Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

The mood of lightness and happiness reflects a state of human mind, which is known as acceptance. Lately there has been much talk in society, the political and social circles and the media about the rising intolerance and non-acceptance of people. Intolerance and non-acceptance begin when you do not identify with other people, but only with yourself. Intolerance is a selfish, self-oriented, self-motivated expression.

A glass of milk

Tolerance is the first and acceptance is the final step. You can tolerate somebody and not accept. Yet when you accept then there is nothing beyond that acceptance. When your child is screaming, do you tolerate or do you accept? When some other child screams, do you tolerate or do you accept?

The human culture in general based evolution, progress and growth in the material dimension on the principles of tolerance and acceptance.

If human society were tribal and we were all isolated, governed by intolerance and non-acceptance, humanity would be dead by now. We would not be alive. Different tribes, groups, cultures used integration when support and help were needed. Tolerance and acceptance were always the foundation for growth and progress of human civilization.

When the first Parsis, Persians, came to India, they landed on the coast of Gujarat. They sent an application to the king for asylum and asked for a place to live. The king sent them a glass filled with milk and said to the messenger, “Give this to the chief.” The Persian chief looked at the glass full of milk, took some sugar and mixed it. Then he said, “Take it back to your king.” The king received the glass, tasted the milk, and said, “They are welcome.”

It was a simple act, yet in this incident, the glass full of milk represented the statement, “There is no space for you. We are already full.” However, the Persians took some sugar, mixed it, and said, “Don’t worry. We will integrate ourselves and you will accept us. We will become one.” And they became one and are still one until today. That is known as acceptance, not as tolerance.

Watch out for the warning bell

Acceptance is when you become one with the idea, environment, thoughts and with everything that allows you to grow. Non-acceptance indicates the opposite, which takes away your support for growth. Acceptance creates the foundation for growth.

Tolerance makes you recognize your individuality. By recognizing individuality the two remain two. With acceptance, the two separate individualities become one.

Whenever there has been strife, it has been due to the lack of tolerance and non-acceptance. This is a clear indication that tolerance and acceptance lead to harmony. In harmony, there are better options and opportunities for people to focus on their growth, progress and development. In strife, it is difficult to find your balance as you are fighting on many fronts for your mental, ideological, economic gratification, or whatever gratification you seek.

A light and happy mood is an indication of acceptance. In the state of non-acceptance, there is no feeling and no joy in life. People are just simply watching other people. In non-acceptance, there is separation and non-participation. In acceptance, there is total merger.

Therefore, the idea is to observe the rigidity of the mind and the nature of the mind. Whenever you come across any situation which you see as the rise of intolerance and non-acceptance, it should ring a warning bell in your mind telling you, “I am not on the right track, I am not on the right track.”

8 November 2015, Ganga Darshan, Munger