“Know all people as thy brethren and treat them as such.” This is the sixth maxim in Sahaj Marg. This seems to be our equivalent of “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” or “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Personally, I’ve always loved the “love your neighbor” verse in the Bible. It’s too often too quickly glossed over. Ultimately, to truly put that into effect you have to first realize your own Self and also recognize that Sameness in others. The Sahaj Marg version of this is actually a bit more digestible. It’s a tough thing for most people to reach realization of their true Center, let alone recognize the same in others that they meet – others who cut them off in traffic or vandalize their home.
But to see someone else as your brother is more doable. I don’t have to see you as non-different from my Self, but I get to start at a more comfortable and doable place which is knowing that we come from the same Parent – as brothers would. As one grows and deepens their personal evolution, of course, the natural revelation is that your brother IS not different from you – at all. Loving your brother (or neighbor) as yourself is literally loving yourself.
From a linguistic standpoint, I see a big difference between “like” and “as.” Most of the time, in the English language, the two words are fairly interchangeable. But the meatier parts of them are actually significant. Let’s contrast the two. If I love you LIKE myself, then it could be said that I’m loving you similarly to myself… as in, in a similar way. Similar does not mean the same. However, if I love you AS myself, then it could be said that I am loving you “in place of” myself. As if you were / are actually me – which is the ultimate Reality. Nondifference. If you go to a dance AS someone’s date, you are literally in the place of that person’s date. You’re not faking going as their date – you’re really in the place of their date. When that level of understanding is applied to this maxim, things really take on a new meaning.
The part of this I think many people are most likely to struggle with is the last four words: treat them as such.
It’s too easy to sit around and philosophize and ponder the deep intricacies of life and say, among friends, “We’re all One.” It’s another thing entirely to be out in the world living that oneness – to recognize your essential connection to the person who just cut you off in traffic or the person who transmitted HIV to your sister. Sadly, Christians come to mind with this. The Abrahamic religions come with hypocrisy built in – from the foundation up. It’s unavoidable, unfortunately, because of the structure of their belief system. But the reality is that the Christians, Muslims, and Jews aren’t alone – all people are guilty of this, even the godless. Our default is laziness and greed. We’re fine playing nice as long as things go our way – but the whole time we’re really just playing and really only for so long as things benefit us. To live life as though you truly see and know others to be your siblings – if not your Self – takes truthfulness mentioned in an earlier post.
What a profound and tough maxim this short one is!
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti