A Word on Rumors

My time at the ashram is usually extremely busy. On any given day, I meet tens of people on an individual basis. The other day too, like most times, over forty private meetings were scheduled from morning till afternoon. I was pressed for time and therefore we were only giving five minutes to each person.

In one such meeting, a man came up to me and said, “Swami, they are spreading false rumors about you.”

“That’s fine,” I said. “I don’t mind.”

I wanted to focus on his issue than waste time on hearing what others had to say about me.

“No, Swami,” he persisted, “they are saying bad things.”

“They are spitting in the sky. Let them.”

I thought this would close the chapter so we could get to something more relevant and productive. But, this gentleman was determined.

“They are even saying—”

“Wait!” I raised my hand signaling him to stop. “I don’t want to hear. I don’t comment on rumors.”

He got upset that I didn’t let him finish his sentence.

“We are short on time,” I continued. “If you have no question to ask then maybe you can sing a song.”

He sat quietly for the next two minutes before leaving the room, somewhat flustered. I felt sorry for him and for me too that we just wasted five minutes. That’s how life operates as well sometimes, I thought. We want to share rumors with it, we want to make a point but life refuses to listen because it considers it irrelevant. We sit there brooding and disgruntled, and before we know it our time is up.

If you pay attention to your mind, you’ll discover that most of the time your thoughts have other people in it. An untamed mind forces you to think about other people. Not out of compassion or care, but more out of compulsion and attachment. What’s even more tragic is that mind is often thinking negative things. Not necessarily bad, just negative. It’s pondering over why others view you a certain way or why don’t they see the goodness in you, or why they bad mouth you behind your back and so on.

I have a simple philosophy to deal with all this. Here: firstly, an opinion is a personal matter. It’s like hanging a painting on a wall in your home. You can put up whatever you like. Similarly, their mind is their home and their opinions are the paintings they have chosen to hang there. What paintings adorn their walls is at their discretion and I can’t let it bother me because it’s their home. Secondly, what they say to you about me is a piece of information that is meant for you and not me. If it’s for me, let them tell me directly, I say.

 

I only give my reaction to a statement that’s made directly to me with the intention of getting a response. As a matter of principle, I only reply to questions and not statements or opinions. Most rumors are false statements. All other times, I like to ignore any remark and not respond. This is the root of my peace of mind in dealing with hundreds of people on a regular basis. And, this is also the crux of my post today: choosing what, how and who to respond.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!

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