Let’s learn to laugh with others, not laugh at others
Laughing at others – their fallacies and follies – is something we often enjoy. If not publically, then at least privately. It makes us feel good about ourselves, “I am better than them.”
And when we learn Gita wisdom, we gain intellectual and moral ammunition to target the failings and failures of others. Exposing and ridiculing their misconceptions and misdemeanors seems the right thing to do: “After all, they are wrong, aren’t they? And not just in my opinion but in the Gita's authoritative opinion.”
Even if that is true, that is not the spirit of the Gita. It encourages us to focus not on the wrongness of others, but on their potential for rightness. The Bhagavad-gita (06.32) indicates that the most advanced yogis see all people as similar to themselves, especially in what brings happiness and what causes suffering. Due to their spiritual advancement, such yogis can see far better than us the faults of others. But they focus on seeing beyond the faulty behaviors and beliefs to the spiritual potential of others. They see that all of us are souls, beloved parts of Krishna. That’s why they strive to re-unite everyone with Krishna, knowing that disconnection with Krishna is the ultimate cause of all suffering and re-connection with Krishna is the source of all happiness.
They long to laugh with others – not by going down to the level of the sensual and immoral pleasures that others enjoy, but by doing their best to raise others to the level of enlightened eternal enjoyment with Krishna.
When we cultivate this vision of compassion and strive to assist, not deride, others, we will discover that the selfless joy of laughing with others is far more enriching and enduring than the self-centered joy of laughing at them.
“He is a perfect yogi who, by comparison to his own self, sees the true equality of all beings, in both their happiness and their distress, O Arjuna!”