Goodwill towards virtue is a great spiritual quality, and it is placed very high because the human mind feels such relief at pulling down something felt to be greater than itself. In the list of doshas in the Chapter of the Self, spite, false speech, and backbiting all have reference to the vice of jealousy listed after them. Perhaps this vice is pointed out so frequently in the yogic classics because it is difficult to recognize in oneself. At the time of the French Revolution, parents were recommended to give their new-born children personal names representing the ideals of the Revolution, like Fraternity, instead of the names of Christian saints as hitherto. But the directive had to be changed, because some parents began giving names like ‘Death to the Aristocrats’ to their children, showing clearly what the so-called ideals of liberty and equality stood for in the minds of some of their supporters.

The judicial murders of Socrates and Christ are well-known5 Buddha’s relative Devadatta made repeated attempts to kill him, St John of the Cross narrowly escaped murder by monks of his order, attempts were made to kill Mohammad and George Fox. Dr Shastri sometimes quoted an Indian saying, ‘Do good and be abused for it’5 there is a humorous version of it, ‘Do good and . . . run!’

In the yogic view, all great qualities are of divine origin: ‘Know Me … I am the intelligence of the intelligent, the bravery of the brave, the energy of the mighty workers, devoid of passion and attachment; in all beings I am the desire not opposed to righteousness.’ The yogi is to think, and meditate until it becomes a conviction, that a virtue is not the property of the one now manifesting it. In fact, virtue is not true virtue while it is fully conscious; when it becomes unconscious, a natural expression, it is real virtue. ‘Let not the right hand know what the left hand is doing,’ says Christ.

© Trevor Leggett

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