by SS Chioneso Kulwant Kaur Khalsa, Birmingham UK
In a world increasingly beset by strife, conflict, and the cries of the cruelly displaced, the values of compassion and its benevolent effects shine forth like a luminescent beacon on this wonderful gift of a planet we call home.
Passion is part of our emotional template as humans. Compassion is a jewel of our spiritual birthright that, when engaged, raises us up and enables us to experience the closeness of the Divine. It allows us to expand in the experience of the higher aspects of our being, rather than contract into the morass of our negative mind.
The greatest evidence of this virtue is when we exercise compassion in a situation where we may be sorely tempted to react in the opposite way by returning negative for negative and to discriminate as to when and with whom we are kind. If we choose to act neutrally and with compassion when faced with these temptations, the highest exemplification of the compassion is experienced.
Our sensitivity and awareness of the world around us is an integral part of this virtue. In the story of the young Har Rai becoming upset when his coat accidentally toppled some plants and caused their distress, we witness our Guru’s extraordinary sensitivity to the natural world.
An Aspect of Love
Compassion can be said to be an aspect of love—perhaps the greatest virtue of all because it contains all other virtues. Upon release from an imprisonment of 27 years, Nelson Mandela, the great leader and exemplar (who recently passed into the realm of the ancestors) strove to build a South Africa inclusive of all its people as equals.
After the many decades of cruel and brutal treatment meted out to black people by the whites in the name of Apartheid, Mandela could have chosen to seek to punish the oppressors. Instead he set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, bringing together oppressed and oppressor to explore their pain and prejudice and understand each other’s realities. This is a man who lived the concept of compassion.
While leaving the stadium after his presidential inauguration, Mandela saw the General who had been the head of the Secret Police, a man responsible for so many abominable atrocities, standing alone and forlorn, looking quite downcast. He left his vehicle and went across to him, took his hand, looked into his eyes and said: “I want to assure you that the South Africa I hope to build will be one for ALL South Africans, equally. There will be no recriminations, there will be no revenge. You have my word.” By his sensitivity and great understanding of the human condition, he earned the respect and affection of those who had formerly feared and hated him. Such is the nature of compassion.
It is relatively easy to be kind to those one loves; difficult to be so to those one does not love. True compassion is neutral and does not discriminate.
We witness this in Guru Har Rai, who, upon the request of Emperor Shah Jahan, sent medicine that cured the Emperor’s eldest son Dara Shikoh of an illness that had resisted the ministrations of many healers. The Guru steadfastly refused the Emperor’s offer of reward. True compassion seeks no reward or recognition. It is simply one of our greatest God-given gifts, without which we may have ceased to exist a long time ago.
About the Author
SS Chioneso Kulwant Kaur Khalsa is a Sikh Dharma Minister. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor and Therapist with over 28 years of experience. Since 1973, she has been a student of the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan), Master of Kundalini Yoga, and has taught and conducted workshops in North America, the Caribbean and Great Britain.
She is a musician, vocalist and poet, and often includes aspects of these arts in her therapy. She deems it a privilege to serve the community by sharing the ancient and efficacious philosophy and techniques of Kundalini Yoga, so that all who learn and practice may explore their truly limitless potential and triumph through life’s challenges.