Choosing to live a kind, loving spiritual life does not require you to back down in the face of conflict or controversy. When the situation warrants it, your values must be backed up by your words and actions. Here’s a nice story that illustrates this point from Finding the Joy Within You, a collection of talks given by Sri Daya Mata, the longtime president of Self-Realization Fellowship.
There are times, of course, when we should speak up firmly, when it would be wrong not to take a stand. But there should be no feeling of enmity. Guruji used to tell a story that illustrates this:
In a village, there once lived a cobra whose bite had taken the lives of many of the people. The leader of the community went to a wise man and said, “We can’t go on like this. The snake is killing off all the villagers. Won’t you please do something about it?”
The wise man agreed to help. He went to the cobra and said, “Look here, you must not go on killing these people. It is unnecessary and wrong. Leave them alone.”
The cobra said, “All right, I will follow your advice. I will practice nonviolence.”
A year went by. The wise man was passing through the village again and wondered what had happened about the cobra. He went to look for the snake, but it was not in its regular nest. He finally found the hapless creature, its lacerated body stretched out in the sun, just about to breathe its last.
“What on earth happened to you?” the wise man asked.
The cobra answered, “This, Mister Wise Man, is the result of following your teaching of nonviolence. Look what the villagers have done to me. I lie here quietly, and because they no longer have cause to fear me, they come and stone me!”
The wise man said, “You didn’t understand. I told you not to bite, but I didn’t tell you not to hiss!”
When necessary, when principle is involved, we shouldn’t hesitate to “hiss.” One should not become a doormat. Stand for truth, but never “bite.” That is the divine law.
Click here to view all my posts about Paramahansa Yogananda and Self-Realization Fellowship.
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BLOG AT NO EXPENSE TO YOU
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.