Listener: Sir, I have often realized that most of the time, I keep on judging things, people and situations. The mind is never calm and always indulge in judging. What to do?
Acharya Prashant: See, the judging that you are talking of is an action.
No action is right or wrong.
All that matters is the center from where the action is arising.
Here, specially in the west we have this notion – ‘Don’t judge’. It’s not quite correct. Judging is an action like any other action.
It’s not important to not to judge; it’s important to not to judge from the wrong center.
From the right center, you can say that this person is afraid and that will be harmful for him. You have judged, but this is a very useful and auspicious judgment. But let’s say if you have your own needs for appreciation, then you’ll compare yourself to others and judge them.
Let’s say, one is not rich enough in her own imagination, so she looks at rich people and says, ‘Ah! Murderers, I know how they have collected their wealth’. Now, in fact, she might be factually right. The one she is pointing towards might actually be a murderer and might have actually collected his wealth through loot. But the comparison is coming from the wrong center. She is saying all this only because she wants to feel superior. So this judgment is from the wrong center. Hence, this judgment should not be made even if it is factually correct.
Factually what she has said may be right, but facts don’t matter, what matters is life, and in life what matters is the place you are operating from. If you are operating from the conditioned mind, the ego, then you’ll only get suffering, even if you are speaking the facts. So, judge; but judge from the center of compassion; of love; of integrity. If judging someone is wrong then all the judges in the courts must go to hell. Obviously, it cannot be wrong. But it is surely wrong when you judge just to uphold your own feeble ego.
And don’t we often do that?
We judge others so that we can feel superior in comparison to them. We judge others so that our own evils appear smaller in comparison to them. Then such judgments are indeed evil.
Look at the lives of the Saints and the Prophets. They have often very clearly declared the wrong to be wrong – which is in today’s parlance – a clear case of being judgmental. They were very judgmental, but they were judgmental because they were compassionate. Such judgments are alright.
Was not Christ judgmental?
Look at his utterance, and you will see several of the things that he said, if you say them, people will say that you are judging. Was not Kabir judgmental?
You get the right to judge others only after you have first judged yourself rightly, and that requires honesty.
When you know yourself then you also get the right to know others and also declare what you know; only then.
Before you look at others, before you try to measure them, firstly look at yourself and see who you are.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Before judging others, know yourself
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: How to help others see the truth?
Article 3: How to keep others happy?
Books by Acharya Prashant