Why can we not be caring and friendly with one another? Why do we feel so annoyed with those who hold views that differ from our own? Individuals, groups, nations, all feel annoyed with one another, and the sum-total of annoyance seems to be increasing in the world. Why cannot people stop being annoyed?
Can we not stop our own annoyance with these people? If we cannot, why do we expect that they should stop feeling annoyed? Do we not see that we are just as foolish as they are?
It might seem that their annoyance is in some cases based on right principles, and we sympathize with them in that respect. Why should people have to suffer "injustices" and why are all reforms made possible only after struggle? So we are truly annoyed only with those who, in our opinion, are perpetrating injustice in the world! But are we sure that our ideas of right and wrong, justice and injustice, are one hundred per cent right in terms of Universal Law or Karma? Can we not imagine that in some respects, with more knowledge, we may change our mind?
Yes, we must change with further knowledge of the Law, but how does that help us now? Human nature is such that each sees things from his individual point of view. The Masters see things from the universal point of view. Let us use our knowledge of Karma to help us widen our outlook; that is, use our mind, rooted in compassion, to understand. It will help us to see that we must feel sorry for the wrongdoer, not just for those who we think are wronged. None can suffer except through their own actions inspired by ignorance and hatred, or through their voluntary actions for the sake of others. How can we help them? By trying to see the difference between the true and the false methods of righting wrongs. Between fighting the wrongs we think other people are perpetrating and regarding them with apathy is the struggle to find the best means or righting the wrongs. It is an old saying, pregnant with meaning, that two wrongs do not make a right. Our effort today should be to find out how to produce concord in place of discord; how to produce brotherliness in place of "my rights."
It is believed that only the use of force will prevent wrongs being done in many cases. Force may mean physical force—assaults, deaths, capture and imprisonment; or it may mean the force of example, or the force of ideas, or the force of love. Let us think over these points. Is physical imprisonment a greater punishment than mental and emotional isolation? Is a person changed for the better by imprisonment, or by an inner change brought about by his victim's attitude towards him? Tolerance is a fine word, but it, as also its opposite, annoyance, needs to be understood. How many lovers of animals, for instance, become irritated when they see someone ill-treating an animal? It is good to fight against cruelty to animals, but anger is of no use. It is neither apathy towards cruelty nor annoyance and anger, but compassion, not only for the animal but even more for the one who is ill-treating it, that will bring about the necessary reform. All problems have to be examined with logic, reason and knowledge before we are faced with the necessity for action.
So with humanity's many discords. We need to search for the cure, the plan of action. Theosophy has it, but how difficult it is for students to apply the knowledge! Yet the history of the Theosophical Movement should show us the way the Great Ones look at the mistakes of others. We have plenty of examples.
We can begin to live an ordered mental life in this age of discord by applying the teachings of the Gita and other devotional books; by practising perseveringly those truths we dimly perceive. Then we shall slowly find that we can sense the great universal ideas and begin to put them into practice.
And the first and last idea is: LOVE your neighbour as yourself and do to others that which you wish other to do to you. Everything that can be said on the line of conduct to be adopted is there in that teaching. LOVE is not a mere sentiment or emotion. To love truly is to be at one with the object of one's love. It is "to live and breathe in all" because of the Unity that exists and because all have to pass through the same sufferings and trials on the path of evolution.
Let us try to understand through love.