51-NO TO BACKBITING
Man is made of imperfections. Backbiting is one of the vices disastrous for spiritual progress. Baba said the first step towards spirituality is not to speak ill of others. Backbiters are indeed good friends as they take our bad sanskaras to themselves. One must try to find his own weaknesses instead finding fault with others. If one does so he may not step toward finding fault with others.
Baba explained, backbiting, slander and criticism and its limits in following words.
Backbiters are your friends as they take over our bad sanskaras to themselves.
Before trying to find faults in others and speaking ill of them, try to find your own weaknesses, and correct those.
Do not be angry but be pleased with one who backbites you for thereby he renders service to you by diminishing the load of your sanskaras. Also pity on him for thereby he makes the load of his sanskaras more burdensome. The sanskaras of calumny and defamation are most wicked and troublesome.
Backbiting is the worst and most disastrous
Of the three most important things to be eliminated before attaining God-Realization–greed, lust and backbiting – backbiting is the worst and most disastrous. One can overcome greed, and even lust, though both are very hard to get rid of; but by far the worst, and most difficult habit of all to eliminate, is that of speaking ill and trying to find faults or flaws in others. And why must it be eliminated? Because this particular act or vice incurs the burden of sins or sanskaras of others, which is spiritually very derogatory and reactionary.”
Sanskaras of backbiting are deeper than lust and anger
What effect do the sanskaras of backbiting produce? Suppose Mr. A says to Mr. B: "Mr. C has not come; he is a bad man." Mr. C is not present. Mr. A has told this directly to Mr. B. Consequently, there is an exchange of sanskaras in an indirect way between Mr. A and Mr. C, and in a direct way between Mr. A and Mr. B. Thus, the sanskaras of slandering are of two types — direct and indirect. Thereby, the minutest sanskaras are created and for millions of births it is difficult to be freed from.
Sanskaras are of seven colours. Sanskaras of lust and anger have different colours, and the sanskaras created by backbiting are still deeper. We do not know them as such, but they are some of the worst type and nearly impossible to eradicate. Viruses are very subtle germs and invisible, but they are the most troublesome. Similarly, the sanskaras of calumny and defamation are most wicked and troublesome.
Therefore, do not defame or vilify others. If someone does it to you, you should be pleased. If someone kicks you, press his leg. What Christ has said about presenting the other cheek (if slapped) has meaning. If you love, you cannot slander. So try to love all. If you do it, I will believe in you!
If anyone speaks about another's shortcomings behind his back, even though what he says may be true, it is slander.
Explaining slander, Meher Baba cited the following couplet of Kabir
He who slanders Me is My friend, because with his own soap, he cleanses Me of My dirt.
Baba emphasized, the first thing required is love. And the second is doing no backbite.
He added, Feel glad if anyone slanders you, and always be careful that you don't slander others. It is good if you don't slander anyone. But generally, he who drinks liquor says: “Do I get intoxicated? I am never drunk.” The same is the case with slanderers. A slanderer will slander, and if anyone were to draw his attention to it, he would reply, “Who says I am slandering? I never slander."
Be natural! Do not change your nature of gaiety, but do not show displeasure or criticize others who are different in nature.
Don’t criticise. The habit of criticizing our fellow-beings is bad one. At the back of it often lies self-righteousness, conceit and a false sense of superiority; sometimes, it indicates envy or a desire of retaliation.
Innocent and fair criticism does not hurt and is good, but it is quite rare. What I mean by talking ill of others is when you criticise and it hurts. It hurts when you are excited, out of anger. When you criticise with love and kindness, how can it hurt?
If you point out the shortcoming of others lovingly, without any feeling of hate or animosity, it is all right. Even arguing with love is permitted.
The things which Meher Baba will not tolerate in any circumstances and by any one howsoever highly-placed he may be, are: (I) observance of caste, especially by orthodox so-called high caste people towards so-called “depressed” or “untouchables” (ii) hypocrisy , posing, and (iii) backbiting.
Baba allowed healthy criticism
Any remark or criticism that does not hurt is good. Make fun, joke, humor, but don't hurt anyone and talk back. If you point out the shortcomings of others lovingly, without any feeling of hate or animosity, it is all right. Even arguing with love is permitted. Try your utmost to help Me, which you can do by acting according to My wish. Sacrifice your sweet habit of hurting others. Fight to overcome lust, anger and greed. To control is not to do that which you have been used to doing.