Ninda Mat Karo (March 2015)

From a very young age, a simply yet powerful lesson is taught to us to not criticize others (दूसरों की निंदा ना करें). However, rarely do we follow this teaching in our lives. No matter how much we grow physically, socially, and spiritually, this flaw (अवगुण) has the potential to pull us down. Well before forming a critical opinion, the observer must pay attention to someone’s imperfections and dwell on it for a long time. And, it is also true that what one focuses on grows in one’s life. So, when a person focuses on others’ faults and wrongdoings, it is just a matter of time before that so called disdainful behavior becomes integral part of the observer’s nature. To grow in life – and to retain that growth – it is imperative that we identify and eliminate this scornful habit. And that is the topic of assignment for this month: “Don’t criticize” (मा निन्दता – निंदा मत करो).

It is observed that social gatherings and peer pressure encourage the terrible behavior of criticizing others. A person with a weak character feels pressured to participate in criticizing others in group settings thinking that behavior would make him/her likeable and acceptable by others. On the other hand, a knowledgeable and morally confident person who understands the dangers of this disease avoids it all cost. That person, without being disrespectful to others, artfully steers the conversations in the right direction – and when unable to do so, simply shuns such gatherings altogether. A morally alert person treats such conversations as an addiction or disease, which needs to be addressed at the very first sighting.
As such, everyone thinks and acts within the context of his/her own environment, upbringing, beliefs, experiences, circumstances, and intellect. A combination of these attributes makes everyone a unique individual.  Taking it further, it is not incorrect to say that nobody on earth can have a true and real appreciation for the reasoning behind other’s actions. And if that’s true, how futile is an attempt to judge others – and outright wrong to criticize other’s faults.
So, let’s not waste our precious life moments in such degrading exercise. If there is anything to criticize, it is our desire to criticize others. Let’s pray to the almighty God to sharpen our intellect that can distinguish between the right and wrong behaviors – and to give us courage to abandon the wrong behavior.
As parents, it is our responsibility to help kids understand the disadvantages of this behavior. Apart from guiding them, it is absolutely necessary that we do not indulge in such behavior ourselves; kids learn more from observation than abstract teachings.
Here are some pointers for kids to work as part of the assignment:
1.       What is Ninda?
2.       Why Ninda is considered an unacceptable behavior? Enumerate your reasons.
3.       Say, you are in a gathering where people are criticizing others. You don’t say anything but simply listen to the conversation. Are you doing anything wrong?
·         If yes, why; and, if no, why not?
·         Share some real-life examples.
4.       What will you do next time if you yourself feel like criticizing someone?
5.       What is the take home lesson of this topic?
Please let kids expand as they feel right.
Harsh Mendiratta