Ravana talks harshly to Vibhishana when Vibhishana warns Ravana of consequences of abducting Sita in Chapter 16, Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana. Ravana enumerates the qualities of an evil relative. However, Vibhishana was only being truthful and well intentioned in warning Ravana of the great powers of Rama and his Vanara Army. Still, Ravana’s talk has a lot of wisdom that can be applied in our everyday lives.
(Image Credit: Public.Resource.Org)
There are some relatives that enjoy our suffering. They could even be close friends or associates that seem well meaning. Identifying these elements and being cognizant about their character is important for our well being.
The Good needs to Care
Some of us are blessed to be talented and enjoy perks such as wealth, power and influence. We attract a lot of friends and relatives when celebrating these benefits. But when we fall from grace, evil friends and relatives enjoy that fall with a lot of happiness. This fall is celebrated especially in case of those who are of good standing in society, those who are powerful and of high influence, those who are knowledgeable, those who are ardent followers of Dharma and those who are Brave.
We can stay with enemies. We can even stay with poisonous snakes. But, we need to be very careful with those friends and relatives that liaison with the enemy. History is full of traitors who cannot stick with their side during times of crisis. We see this a lot in politics today. A better offer from the rival side is enough for some “leaders” to switch sides. The principles and ethics of political parties is neglected for power and position. Not even Grace can save the land that is ruled by such people.
Traits of Evil Relations
Evil friends and relatives take special pleasure of others’ hurt. They do not let their intentions known. We cannot understand what they think about, what they plan for and how they figure their execution strategies. Dharmic principles and techniques are not seen favourably by them. We come across many people these days who laugh at ethics and morality. Ends do not justify the means. Only when the means are also pure, can we call a project good.
Ramayana says you need not be scared of fire, weapons or other material objects. We can always find out means to solve challenges that come from these sources. But, we need to be very careful of bad friends and relatives who enjoy our pain. The first step to eliminating bad influences from our field would be to become a good friend or relative ourselves. Ask yourself. Do you really mean perfectly well for your friends and relatives?
Feel of a Bad Relationship
Ravana says that relations with bad friends is like water drops on a lotus leaf. It does not stick. We have experienced fair weather friends, who stick when times are good and leave when challenges arise. All wise cultures talk about real friends who stay with us during bad times and conditions. Clouds of winter only growl with thunder. They never yield rains. Friends of evil nature are so too. They may talk about favours and benefits. But, there would not be anything beyond mere words. Actions mean a lot more than mere words.
Bees linger around flowers till there is honey in them. Once the nectar is extracted, the bees never care about the flower. Similarly evil friends stay with us till we have something to offer them. Once they have taken everything from us, they leave us. It could be money, our networks, our beauty or our influence. A true jnani never befriends us to gain anything from us. They are happy with what nature has provided them. There is never anything extra needed from people.
Wild Elephants apply mud on themselves after a bathe. The cleanliness on them is very temporary. Relations with evil ones are very similar too. Any cleanliness we attain through Sadhana and Practice is destroyed with wrong words and intentions. A seeker who has not achieved enough strength could get discouraged with these words, intentions and actions.
We need not judge people as evil or good. That differentiation is the initial step to violence. Yet, it is important to shield ourselves from getting influenced by evilness from such people.