Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
To live a life inspired by dharma means coming under a certain
and following certain rules of conduct. It is important for people to
acquaint themselves with these rules. It would be ideal if they lived
according to them on their own because to abide by them out of
compulsion is not a matter of pride. "Sampradaya" or tradition is
something that has evolved naturally and it is natural that people
to them. The customs and rules making up a sampradaya are not all of
them written down in the sastras.
Anything laid down as a law becomes a matter of compulsion. Nowadays
everywhere people are asked to "Do this" and "not to do that." Notices
are displayed about this and that. They are displayed even where I
perform the puja (in the Matha), notices that say, "Don't keep talking",
"Don't wear shirts", etc.
When I speak thus and ask you not to do this or to do that, I myself am
guilty if offending against the good rule I just spoke about. When I
"Don't do", it becomes a law. I should speak to you thus: "You think
it yourselves whether it is right to have such notices."
"Do not magnify the faults of others," say the wise. "But if there is
something good about a man speak appreciatively about it." I myself,
however, am bringing your faults into the open. But, to repeat, you must
not bring to light the drawbacks of others but only their good
See, even the crescent moon is cool and radiant. That is why Siva wears
in his matted hair, makes its beauty known to the world. The same Siva
swallowed the terrible halahala poison concealing it from everyone, so
says Dandin in one of his poems.
Pointing a finger at the faults of others or exaggerating them in speech
and writing has become the practice today. The more learned a man is,
the more eager he is to find fault with others. "Finding fault is indeed
work of a vidvan," it is said. "The word vidvan itself is said to mean a
dosajna." But a dosajna is one who knows the faults of something or
somebody, not one who reveals them to the world or exaggerates them.
If you think a person has any drawbacks you must speak to him about
them in a friendly manner [so that he may correct himself] but not
constantly harp on them and expose them to the outside world.
We must be worthy enough to speak about the faults of others and we
cannot take upon ourselves the role of an adviser when we need to
correct ourselves. Advice given by us then would be counterproductive.
we tell a man what is wrong about him he might even feel boastful about
it. When are we fit to advise others? When we are worthy enough and
when we know that our word will have the desired effect.
If we praise a person for his good qualities he will have greater
enthusiasm to cultivate them further. But there should be restraint in
praise too- praise indeed is a tricky thing. That is why the wise say: "Isvara
and the guru alone may be praised directly. Friends and relatives,
of being praised to their face, must be spoken of well to others. You
praise a servant only after he has carried out the job entrusted to him.
is like patting a horse after a ride). You may never praise your son."
Pratyakse guravah stutyah
Na svaputrah kadacana
I have been finding fault with you all the while. As I said fault
not an exercise to be welcomed but the stanza just quoted frees me from
any blame because it says that children should not be praised and that
you must tell them what is wrong with them. So no fault can be ascribed
to me for my having found fault with you.