The surface being, under the influence of the vital ego, loves to criticize others and ‘gossip’ about them. This is a method of ‘puffing up’ or inflating the ego by dragging down others. It also wastes considerable time and energy by focusing on what are for the most part superficial things in a superficial way.

There is also the question of how the judgment is being rendered. The ego-standpoint is clearly unable to ascertain the truth of anything, as its view is limited, partial and biased. The idea that the sun rotates around the earth came from such a limited and partial view. We now know, of course, that from a larger viewpoint, this is an illusion.

In the Bible, Jesus held that one should not harshly judge the other party who has a ‘mote’ in his eye, when the person judging has a ‘beam’ in his own eye. Similarly, he held that one should not judge others with the statement that only he who is guiltless should cast the stone at the ‘guilty’ party. The spirit he is taking is one of understanding that all human beings have their weaknesses, faults and difficulties and rather than turning the attention outwards on others, and harshly criticising or blaming them, one should look within and see one’s own issues.

As all human beings are subject to falsehood, error and mistake, it is best to judge things, if one must, from a standpoint of goodwill and compassion rather than a censorious view which attacks, degrades and condemns others. Not only is this standpoint healthier for interpersonal relations, but for the practitioner of yoga, it helps to keep the being centered and avoids the unnecessary dissipation of energy that otherwise would occur. It allows the ‘mind stuff’ to be pacified rather than stirred up, which is a foundation for opening to higher spheres of consciousness.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “It is the petty ego in each that likes to discover and talk about the ‘real or unreal’ defects of others — and it does not matter whether they are real or unreal; the ego has no right to judge them, because it has not the right view or the right spirit. It is only the calm, disinterested, dispassionate, all-compassionate and all-loving Spirit that can judge and see rightly the strength and weakness in each being.”

“Do not dwell much on the defects of others. It is not helpful. Keep always quiet and peace in the attitude.”

“There is no harm in seeing and observing if it is done with sympathy and impartiality — it is the tendency unnecessarily to criticise, find fault, condemn others (often quite wrongly) which creates a bad atmosphere both for oneself and others. And why this harshness and cocksure condemnation? Has not each man his own faults — why should he be so eager to find fault with others and condemn them? Sometimes one has to judge but it should not be done hastily or in a censorious spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 11, Human Relationships in Yoga, Harmony with Others, pp. 339-342

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.