I generally keep myself off the news, except for the occasional brushes of the unavoidable current affairs. The reason is that I do not like to be brain washed by the current negativity of the media. Looking at the way in which people show retaliation these days, we should feel ashamed. The types of insults that fill the internet platforms; and the even the political leaders fill their speeches with cruelty, retaliation and resentment. The trade wars and the political propaganda are crushing the population today. People do not have the time for any spiritual activity and so their minds have become polluted. We take pleasure in insulting and demeaning others, especially someone in power. When a powerful person goes down, we flush the society with negative discussions and further the rumors and myths. We start to assign stereotypes and start looking at everyone with the eyes of distrust and scrutiny. This reminds me of a Hindi short story ‘Haar ki Jeet’ that I used to read as a child. It is a very popular story and I am sure many people would have read it but for those who have not, let me tell a short version of it.
“There was a village where a saint, Baba Bharati lived in the service of God. He had a gorgeous horse which was famous for its beauty across several villages. One day Baba Bharati went for a ride on his famous horse. He was riding on a lonely road when a poor beggar stopped him. Baba Bharati stopped and got off the horse to help the beggar with some alms.
But as he leaned in to give the alms, to his surprise, the beggar flung away the torn covers. He swiftly stood and placed a knife against Baba’s chest. Baba looked at his face and instantly realized that the notorious bandit Khadag Singh had deceived him. The bandit asked Baba to give away his horse or else he would kill him. Baba Bharati readily told the bandit that he could take the horse away. But he placed a condition before the bandit. He asked Khadag Singh not to discuss this incident with anybody.
The thought surprised the bandit. It should have been the saint who would have reported the theft but on the contrary, he was asking the bandit to keep it as a secret. Khadag Singh asked that what bad could happen to Baba Bharati by discussing this event with anybody. Baba replied that this would break the trust of people and that no one would ever help a poor beggar again.”
The Upsetting of Society
It is really the dawn of the dark ages that babas are becoming the bandits. But feeling sad and cheated by such news is different than showing retaliation to it. Media today thrives on negative journalism and we seem to have a belief that corruption has taken over the society. It is apparent with the cases of corrupt saints, political scams, terrorist attacks and fraudulent businessmen. Society seems to have lost the trust and integrity. We wait for the so-called good people and people with a direction to be proved otherwise; And somehow take joy in the controversies as if we were waiting for this to happen. I am not suggesting that we should shut our eyes from news because we have the right to justice and awareness. But making this a front-page headline, covering this for sensation and glamor, making jokes and creating memes based on such events is just pathetic.
Baba Bharati was concerned about losing trust in the poor and diseased, while we are taking all the steps to lose trust in our leaders. It is drastic and damaging. Human Civilization has a culture of forming societies and working in harmony. We aim for growth and prosperity. But non-confidence in good and belief in a corrupt system will surely create obstructions in our growth. When one event is justified to be evil, we start creating rumors and controversies regarding all the people related to it and pass this message to the society in the name of taking precaution. How justified is that?
The younger generations have doubt as the basic emotion and the prolonged doubt gives birth to non-confidence. Non-confidence creates impatience and anxiety. Impatience impairs the long-term plans and anxiety hampers judgment. Loss in judgment makes a person directionless which leads to inefficiency.
So, before the retaliation takes hold, we must think about the repercussions and instead of having a revengeful attitude we should mourn on any evil because the day we start enjoying punishing the guilty, we are doing nothing but giving the evil outside a safe place to hide in ourselves.