Hate may be an unavoidable emotion, but hatefulness is an avoidable disposition

When some people hurt us and delight in doing so, we may naturally feel anger and hate. Even if such hate is unavoidable, we needn’t allow it to grow to hatefulness, wherein we become obsessed with getting back at our offenders.

Few people may have been as justified to hate as the Pandavas. Their antagonists, the unrepentant Kauravas, had dishonored their wife, dispossessed them of their kingdom, rejected their peace proposal and mocked their valor, repeatedly.

Given the Kauravas’ demonstrated incorrigibility, Krishna asked Arjuna to fight against them and assured him of victory (11.33). And yet that same Krishna in that very chapter concluded by asking Arjuna to work without bearing any animosity towards anyone, declaring that such work leads to him (11.55). The implication is that Krishna wanted Arjuna to fight – not for taking revenge, but for establishing dharma, the moral and spiritual order that furthers individual and social well-being.

In our daily interactions with others, some people may hurt us and remain malevolent. We may need to act assertively against them to ensure that they don’t continue hurting us or others. But simultaneously, we need to assertively act against hate itself so that it doesn’t become a habit. Otherwise, we will become habitually hateful, and our mind will keep finding some hurt by someone to justify its hateful disposition, thereby imprisoning us in negativity.

To inspire such balanced outer and inner assertive action, Gita wisdom offers an inspiring spiritual worldview. It helps us see ourselves as souls who are parts of Krishna and whose greatest fulfillment comes by serving him. When we focus on how we can best serve him, we learn to hate the sin without hating the sinner, and to correct the sinner without letting administering such correction become our life’s obsession.

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