Why do we hate?
From Back to Godhead
By Syamananda Dasa
“No one is born hating another because of the color of his skin/ his background/ or his religion. People must learn to hate/ and if they can learn to hate/ they can be taught to love/ for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. II – Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela was born in racist South Africa. The then apartheid regime discriminated between whites and non-whites. The whites- only government declared some areas of the nation as the exclusive property of the white population and all other color groups were segregated and given their separate areas. Mr.Mandela dared oppose this discrimination and was labeled a terrorist and jailed for nearly three decades. Somehow, he prevailed, and after he was set free, he was elected the leader of the nation in the first elections in which all racial groups were allowed to cast their votes.lt is interesting to note that Mr.Mandela asserts that we need to be taught to hate. In today’s times it is not unusual to see a Palestinian mother say that she hopes that her children will continue to hate the Israelis and continue their struggle, or, as in the latest case of terrorism on US soil, the Boston Marathon bombings, where two American brothers of Chechen descent vented their hatred for all things American by planting two pressure-cooker bombs near the marathon event. In fact, one of the two brothers had let go of an ethnic Chinese taxi driver saying that, “We won’t hate you because you are not American.”
Thus in this age it is easy for nations to hate other nations, businesses to hate their competitors, race groups to hate other races, and come to think of it, people even hate themselves.
How does one begin hating anything else? What is the origin of this feeling? Let us begin by trying to understand the origin of ‘hate’. Hate of course is an emotion directly opposing love and therefore it is part of material nature’s duality. Duality means two, or pair, as love-hate, like-dislike, day-night, birth-death, up-down, victory-loss. The Bhagavad-gita says that everywhere you look, you will find everything in two’s or pairs. Why? That is the nature of this world. If it is natural for this world to have everything in two’s, then why are we not happy with this arrangement? Because it is unnatural for you and me to live in this world of duality. Our constitutional position is that of being subordinate to the Supreme Lord. God is described as one whose knowledge is pure. On account of being separated from this pure knowledge, we become controlled by impure knowledge in the form of the illusory energy called maya. Maya induces us to think that we have nothing to do with God and we need to sort things out ourselves. This duality of interest is the beginning point and all hell breaks loose after that.
One important duality caused by maya is the duality of love and hate. Both of them are equally powerful emotions which can run or ruin our lives. It’s like a football game between the two teams of love (desire) and hate, and the living entity (the football) is kicked by both the teams. Both of them are intense emotions and unless one is trained, it is likely that he may mismanage their utility.
Now comes the million-dollar question: Does God ever hate anyone?
Commenting on the prayers of Queen Kunti Devi, Srila Prabhupada says: “0 Dear Krishna, you favor no one and no one is your enemy.” We expect some benediction or profit from a friend and inimical activities from an enemy, but Krishna is so perfect that no one can harm Him nor can anyone give Him anything. So who can be His friend or enemy? He doesn’t need anyone’s favor. He is complete. I may be a very poor man, and therefore I may expect some favor from a friend, but that is because I am imperfect. Because I am not full, because I am deficient in so many ways, I am always needy, and therefore I want to create some friend, and similarly I hate an enemy. But since Krishna is the Supreme, no one can harm Krishna, nor can anyone give Krishna anything He might need.”
When a disciple asked Srila Prabhupada how to deal with hatred and envy, Srila Prabhupada had this to offer: “One should not be attached to his personal achievement. But, if one is attached in order to please his spiritual master, then it is all right. Unattached to my benefit, attached to Krishna’ s benefit. Krishna consciousness means attachment for Krishna and detachment for personal benefit, that’s all. But in any case, if there is fight amongst yourselves over these things, book distribution, competition, you should not develop ill-feeling. That depends on the persons. If ill-feeling is there, then stop it and all together chant Hare Krishna, Those who are not so advanced should eulogize those who are advanced. If you become envious, that is material. Attachment, detachment – these things are natural. If you become attached to something you become detached from some other. So we can estimate our advancement in this way. This is the test. In the Krishna consciousness movement there is no question of envy, hatred, things like that. Material life means hatred for Krishna and desire for matter. So we have to convert ourselves. When one becomes Krishna conscious actually, he does not even hate material things because he becomes expert how to utilize everything for Krishna, Krishna consciousness is so nice. We do not hate anything material because we have learned from our disciplic succession how to utilize material things for Krishna’s service. Actually, bhakti means realization of the Supreme, and this means increasing attachment for Him and reforming of detachment or hating of material name and fame.” (Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Sri Govinda, December 25, 1972)