default image for post
From negativities to Goodness
September 13, 2010  |  radhanath-swami

Richard got trapped in a quicksand. As he was being swallowed by the sand, he desperately grabbed a thorny bush. After surviving the ordeal he struggled to swim against the current of Ganges, and failed. As a he was drowning, a small boat passed with the boat man waving his hand to indicate to Richard to swim forward with the current of Yamuna. Still struggling, Richard finally began to lose hope, and on the verge of death, he once again heard the beautiful song, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. He finally swam with the current of Yamuna and survived.

After this life threatening experience, on the following morning Richard sat on the river bank, and now found the sand cool and soft. He thought;

“The sand scorched me like blazing fire, and later, was greedy to devour me. But now the same sand is cool and soft and gives me shelter. Like sand, a person influenced by circumstances can become viciously envious or affectionately kind. Our company and surroundings have a crucial effect on our consciousness. How important it is to be an instrument to bring out the inherent good of each other rather than the worst. So much wisdom is being whispered through every grain of sand if only I have ears to hear.”

When people behave aggressively, and cause disturbance to the society, their violence and disturbance has to be certainly addressed. At the same time we need to know that a person is inherently good, and this negative behavior is a result of certain unfavorable circumstances that the person has been exposed to. We become victim of our circumstances and allow certain nature to act upon us. The challenge for us is to be free from these negative influences and choose to act rather than be acted upon.

Radhanath Swami explains on the basis of scriptures that there are three modes in nature which constantly influences mankind, and compels us to act even against our wishes. Just like the same sand displayed different properties at different times, similarly due to the influence of these modes, a person may appear kind and gentle, and at other times he could be angry. The three modes that bind all living entities are Goodness, Passion and Ignorance. They are like the invisible ropes that helplessly drag a living entity to act. Our mind and senses are pulled in different directions according to the prevailing modes in the environment. A spiritual seeker keeps his surroundings clean, in the mode of goodness. He is also careful of the company he keeps lest the lower modes, namely passion and ignorance overwhelm him. When we have no control on the environment, one on a spiritual pursuit endeavors with determination to go against the tide, and prays to be free from the influence of these modes.

Richard also felt that it is important in human interactions to bring out the inherent good of each other rather than the worst. This is a profound realization, as all relationships fail due to our negative natures rubbing each other. Radhanath Swami shares his understanding, “If we can appreciate others for their good qualities, they will be encouraged and will work on tapping that goodness more. Besides, genuine appreciation of others also purifies us of negative contamination and helps us see them for what they really are, pure spiritual sparks, and children of God. This is seeing from God’s angle of vision.”

Related Posts:


  1. Sometimes I tend to read these meditations more than once. They are so good…..

    View Comment
  2. hare krishna, Radhanath simply wonderful.

    View Comment
  3. Kalpana Kulkarni

    Very true! Genuine appreciation of persons bring out the best in them and also purifies our negative tendencies.

    View Comment

Leave a Reply