Sunday, May 30, 2010

Conquering Hate

“He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who harbour such thoughts hatred is not appeased. He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred is appeased.
Hate is not overcome by hate; by Love (Metta) alone is hate appeased. This is an eternal law.
The others know not that in this quarrel we perish; those of them who realise it, have their quarrels calmed thereby.”
…………Dhammapada Ch 1 verse 3, 4

How true it is that the moment we harbour hate it is like a cancer that eats into your very being. There is a continuous preoccupation of the mind. Recently I did a ‘Note’ on my Facebook Group, the title of which was ‘Forgiveness’. There I had quoted a real life event.

In October 2006, there was a shooting in an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. A neighbour in the area broke into the school holding the children hostage with a gun. He shot ten young girls, hardly more than children, where five died; then the killer committed suicide in front of the remaining children. This was a horrific event yet these gentle Amish not only went on with their lives, but immediately went to the family of the killer offering forgiveness and even attended the funeral of the man who had killed their children.

Imagine the mental state of each parent and the anguish that they must have undergone. But in spite of this state, they harboured no malice towards the family of the killer. Take the example of Pope John Paul II, after the failed attempt on his life and after he came out of the hospital, he went to jail where his would be assassin was lodged and forgave him.
All these acts of forgiveness had to have a pre-positioning of one’s mind wherein the state of hate has to be erased. This is exactly what the Gautama says.

He also says how to overcome this hatred and turn it into authentic forgiveness. This can be done by pure love. This is a state where one understands the nature of individuals. In other words you try to find reasons for the perpetrator’s act and how his mind must have worked. There is again a story that illustrates this calm realization.

There was a rishi and his disciples who went to take the ritual bath in the River. There was a madman sitting on the river bank. As the rishi came out of his bath, the madman threw some mud on him. The disciples were livid with anger but the rishi calmly went back to the river to renew his cleansing. As he came out again the madman threw some mud and the rishi went back for cleansing in the river. After few repetitions the madman got tired and went away. When the disciples asked him why he did not react and reprimand the madman, he calmly said “it is in the nature of the madman to throw mud and it is in my nature to cleanse myself, if I threw foul words at him, what is the difference between him and me?” This calm equanimity and an objective analysis help us realize the position from where the hurt comes.

Love is not an abstract emotion but it is one that is rooted in an internal experience. While it is easy to love one who reciprocates without precondition, it is a Herculean task to love someone who has a very negative disposition. This is where the mind has to be conditioned to be patient and allow space in a relationship. Life always throws a lot of hurts which is mainly due to our ego reception. It is only through going beyond the ego that we can conquer hatred.

Love to you all


  1. Respected Sir,

    Such abiding patience indeed empowers, remarkable parables sir. this has to be re read a no.of times for the message to sink in deeper.
    Thanks Sir.

    Spiritually Yours


  2. Rightly said but very difficult to follow and practise.
    I think starting forgiveness in the smallest of our small action might take us a step further.