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Loke Pratishchtitaanaam Cha Vidushaam Shastradhareeraam

The Lord here forbids insulting (Apamaan) of five types of people - the first one - a Guru or Preceptor is a very sacred institution in Hinduism. A great respect should be given to a Guru such that they are considered the form of God. "Gu" means ignorance or darkness and "ru" means destroy, explains Sanskrit Kars, that a Guru is one who destroys the ignorance and darkness, delivering knowledge and enlightenment. Deval Rishi explains ten people that should be accepted as one's Guru: (1) Aachaaryaashch - an Acharya or spiritual leader (2) Pitaa - one's father (3) Jyeshtho Bhraataa - one's elder brother (4) Chaiva Mahimatih - a king (5) Matulah - a maternal uncle (6) Shwasur - father-in-law (7) Shtraataa - a learned Braahman (8/9) Maataamaha-Pitaamaha - maternal and paternal grandfathers (10) Varn Shreshtah - the best or highest in a community and (11) Pitruvyashch - a paternal uncle. These all may be considered as Guru.

Guru Mahimaa (the greatness of a Guru) has been sung highly by saints and poets alike. All Shaastra have markedly made an effort to glorify the great institution in Hinduism of Guru-Shishya relationship and Paramparaa. For such reason they are given pride of place at the heart of Hinduism. They are thus respected immensely and so should never be insulted or slandered in any way.

Secondly, Vareeyasam - a renowned great person who has good qualities should also never be insulted. In Shrimad Bhaagvat, Bhagwan Rishabh Dev explains that "Those who serve great men - Sat-Purush, open themselves a doorway to the Heavens. Those who associate with women or even associate with those men who have a tendency to associate with women, open themselves a doorway to Hell.

These men (Sat-Purush) are distinguished. They are with leveled mind, devoid of anger and a friend to all. Such saintly men are indeed worth celebrated. Never should these saints or Braahman who project compassion and other such great qualities as well as dignified persons of a community, a King, a King's administrators, those great in a family or community with excellent discipline of behavior, who are bestowed with great qualities, who are wealthy, those who are wise and learned with Vedaantik knowledge of Puraans and Shaastras; as well as those who are armed should never be insulted nor should they be disrespected or ridiculed. Those who do insult such people destroy themselves as all as whatever they have is lost - Tatkaaraya Hi Swasya Sarvaswa Naash Pateh.

Yaagyavalkya Smriti explains, "Braahman and Kshatriya should never be insulted. Also learned persons (educated highly), members of one's family, the wealthy and renowned people should always be respected and never be insulted. Even elderly Shoodra caste members should be duly respected if they are educated.

Shreemad Bhaagvat says, "Those who insult great men who are either elder, or wealthy, or famed, or Dhaarmic (follow their duties or religious) fall to destruction and perish. Those who do not respect others who are eminent through their birth, penance, knowledge, behavior and caste are considered to be dead." After death they suffer terrible pains in the hells, as they are repeatedly tortured.

Skand Puraan explains, "By insulting a Sat-Purush, even a righteous person is destroyed through the destruction of a long fruitful life and the eradication of all his righteous qualities.

Apamaan - insults can be directed with the aim to demote another person. However insults can be indirect and committed without knowledge or intent also. Mahaabhaarat's Anushaasan Parv explains, "Even in extreme circumstances one should never speak in "Tu-Kar" with great men. Furthermore it explains: "Twamkaro Va Vadho Veti Vidwatsu Na Vishishyate - " To use Tu-Kar (Twam karo) with such people is like a killing (Vadhko) of such person." Finally the Parv explains: Twam Karam Naamadheyam Cha Jyeshthaa naam Parivarjyet - "One should refrain (Parivarjyet) from speaking in Tu-Kar and addressing by name (Naamdheyam), to such elders (Jyeshtaa naam). Thus this final statement suggests that calling elders by name is equivalent to calling them by the disrespectful and insulting Tu-Kar which ultimately is compared to the killing of that person.

For the same reasons it is an age old tradition in India for husbands and wives not to utter the name of each other. Also, Satsangi Jivan explains that by doing so the Aayushya (duration of life) of their partner decreases. Similarly it is also unacceptable to call all elders by name such as elder brother or sisters and other family members as well as other elders in a community.

MBH, Anushaasan Parv explains, "Those who wish for a long life, should never consider a Braahman, Kshatriya and a serpent as powerless as all are poisonous. Therefore to insult any, can be the cause of one's own death, such is the power of Braahman and Kshatriya.

Guru Geetaa also explains that "Students (Shishya) with good manner should never speak egotistically with pride - Hu-Kar." Similarly they should never speak untruthfully with their Guru. Those Shishya who disrespectfully use Hu-Kar and Tu-Kar with their Guru are born as demons in a land without water.

Brihaspati says that "Those who speak wrathfully with a Tapaswee, snake, armed person or Pativrataa immediately invite death. Therefore one should never cause insult by speaking angrily with these people. Shataanand adds that these people should always be given the right of way.

MBH, Anushaasan Parv says that "Braahman, cows, a king, the elderly (Vriddh), the tired, women and the weak should always be given the right of way. Vriddh here should be understood as Vayo-vriddh - elderly by age, Tapo-vriddh - elderly by penance, Vidyaa-vriddh - elderly through knowledge, Gun-vriddh - elderly through good qualities and Dhan-vriddh - elderly through wealth.

Yaagyavalkya further says that "The Vriddh, those fatigued, kings, Braahman, women, the ill, a groom (Var) and a person driving a carriage should always be given way. Mitaakshar expands upon this saying that "Cha" is used and therefore includes a drunk, a lunatic and a Sanyaasee.

In this Shlok, Lord Swaminarayan points out the universality of the Shikshapatri. Shikshapatri isn't just a means to a religious life. It is a means to a virtuous life. The essence of this Shlok isn't difficult to grasp, it is something that all are in one way or another brought up to become and do. This Shlok is about human courtesy and respect for one another. It teaches that we accept and praise those superior to us as such mentality can bring only moral conduct and discipline.

Indeed, this is what living is all about. It is about respect for the elders and respect for one another. Those who slander and insult others have no place in society they have not yet understood the science of living and being. These mentioned people, who are to be bowed before (Vandaneeya), to be respected and to be idolized should never be insulted as those who insult such great personage insult only themselves. They bring shame to themselves, their families and their being. Those who insult in this way are inhuman comparable to beasts and therefore those who have no respect for others can never be worthy of respect to themselves. By serving and respecting these great people such as the elderly, saints and Braahman, we are serving the Lord Himself. There is no doubt that for such acts, Lord Shree Swaamee Naaraayan will look upon us with kind heart and eternally shower his choicest and most sincere blessings. Respect for others breeds humility in oneself that brings kind-heartedness and sincerity, therefore it is very important to have such mentality that is becoming almost certainly deficient in this day and age.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 06/26/13