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Yoga Sutra

Samadhi Pada

Sutra 1.33

मैत्रीकरुणामुदितोपेक्षणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम्॥३३॥ 
maitrī karuṇā mudito-pekṣāṇāṁ-sukha-duḥkha puṇya-apuṇya-viṣayāṇāṁ bhāvanātaḥ citta-prasādanam

The mind becomes purified by practising friendship over wellness, kindness over suffering, pleasure over virtuosity and indifference over immorality. 

maitrī = friendship
karuṇā = kindness
mudita = merry
upekṣāṇāṁ = indifferenece
sukha = wellness
duḥkha= suffering
puṇya= virtuous
viṣayāṇāṁ= matters
bhāvanātaḥ= practiced
citta= mind
prasādanam= purified

To get rid of the obstacles and keep the mind free from distractions, concentration upon a single stuff is advocated earlier. To make the concentration possible, the mind should be pacified. It should be free from modifications. 


Wellness, kindness, virtuosity and immorality are the potential contributors to the modifications. It is the tendency of the mind to have jealousy over wellness, pride over sufferings of others, friendliness and love towards virtuosity and hatred towards immorality. These modifications put the mind in agitation. To arrest these modifications, employment of friendliness over wellness, kindness over suffering, pleasure over virtuosity and indifference over immorality, should be practised.


Fortifying the mind with the attitudes of kindness and others, concentration on the single stuff is made possible.

Commentary by Maharishi Vyasha

The peacefulness of the mind through friendliness, compassion, complacency and indifference towards pleasure, pain, virtue and vice respectively. 

One should show friendship towards other beings that enjoys pleasure. Compassion towards distressed, complacency towards virtuous and indifference towards vicious. For him, good virtues accrue. In turn, the mind becomes peaceful. By the peace of mind, concentration and steadiness are achieved.


Commentary by Swami Vivekananda

Friendship, mercy, gladness, indifference, being thought of in regard to subjects, happy, unhappy, good and evil respectively, pacify the Chitta.

We must have these four sorts of ideas. We must have friendship for all; we must be merciful towards those that are in misery; when people are happy we ought to be happy, and to the wicked, we must be indifferent. So with all subjects that come before us. If the subject is a good one, we shall feel friendly towards it; if the subject of thought is one that is miserable we must be merciful towards the subject. If it is good we must be glad, if it is evil we must be indifferent. These attitudes of the mind towards the different subjects that come before it will make the mind peaceful. Most of our difficulties in our daily lives come from being unable to hold our minds in this way. For instance, if a man does evil to us, instantly we want to react evil, and every reaction of evil shows that we are not able to hold the Chitta down; it comes out in waves towards the object, and we lose our power. Every reaction in the form of hatred or evil is so much loss to the mind, and every evil thought or deed of hatred, or any thought of reaction, if it is controlled, will be laid in our favour. It is not that we lose by thus restraining ourselves; we are gaining infinitely more than we suspect. Each time we suppress hatred or a feeling of anger, it is so much good energy stored up in our favour; that piece of energy will be converting into the higher powers.

Commentary by Sri Osho


MANY THINGS HAVE TO be understood before you can understand this sutra. First, the natural attitudes: whenever you see somebody happy, you feel jealous – not happy, never happy. You feel miserable. That’s the natural attitude, the attitude that you have already got. And Patanjali says the mind becomes tranquil by cultivating attitudes of friendliness towards the happy – very difficult. To be friendly with someone who is happy is one of the most difficult things in life.

Ordinarily, you think it is very easy. It is not! Just the opposite is the case. You feel jealous, you feel miserable. You may show happiness, but that’s just a facade, a show, a mask. And how you can be happy? And how you can be tranquil, silent, if you have such an attitude?

Because the whole life is celebrating, millions of happiness happening all over the universe, but if you have an attitude of jealousy, you will be miserable, you will be in a constant hell. And you will be in a hell precisely because all over there is heaven. You will create a hell for you – a private hell – because whole existence is celebrating. If somebody is happy, what comes first to your mind? – as if that happiness has been taken from you as if he has won and you are defeated as if he has cheated you... Happiness is not a competition, so don’t be worried. If somebody is happy, it does not mean that you cannot be happy, that he has taken happiness – now how you can be happy. Happiness is not somewhere existing, which can be exhausted by happy people.

Why you feel jealous? If somebody is rich, maybe it is difficult for you to be rich because riches exist in a quantity. If somebody is powerful in a material way, it may be difficult for you to be powerful because power is a competition. But happiness is not a competition. Happiness exists in infinite quantity. Nobody has ever been able to exhaust it; there is no competition at all. If somebody is happy, why you feel jealous? And with jealousy enters hell in you.

Says Patanjali, when somebody is happy, feel happy, feel friendly. Then you also open a door towards happiness. In a subtle way, if you can feel friendly with someone who is happy, you immediately start sharing his happiness; it has become yours also – immediately! And happiness is not something; it is not material. It is not something that somebody can cling to. You can share it. When a flower blooms, you can share it; when a bird sings, you can share it; when somebody is happy, you can share it. And the beauty is that it does not depend on his sharing. It depends on your partaking.

If it depended on his sharing, whether he shares or not, then it was totally a different thing. He may not like to share. But this is not a question at all, it does not depend on his sharing. When the sun rises in the morning you can be happy, and the sun cannot do anything about it. It cannot prevent you from being happy. Somebody is happy: you can be friendly. It is totally your own attitude, and he cannot prevent you by sharing. Immediately you open a door, and his happiness flows towards you also.

This is the secret of creating a heaven all around you, and only within heaven can you be tranquil. How can you be tranquil in hell-fire? And nobody is creating it: you create it. So the basic thing to be understood is that whenever there is misery, hell, you are the cause of it. Never throw the responsibility on anybody else because that throwing of responsibility is escaping from the basic truth.

If you are miserable, only you – absolutely only you – are responsible. Look within and find the cause of it. And nobody wants to be miserable. If you can find the cause within you, you can throw it out. Nobody is standing in your way to prevent you. There is not a single obstacle to be happy. But by being friendly towards happy people, you become attuned to happiness. They are flowering; you become friendly. They may not be friendly; that is none of your concern. They may not even Yoga: know you – that doesn’t matter. But wherever there is a blooming, wherever there is bliss, wherever somebody is flower-ing, wherever somebody is dancing and is happy and is smiling, wherever there is a celebration, you become friendly, you partake of it. It starts flowing within you, and nobody can prevent it. And when there is happiness all around you, you feel tranquil.


With the happy, you feel jealous – in a subtle competition. With happy people, you feel inferior. You always choose people around you who are unhappy. You become friendly with unhappy people because with unhappy people you feel superior. You always seek somebody who is below you. You are always afraid of the higher; you always seek the lower, and the more you seek the lower, the lower you fall. Then even more lower people are needed.

Seek the company of those who are higher than you – higher in wisdom, higher in happiness, higher in tranquillity, calmness, quiet, collectedness: always seek the company of the higher because that is the way how you become higher, how you transcend the valleys and reach to the peaks. That becomes a ladder. Always seek the company of the higher, the beautiful, the happy – you will become more beautiful, you will become happier.

And once the secret is known, once you know how one becomes more happy, how with others’ happiness you create a situation for yourself also to be happy, then there is no barrier; then you can go as far as you like. You can become a god where no unhappiness exists.

Who is a god? A god is one who has learned the secret to be happy with the whole universe, with every flower and with every river and with every rock and every star, who has become one with this continuous eternal celebration, who celebrates, who doesn’t bother whose celebration is this. Wherever there is a celebration, he participates. This art of participating in happiness is one of the foundations if you want to be happy. It has to be followed.

Just the opposite you have been doing: if somebody is happy, immediately you are shocked. How is it possible? How come you are not happy and he has become happy? There is an injustice. This whole world is cheating you and there is no God. If God is, how come you are not happy and others are becoming happy? And these people who are happy, they are the exploiters, they are tricky, cunning.

They live on your blood. They are sucking others’ happiness. Nobody is sucking anybody’s happiness. Happiness is such a phenomenon, there is no need to suck it. It is an inner flowering; it doesn’t come from the outside. Just by being happy with happy people you create the situation in Which your own inner flower starts blooming: 


You create the attitude of enmity. You can feel friendly with a sad person, and you think it is very virtuous. You can feel friendly with someone who is depressed, in misery, and you think it is something religious, something moral you are doing, but what are you doing, you don’t know. Whenever you feel friendly with someone who is sad, depressed, unhappy, miserable, you create misery for you. It looks very irreligious, Patanjali’s attitude. It is not, because when you will Yoga: understand his whole standpoint you will see what he means. He is very scientific. He is not a sentimental person, and sentimentality won’t help you.

One has to be very very clear:


Not friendliness – compassion. Compassion is a different quality; friendliness is different. Friendliness means you are creating a situation in which you would like to be the same as the other person is, you would like to be the same as your friend. Compassion means that someone has fallen from his state. You would like to help him, but you would not like to be like him. You would like to give him a hand; you would like to bring him up, cheer him up. You would like to help him in
every way, but you would not like to be like him because that is not a help.

Somebody is crying and weeping, and you sit by the side and you start crying and weeping: are you helping him? In what way? Somebody is miserable and you become miserable; are you helping him? You may be doubling his misery. He was alone miserable; now there are two persons miserable.

But in showing sympathy to the miserable you are again playing a trick. Deep down, when you show sympathy to the miserable – and remember, sympathy is not compassion; sympathy is friendliness. When you show sympathy and friendliness to a depressed, sad, miserable person, deep down you are feeling happy. Always there is an undercurrent of happiness. It has to be so because it is a simple arithmetic: when somebody is happy, you feel miserable, then how it is possible when somebody is miserable you can feel unhappy? Somebody is happy you feel miserable; then somebody is unhappy, deep down you feel very happy.

But you don’t show it. Or;, if you are observed acutely even you show it – even in your sympathy, there is a subtle current of happiness. You feel good; you feel cheered up really, that it is not you who is unhappy, and you are in a position to show sympathy – and you are higher, superior. 

People always feel good when they can show sympathy to others; they are always cheered. Deep down they feel that they are not so miserable, thank God When somebody dies, immediately an undercurrent in you comes that you are still alive, thank God. And you can show sympathy and it costs nothing. Showing sympathy costs nothing, but compassion is a different thing. Compassion means you would like to kelp the other person; you would like to do whatsoever can be done; you would like to help him to come out of his misery. You are not happy about it, but you are not miserable also.

And just between the two exists compassion: Buddha is in compassion. He will not feel miserable with you because that is not going to help anybody, and he will not feel happy because there is no point in feeling happy. How can you feel happy when somebody is miserable? But he cannot feel unhappy also because that is not going to help. He will feel compassion. Compassion exists just in between these two. Compassion means he would like to help you to come out of it. He is for you,
compassion means, but against your misery; he loves you, but not your misery. He would like to bring you up, but not your misery with you.

When you are sympathetic you start loving the misery, not the man who is miserable. And if suddenly the man is cheered up and says, ”Don’t bother,” you will feel shocked, because he never gave you a chance to be sympathetic and show him that how higher, superior and happy a being you are. Don’t be miserable with somebody who is miserable. Help him to come out of it. Never make misery an object of love; don’t give any affection to misery, because if you give affection and you make it an object of love, you are opening a door for it. Sooner or later you will become miserable.

Remain aloof. Compassion means remain aloof Extend your hand, remain aloof, help – don’t feel miserable, don’t feel happy, because both are the same. When you feel miserable on the surface with somebody’s misery, deep down runs the current of being happy. Both have to be dropped.

Compassion will bring you tranquillity of the mind.

Many people come to me; they are social reformers, revolutionaries, politicians, utopians, and they say, ”How you can teach people meditation and silence when there is so much misery in the world?” They tell me, ”This is selfish.” They would like me to teach people to be miserable with others who are miserable. They don’t know what they are saying but they feel very good – doing social work, social service, they feel very good. And if suddenly the world becomes a heaven, and God says, ”Now everything will be okay,” you will find the social reformers and revolutionaries in absolute misery, because they will have nothing to do.

Khalil Gibran has written a small parable. In a city, in a big city, there was a dog who was a preacher and a missionary, and he preached to other dogs that ”Stop Barking. We waste almost ninety-nine per cent of our energy in barking unnecessarily. That’s why we have not been evolving. Stop barking unnecessarily.”

But it is difficult for dogs to stop barking. That is an in-built process. Really they feel happy only when they bark. It is a catharsis. They fell silent when they have barked. So, they listened to the leader – the revolutionary, the utopian, who was thinking of kingdom of gods, kingdom of dogs, somewhere in the coming future, where every dog is reformed and has become religious – no barking, no fighting, everything is silent... a pacifist, must have been – that missionary.

But dogs are dogs. They will listen to him and then they will say, ”You are a great man, and whatsoever you say is true. But we are helpless, poor dogs. We don’t understand such big things.” So all the dogs felt guilty because they couldn’t stop. And they believed in the message of the leader, and he was right: rationally, they could follow. But what to do with the bodies? The bodies are irrational. Whenever there will be a chance – a sannyasin walking – they will bark: a policeman, a postman... because they are against uniforms. 

It was almost impossible for them, and they had settled it that ”That dog is a great man, and we cannot follow. He is like an avatar – something from the other shore. So we will worship him, but how can we follow him?n And that leader was always true to his word: he never barked. But one day everything failed. One night, dark night, the dogs decided that ”This great leader is always trying to convert us, and we never listen to him. At least once a year, on the birthday of the leader, we should keep complete fast: no barking – absolute silence – no matter how difficult. At least once a year we can do that,” they decided.

And on that night not a single dog barked. The leader went from this corner to that, this street to that, to watch, because wherever dogs will be barking, he will preach. He started feeling very miserable because nobody is barking; the whole night completely silent, as if no dog exists... He went to many places, watched, and by the midnight it was so impossible for him that he moved in a dark corner and barked!

The moment the other dogs heard that one has broken, they said, ”Now there is no problem.” They didn’t know that the leader has done it. They thought one of them has broken the vow. But now it was impossible for them to contain; the whole city barked. The leader came out and he started preaching!

This will be the condition of your social revolutionaries, reformers, Gandhians, Marxists and others all brands. They will be in such a difficulty if the world is really changed. If the world fulfils really the utopia of their minds and imaginations, they will commit suicide or they will go mad. Or they will start preaching just opposite, just the contradictory, just the opposite whatsoever they are preaching now.

They come to me and they say, ”How you can tell people to be silent when the world is in such a misery?” They think first the misery has to be removed, then people will be silent? No, if people are silent misery can be removed, because only silence can remove the misery. Misery is an attitude. It is less concerned with material conditions, more concerned with the inner mind, the inner consciousness. Even a poor man can be happy, and once he is happy many things start falling in line.

Soon he may not be a poor man, because how can you be poor when you are happy? When you are happy, the whole world participates with you. When you are unhappy, everything goes wrong.

You create all around a situation which helps your unhappiness to be there. This is the dynamics of the mind. It is a self-defeating system. You feel miserable, then more misery attracts towards you. When more misery attracts you say, ”How I can be silent? So much misery there.” Then even more misery is attracted toward you. Then you say, ”It is impossible now. And those who say they are happy must be telling lies: these Buddhas, Krishnas, they must be telling lies. These Patanjalis,
they must be liars, because it is possible, so much misery?”

Then you are in a self-defeating system. You attract, and not only you attract for yourself: when one person is miserable, he helps others also to be miserable, because they are also fools like you.

Seeing you in misery, they sympathize. When they sympathize, they become vulnerable. So it is just like that: one ill person infects the whole community.

When one person is miserable, he infects. Misery is infectious just as happiness is infectious. And if you are vulnerable towards misery – as you are because you are always seeking unknowingly – your mind seeks misery because with misery you feel sympathy; with happiness, you feel jealous.

Unless others drop dead, you don’t feel alive. Unless others are in misery, you don’t feel happy. But how can you feel happy when others are unhappy, and how can you feel alive really when others are dead? We exist together. And sometimes you may be the cause of many people’s misery. Then you are earning a karma. You may not have directly hit them; you may not have been violent to them.

Subtle is the law You need not be a murderer, but if simply you infect people by your misery, you are participating in it; you are creating misery. And you are responsible for it, and you will have to pay for it. Very subtle is the mechanism!.

Just two, three days before it happened a sannyasin attacked Laxmi. You may not have observed that you all are responsible for it, because many of you have been feeling antagonism towards Laxmi. That sannyasin is just a victim, just the weakest link among you. He has expressed your antagonism, that’s all, and he was the weakest; he became the victim, and now you will feel that he is responsible. That’s not true. You participated. Subtle is the law! 

How you participated? Deep down, whenever somebody managing – and Laxmi is managing things around here... There are many situations in which you will feel antagonistic, in which she will have to say no to you, in which you will feel hurt – it cannot be avoided – in which you feel that enough attention is not being paid to you, in which you feel that you are treated as if you are nobody. Your ego feels hurt and you feel antagonism.

If many people feel antagonism towards a person, then the weakest amongst them will become the victim; he will do something. He was the craziest amongst you, that’s right. But he alone is not responsible. If you have ever felt antagonism towards Laxmi, that is part and you have earned a karma, and unless you become so subtly aware you cannot become enlightened. Things are very complicated.

Now in the West also, psychoanalysts have found that the whole family is responsible if one person goes mad – the whole family! Now they think that the family has to be treated, not one person, because when one person goes mad that only shows that the whole family has inner tensions. This is the weakest of them all, so immediately he shows the whole thing, he becomes the expression of the whole family, and if you treat him it won’t help. In the hospital he may be okay: back home he will fall ill again because the whole family has inner tensions and this is the weakest.

Children suffer too much because of parents. They are fighting; they are always creating anxiety and tension around the house. The whole house exists not as a peaceful community, but as an inner war and conflict. The child is vulnerable more; the child starts behaving in eccentric ways – now you have an excuse that you are tense and worried because of the child. And now the father and mother both can be concerned with the child; they will take him to the psychoanalyst and the doctor, and they can forget their own conflict.

And this child becomes a cementing force, if he is ill; then they have to pay more attention to him. And now they have an excuse why they are worried and tense and in anguish – because the child is ill – and they don’t know just the reverse is the case... BECAUSE they are worried, tense in conflict.

The child is innocent, tender; he can be affected immediately, he has no protection around him yet. And if the child becomes really healthy, the parents will be in more difficulty – because then there is no excuse.

This is a community; you live here as a family. Many tensions are bound to be there, be aware. Be alert about those tensions because your tensions can create a force. They can become accumulative, and suddenly somebody who is weak, vulnerable, simple, may become the shelter of the accumulated force, and then he reacts in a way. Then you all can throw the responsibility on him. But that is not true if you ever have felt any antagonism, you are part of it. And the same is true
in the greater world also.

Always find the dynamics of mind. Only then you will be transformed; otherwise not. 



Look! Patanjali is making steps – and beautiful and very subtle, but exactly scientific.


When you feel somebody is a virtuous man, joy, the ordinary attitude is that he must be deceiving. How anybody can be more virtuous than you? Hence so much criticism goes on. Whenever there is somebody who is virtuous, you immediately start criticizing, you start finding faults with him. Somehow or other you have to bring him down. He cannot be virtuous. You cannot believe this. Patanjali says joy, because if you criticize a virtuous man, deep down you are criticizing virtue. If you criticize a virtuous man, you are coming to a point to believe that virtue is impossible in this world. Then you will feel at ease. Then you can move on your evil ways easily because, ”Nobody is virtuous; everybody is just like me – even worse than me.” That’s why so much condemnation goes on – criticism, condemnation.

If somebody says, ”That person is a very beautiful person,” you immediately find something to criticize. You cannot tolerate – because if somebody is virtuous and you are not, your ego is shattered, and then you start feeling that ”I have to change myself,” which is an arduous effort.

The simple is to condemn; the simple is to criticize; the simple is to say, ”No! Prove! What are you saying? First, prove how he is virtuous!” And it is difficult to prove virtue; it is very easy to unproven anything. It is very difficult to prove!

The negative is always believed easily because it is also helping your ego. The positive is not believed.

You can say no whenever there is the virtue. But you are not harming the virtuous man: you are harming you. You are self-destructive. You are, in fact, committing suicide slowly – poisoning yourself. When you say that ”This man is not virtuous, that man is not virtuous,” what are you, in fact, creating? You are creating a milieu in which you will come to believe that virtue is impossible; and when virtue is impossible, there is no need to attempt. Then you fall down. Then you settle wherever you are. Growth becomes impossible. And you would like to settle, but then you settle in misery because you are miserable.

You all have settled completely. This settlement has to be broken; you have to be unsettled. Wherever you are you have to be uprooted and replanted in a higher plane, and that is possible only if you are joyful towards the virtuous.


Don’t even condemn evil.

The temptation is there; you would like to condemn even virtue. And Patanjali says don’t condemn evil. Why? He knows the inner dynamics of the mind: because if you too much condemn evil, you pay too much attention to evil, and by and by, you become attuned to it. If you say that ”This is wrong, that is wrong,” you are paying too much attention to the wrong. You will become addicted to the wrong. If you pay too much attention to anything, you become hypnotized. And whatsoever you are condemning you will commit because it will become an attraction, a deep-down attraction.

Otherwise, why bother? They are sinners, but who are you to bother about them? Jesus says, ”Judge ye not...” That’s what Patanjali means – indifference; don’t judge this way or that – be indifferent. Don’t say yes or no; don’t condemn, don’t appreciate. Simply leave it to the divine; it is none of your business. A man is a thief: it is his business. It is his and God’s. Let them settle themselves; you don’t come in. Who is asking you to come in? Jesus says, ”Judge ye not...” Patanjali says, ”Be indifferent.”

One of the greatest. hypnotists of the world, Emile Coue, discovered a law – law of hypnosis. He called it the Law of Reverse Effect. If you are too much against something, you will become a victim. See a new person learning bicycle on the road. The road is sixty feet wide, and there is a milestone by the side of the road. Even if you are a perfect cyclist and you make the target of the stone that ”I will go and crash with the stone,” sometimes you may miss. But never the new learner – never! He never misses the cornerstone. In a subtle way, his cycle moves towards the stone, and sixty feet wide is the road! Even with blindfolded eyes, you can move on it – even if there is nobody on the road, it is completely silent, nobody is moving...

What happens to this new learner? A law is working. Emile Coue calls it the Law of the Reverse Effect. Immediately, because he is a learner, he is afraid, so he looks around, where is the fear point – where he can go wrong? The whole road is okay, but this stone, this red stone by the corner, that is the danger: ”I may crash with it.” Now there is an affinity created. Now his attention is towards the stone; the whole road is forgotten. And he is a learner! His hands tremble, and he is looking at the stone, and by and by he feels that the cycle is moving. Once he feels the cycle...

The cycle has to follow your attention: cycle has no will of its own. It follows you wherever you are going, and you follow your eyes, and eyes follow a subtle hypnosis, an attentiveness. You are looking at the stone, the hands move that way. You become more and more afraid. The more you are afraid, the more caught, because now the stone seems to be an evil force as if the stone is attracting you. The whole road is forgotten, the cycle is forgotten, the learner is forgotten. Only the stone is there; you are hypnotized. You will go and crash with the stone. Now you have fulfilled your mind; next time you will be more afraid. Now where to break out of it?

When you say that something is wrong, go in the monasteries – the monks condemning sex. Sex has become the milestone. Twenty-four hours they are thinking about it: trying to avoid it is thinking about it. The more you try to avoid it, the more you are hypnotized. That is why in the old scriptures it is said whenever a saint concentrates, beautiful girls from heaven come and try to disturb his mind.

Why beautiful girls should be interested? Somebody is sitting under a tree with closed eyes, why beautiful girls will be interested in this man?

Nobody comes from anywhere, but he is so much against sex it becomes a hypnosis. He is so much hypnotized that now dreams become real. He opens the eyes and sees a beautiful naked girl standing there. You need a pornographic book to see a nude woman. If you go to the monastery you will not need a pornographic book: you create your pornography yourself all around. And then the seer, the man who was concentrating, becomes more afraid: he closes his eyes, clenches his fist. Now inside the woman is standing.

And you cannot find such beautiful women on this earth because they are creations of a dream – hypnosis byproducts – and the more he becomes afraid, the more they are there. They will rub with his body, they will touch his head, they will cling and embrace him. He is completely mad, but this happens. This is happening to you also. Degrees may differ, but this is what is happening.

Whatsoever you are against, you will be joined with it deep down. Never be against anything. To be against evil is to fall a victim. Then you are falling in the hands of the evil. Indifference: if you follow indifference, it means it is none of your concern. Somebody is stealing: that is his karma. He will know and he will have to suffer. That is not your business at all:
you don’t think about it, don’t pay any attention to it. There is a prostitute: she is selling her body –that is her business. You don’t have condemnation in you, otherwise, you will be attracted towards her.

It happened – a very old story – that a saint and a prostitute lived together. They were neighbours, and then they died. The saint was very famous. Death came and started trying to take the saint to the hell. And they died on the Fame day, the prostitute also.

The saint was surprised because the prostitute was taken on the road towards heaven. So he said, ”What is this? There seems some misunderstanding. I am the one who should be led to heaven. And this is a prostitute!”

Death said, ’We know, but now if you want, we can explain to you: there is no misunderstanding. There are the orders – that the prostitute has to be brought to heaven and the saint has to be thrown into hell.” The saint said, ”But why?” Even the prostitute could not believe. She said, ”Something must be wrong. I must be thrown in heaven? And he is a saint – a great saint. We worshipped him. Take him to heaven.”

Death said, ”No, that’s not possible, because he was a saint just on the surface, and he was thinking continuously of you. And when you will sing in the night, he will come and listen to you. He will stand just near the fence and listen to you. And millions of times he would like to go to see you, love you; millions of times he dreamed of you. He was continuously thinking about you. On the lips was the name of God; in the heart was the image of you.”

And the same from the opposite direction was true with the prostitute. She was selling her body but always thinking that she would like to have a life like this saint who lives in a temple. ”How pure he is!” She dreamt about the saint, the purity, the saintliness, the virtue that she is missing. And when customers would have gone, she will pray to God that ”Next time don’t make me a prostitute again. 

Make me a worshipper; make me a meditator. I would like to serve in the temple.” And many times she thought to go into the temple, but thinking that she is so much in sin, it was not good to enter the temple: ”The place is so holy and I am such a sinner.” And many times she wanted to touch the feet of the saint, but thinking that that will not be good: ”I am not worthy enough to touch his feet.” So when the saint will pass, she will just collect the dust on the road from where the saint has passed, and she will worship that dust.

What you are outwardly is not the question. What is your inner hypnosis will decide your future course of life? Be indifferent to evil. Indifference does not mean apathy – remember. These are subtle distinctions. Indifference doesn’t mean apathy It does not mean that close your eyes, because even if you close you have taken a standpoint, attitude. It does not mean don’t bother, because there also is a subtle condemnation. Indifference simply means as if it doesn’t exist, as if it is not there.

No attitude indifference means. You pass as if it is not happening. 

Upeksha, the word Patanjali uses, is very beautiful. It is neither apathy nor antagonism nor escapes. It is simple indifference without any attitude – remember, without any attitude, because you can be indifferent with an attitude. You can think it is not worth – it is not worthy of me to think about it. No, then you have an attitude, and a subtle condemnation is hidden in it. Indifference means simply, ’Who are you to decide, to judge?” You think about you, ’Who are you? How can you say what is evil and what is good? Who knows?”

Because life is such a complexity the evil becomes good, the good becomes evil – they change. Sinners have been known to reach the ultimate; saints have been known to be thrown into hell. So who knows? And who are you? Who is asking you? You take care of yourself. Even if you can do that, enough you have done. You be more mindful and aware; then an indifference comes to you without any attitude.

It happened: Vivekananda, before he went to America and became a world-famous figure, stayed in Jaipur Maharaja’s palace. The Maharaja was a lover of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna. As maharajas go, when Vivekananda came to stay in his palace he made a great festival out of it, and he called prostitutes to dance and sing in reception... as maharajas go: they have their own minds. He completely forgot that to receive a sannyasin with the singing of prostitutes and dancing
of prostitutes doesn’t suit. But he couldn’t know anything else. He always knew that when you have to receive somebody, drinking, dancing has to be done.

And Vivekananda was still immature; he was not a perfect sannyasin yet. Had he been a perfect sannyasin, then there was indifference – no problem – but he was not indifferent yet. He has not gone that deep into Patanjali even. He was a young man and a very suppressive one who was suppressing everything. When he saw the prostitutes, he simply locked his room and would not come out of it.

The Maharaja came and he asked his forgiveness. He said, ’We don’t know. We have never received any sannyasin. We always receive kings, so we know the ways. So we are sorry, but now it will be too much insulting because this is the greatest prostitute in the country – and very costly. And we have paid, and to say her to move and go will be insulting to her, and if you don’t come she will feel very much hurt. So come out.”

But Vivekananda was afraid to come out; that’s why I say he was still immature, still not a seasoned sannyasin. Still, indifference is not there – a condemnation: ”A prostitute?” – he was very angry, and he said, ”No” Then the prostitute started singing without him, and she sang a song of a saint.

The song is very beautiful. The song says that ”I know that I am not worthy of you, but you could have been a little more compassionate. I am dirt on the road; that I know. But you need not be so antagonistic to me. I am nobody – ignorant, a sinner. But you are a saint – why are you afraid of me?”

It is said Vivekananda heard from his room. The prostitute was weeping and singing, and he felt – he felt the whole situation of what he is doing. It is immature, childish. Why he is afraid? Fear exists only if you are attracted. You will be afraid of women if you are attracted to women. If you are not attracted, the fear disappears. What is the fear? An indifference comes without any antagonism.

He opened the door: he couldn’t contain himself, he was defeated by the prostitute. The prostitute became victorious; he had to come out. He came and he sat, and he wrote in his diary that ”A new revelation has been given to me by the divine. I was afraid... must be some lust within me. That’s why I was afraid. But the woman defeated me completely, and I have never seen such a pure soul.

The tears were so innocent and the singing and the dancing were so holy that I would have missed. And sitting near her, for the first time I became aware that it is not a question who is there outside; it is a question what is.”

That night he wrote in his diary that ’Now I can even sleep with that woman in the bed and there will be no fear.” He transcended. That prostitute helped him to transcend. This is a miracle. Ramakrishna couldn’t help and a prostitute helped him. So nobody knows from where the help will come. Nobody knows what is evil and what is good. Who can decide? The mind is impotent and helpless. So don’t take any attitude: that is the meaning of being indifferent.

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