Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Hacked BY
    Dated: 4/17/2006
Alexander had won several battles in north India and was planning to intrude further south in the country. However, his army was not pleased with this idea, being tired and homesick. This disturbed Alexander. Unable to make up his mind, he looked for some good advice.

Alexander was told of a saintly person who lived in the nearby area. Thinking that this wise man may be of some help, Alexander invited him for deliberation. But the saintly person refused to obey his command. Startied, he went to meet the saint.

Absolutely fearless of what Alexander might do to him, the saintly person explained what would be the best course of action for him : To stop all the blood-letting. Alexander did not accept his advice and neither did the saint bother about his advice being ignored.

In contrast, when we act differently, we try to force our views on others. Is it wrong to do so ? Let us get the answer from Bhagavad-Geeta. Arjun was perplexed by the situation he was placed in and needed answers. Lord Krishna answered his questions patiently.

The Lord cited His own example as regards to what He was recommending Arjun. But towards the end of Bhagavad-Geeta, he told Arjun to do as the latter chose (18.63).

Why ? Because this is an inalienable right of every person. No wonder, the Lord has cautioned against imposing personal views on others (3.26). Only after He had explained the entire message of Bhagavad-Geeta, Krishna spoke about how pleased he would be if someone assisted Him in propagating the teachings of Bhagavad-Geeta. Why ? Because by this time, Lord Krishna had fully explained about how one could preach to others that is, not by using force or coercion.

It is because the direct method of trying to reform others does not work. Each person is a different individual and shall never become an extension of others. One must remember that the unconscious of everyone is different as no two persons can have the same experience. Thus others do not jump at our ideas of changing them.

People resist changes because they fear that they shall then become different from what they are, and to which they have got adjusted to. In any case, it is a question of one opinion against the other. People also resist being preached to because the one preaching appears to be in a superior position. Some even treat preaching as violence committed against them.

Should we then not try to help others ? Yes , we must. But it should be only after verifying from scriptures that we are right. Then one should try to persuade, rather than force.

We can give information, as the saint gave to Alexander, but should not attempt to force a change. We are similar to a radio by which one only receives what one wants to hear, though many stations may be broadcasting other programmes as well.

If we love someone dearly, we shall be prepared to tolerate failures. Changes in values are hard to come by and shall take long time. Besides, one can try to make the idea appear as if it was coming from others. Then it is likely to be accepted easily. Showing the benefits by practicing our ideas is another effective way to preach (3.21). Knowledge is easy to accept but realization is more difficult to come by, and that is what would change behaviour.

Therefore, let us try to convince others, rather than than force - though we are very much inclined to do the latter since it is easier of the two. Force, after all, does not work, except with small children and there too it meets with stiff resistance.

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