Relationships – (In the Light of Theosophy)

Theosophy Relationships b

[This article appeared in the May 2023 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link:]

Relationships are necessary for our survival. We may seek loving relationships. However, when our love and care fail to be reciprocated as expected, we begin to realize that toxic relationships also have their place in our life. “Often the one you have deeply trusted will help you badly, and the one you have mostly ignored will stand up for you in your hour of need,” writes Shivi Verma. Such experiences drive people to shun human relationships and to seek peace in aloneness. However, it is futile to look for a perfectly harmonious relationship, as in every relationship there is bound to be an element of annoyance, irritation or something that creates a void in one’s heart with regard to that person. “However, the same relationships also become the barometer by which you can mark your spiritual growth.”

When we are affectionately attached to a person, it is natural to expect to be treated equally lovingly and respectfully by the other person. Though our expectations are valid we should realize that these relationships are the means to make us independent instead of getting caught in the web of maya where others have the remote control of our happiness. We see that whenever one feels let down in a relationship, they seek help from therapists and gurus. “It makes them aware of their karmic debts, stored anger, negative self-talk and world-view, weak boundaries, and the need for external validation.” During the process of healing, they are able to resolve some of these issues and that in turn leads to purification of energies that attract toxic people in their lives. Even though they are able to attract to themselves, now and then, reliable and best people, the negative people still find a place in their lives. These negative people are there to test how much one has learnt from one’s experiences so far. If one is able to love and accept people without expecting return, one is able to enjoy the bliss of detachment and also have a positive influence on the negative people. As we grow spiritually, we can also aid spiritual growth of others who come in contact with us. In this entire process of growing up it is very important to remain in close contact with our Higher Self, because only then nothing can have the power to disturb our happiness. We can appreciate fulfilling relationships when they are there, but in their absence, are equally capable of enjoying our own company, writes Shivi Verma (Life Positive, April 2023)

Good human relations have the power to alter the world. Some people are unable to establish a satisfying relationship with another human being. Today, we increasingly suffer from strained relationships. A perfect relationship is based on deep love and understanding, and in it there is a blending of opposing and complementary characteristics of two people involved. No man becomes our friend in the present life by reason of our behavior in the present life alone. If he was our enemy in the previous life he will be now, even if we do him service and be good to him, because these tendencies always last for more than three lives. So, towards those who are hostile to us, if we practice charity, kindness, and love, then this tendency of enmity will be one-third lessened in each subsequent life. On the other hand, if we continue to be hostile, we put off the day of reconciliation by three more lives. In any human relationship, when we overcome aversion or attachment for a person, but if that person in turn does not overcome his aversion or attachment for us, then an irrational and one-sided likes or dislikes develop. When we decide to accept people as we find them, we get an opportunity to cultivate the virtue of Adaptability. Adaptability is a very rare virtue. In a subtle way our likes and dislikes work havoc, reminding us that we must learn to adjust with those we like, as also, with those we do not like.

To cultivate a healthy human relationship, we need to cultivate the virtue of Viraga which helps us to learn to avoid the extremes of emotional dependence on another or that of indifference. Viraga means without raga or attachments: no attraction to things and people, and also no aversion. It is a higher indifference or the capacity to evaluate every person, every object, every event at its true value, its correct worth. Viraga, or dispassionate awareness allows us to look at everything and evaluate everything, without losing an inner equipoise, and ascribing no false values to anything because of our likes and dislikes. We are able to perceive things and people for what they are, uninfluenced by maya or illusion, i.e., we are able to perceive the Truth. True Vairagya enables a person to be in the world, but not of the world.

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