Question: How can I not criticise others and what can I do when others criticise me? Sometimes I get very mad.

Sri Chinmoy: When somebody criticises you, think of that person as an insect or worm and feel that you are the strongest and largest elephant. Since you are larger than the largest, you do not have to pay any attention to a little insect or worm. Vivekananda used to say that the elephant is going to the market for bananas and the dogs are barking. The elephant does not pay any attention to the dogs; he just goes to the market and eats bananas to his heart’s content. So when others criticise you, you have to convince yourself that you are infinitely stronger than the criticism that you are getting.

When you are inspired to criticise someone, immediately feel that what is disturbing you in the other person is some weakness that he has. Feel that the wrong thing that he or she is doing arises out of some deplorable weakness. Then try to feel that your criticism of the other person is only increasing his weakness and making it worse.

Also, you have to feel that your criticism is causing all kinds of ailments inside the other person. Then try to pull these ailments into your own system — into your hands or legs or head. Immediately you will say, “My God, it is so painful, so painful!” Then you will see how much suffering you are causing that person. Or imagine that your words of criticism are like an arrow that you have hurled at the other person, and now his entire being is bleeding. When you see him bleeding, your sympathetic oneness will make you feel miserable. It is the same kind of sympathetic oneness that Lord Buddha felt when he picked up the bird that had been wounded with an arrow.

When you identify yourself with the other person’s suffering, you will feel, “No matter how imperfect and useless he is, I have no right to cause this kind of suffering in him. I have come into the world to establish my oneness with others and not to destroy others with my criticism.” Then your heart of oneness will make you stop criticising the other person. These ideas I am giving you are very practical.

Another thing you can do is to feel that your criticism of the other person, which you are cherishing in your being, is a very heavy load. Also, the other person’s criticism of you is another heavy load that that person has thrust upon you. How can you move or even breathe if you are carrying two heavy loads on your shoulders? What you have to do is get rid of both loads. You have to cast them aside so that you can run the fastest towards your destination.

Here is still another way. Each time you criticise someone, feel that you have created a black spot on the moon of his heart. By diminishing the beauty of his heart’s inner moon, you can never get real joy. Also, you have to feel that if you criticise him, he also will criticise you and ruin the beauty of your inner moon. By destroying one another’s inner beauty, neither one of you can be happy. So you have to feel that your happiness can come only with the other person’s happiness; it has to be simultaneous. If you do not darken his moon, he will not darken yours, and both of you will be happy.