In the early 1970s, Maharishi held several month-long summer courses in the Science of Creative Intelligence on U.S. university campuses, which were attended by thousands of meditating participants. A highlight of the courses was the question-and-answer sessions with Maharishi on a wide-range of topics,
including the purpose of life and the development of higher states of consciousness. The following question for Maharishi came during the August 1970 course at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California.
Question: Maharishi, in your commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita you write that not finding fault and not speaking ill of others is counted an essential prerequisite to achieve higher states of consciousness. You say that when a man speaks ill of others, "he partakes of the sins of those of whom he speaks." How does speaking ill of others and finding fault slow down our progress and coarsen the nervous system? What are the mechanics involved?
Maharishi: What comes out indicates what's been inside. So if the wrongs of some other people come out, that means the wrong was stored inside. It just tells the structure of the heart, what is contained inside. If someone never speaks ill of others, that means he has a pure heart, he doesn't have the wrong inside. If something wrong was done by some man, why should I bring that wrong, through thinking or remembering, and try to keep it in my heart? And if I speak it out, that means I had stored something of that. And if wrong is stored, then the heart is not pure. It just indicates what kind of storage is here, whether purity is stored or impurity is stored.
Speaking ill of others means first transplant the wrong of his heart in our heart, transplant the wrong of his mind to our mind, and then let that plant grow into a tree until it comes out. Many-fold it comes out. The whole process is dragging to evolution. It drags us down.
If you have not spoken out any wrong of anyone, that means you don't have any wrong in your heart. This is a measure. We never think ill of others, because if someone has done wrong, why should we bring it in our heart and make our heart impure? It's not necessary. But if our heart is already impure, it will be picking its like from here and there and strengthening its quality.
There is that proverb: "Birds of the same feather flock together." If there is filth deposited in the heart, then it will collect more filth from here. Birds of the same feather flock together. And then whatever has been flocked together, it will start to fly out.
One can't say, "Oh, how can that man behave like that, when he is a meditator?" That means we don't know how much good has increased in him. We didn't see him three years ago. There is always an improvement.
We never think anything negative of anyone, particularly because once we are meditating, our thought force is increasing very greatly. And if with this increased thought force we think low of someone, we are pushing him down to be that low.
Never do we think any wrong thoughts of others, nor do we speak them out. Never.
It's not necessary to use our time and energy of thinking and speaking on something that does not improve our life, that does not help us to grow. It's not worthwhile.
So spend your energy and get joy, happiness, evolution, more ability to enjoy, more ability to create. In this field we spend our energy and time.
Previously printed: June 2001, Enlightenment Magazine.
Further reference: The Science of Being and the Art of Living, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, chapter: The Art of Speaking