The Importance of Psychology
Baba had always stressed the need to adopt a psychological approach in conveying unpleasant news to others. If possible, direct approaches should be avoided, in order not to unnecessarily shock the receipient of the news.
This story happened in 1979 during Baba's Israel tour. One day, after dinner, we received news from Calcutta that the General Secretary of Ananda Marga wanted Baba's suggestion for a suitable candidate for the position of Sectorial Secretary, Hong Kong Sector. That position had recently fallen vacant. This was, indeed, not positive news, and no one dared to give the news to Baba. After some discussion, the dadas present requested me to give the news to Baba, as I presented the organizational reports daily to Him.
I agreed but was not sure whether I should tell Him the news on that day itself or on the following day. The next day's schedule was very tight, and thus there would be no opportunity to convey this news to Him. I thought that since this was one of the problems of the day, it would be best to solve it that very day.
I presented the daily organizational reports to Baba and after that informed Him that the General Secretary had requested Him for a suggested candidate for the position of the Sectorial Secretary, Hong Kong Sector.
Upon hearing the news, Baba became furious and scolded me severely for nearly 45 minutes. I stood in His room absorbing the scolding to the best of my ability, but it was too much for me. I then quietly slipped out of the room when He was not looking. When He realized that I had disappeared, He immediately came out of the room to look for me and continued to scold me. While He was scolding me, a thought flashed across my mind that since Baba could solve any problem in a blink of an eye, why then is He scolding me for such a long time? Why does He need to spend so much time scolding me for a solution to a problem which could be found in a jiffy?
He heard my silent criticism. Immediately after this thought, He calmed down and replied, "You are a missionary worker. You should have enough knowledge of psychology to know that you should not give any negative news to anyone just before bedtime. I spent about 45 minutes scolding you just to impress upon you the need to be sensitive to people's needs and social etiquette, so that you could become a more effective missionary worker."
After giving this invaluable piece of advice, He suggested the name of one senior acarya for the vacant position in the Hong Kong sector.
He continued, "Yes. I can solve any problem in a second. But I took eight minutes to create the design for the pratik."
Baba had certainly caught my earlier thought and responded in His own inimitable style, while giving me a practical lesson in psychology - all in 45 minutes. His assertion about the pratik underscores its importance in spiritual pratice. It reminds us that sadhakas should always maintain the sanctity of the pratik in all circumstances.