Avoid Being Reactionery

Dr. Jaipal Singh
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A majority of human beings, by sheer instinct, are reactionary in nature. This perhaps also comes from their social upbringing and ethos. We always tend to remember that so and so he, she or they have done this good or evil to me or my people and this has to be returned back either in equal proportion or in higher magnitude. For instance, person ‘X’ had given this much in kind or cash as gift in my daughter’s marriage, so I shall return the same when the daughter of ‘X’ gets married. The same way on evil side – his actions had caused this embarrassment or pain to my family so I will take revenge to ensure that he suffers greater misery and pain by my hands.
While being reactionary, we often tend to ignore all logic and rationale. We don’t analyze or try to find out as to what was exact cause or circumstances under which the opposite person or group conducted or behaved in a particular manner. For instance, if you are very well off and can afford enough spending, should you still be miser just because your relatively not so rich friend or relative could not afford to spend to your expectations on your occasion. Similarly, if a person had committed a wrong under extreme provocation or compelling circumstances, should I still be revengeful by causing him with a greater intensity or damage.
But then a majority of humans are like that only and they tend to react with equal or greater proportion to any stimulus or provocation. This may work out well when we are reacting to a good cause but in a majority of other cases, it usually proves to be stressful and counterproductive. In the process or bargain, we incur and sustain a lot of pressure, tension and stress on ourselves. Among all living beings, humans are undoubtedly the most evolved, intelligent, strong and resourceful. So why be reactionary all the time in all situations at the cost of losing own peace of mind. Is it not sane and wise to apply our mind and intellect in a situation to analyze it, get to the bottom of reality and act with a sense rather than simply reacting and disproportionately wasting our energy and resources?
There is a story of a vermin and saint. A scorpion fell in the river and was being drowned in the water. Incidentally, a saint had gone to take a bath in the river. He saw scorpion’s plight and out of compassion and pity, he tried to save him. Every time he will pick up scorpion in hand, the latter would sting him hard. The saint was in a grave pain but he didn’t give up and finally succeeded to rescue the vermin and release him on the dried soil.
An onlooker was curiously watching this saga for some time. He asked the saint as to why he was so persistent to save evil vermin who gave him only stings and seething pain. The saint, with his calm composure, politely replied, “Look, the scorpion was doing what was his exact nature and karmic existence. I have done only what is my nature and dharma. Life is precious and whether man or any creature, everyone has right to live and exist. So why should I be revengeful by not saving his life just because he has given me some pain?”
One may try to argue that this is only a story and an extreme. But the moot point is that it still is a better choice to apply logic and rationale to decide a course of action rather than a simple tit for tat reaction in a given situation.

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