Many years ago in India, there are many pitiful beggars everywhere. Most of them are ‘working’ under the control of many different syndicates.
Many of them are small boys and girls from toddlers to pre-teens, and also some young girls or young women carrying baby in their arms. Sometimes there are old women as well. These small children and small babies, young girls, young women and old women ‘look’ extremely pitiful in their dirty worn-out clothing with new and old scars and wounds on their bodies or even partially ‘handicapped’ that most probably are being inflicted intentionally by the syndicates. The young girls or young women with the small babies and the old women look hungry, under nourished, tired and so sad.
A few of them will come to you with their piteous sad tearful eyes and hungry face, with their heads wobbling side to side, and they gently tapping your arms or pulling your sleeves, and cry out ‘Paisa, paisa, paisa…’
Out of sympathy and righteousness, you think you should give them what you think you can afford to give to them. And the moment you hand out something, either food or money or objects, to them, immediately there will be another ten or twenty or thirty of them running towards you, surrounding you making a thick human wall separating you and the onlookers, and also wobbling their heads, tapping your arms and pulling your sleeves and shirt, while pushing their bodies squeezing your body until you feel that you can’t breathe.
If you still have no idea of what is going on, and out of helpless sympathy, you tell them with your great sadness that you couldn’t help all of them, they’ll keep begging you until you give in and give everything that you have on your body. They won’t let you go easily. Unless there are police alert and came to your rescue. Or worst, even some of your valuables would be stolen in those chaos moments without your awareness.
If you start to feel intimidated and ask them to go away to leave you alone and try to run away from them, they will run after you, and attack you verbally by cursing at you, and even attack you physically by pinching you or spitting on you or throwing stones towards you.
This is the consequences of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. It’s nothing to do with compassion out of wisdom.
Those who are compassionate are free from this kind of ignorant sympathy without wisdom. They would ignore these syndicates controlled beggars. As they know if they give something to these beggars out of sympathy, it’s definitely not going to help them to be free from the syndicates, but it will be supporting and empowering the existence of such syndicates. It encourages the syndicates to exploit and abuse more toddlers, young children, young girls, young women and old women. Most of them are being drugged, or being threatened, or even being abducted from their family and home to put them on the streets as beggars and they have no freewill but to give all the begged money to the syndicates to avoid being beaten or punished in exchange for shelter and food, and lots of them are being intentionally partially blinded or amputated to get the effect of ‘piteous’ and ‘sympathy deserving’ look. It’s a ridiculous terrible thing that might still happening somewhere.
Some of them are not begging under the control of syndicates, but they are being abused and forced by their own parents or relatives to go out begging on the streets. And some of them, are out of their own freewill.
Sometimes there are old men who look so hungry, sad and pitiful come to beg you for money. You feel so sympathy and give them some money. They took the money and go straight to the liquor shop to get their fix, and they got drunk, either they become unconsciousness for many hours, or they would fight with each other, or they go back home and behave violently towards their wives and children under the influence of alcohol.
Those who truly practice yoga, or have the basic wisdom of humanity, they will not support or encourage such activities out of such ignorant sympathy. A lot of time, out of wisdom and compassion, you have to say no. And that’s not cruel at all. It’s ignorance that make the mind thinks and believes that it’s cruel and wrong to not show sympathy towards such ‘pitiful’ beings, regardless human or animals.
You will see signs in India everywhere, telling people do not encourage begging and do not give anything to the beggars.
It’s the same as there are many people have great love and affection towards particular animals, especially those animals that are ‘cute’ looking, that enjoy being pet and fed by people, and out of ‘love’, people want to possess them to keep them as pet, to show affection to them and look after them. Some even treat the animals or their pets more loving and caring than towards their own family members or their parents or their children. When they think other people don’t show any particular interest or ‘respect’ or ‘proper treatment’ towards the animals that they love very much, they would feel greatly disturbed or offended. In order to protect the animals that they love very much from other animals’ or human’s threats or intimidation, they would hurt other animals or human that they think are threatening or intimidating the animals that they love very much. Out of love and affection towards animals, people keep them, feed them, pet them, pamper them, and keep them away from any threats. It’s like well-pampered and protected children growing up without knowing how to be independent or to survive by themselves. This is ignorance. This is not yoga or yoga practice.
Another example, children who like to eat sweets and drink sweetened soft-drinks everyday. If the children don’t get their sugar fix on time, the way that they like it to be, they will be very unhappy and cry and shout and do things that would hurt themselves. If out of sympathetic love and affection towards the children, you will want to give them what they want, so that they will be happy and stop crying or hurting themselves, but in fact, you are responsible for supporting and empowering their ignorance, and they will suffer for their consequences of their ignorance very much. If out of compassion, you do not give them what they want, and let them be unhappy and throw tantrum, but at the same time, allowing them to learn and understand the damaging effects of consuming sweets and sweetened soft-drinks regularly. And this will help them to avoid unnecessary painful suffering later, or maybe, to suffer less.
Be kind towards other beings and appreciate all beings and objects out of compassion with wisdom, not out of ignorant passionate love and sympathy.
Yoga teachers who are wise and compassionate do not try to please the yoga students by giving them what they like and want, or telling them what they like and love to hear. But out of compassion, to guide them to be free from ignorance, by giving them the teachings and practice that are not necessarily what they expect it to be, that is not necessarily what they like or can agree with. Out of ignorance, they might be dissatisfied and unhappy about it, but it gives them the precious opportunity to come in contact with the truth of what is going on in their minds, and allows them to learn to see the ignorance and egoism in their minds, and if they realize the ignorance and egoism in themselves, out of their own freewill, they may or may not want to work diligently to free their minds from ignorance and egoism, and that is their freedom. The teachers cannot be there for them all the time, watching their practice, to discipline them, to tell them do this or don’t do that. But the teachers allow the students to learn to become their own teachers and develop correct understanding and self-independence, out of their own freewill, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-control, they perform their own practice to purify and quiet their minds, and through self-inquiry and silencing the mind to attain self-realization of the truth, and be free.
Contemplate on this and be free.