Grudges Break Your Back

[Lakshmi Devi]“In this world everyone is envious of his fellow being. But a perfect paramahamsa, being completely given up to the service of the Lord, is perfectly nonenvious. He loves every living being in relation with the Supreme Lord. Real renunciation means perfect dependence on God.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.18.22 Purport)

Friend1: Do you hold grudges?

Friend2: I try not to. With you it’s difficult.

Friend1: Very funny. You’re against them?

Friend2: Not something I really think about.

Friend1: If somebody wrongs you, isn’t it a good idea to hold on to the memory?

Friend2: As a prevention mechanism?

Friend1: Yes. So that in the future you don’t get burned again.

Friend2: I would call that intelligence. Remembering is not a bad idea, but a grudge is something different. It’s remaining upset for way too long, usually unjustifiably so.

Friend1: How do you let go of the ill feeling, though?

Friend2: It’s not easy, but surely it is possible. Just try to remember that everyone in this material world is envious to some degree.

Friend1: That’s a pretty blanket statement.

Friend2: It makes sense. Otherwise, why would people cheat? We know that cheating is one of the four defects in man.

Friend1: Along with committing mistakes, having imperfect senses, and being easily illusioned.

Friend2: I cheat because I am not confident of my abilities. I know that success is not guaranteed. Others are competing with me for enjoyment. If I can get the upper hand, all the better to me.

Friend1: And you’re saying that complementing cheating is enviousness, where you are upset that someone else has bested you.

Friend2: And someone will surely surpass me. I cannot be the best at everything. Even in playing sports, I can’t hold every record there is. The richest guy in the world is missing something. The smartest person is lacking in some other area. Thus there is so much cause for envy.

Friend1: What do you tell people who hold grudges? I’m sure you know people who are consumed by them.

Friend2: Absolutely. It’s all they talk about. “So and so wronged me that one time. I will never forget it.”

Friend1: Right. It’s like a lingering memory. Difficult to shake.

Friend2: I tell them not to be like the crow. Be more like the swan.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: The crow is always around garbage. It remains in unclean areas. Sita Devi, the wife of Shri Rama, once made this comparison to the evil Ravana.

Friend1: Was this when he was making advances on her?

Friend2: Yeah. He was trying to win her over. She said that she could never be with someone like him, since he was like a crow. She was like a swan, accustomed to being around lotus flowers, which are the symbol of purity.

“How can that female swan who is accustomed to sporting with the king of swans amidst lotus flowers ever cast her eyes on a water-crow that stays amidst bunches of grass?” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 56.20)

[Lakshmi Devi]Friend1: Holding grudges is crow-like behavior?

Friend2: Absolutely. They serve no viable purpose. Grudges can be back-breaking in a sense, preventing you from proceeding further on the path of purifying the consciousness.

Friend1: I see.

Friend2: The swan tries to stay pure in mind. They associate with other swan-like people. The highest transcendentalist is compared to the swan. The word is paramahamsa.

Friend1: I’ve heard that before. Many saintly people have this word in their title.

Friend2: Paramahamsa means “supreme swan.” The swan is known for its ability to take a mixture of milk and water and extract the milk. It casts aside the water. In this material world, the transcendentalist on the highest platform of consciousness sees only the good, the influence of the Supreme. They cast aside the negative. Holding grudges represents the opposite mentality; thinking only of the bad. There is no benefit to such a mentality.

Friend1: How do we become swan-like?

[Shrila Prabhupada]Friend2: Associate with other swan-like people. If you can’t find them personally, they are there in book form. Also, sound recordings are there. If even that is difficult for you, associate with the object of service for the paramahamsas, the Supreme Lord. Just chant His holy names and drink in the acoustic gift that is non-different from God Himself: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

From past wrong anger to unfold,

But best not for grudge to hold.

Mistakes also coming from me,

Better for good in others to see.

Like the swan water casting aside,

With milk-like Divine pleasure to reside.

Not naïve or as fool to act,

But focus kept on right track.

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