost.
25. being free from hatred or Adhroha
We generally hate people whose actions we disapprove. . Hating means having negative feelings and attitude. We feel ill-disposed. We should not hate a person even if he commits some major misconduct. We should disapprove the conduct, but not the person. When we generalize our ill feeling towards other person for his misconducts, real or falsely attributed at the personal level of that person, we start disliking him and we avoid him, because he did something objectionable.. If we hate him, no opportunity is given to him to realize his folly and correct. No man is bad always, his actions could be bad sometimes .Hatred also spoils our mental health. Hating others, though involves no physical harm, still amount to violence or hurting. When a realized soul sees perfect equality among all, there is no room for hatred. He would nether be in blind love with or hating any one . Out of overwhelming or misplaced or exaggerated love towards our kith and kins , we may be blind to their wrong doings, condone their conduct or even support them in their unfair actions. Under such circumstances, the character of their kiths and kins deteriorates further. Thus, supporting unauthentic acts is not a noble quality .We should try to correct wrong actions committed by any one, whether he is relative or stranger and should not hate or be unfavorably indisposed towards him . We should be favorably disposed towards everything and every event in life for enjoying optimum physical and mental health .When we hate a person, we tend to be blind to his good qualities, which he might possess. Seeing good qualities, merits, virtues in others and appreciating them and encouraging to develop their strengths have salutary effects on our wellbeing and that of others.
26. Not being showy or pompous or showing false pride.
It is exaggerated estimation of importance of oneself, pretending to be all powerful and the whole world is at our service or being snobbish. or showing an air of superiority by virtue of riches, name , fame , power, influence, nobility of birth, scholarship and so on. It is the product of deluded mind. People who are intoxicated with power feel that the whole world is under their control. Similar are the feelings experienced by those who are pompous.They display this feeling whenever they get opportunity. They may be really powerful and influential. But they should not show off their .richness, power, influence, nobility of the family of birth and so on. Their lives should speak qualities of humility which makes people to appreciate them.. Those who wield power and influence or ability to get things from others should use their power for good causes and not for exploitation of people or encroachment of other’s rights of property or public property. A real scholar for instance will be humble and he enjoys educating others and seeing them coming up in life. A rich person who is showy spends his money extravagantly as show off his status rather than using his money judiciously for good cause, say humanitarian purpose. Pompous people display ego which is larger than their life itself. Showing off their wealth, power, influence etc. It is a mean thing to do. Pompous people will be rank materialistic and hardly realize limitations of human life and the need to do as much good as they can during narrow span of their lives. We cannot take with us anything, including the body so dear to us, when the soul bids good bye to the body, but what we did good or evil accompany us. Good deeds add to the credit side of our account and evil deeds to the debit side. Our deeds are judged on the Day of Judgment as proclaimed by all religions. Good or noble deeds make us eligible for divine rewards and evil deeds for punishments, as per law of recompense, which is one of the pillars of all Religions especially Hinduism. Thus, we decide our destiny by our actions, where the Almighty is an impartial observer. So we should count on our good deeds, as milestones in our life than the birth days or the time we spent on earth .We can and in fact should feel rightly proud of our self if we are leading life of values, self-control and philanthropy,. It would also boost our confidence in ourselves and inspire us to continue leading virtuous life . Being proud of our country, our language, our culture and being born as the king and crown of creations is legitimate and laudable. We find Mahatma Gandhi, in spite of his greatness never bragged his power. He was very simple; man of the masses, never ostentatious in any of his acts .He displayed his power in uprooting colonial slavery, when it was believed that in British India, sun of British raj would never set. He became the noblest son of India entitled for nation’s highest honors such as ‘Mahatma’ and ‘Father of Nation’.
Thus, Lord Krishna reiterated above 26 sterling qualities as constituting personalities of persons who have divine qualities or spiritualists .He who has those qualities is a perfect man, who has realized the true nature of Nara or man . The word Sanskrit word’ Nara’ meaning man came from Narayana. The meaning of the Narayana is one who reclines on water. It is the way Lord Narayana, supposed to be creator of universe is conceptualized in Hindu texts .In other words, Human beings are descendants of God himself in human form, the excellent conception we can ever find with its deep meaning.
After describing the nature of man of divinity, Lord Krishna describes the characteristic traits of demonic personalities. Those are 1. Ostentation or Hypocrisy or Dhampo, 2. Arrogance or Dharpa, 3.Self-conceit or Abhimana. 4. Anger or Krodha, 5.Harshness or Parusha 6.Ignorance or Ajnanam.
1.Ostentation or Dhampo.
Ostentation is saying one thing and doing contrary to it or concealing ones true nature/actual motive and projecting oneself in a different way. For instance, a person may behave as if he is a benefactor to another person to make him feel that he is trust worthy, but actually doing harm to him or plotting against him. This type of persons is more dangerous than those who out rightly show their anger. We also get caught by them unaware. One may give the impression that he a teetotaler, but he may take drinks in private. One may give the impression that he is generous, but he may actually be miserly. A person may appear to be a through gentleman, but he may be leading a private life of immorality. In other words, they keep two selves, public self and private self. Saint Adi shankara defines ostentation as pretending to be righteous, but living immoral life Their skin deep show of goodness, purity, integrity of character, religiosity, sincerity a shown own are mere masks to cover their nefarious motives and acts of cruelty and inhumanness .
2. Arrogance or Dharpa
Arrogance means rude, harsh, abrasive, aggressive, imposing on others, brutish, acerbic in words, haughty and so on. This emotional state has damaging effects on others.
3. Self-conceit or Abhimana
A self-conceited person has exaggerated, notion of the importance of himself. He is overwhelmed by his imagined power and influence in society. He is power hungry. He would indulge in unlawful activities for satiation of his power needs. He is suspicious of others and least tolerant .He may indulge in acts of aggression and violence to maintain his status quo.
4. Anger or Krodha
Persons having demonic nature get provoked easily. Anger is the weapon they use against those who do not toe their line. They are over conscious of their stamina, physical strength and prowess and try to make others subservient or passive to them. Their aggressive reactions are trigger –like or explosive and not in commensurate with the degree of provocation. They may commit any dastardly act, when they are provoked ,with least regard of the consequences of their actions.They are commonly called as brutes They are provoked at slightest provocation, as they lack control over their emotional upsurge. They may commit all kinds of human atrocities with impunity .We can easily imagine the disastrous consequence of their actions. We find the personality of a rank materialistic person paints a horrific picture.
5 Harshness or Parusha
A rank materialistic person is rude, harsh and rough in his behavior with others, particularly when his wish is or is beloved to be thwarted, His tongue could be sharper than the sword. Even in normal times, he does not know how to speak softly. He does not mind to wound the feelings of others by using foul language .Courtesy and politeness are foreign to him. We can very well imagine, what happens when we have to be with such a person.
6 Ignorance or Ajnanam
Rank materialistic lack real knowledge such as knowledge of higher purpose of life. Their life can be compared to life of animals guided by their uncontrolled instincts and passions.They have no concept of right or wrong actions. They feel whatever actions help them in indulging in luxuries and in the expression of lust are justified. They have no sense of justice. They might violate the law of the land and try to escape from the clutches of law by nefarious ways such as by bribing. They do all those for want of realization that human life essentially spiritual in nature..They may have all the worldly knowledge for material accumulation. In other words, they lack character, personal conduct, integrity and human dignity.
To reiterate the characteristics of Demonic or rank materialistic persons, they are enemies to society. Intoxicated by greed and lack of moral character, they appropriate whatever they can from society taking to methods of violence. They lead a licentious life in regarding to enjoyment of material comforts and libidinal instincts. They make others to service under threat to their lives. They create anarchy and chaos in society. People who are under the influence of people of demonic character would not enjoy even personal security, let alone other human values such as freedom, dignity, equality, fraternity and so on. In Hindu epics, they are called Demons or Asuras or Rakshasaas in Sanskrit.
We may not be perfect, in the sense; we may not possess all the good qualities discussed above. We may also be having some of the evil qualities of Demons. The purpose of this article is to make people realize what qualities they possess, weed out any of the demonic qualities and cultivate divine qualities, which we don’t possess now. The reason is that it is living divine qualities makes life truly happy and peaceful.