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Very Good Way to Learn

Date: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 21:05:42 -0000
Subject: Very Good Way to Learn



As sadhakas, our duty is to learn and grow from each and every circumstance. Here Baba has given us the secret how to accomplish this.


Every Ananda Margii is familiar with Baba's divine blessing: Sarve bhadra'n'i pashyantu, meaning "See the bright side of everything." After so many DMC's and spiritual gatherings, Baba would bestow this blessing upon us, by His grace.

In His 1988 Shra'van'ii Pu'rn'ima' discourse, Baba has given us one special explanation of what it means to "see the bright side." So although we may have heard Baba's blessing - Sarve bhadra'n'i pashyantu - countless times, we may not be fully aware of its inner spirit and practical application in our daily lives. That Baba has beautifully explained on the occasion of Shra'van'ii Pu'rn'ima' in 1988.

That day, in His elaboration of "see the bright side", Baba explained that everything in this universe is a mix of the three gun'as: Sentient (sa'ttvika), mutative (ra'jasik), and static (ta'masik). Thus, everyone and everything contains at least some amount of both sentient qualities and static qualities. If sattvagun'a is more dominant then we call that person or thing, "good"; and if tamahgun'a is more dominant then we call that person or thing, "bad".

Here the chief point is that everyone and everything - no matter how good or bad they are - has at least some good qualities. And seeing the bright side means finding and recognising those good aspects. The great benefit is that this allows us to learn from every situation and every interaction.

For instance, a person may be a thief and a confirmed sinner, but that person may also be an excellent planner and organiser. They may have a great talent to prepare for a given task. In that case, as sadhakas, we should have the flexibility of mind to see that goodness within that thief and emulate their unique talent. By that way we can grow and develop. That can only happen, however, if we are able to see the bright side.

Thus we are always to take brahmabhava (spiritual ideation) and think that all have come from Him, so everyone - even a thief - has some bright spots. As sadhakas, this is our approach. In that way we can learn from everyone. That is Baba's guideline.

The easiest thing in the world is to look at that same thief and just think he is a useless sinner who has no redeeming qualities. Blinded by this dark and diseased outlook, we will not be able to understand what a great planner and tactician that thief is, in which case we will not be able to learn from him.

Here the point is not whether the thief should be absolved of their crimes. The operative factor is how we view that person. If we see the bright side, then we can find whatever goodness they invariably possess - because after all everyone has at least some good qualities, no one is 100% bad - and then we can learn from those good characteristics.

The basic spirit of "see the bright side" is to be able to learn something from everyone. That is Baba's special message and explanation from His 1988 Shra'van'ii Pu'rn'ima' discourse. By that way we will be able to grow a lot, by His grace.


The above situation of seeing the bright side is akin to the work of homeopathic researchers. When they see a poisonous snake they do not just think that it is dangerous and deadly and should therefore be discarded; those researchers see that snake in a benevolent light - i.e. they see the bright side - and by that practical outlook they are able to use that poison from the snake to make a medicine. Because one inherent quality of that poisonous snake is its medicinal properties.

And it is like that with so many people and things. Everyone and everything has its positive aspect and to overlook that good quality is to miss out on an opportunity to learn and grow.

A person may be extremely lazy but side by side they may have great knowledge of computers. In that case we should not just tag them as lazy and walk away; we should also be able to learn from their technical abilities as well. But this can only happen if we see the bright side, i.e. take note of their finer qualities.

Each and every interaction in life presents us with such an opportunity.

Indeed if we think more deeply, we can come up with innumerable examples of how we can learn from those who are seemingly full of unfavourable characteristics. By seeing the bright side we will be able to find and learn from their good qualities.


That is why in that same Shra'van'ii Pu'rn'ima' discourse Baba guides us that we are to be like a honey bee, not a fly. A honey bee will always find the sweet spot. If a person is holding a garland the honey bee will land on that garland. In contrast, if that same person has a wound, then the fly will go straight to the wound. The honey bee always seeks out the nectar and the fly always encircles the sores.

Likewise, as human beings, by seeing the bright side we will come to understand that glorious qualities that a person has just like the honey bee does, and not get caught up in only seeing the negative aspects of a person like the fly.


So the main benefit of seeing the bright side is that it allows us to learn in all situations from all people. In that case we will continually evolve and grow. That is Baba's special message from the Shra'van'ii Pu'rn'ima' gathering.

At the the same time, there is a tertiary benefit as well. By seeing the bright side we will be able to serve others. Because we will be able to bring them close and help them transform their lives.

For example, if we only have disdain for a particular thief and view them only with disgust, then we keep them at arm's distance in which case we will not be able to help them. Whereas if we see them in a sympathetic light and think that certainly that criminal has some good quality, then that creates a bond, in which case we can help them make their life meaningful.

No one is to be tossed aside and called rotten forever. We are to help everyone become moral citizens and enter the path of sadhana. By seeing the bright side, we are able to best serve others.

If we just think that someone is 100% bad, then we can never serve them. And by serving them, we can not only help the individual rectify themselves and make society better, but we also fulfill our human dharma. It makes us better as well.


On that 1988 occasion of Shra'van'ii Pu'rn'ima', Baba's main emphasis is on finding out one's good qualities so that we may learn from them, and in that process invariably we will be able to serve others as well. That was His special teaching for us on that day.

However, there is also a distinct danger involved in failing to see that bright side. That too we should be aware of.

If we just see the dirt that others have and make crude jokes or always talk ill of others, then that is a total waste our time on this earth. Yet unfortunately, that is how many pass their days. They just gossip about co-workers, or speak negatively about those whom they do not like, or it plays out in so many ways. But there are two major dangers involved.

First, there is no social benefit and society will not be improved by such derogatory and degrading talk, and secondly, those who indulge in such negative gossip will actually become like those negative things. That is the way mind grows - it becomes like its object of ideation. That is Baba's distinct warning.

So if one talks about another's laziness, greed, or dirtiness etc, then that person too will become lazy, greedy, and dirty.

Thus if we are not seeing the bright side, then we are seeing the dark side in which case we will just become diseased, degraded and crude. That is the very clear and inherent danger.


By Baba's grace He has given us this great teaching - "See the bright side" - and by taking brahmabhava and seeing the good within all, we can learn and do so much. By this way of thinking, the mind becomes bigger and bigger which leads to a more elevated stance in life. We should see every occasion an opportunity to learn and grow, then we will truly embody Baba's grand teaching of "see the bright side."

Sarve'tra sukhinah bhavantu sarve santu nira'maya'h;
Sarve bhadra'n'i pashyantu na kashcid duhkhama'pnuya't.

Let everybody be happy
Let everybody be free from all ailments
Let everybody see the bright side of everything
Let nobody be forced to undergo any suffering or exploitation



One other aspect of seeing the bright side is in our Proutistic endeavours. Part and parcel of Prout is to fight against exploitation and injustices. We do that in order to help the downtrodden people. In that case, seeing the bright side means pointing out all the ills in society in order to make it better, more livable for one and all.

By this formula also, we grow as sadhakas because we are taking up the call to help those in need. Thus pointing out the defects, whether inside or outside AM, is also part of the teaching of, "Seeing the bright side". Here are links to other letters raising this aspect.


"Sa'garebela'y gun'e baluka'y cale gelo mor..." (P.S. 4607)


  O' Baba, my entire day has passed on the shore by the sea counting the tiny grains of sand. I see now that the deep, dark night descends. Baba, You did not care to look at me. You did not forbid me from passing my time like this, nor did You tear me from the snares and bondages of my mundane attachments. O' Parama Purusa, I have spent my life submerged in petty gains and material indulgences and You did not prohibit me or dissuade me from these worldly allurements.

  Baba, You are so gracious, You gave me immense wealth and blessed me with the intelligence to destroy my petty ego. Baba, You are so gracious, You gave me sufficient strength to serve the suffering and help those in need, even then my conscience did not awaken. Baba, although You gave everything but because my mind did not develop in a spiritual manner, I have spent all my time counting the grains of sand. Baba, I could not ultise the strength which You have given me. And instead I just wasted my time sunk in my own selfish, petty desires.

  O' my Dearmost, now in the depths of this darkness, I roam this desolate beach in search of You. By Your grace, I am no longer interested in the oysters or the sand. Baba, when will that resplendent, spiritual dawn arrive where I get that very Divine Entity to whom I belong. O' Parama Purusa, I belong to You, I want only You.

  Baba, my whole life has passed - wasted in vain - collecting material, worldly achievements. At the end of the day, by Your grace I realise that I should no longer waste my time. Baba, I want You and only You, the eternal and most loving One...

NOTE FOR PS #4607:

Baba has introduced this song with an ancient vedic shloka. He has done this with a small number of songs in His Prabhat Samgiita collection and on some occasions the singers sing the shloka as well. Here is the shloka presented before PS 4607.

Asu'rya'h na'ma te loka'h andhena tamasa'vrta'h;
Ta'm'ste pretya'bhigacchanti ye ke ca'tmahano jana'h

This shloka has also been explained in some of His discourses as well.

Baba says, "A person who is moving away from Parama Purus'a is heading towards total annihilation, towards mahatii vinas't'i." (NKS, Disc: 15)

The meaning or sense is that there is one hell or layer of darkness in the human mind, and if one gets stuck there they cannot understand the spiritual realm. Instead they think that mundane things are great.

Such was the predicament of the bhakta in the above Prabhat Samgiita, until finally, by Baba's grace, the sadhaka's mind emerged from that darkness and longed for Him.

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