Mahatma Gandhi and the Three Wise Monkeys: Learning and Takeaways

Mahatma Gandhi and the Three Wise Monkeys: Learning and Takeaways


The 2nd of October is a day to embrace the timeless teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. One of his most famous lessons – ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil’ – was made popular by the proverbial three monkeys, Bapu, Ketan and Bandar.

When we’re constantly exposed to evil, we don’t realize the damage it does. The purpose of these monkeys is to help us let go of the evil we wish to beat. Evil is like poison. Whatever it comes in contact with, it wrecks. Besides, what one exposes oneself to, one is bound to attract more. To protect ourselves, we must see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.

See No Evil

The first monkey urges us to not let evil enter into our system through sight. Whenever we witness violence, it causes us to act more violently. When we ‘see’ evil, we internalize it. It becomes a part of us, wreaking havoc on our bodies and minds.

Hear No Evil

Ketan, the second monkey urges us to rely on our own senses and experiences. If we ‘hear’ evil, we tend to react. We will always find people who rebuke us, hurt our sentiments and sensitivity. It is necessary to ignore such people, and not let evil in.

Speak No Evil

The third monkey reminds us that our words should never hurt the sentiments of others. He implores us to always ‘speak’ with grace and great discretion. We must choose to avoid spiteful words – words that lack empathy.

The world today finds it difficult to practise this mantra. Only after we truly adopt it, we can begin to understand its value. The bottomline is: To live in peace, we must first cleanse our souls. If we wish for harmony in our lives, we must start with our habits. As they say, “Hear all, see all and speak out for freedom and liberty, if you want to live in peace.”

Also Read: Take the Lead- A step towards Social Justice

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