After a little
genuine self-analysis and introspection,
one arrives at a statement that the majority of arguments
can be avoided or its intensity made more sober.
It is difficult to pass judgement when you are in the storm
but you can see its futility and destructive power
when you witness someone locked in verbal combat.SMALL THINGS
It was 5.00 a.m. Two coaches were scheduled
to leave for a pilgrim place. The passengers were ready. Both the
drivers were present but the leader of the second coach had not arrived.
As soon as he arrived the first leader spoke with contempt. Instead
of enquiring why he was late, he told the other leader to keep his
coach together with his. But the second leader thought there was no
point in staying together. And this sparked off a verbal duel. The
passengers witnessed the conflict of egos and their frivolous nature.
The two lost their credit and their friendship for a trivial matter.
Arguments are mainly due to small differences, misunderstandings and
improper knowledge of the situation. The resulting high voltage and
prejudice generated are meaningless and irreparable. Is it not a fruitless
endeavour in creating a problem out of something worthless and insignificant?
A man went to an ice-cream store. The place was packed with people
ordering a variety of sundaes and milkshakes. A single college boy
was working hectically behind the counter. He had turned frantic because
he couldn't keep up with the long line of impatient customers. When
the man eventually reached the counter he asked for two quarts of
ice-cream. And the boy lost his cool. "Do you know how hard it
is to scoop two quarts?" he yelled. Obviously this was not an
answer the man expected. Anyone would have reacted angrily, "Well,
what are you here for? This is an ice-cream store!..." But the
man held his tongue and knew that the boy was being blatant because
of pressure. Instead he asked, "Has it been one of those days?"
The boy's anger subsided, "It's been a long day. I was supposed
to get off at two o'clock, but..." The boy packed and served
the ice cream and returned a friendly smile.
What do you do when someone says something unkind or unfair. Do you
speak up, only to wish you hadn't?
Many conflicting situations evoke a headstrong response. You answer
back in retaliation. "It is your duty!" "Why are you
here in the first place!" "If you can't handle it then just
quit!" "You can never do anything right!" And the situation
turns from bad to worse. The little issue is soon forgotten and instead
the opponents start mudslinging; criticising each other's character.
When People Complain Don't Explain
During such situations the complainer is always angry, at the end
of his patience and stubborn to his way of thinking. Whatever little
effort you make in explaining, no matter how well intentioned it be,
merely fuels the complainer's aggravation because he sees it as excuses.
So just accept them for the time being, and later when things cool
down, and if you think it wise, you can explain - or else let it be
buried and forgotten.
It's natural to take offense if someone is rude or unnecessarily inquisitive.
But blurting out how you feel creates a hostile, overbearing environment
and makes matters worse. Remember, dealing with difficult people is
a part of day-to-day life. And there are peaceful ways you can stand
up for yourself instead of triggering a destructive argument.
If the complainer has a legitimate complaint, then agree, apologize
and move on to what can be done about it. Sometimes telling someone
you're sorry acknowledges his frustration and defuses the complaint.
Then, by taking action and focusing on what can be done, rather than
what hasn't been done, you remedy the mistake before it gets out of
Try handling comments which hurt or come as criticisms with humour.
A towering young fellow was walking by and people were pointing at
him and making fun of him. As he came nearer, his T-shirt announced,
"No I'm not a Basketball Player!" And as he passed, the
back of his shirt said "Are You a Jockey?"
All of us have sensitive points that can cause a heated row. If you
have a condition that bothers you then neutralise it with humour when
anyone singles you out. Laugh it out or divert the subject altogether.
Agree to Disagree
Sometimes conversations or discussions on specific topics create controversies.
Politics, sports, religion and social issues evoke an array of different
opinions and reactions.
A man went to his father-in-law's home for dinner. A conversation
on whether to discipline children or not cropped up. The father-in-law
insisted that children should not be pampered but punished when disobedient.
The son-in-law disagreed and said, "Times have changed. One should
not force anything upon them or tell them to do something. They should
be left to decide for themselves."
"But the good habits should be imposed upon them at a young age,"
the father-in-law emphasised.
"You are too conventional and assertive!" the son-in-law
The father-in-law was furious, "I don't have to sit here and
listen to this at my own dinner table," and he walked away. The
son-in-law realised that if he had been alert to the way their conversation
was leading, then he could have prevented it from this unfortunate
situation. All he needed to say was, "Let's agree to disagree"
and steer the conversation to something more sedate and uncontroversial.
In almost every subject, each side has legitimate points, so agreeing
to disagree or saying that "we are both right" is a graceful
way to exit from a no-win discussion. If it is obvious that you won't
change the other person's mind and he won't change yours, then simply
don't try. Don't become a victim of your ego and stubbornness and
leave yourself in an emotional mess.
No matter what the situation, arguments are a waste of time, energy
and prestige. They rob one of peace of mind. So avoid fruitless arguments!
The Holy Great
We find that the holy great teach us volumes through their lives.
The way they tackle conflict and volatile situations always stand
as eternal beacons of inspiration for humanity.
Once Yogiji Maharaj was travelling by train and some youths entered
the carriage. Yogijji Maharaj was absorbed in singing devotional songs.
The youths who had begun playing cards found the singing disturbing.
They rudely told Yogiji Maharaj to stop singing. In reply Yogiji Maharaj
stopped and began singing in his mind. He knew it was fruitless to
create a conflict and at the same time did not fail in continuing
his devotion. Very often, it is not worth challenging a small thing
and creating a big commotion.
On another occasion, what happened during a home visit in Jamnagar,
could have disturbed the sanity of any man. The situation during this
home visit by Yogiji Maharaj was very congested. With the ritual of
arti over, someone was bringing a dish of fruits as an offering and
the host accidentally bumped into it. Spontaneously Yogiji Maharaj
said, "There's been a shower of prasad!" Suddenly the embarrassing
and clumsy atmosphere was transformed into humour and joy. Yogiji
Maharaj's words defused a potentially explosive situation.
In the life of Pramukh Swami Maharaj we also find innumerable incidents
where he has remained silent and tolerant to a volley of scathing
words. He has never entered into futile or senseless arguments with
anyone. Once during the Uttarakhand pilgrimage in 1987 Swamishri,
with a retinue of 350 sadhus and devotees, had spent the night at
Gauri Kund - a place at the foot of the holy pilgrim place of Kedarnath.
During that period an Indian tourist from London failed to find any
accommodation for the night. After returning to England he wrote a
bitter letter describing his discomfort due to the non-availability
of lodging and boarding because of Swamishri and his entourage. To
this Swamishri replied with an apology and wrote that if the man had
informed him, he would have made some arrangements.
The great have never wasted their time in answering back, in arguing
or challenging others, but instead remain steadfast in doing their
noble deeds without any hostility or partisanship. Avoiding arguments
save a lot of unncessary hassle and conflict.