Sulking - an Expression of the Ego

Sulking (అలగటం) has always been a big No-No in our house! As a 6 years old I didn’t even know what sulking meant. But then I saw my friend do it with her parents and I asked Daddy what that was. He told me that it was a bad thing. He said, “Why should one sulk? Just simply ask for what you want or express how you feel. As simple as that.” He also added that he didn’t like people who sulked. That obviously scared me as I never wanted Daddy to not like me. So I learnt never to sulk. 

As I grew older, some of the gurubandhus would tell me that they were sulking at Baba because he wasn’t helping them! Again it struck me as a strange new idea. Sulking at Baba tattaya had never occurred to me. I asked Daddy why people would sulk at Baba tattaya and he said, “Because they don’t know how to ask. What good would sulking at Baba do? Never sulk at the person you love, especially Baba tattaya who loves us so deeply! Instead just keep asking him again and again. Would you ever consider sulking at me?” I said, “Of course not! You never gave me a reason to! And I know you don’t like it!” He said, “The same applies to Baba as well.” “But according to them”, I said, “the reason they are sulking at Baba is because they feel that they own him, that Baba is theirs and they can be however they like with him.” They say, “If not with Baba who else can I sulk at? It’s like Baba is part of my family.” 

Daddy laughed and said, “And what would they do if Baba thought the same and sulked at them as well? People think that sulking at someone or having the freedom to yell whatever comes to mind in a fit of anger at the person you love is alright, because they are your family. But that’s not right. If you really love someone, then you should take that as an opportunity to express positive aspects of your emotions rather than taking it as an excuse to behave as you like. If they really feel that Baba is their “own”, then they should have the selflessness to ask him again and again and again. Beg him. Fall at his feet. Wait with patience. But instead what one does is get angry and sulk! And one covers it up with the excuse of love and owning. Loving someone doesn’t give one the excuse to take them for granted. By sulking at Baba they are taking him for granted and that is not right.”

When I was much older, I heard Mummy and Daddy talking about how a close gurubandhu was in a sulking fit with Dad. And how Dad had called him and spoken to him. I was surprised to hear that. I expected Daddy to ignore him and strongly discourage his behaviour. Then why did he talk to that man, I wondered. So I asked him, “You told me you didn’t like people sulking. Then how is it that he is sulking at you and still you spoke to him with love?” He said, “I spoke to him because I love him and he is “mine”. It is not easy for everyone to simply break that sort of pattern. It takes time. Sulking is an expression of ones ego being hurt. And it is in no way helpful in getting closer to Baba. But it takes time to remove those patterns.” “But you said that when one really loves, one cannot sulk. So it means that he doesn’t really love you.” Daddy smiled and said, “Of course he does! The love is still there, it just needs some refining. If Baba simply shunned away everyone who had flaws, what kind of a Sadguru would he be?” 

Daddy spoke about Baba tattaya as being the patient Sadguru who loved his children despite their flaws. But here was a man in front of me, who too loved with such patience and tried to help the people he loved. I wondered, doesn’t that make him a Sadguru as well? 

Well, I am happy to say that because of Daddy’s guidance I never had the need or the inclination to ever sulk at anyone. Let alone Daddy or Baba. And when I see toddlers sulking, I feel lucky to have my Sadguru as my Dad! :)