These are again notes from an old Guru Poornima discourse by Swami Paramarthananda.
To understand the topic “Why do some relationships fail?” we need to understand two kinds of people first and their characteristics.
Two kinds of people
- Wise – Happy(read content) with himself
- Ignorant – Not happy(read not content) with himself
- This classification puts a vast majority of the people in the ignorant bucket.
When two ignorant try to strike a relationship (which is the most common case) these are the characteristics.
Characteristics of an ignorant-ignorant relationship
- Both are not happy with themselves, and they try to gain happiness from each other
- This is like Two unsteady people trying to hold each other in order to become steady (This is one of the best examples that one can attribute to such relationships).
- They both try to influence (sometimes even manipulate) each other (in order to gain happiness)
- Expectations keep mounting, No human can fulfill the expectation of other human – impractical
- More complaints than joy as a result of the relationship
- No question of progress / improvement – because maintenance itself is a struggle – Samsara
Lower your expectations
- Well that kind of sets the expectations you can have from most of the relationships. So what kind of relationships you can trust on, the relationship with the content (wise) – Read – your Guru.
But, what about other relationships, which form a vast majority and which are most likely you run into. Well the only thing we can do is have lower expectations or better zero expectations when you get into such relationships.
You can read the notes (not transcript) that I made from the discourse here
Let go and move on
So next time your friend, relative does something that you did not like, or does not do something when it is really needed (It is not one way, you may also do something that your friends / relatives may not like or refrain from doing what they were expecting from you) – remind yourself this example
Two unsteady people are trying to hold each other in order to become steady
Lesser disappointment as a result. Any favourable outcome is rather an exception (not the norm). This simple and profound thought enables us to move on peacefully by letting go.
The other day i listened to an excellent (all of Swami ji’s discourses are excellent, but you got to in the right mind-set to appreciate them) discourse from Swami Paramarthananda (a disciple of Swami Dayananda). It was a wonderful analysis of the problem “Seeking help when you need help from the right source”, Seeking help when the situation is unfavourable. I made a transcript of this discourse. These are snippets from the transcript. I encourage you to read the entire transcript. It is well worth your time.
Every human being, being a samsaari subject to karma, goes through varieties of situations; both favourable and unfavourable. No human being can avoid difficult and challenging situations in life. To face the challenging situations the most important virtue we require is self confidence. But unfortunately every challenging situation knocks off the self confidence alone first.
Naturally when we don’t have confidence in ourselves because we have lost it the situation may be physical illness or any other situational problem. Naturally we look for help from outside.
I look for support from outside. I expect them to give me confidence and support. To our disappointment often what we get is not confidence and support. Most of the people, who come to (to help) me at the time of difficulty, give me a big discourse on the list of mistakes that I have done, because of which I am in this situation. A big lecture of wisdom is given. You should have done that, you shouldn’t have done that. They give a big advice. This is the most inopportune and wrong time to talk about my mistakes.
What I really seek is that somebody to come and tell me, ‘Don’t worry you have the resources to tide over the problem’. Or I want somebody to come and tell me, ‘I am with you, Don’t worry’. Or somebody to come and tell me, ‘We will together face the situation’. What I require is confidence building with the help of another, but instead of confidence, I get a big lecture on my mistakes. They will tell, I told you that day itself, you didn’t listen, That’s why. Swamiji says didn’t I tell you.
I don’t have confidence to face the situation and all other people are criticizing me for the past actions. Isn’t there anyone to help me or support me at all. There is an utter feeling of loneliness and an utter feeling of helplessness. This sense of loneliness and sense of helplessness is one of the powerful expressions of samsara. Samara can be defined in many ways. One of the powerful expressions of samsara is sense of loneliness that there is nobody even though many people of around. In spite of having people around me, I have a sense of loneliness and helplessness. This, every human being feels often in his life time. This feeling of loneliness and helplessness is prominent when the situations are not favourable.
one method is that always remembering that the God is with me to support, to give me strength and to give me confidence. The very thought that I am not anatha: helpless, I have got anathanatha. Ananthanatha is the name of the Lord. I am not anatha:, but I have got the lord to help me. The very thought that I have the help from lord, boosts my confidence. The beauty is what I require is not actual help from the Lord, really speaking what I require from the Lord is not actual help. The very thought that I have someone to help me, the very thought gives me confidence. So this is a psychological fact, What a human being actually requires is not help, but the very thought that I have someone to help me gives me enough confidence in myself. Once I have the confidence, I will discover the inner resources to handle the situation. Therefore, what I require is the offer of help, not help itself.
Dayananda Swamiji says ‘Seeking help when you need help from the right source is intelligence’.
The other day, one lady was telling me:
Swamiji I had to undergo cataract surgery. Only me and my husband are here, And I decided to undergo the surgery here (in my place) itself. My son who is away (in another place in India) offered to come and stay during that time. I told him that you need not unnecessarily give up your family work and all, we will somehow manage it no problem.
If he had not offered to help, I might have felt bad and helpless. The very offer of help was enough to give me the moral support that there is somebody to come and help. The very offer of help gave me the confidence. I told him, you don’t come. We two, even though we are old, who helps whom we don’t know, We managed and we are fine.
Root cause analysis
Samsara is not actually caused by the event itself. But samsara is caused by the event-centric thought pattern. Like that lady, what made her comfortable is not the help of the son, the son did not come, But it is the event-centric thought, Whenever I need I call my son. There is the offer of help from the son, it is the event-centric thought pattern that helped her, not the actual person. Therefore events are only the general cause of samsara. The specific cause of samsara is our thought pattern centred on the event. ‘Enakku aarume illainu aaspathirikki porache’ (when I go to the hospital thinking that I have no one to help) the suffering is more. ‘Enakku Paiyyan irukkan, venda podhu varuvaan gra thought oda aaspathirikku pora podhu’ (when I go to the hospital thinking that I have my son to help, he will come when I need) the suffering is less.
Therefore the external events are only samaanya karanam, the internal thought pattern is the vishesha karanam of samsara. Therefore what we do is, use the Vedantic teaching to change the thought pattern itself. Which is called Nidityasanam process. Instead of blindly and mechanically studying Vedanta,
Instead of blindly and mechanically writing notes, and the moment a situation comes all goes… In the class ‘Aham Bramhasmi’. Instead of blindly and mechanically preserving the cassettes, Why can’t you use this teaching to change your thought pattern.
Instead of saying the family members are there to help me and expecting help from them and they hesitating to offer, me feeling bad (I did so much, but they are not reciprocating, can’t they least offer?). Instead of feeling miserable, and instead of again shifting the dependence from family to God, which is another anathma (external source). Why can’t you learn to depend on your own resource by knowing your own true nature. Therefore gaining Self Knowledge, and changing the thought pattern is the method given by Vedanta. What is the Self Knowledge? The Self Knowledge is really speaking, I am the truth of the entire Universe. I don’t have to depend on the world. On the other hand the entire world of anathma is dependent on me the athma.
Therefore I am independent, Therefore I have all the strength in myself, Therefore I don’t need help and even if I seek help, the ‘Mithya World’ cannot give me help. Even if I seek help, the ‘Mithya World’ cannot me help, Therefore ‘Than Kaiye Thanakkutth Thunai’ Self Help is Best Help.
Read the notes from the entire discourse here
Found a great answer to this question – What are some good short term rewards to motivate a child? by Jane Chin