What’s wrong with hating those who have wronged us (Beyond black and white conceptions series 3)

We may encounter some people who seem to have made it their life’s mission to make our life miserable. If what they have done haunts us, it’s easy to dislike them, even hate them and dream of their destruction. Though easy, such thinking can be deadly —  for us. Here’s how. 

When we have been wronged by someone cruel, we tend to paint them black and ourselves white. However, the sobering reality is that the same dark forces that have made them so dastardly are present in us, albeit in far lesser degrees. When we let ourselves become consumed by vengeance, we unwittingly let those very dark forces grow inside us till they change us into someone else, a mirror image of the person we hate. 

Every thought we entertain creates an inner impression which impels us to corresponding actions. When we dwell too much on how our exploiters have acted out of hate for us, we may start acting out of hate for them. And that hate can impel us to violate ethical boundaries, till we end up becoming just like them. 

To ensure that we don’t become like our abusers, do we need to passively accept their abuses? Not necessarily. We just need to keep our focus on justice, not on vengeance. How? By sticking to our principles, not seeking to stick it to people. Pertinently, the same Bhagavad-gita which calls upon Arjuna to overcome the vicious Kauravas (11.33) also warns him to not cultivate animosity toward anyone (11.55).

One-sentence summary:

It’s alarmingly easy to become like the very people we don’t like — don’t let the quest for justice degenerate into a quest for vengeance.

Think it over:

  • How are we not so different from our exploiters?
  • How can our attitude toward our exploiters make us like them?
  • In dealing with our exploiters, how can we protect ourselves from degeneration?


11.55: My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being – he certainly comes to Me.


To know more about this verse, please click on the image

Author: Chaitanya Charan

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1 Comment

  1. Color does not paint the mind

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