Sage Advice About How to Enjoy a Happier, Fuller Life

The following is an excerpt from The Science of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In the chapter, “Man’s Full Potential,” Maharishi writes about how we can make full use of our surroundings.


“It is natural that one receives what he is in a position to give. The mother gives to the child and, in return, receives from the child; the father gives to the son all his love, wealth, strength, and mind, and in return receives his confidence, love, and happiness.

“If you are open with someone, he will be open with you. If you want love from someone, give your love to him. If you want kind and sympathetic behavior from someone, be kind and sympathetic to him. If you want comfort from him, prove yourself comforting to him. If you want admiration from others, do something to show your admiration for them. If you are sincere in giving, you receive it in return many-fold. The teacher learns by teaching; in obeying, the student commands the respect of the teacher. If your son readily is obedient to you, he captures your heart as a natural return of obedience. If you are kind to a child he will be kind to you; if you are harsh to him, he will revolt against you. This is action and reaction.

“That action and reaction are equal is a scientifically established truth. You react to someone in a certain way and he, in turn, will react to you in a similar way. If he does not react to you, then nature will bring to you a similar type of reaction. If you hurt someone, even if he himself does not react, other agencies of nature will bring the reaction of your behavior to you. It is a law of nature that as you sow, so you shall reap. In whatever way one wants the surroundings to react to him, his behavior toward the surroundings must be in accordance with that. This is the fundamental principle of making the best use of one’s surroundings.

“The laws of nature cannot be deceived; the reaction will come. If a man is jealous of you, you will find, when you search your heart, that you have been jealous either of him or of someone else sometime in the past. Be kind to him, and the surroundings will be kind to you; be loving to him, and the surroundings will be loving to you; begin to doubt, and surroundings begin to doubt you. If you hate, surroundings begin to hate you. If the surroundings begin to hate you, do not blame the surroundings, blame your own inner conscience.

“It is necessary to clear your conscience and to be compassionate and sincere in your behavior. Good outward behavior is certainly of great value in life, but what is of greater value is the state of pure inner conscience. If you are clear in your conscience and loving, kind, and virtuous to your fellow men, you will naturally receive good behavior from everyone and great joy from the surroundings.

“If you feel you have all these qualities and are clear in your conscience and yet feel there is something wrong in your surroundings, then take it as it comes; it is a result of some action in the past.

“If you retaliate, you lower yourself to the level of the wrong. Rather, let the wrong be just a drop in the ocean of your virtue. A common saying is, ‘Do not resist evil.’ If evil is resisted, first you must stoop to that level of evil, and, second, you are further responsible for the evil influence you are producing by retaliating.

“Let the impurities of the atmosphere find a refuge in the ocean of purity in your heart, in the unfathomable joy of your inner pure conscience. When you forgive, all nature enjoys your brilliance and returns the joy to you. Forgiveness, tolerance, purity of heart, sincerity, love, and kindness are the basic platforms from which to enjoy and make full use of the surroundings. This is the fundamental principle of giving.”

Maharishi concludes this chapter by reiterating the value of the experience of transcending as a means to fulfill our highest aspirations for ideal behavior.

“In order to be able to make full use of the surroundings, it is first necessary to raise one’s consciousness through the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation, and all the surroundings and circumstances will by nature become helpful and be fully used to the best advantage of oneself and all others.”

© Copyright Maharishi Foundation. All rights reserved.

Since it was first published in 1963, The Science of Being and Art of Living has sold more than 1.1 million copies in the U.S. alone.

You can purchase a copy by clicking here.