Manipal Monk: Stay Calm amid the Haste


As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

One of the many observations visitors make of us in Manipal is the slowness with which we move about, and the casual nature of our actions. We seem to have all the time in the world.

A few of us happen to be in many organizations at the same time, or are asked to help in a particular way because it is known that despite the pressure we are under, we shall still help. Perhaps the heat is mainly responsible for this lack of speed in Manipal life. In some countries like Britain, those in Europe, the United States and Canada, among others, you could go for months without a drop of perspiration. Here we have all the time to be trying to keep cool.

In more developed countries and in the larger cities of India people are always on the go, even if they are not going anywhere in particular that requires haste. Seeing that everybody is walking fast, you join in too or else you cause congestion. People too are rushing for trains although they come every four or five minutes in the Metro in Delhi or Mumbai. In winter, rapid movement keeps you warm. paper beach 3

In Manipal, we associate work with daylight. Since we get about an equal number of hours of light and darkness, we usually try to pack a lot of engagements into a short period which makes our life very full. It is not easy to have a very tightly packed programme and yet afford time to enjoy the peace and quiet I spoke of last week. Yet, it helps to withdraw between engagements and enjoy a few moments of that deep inner peace which comes from silence.

You need really to stop from time to time and regain some of the energy you lose in a hectic life. It is not by chance that there is one day in the week when most of us stop work and worship, rest and relax ourselves. Even if we do not take part in organised religion, it is still necessary to have a day off to re-create ourselves. It is good for our physical, mental and spiritual health. As our town grows we shall need to set apart a few small areas where people can find peace and quiet – silence.

Big cities take this into their planning because they see how necessary it is for people to escape from the noise and haste. As we develop as a nation too, we shall have to be more conscious of time, and this means that we shall be hurrying in order to fulfill engagements. A life that is governed by the clock or watch needs some time to retreat from the daily pressures. Periods and places that are given over to silence will be of great value.

Nobody likes to be hated – everybody likes to be loved, and everybody is capable of loving. Our happiness increases the more we think of other people’s happiness. For good or ill we are all bound together in this bundle of life and need each other if each of us is to fulfil the best in himself or herself. But it is not always possible to be on good terms with some people, because they will not let you. They are afraid of being happy and want everyone else to be unhappy. That is why it is so important to remember that we are to try our best, but it might not always be possible because it depends on the other person also.

Peace at any price does not always ensure happiness. Sometimes you have to insist that others may not do such a thing – simply because you know it is damaging to peaceful relationships. Added to this, some people are hard and unforgiving, which is really a form of spiritual pride. Everybody makes mistakes and so everybody is deserving of forgiveness.

“To err is human, but to forgive is divine.”

We are not told to see that everyone is on good terms with us, but that we are on good terms with everybody.

There are people we do not know about who hate us for one reason or another. Then there are those who envy us or are jealous of us, and in order to feed this envy or jealousy they hate us – sometimes for what we have worked very hard and sacrificed to achieve – our homes, our education, our jobs.

Sometimes it is for the kind of character we have built up over the years by discipline, self-control, careful thinking and planning of our lives, and hardships endured. At other times, it may be for our physical attributes. We, of course, are able to approach them and be open to them because we do not know of the envy or jealousy.

This only helps to increase their hatred of us – since it always hurts more when good is returned for evil. The important thing is that we should see to it that we do not give cause for offence and if we have, then we should be courageous enough to say sorry and promise not to let it happen again. Until next time. Strive to be happy.

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