See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Most of us have seen the image of three monkeys, one covering his eyes, the next closing his ears, and the third one with his hands over his mouth. This ancient teaching suggests a wisdom that can really improve our lives if we put it into practice.
Paramhansa Yogananda guided the souls of his disciples on a subtle plane. Swami Kriyananda, in his book, Conversations with Yogananda, quotes him as having said, “I go through your souls every day. I seldom tell what I see, though, because those things are sacred.” Kriyananda continues, “The Master worked especially on raising our consciousness from within, if we were receptive to his vibrations, by helping us to change the direction of our thoughts and feelings. As someone once heard him say, ‘If you shut me out, how can I come in?’”
I like to think that he is doing the same today for those of us who have opened ourselves to him.
Here is a sweet story of another instance of helping someone to change:
One sunny afternoon a man was strolling through a park, when he saw an old man sitting on a bench enjoying a cup of tea. Tentatively, he asked, “Dr. Allen, is that you?”
“Yes,” the older gentleman replied, “and who might you be?”
“I was a student in your science class, and one day you did something that completely changed my life. You must remember me even though it was many years ago.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t recall your face. Can you refresh my memory?”
“I was young, poor, and foolish. One day while in class I stole my friend’s watch. When he discovered it was missing, he went to you for help. You announced that no one could leave the classroom until the watch was found. Then you asked all the students to stand up and close their eyes, while you searched their pockets. After a time, you announced that the watch had been found and that everyone was free to go. What inspired me was that you let me leave without ever saying anything. From that time on, I made a vow to live a good life. Now, because of you, I am a teacher, too.”
The old man smiled sweetly and said, “Oh, I remember the incident very clearly, but I don’t remember you as the culprit.”
“How is that possible?” asked the younger man.
“Well, you see, while I searched for the watch, I also kept my eyes closed.”
All parents know the value of occasionally ignoring mistakes—turning a blind eye—when their children make some minor error in judgment. If human parents use this strategy, don’t you think our spiritual parents, our Heavenly Father and Divine Mother, do too? And shouldn’t we too, then, do the same?
It isn’t as if we should be ignorant, or in denial about the mistakes we see around us. In fact, we should actively try to correct them. But, as we do so, let’s be like that wise teacher. Let’s help the situation without demeaning the person. People grow stronger when they are supported, not when they are condemned or punished.
For devotees, there should be a second image of those three monkeys, one with their eyes, ears, and mouth open. And the caption should read, “See only goodness, hear only sweetness, speak only kindness.”
With goodness, sweetness, and kindness,
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (9:48):