Jai: I meet different types of students in the class. How many types of people are there, Grandma?
Grandma: Generally, there are only two types (or castes) of people in this world, the good and the bad. (Gita 16.06) Most people have both good and bad qualities. If you have more good qualities, you are called a good person, and if you have more bad qualities, you are called a bad person.
Jai: If I want to be a good person, what qualities must I have?
Grandma: You must be honest, nonviolent, truthful, without anger, calm, without harmful talk, kind, not greedy, gentle, forgiving, and humble. These are also called divine qualities because they lead us to God.
Jai: What bad habits should I avoid?
Grandma: Hypocrisy, telling lies, arrogance, pride, jealousy, selfishness, anger, greed, harshness, ungratefulness, and violence --- these are bad qualities because they lead us away from God. Bad qualities also lead us to do bad things and get us into trouble. Do not be friends with people who have bad qualities because they do not know what to do and what not to do. Always be grateful to those who have helped you. Ingratitude is a great sin for which there is no remedy
Desire, anger, and greed are very destructive. Lord Krishna calls these the three gates to hell. (Gita 16.21)
Here is a story about how greed leads to sorrow.
21. The Dog and the Bone
One day a dog found a bone. He picked it up in his mouth and went to a lonely corner to chew it. He sat there and chewed the bone for some time. Then the dog felt thirsty and picked up the bone in his mouth and walked over a small wooden bridge to drink water from the creek.
When he saw his own reflection in the water, he thought there was another dog with a bone in the river. Becoming greedy, he wanted to have the other bone also. He opened his mouth to bark and take the bone from the other dog. As soon as he opened his mouth to grab the other bone, the bone dropped out of his mouth and fell into the creek. The dog realized his mistake, but it was too late.
Greed can be overcome by being satisfied with what one has. A satisfied person is a very happy person. A greedy person cannot find true peace and happiness in life.
Jai: How can I know what to do and what not to do?
Grandma: Follow your holy books, Jai. Saints and sages tell us what to do and what not to do in our holy books. Have faith in God, and listen to your parents and elders.
We should develop as many good habits as possible. But no one has only good habits and no bad habits. Good Lord usually puts good and bad habits in the same package.
Here is a story about how Queen Draupadi discovered this truth from her own experience.
22. The Story of Queen Draupadi
Draupadi was the common wife of five Pandavas. She was the daughter of a Rishi in her past life. She was very beautiful and virtuous, but in her past life, due to her past Karma, she had been unable to get married. This made her unhappy. So she started austerity to please Lord Shiva. After a long and difficult austerity, she pleased Lord Shiva, who asked her to choose a blessing of her choice. She asked for a husband who would be very religious, strong, a very good soldier, good looking, and gentle. Lord Shiva granted her wish.
In the next life, she was married to five brothers, but she was not very happy with this strange situation. Draupadi was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who knows the past, present and future of all beings. He knew of her sorrow and explained what she had asked for in her past life. Lord Krishna said it was impossible for one man to have all the qualities she wanted in her husband, so she was married to five husbands in this life, who shared all these qualities among them.
After hearing this explanation from the Lord Krishna Himself, she, her parents, and her five husbands cheerfully accepted what fate had given them and lived happily.
The moral of the story is that one cannot find a husband or wife with all good or bad qualities, so one must learn to live with whatever is given by fate. There is no perfect spouse because no one has only good habits and no bad habits.