Question: A written contract exists between two parties that includes specific duties and reimbursement for those services. Without notice, the reimbursement is withheld, yet the duties must be performed. We have learned to bear insult and bear injury. In the face of breach of contract, does the yogi pursue a legal course of action or accept the insult and injury and do nothing?

Answer: If you want to be a good yogi, a 100 percent yogi, you work more diligently. Probably you have something to learn from that experience. When he backed out from the contract, that doesn’t mean that you should back out. There is a saying in Thiruvalluvar, “If you can’t retain goodness for the person who hurts you, what kind of civilization are you in? How can you say you are a civilized person if you cannot return good for the bad?” In another place, he says, “If you want to show that you are a civilized person, drink the offering your friend gives you, even after seeing that he has poured some poison in it.” You saw him pouring a little poison in the drink he is offering you. Take it. Thiruvalluvar says, “Drink it.” I won’t dare to say that; I don’t have that much confidence. If you really have that complete faith in God, you can even drink it. Even poison becomes nectar. So, for the person who asked this question, accept the insult and injury, and in return, do a good job. If you want to file a legal suit, sue God. God is the culprit. God is the one who is working through this man or woman. Nothing will happen without God’s will. So if you want to be a good devotee, believer in God, a good yogi, return all the love you can. That will probably teach him a lesson, and he might repent his mistake and do good in return.

There is another Thiruvalluvar saying: “Do return goodness for the hurt that you receive from a person; it is the best way to punish him.” Because everybody has a conscience. His outward, egoistic mind might have done something wrong, but you are touching his heart. Thiruvalluvar says, “Make him ashamed of his deed by returning good to him.” It is easy to return tit for tat. Anybody can do that. You don’t need to be a yogi for that, but to return kindness and love will make you a great yogi. It’s a test for you; you pass the test. God is testing you through that man, so there is no point in scolding the arrow while ignoring the person who aimed the arrow.

That’s why, if you want to sue somebody, take that God into the court. “How can you do that, God, to me?” You have to find God first. That’s what. Gurudev Swami Sivanadaji says, “Which is the great yoga? Bear insult, bear injury is the highest yoga,” he says, so try to do that. That way, you are proving yourself to be a good yogi, and you are teaching the other person how to be good. It is an indirect lesson to the other person also.

I don’t know whether that kind of teaching is good for this age and particularly for America. Yes, I remember an instance: somebody went to a coffee shop and ordered a cup of coffee. The coffee was too hot and spilled on his thigh, and he sued the restaurant. If the coffee had been cold, he would still have sued the restaurant: “I am paying for it; how come you gave me cold coffee?” Here we have law, law, and suing for everything. And if you don’t even know how to sue, there are lawyers who tell you, “Don’t worry. I will get a million dollars if you give me half of it. You don’t have to pay me ahead of time.” Yes, you don’t have to pay the lawyer a cent. If he wins the case and gets a million dollars, he will take 50 percent if he is a reasonable lawyer. Otherwise he will want more. That is not the yogi’s way; it is the rogi’s way. So, try to be a good yogi. If you can’t attain the good, at least go back and pray to God. “God, it hurts me. I don’t know what to do. Please help me.” That way you can learn a good lesson.

Swami Satchidananda

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