Let’s Choose Love Over Hatred

By Gnanpurushdas Swami
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha 

 “Hatred is self-punishment,” said Hosea Ballou, an American theological writer. It is a powerful force often linked with a feeling of frustration, powerlessness, and the desire for revenge. But hate is a choice, just like love. Anyone can hate. However, it takes a lot more effort to love. 

In 1987, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in Bochasan, Gujarat. In the morning, a tree-planting ceremony was held in the temple fields as part of a two-year program to create environmental awareness in the region. There was a specific goal of planting 100,000 trees all over Gujarat.  

Pramukh SwamiMaharaj, himself, was going to plant the first tree. For this purpose, the volunteers had dug a small hole in the ground. But in the hole, an ant was enjoying the coolness of the soft, wet soil, away from the sweltering heat outside.  

Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s eyes fell on the ant. Before placing the sapling in the hole, he got down on his knees and said lovingly, “Mr. Ant, come out, or you will be crushed.” He was talking as if he were speaking to a human being. Carefully, he aided the ant to its escape.  

This example shows Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s love for all creatures, great and small. He never hurt anyone–not just physically, but even mentally. He only thought good of others and wished them well.  

In September 1985, Pramukh Swami Maharaj was in Amdavad, Gujarat. He was engaged in a casual conversation with two young disciples. One of them suddenly asked an intriguing question, “What thought runs in your mind continuously?” 

Pramukh Swami Maharaj rephrased the question by asking, “Shall I tell you what thought has never occurred in my mind?” 

“Yes, please tell us.” 

Pramukh Swami Maharaj humbly replied, “Never, in my entire life, have I had a thought of hurting anyone.” 

The disciples were simply awestruck. Not only was he all-forgiving, but he was all-loving. His love embraced everyone-children, youth, the aged, the rich, the poor; and people of all countries and cultures. 

The responsibility of making our world a better place lies in our hands. Hatred sows the seeds of negativity in our own actions, ready to sprout into violence at a future date. As human beings, we cannot afford to not be kind. Let us resolve to love one another, value one another, and help one another. 

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