Try Not to Judge
The Masters tell us that we have been here for much longer than our puny human minds can comprehend – aeons and aeons of time, innumerable cycles of the four ages. We have lived life after life in different bodies, in different forms, from simple one-cell creatures to the most complex – human beings. During that time civilizations have grown, thrived and eventually declined and disappeared, to be followed by others.
The Masters explain that our souls are little drops of the current that emanates from God and are, in fact, part of God’s own substance and being – the Creator’s essence that made and sustains everything on all planes of the creation. However, when our souls were sent down to this material plane they had to be provided with a mind in order to be able to function here. The mind also makes use of an effective device to cloak each soul in illusion and make it forget its divine origin. This device is the ego, which makes each person feel separate and unique. This allows it to stand in judgment of all others it meets during its earthly wanderings.
In the words of Maharaj Charan Singh:
We judge others when we think we are superior and other people are inferior to us. We think we are much better human beings.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
In other words, when we judge we’re giving free rein to the ego and to the negative promptings of our mind.
What we must remember is that for all this time, through all our countless lives, our mind has stayed with us, and in every life it has collected impressions, influences and opinions. So many times it has known happiness, ecstasy, joy and elation; and also sadness, distress, terror and agony. All these impressions may have contributed something both to our present character, and also to those of the people whom we judge. We can never understand what makes others behave the way they do.
When we judge it is so easy for us to say, for instance: “Did you hear what bad grammar that woman used?” Or perhaps: “Imagine behaving like that towards me!”
Now let us examine each of those sentences carefully, reading between the lines. In the first case one could ask oneself: “Do I know whether the language she used is her own? Is it the language she grew up with, or has she been clever enough to learn a second or perhaps a third language?” If we are honest, we will probably have to admit that we have no idea. So then we might feel a bit uncomfortable with our quick judgement. But still we might think, “It really was bad grammar.”
Let us delve deeper. What we are implying is that we know better. We’re actually saying: “I am much better-spoken and would never have used such grammar.” A nice boost for our self-esteem and our ego! If we are honest, and admit this to ourselves, hopefully we would feel ashamed and think twice the next time before criticizing or judging so easily.
In the second case, once again we were probably thinking that we would never behave like that. Again, a nice pat on the shoulder for the ego! But just as the other person’s action was prompted by karma, so can ours also be, and very often we say or do something that we bitterly regret afterwards. So, instead of judging others, let us rather watch ourselves and try to curb any unfair, unkind or wrong impulses by being aware of our own actions. No matter what the behaviour was that prompted our remark, let us remember Maharaj Charan Singh’s words:
No one does us any wrong or treats us badly. According to the layer of our karmas that comes into action, our Lord makes people act towards us in that way. So we should never blame anybody.
There are some thought-provoking insights on the tendency to judge others in The Book of Mirdad. The spiritual teacher, Miridad, tells the monks:
Shun every judgment seat, my companions. For to pronounce a judgment on anyone, or anything, you must not only know The Law and live comfortably thereto, but hear the evidence as well. … To have the evidence complete in any given case the Cosmos must needs be the witness. When you can hail the Cosmos into court, you would require no courts. You would descend from judgment seat and let the witness be the judge. When you know all, you would judge none.
We would do well to heed the Masters’ often-repeated words that everything is exactly as it should be; that everyone is a product of their own, unique karmas, and that we should regard our fellow human beings with empathy and affection. Let us strive for understanding and sympathetic comprehension of the fact that we cannot know another person’s history or karma. And let us try to love others rather than judging them, knowing that we are – as Master Charan Singh often said – all struggling souls on the path.