There was a boy whose parents had passed away when he was quite young. His mother’s sister took charge of him. She wanted to show the world that she could love the child more than the real mother. In the process, she never gave emphasis on discipline. Naturally, the boy got spoiled. Well-wishers and affected parties did complain to her, but she would not listen to them.
When the child became adult, he committed murder and was arrested by police. After the trial, he was pronounced guilty and sentenced to death. As a last wish , he desired to speak to his aunt in the ear. The aunt eagerly came forward and the boy bit her ear. “Had you used this valuable implement, I would not have found myself in such a sorry state”, he lamented.
Most of us, not just this particular woman, ignore good advice. Why do we do so ? It’s because we think that we know is sufficient, and we can manage things on our own. Sometimes, we are so attached to our ideas that we feel someone may force us to change our views.
We may be also too proud to listen to someone else, assuming ourselves to be the smartest. Sometimes, we wish to be secretive about our ideas. However, more often than not, we are the ones who are likely to come in for rude surprises, having not listened to others.
If we cultivate the habit of listening, we shall gain in several ways. How much can a person conceivably know ? An inquisite mind learns. The best way to learn is to listen attentively. Surprisingly, it is faster than even studying, and much more efficient as well. In the “bhakti” process, hearing comes first. One is likely to make fewer mistakes if he or she is used to listening to others. Even the other person shall feel honoured and may give maximum help.
The smart way is to first listen and then decide for oneself, since we always have the option to decide for ourselves ; then, we just have more options to choose from. Why deny oneself of the same ? In Bhagavad-Geeta, Lord Krishna states exactly same thing. Krishna says, “You have heard everything. Now choose what you wish to do” ( 18.63).
The practice to listen should start from childhood ( some say from the womb). Scientists are finding more and more evidence that a child in the womb has the capacity to listen. Super-soul in our hearts speaks to us if we would care to listen. Our conscience tells us several things. And the only requirement is our inclination to listen. And why not ? We have two ears compared to just one mouth. Should we not try to listen twice as much as we speak ?
Listening should be paying attention to what the other person is saying. It should not be like listening from one ear and discarding from the other. In Bhagavad-Geeta, Lord Krishna checks with Arjun if he has carefully listened to His instructions (18.72).
God expects us to listen to Him through the scriptures and appropriate authorities. Let us do that and we shall make good progress in life.