Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Jan 24, 2022


by Nayaswami Dharmadevi

During our recent visit to Mexico, we met a lovely soul who received training as a shaman in the Mayan tradition. He participated in an intense test at the age of nine. He and thirty other young boys who volunteered were led deep into a massive cave and left alone, each with only a candle and a bottle of water. 

After emerging from the cave four days later, his mother met him with congratulations… and terrible news. “Congratulations, Son. You are the only one who made it out. All the other boys died in the test.”

Our friend was shocked. These boys included all of his dearest friends. He was so relieved to have made it out of the cave but now was absolutely heartbroken. He broke down crying. 

His mother stopped him abruptly. “Why are you crying? You have another lesson to learn.” She brought him to a room and opening the door revealed all of the boys who were supposedly dead. “You must never hear evil. One person’s lies can break up a relationship or a friendship of many years.”

His story reminded me of a lesson that a dear friend and mentor taught me when I was very new at Ananda. 

There had been a large meeting to formalize a vision for the young people at Ananda Village. I was frustrated with the outcome of the meeting.  Sitting with Anandi and a small group of people at the Expanding Light dining room having dinner, we began to chat about the vision which I felt was lacking in spiritual focus. After saying one or two things I didn’t agree with, Anandi stopped me and said very sweetly in her soft but firm way, “Is there anything positive you felt from the meeting?”

She stopped me in my tracks and I was silent for a minute as I shifted gears to see the positive. Her words went deep inside and have helped guide me ever since. I will always be grateful for that beautiful lesson which she gave me that day. 

"Avoid speaking negative things. Why look at the drains, when there is beauty all around? You could take me into the most perfect room in the world, and still, if I wanted to, I would be able to find faults in it. But why should I want to? Why not enjoy its beauty?

"If we concentrate on the bad side, we lose sight of the good. Doctors say that millions of terrible germs pass through our bodies. But because we aren't aware of them they are far less likely to affect us than if we sensed their presence, and worried about it. When we look at the negative side long enough, we ourselves take on negative qualities. When we concentrate on the good, we take on goodness."

—Paramhansa Yogananda, How to Be Happy All the Time