Children, we regard some people as good, and brand some as good for nothing. After some time, we will say that those very people we had earlier praised as good are bad, and those whom we had dismissed as good for nothing are nice folks. Thus, our opinions and outlook keep changing. How does this happen? The main reason is that we lack true knowledge. We amass sufficient information about the body and the external world. But we know nothing about our own mind, we know nothing about ourselves.
Prejudging everything has become our habit.
If we approach everything with preconceived notions, we will not have real knowledge about anything. We should be able to see everything as it is. We should learn how to look upon everything with an open mind. Only then can we see what is true.
This world objects, people and all keeps changing constantly.The person we saw yesterday is not the same today. Whenever someone goes to a tailor to get clothes stitched, out of habit at least, the tailor will retake the person’s measurements. He doesn’t refrain from taking the measurements, thinking, “I already took his measurements the last time”. The tailor knows that the person’s size and tastes can change. We should have this kind of outlook when we interact with people. A person’s character and attitude towards us can change any moment. Today’s enemy can be tomorrow’s friend. Today’s friend can also be tomorrow’s enemy. We should be able to look upon people with an open mind and without prejudice, instead of sizing them up based on our past impressions.
Prejudging is an unfavourable attitude, and alertness a favourable one. When we prejudge, we miss out on much new knowledge. Amma remembers a story. The man of a house lost his wallet, which contained a lot of money. Until a few moments before, it was where he had kept it in his room. The man, his wife and their children started searching the whole house. They couldn’t find it anywhere.
Sometime during the search, the man’s youngest son, a seven-year-old, said, “The boy next door had come here a little earlier.” The man, who until then had only affection for that boy, suddenly started having doubts about him. “Haven’t you seen the way he looks? There’s no doubt about it. He’s the one who stole the wallet,” declared the man, who began to discern deceitfulness in the boy’s manner of sitting, walking and talking. He lost his affection for and trust in that boy. He began to express his anger and coldness towards everyone in that’s boy’s family. The man who lost his wallet also lost his peace of mind.
One day, while sweeping and cleaning the house, the man found the lost wallet in a gap in the sofa. In the very next moment, his attitude towards the boy next door changed. As in the past, he was once again considered a good, faultless and innocent boy. When we regard something with prejudice, a judgement will first form in the mind. Thereafter,we will see everything in the light of that judgement.
That outlook is often misleading. We should first learn about something with alertness and discrimination, and without prejudice. Only after that should we come to a conclusion. This is the right way.
Prejudging is nothing but projecting our likes and dislikes on others.
It will not help us see the truth; it will hamper our outlook, too. It is like looking at the world through glasses of many different tints. We will say,“Blue world”, or “Black world”, or “Green world”. We won’t know how the world really looks like. We should be able to understand and evaluate the world, situations, experiences and ourselves without prejudice and with awareness, maturity and discrimination. This is only possible if we assimilate spiritual principles.