Slander me, slander me - go ahead, people, slander me. Slander (being slandered)
is pleasing to God's humble servant....(sggs 339).

In narrow thinking, it's human instinct to badmouth others in order to oneself feel higher. Such falsehood "is plundering the world", says the Gurbani (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS). The Gurbani's advice to all of us is to think it to be for your own best if anyone does the mean act of talking ill of you! How's so?

Slanderers help one become aware of his negativity and defilements — one's weaknesses become magnified when slandered. If taken constructively, once aware of his weaknesses, one can do something about them. Thus, in a way, the person who talks trash about someone helps him remove his demerits. However, if one reacts negatively to the act of being calumniated by someone, then obviously he has nothing to gain (because then he is no different than the slanderer). For one's negativity + other's negativity is not equal to positivism! In fact this is the formula for ruin. In short, it all depends on how we react to being tarnished by anyone. Certainly, as the Gurbani points out, we can make it to work to our advantage if we want. The key would be to use it to (1) see our shortcomings; and (2) then remove them without any prejudice or partiality. On the other hand, the slanderer, the wretched fool, bears total loss!

The author has heard this little story. Bhagat Kabeer Sahib had a jealous and a sharp-tongued neighbor, whose pastime was to calumniate Kabeer Sahib to smear his name in the community. When this fellow died, Kabeer's followers thought this news must make Kabeer Sahib happy. To the contrary, when Kabeer Sahib heard this news, he became sad. His devotees naturally inquired as to why he was sad instead of being glad now that the person who tarnished him all his life is finally dead. Kabeer Sahib said "the reason I feel sad is that, as that fellow is gone, now who will calumniate me and wash my sins off and take upon himself".

  • ਨਿੰਦਉ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਮੋ ਕਉ ਲੋਗੁ ਨਿੰਦਉ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਜਨ ਕਉ ਖਰੀ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਬਾਪੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਮਹਤਾਰੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਬੈਕੁੰਠਿ ਜਾਈਐ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਬਸਾਈਐ ॥ ਰਿਦੈ ਸੁਧ ਜਉ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਹਮਰੇ ਕਪਰੇ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਧੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰੈ ਸੁ ਹਮਰਾ ਮੀਤੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਮਾਹਿ ਹਮਾਰਾ ਚੀਤੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਸੋ ਜੋ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹੋਰੈ ॥ ਹਮਰਾ ਜੀਵਨੁ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਲੋਰੈ ॥੨॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹਮਰੀ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਹਮਰਾ ਕਰੈ ਉਧਾਰੁ ॥ ਜਨ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਉ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਸਾਰੁ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਡੂਬਾ ਹਮ ਉਤਰੇ ਪਾਰਿ ॥੩॥੨੦॥੭੧॥: Nindayu nindayu mo kaou logu nindayu... (sggs 339).
  • ਮਸਟਿ ਕਰਉ ਮੂਰਖੁ ਜਗਿ ਕਹੀਆ ॥ ਅਧਿਕ ਬਕਉ ਤੇਰੀ ਲਿਵ ਰਹੀਆ ॥ ਭੂਲ ਚੂਕ ਤੇਰੈ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਕੈਸੇ ਆਚਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਐਸੇ ਝੂਠਿ ਮੁਠੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦੈ ਮੁਝੈ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਜਿਸੁ ਨਿੰਦਹਿ ਸੋਈ ਬਿਧਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦੇ ਦਰਿ ਨੀਸਾਣੈ ॥: Masat karo moorakh jag kaheeaa ...: If I remain silent, the world calls me a fool. If I talk too much, I miss out on Your Love. My mistakes and faults will be judged in Your Court. Without the Naam, the Name of the Lord, how can I maintain good conduct? ||1|| Such is the falsehood (worthless activities, corrupt thinking, ਝੂਠੇ ਵਿਚਾਰ, etc.) that's plundering the worldly people (of their spiritual life - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਅਜੇਹੇ ਲੁਟਾ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ ਕਿ ਇਹਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਇਹ ਸਮਝ ਹੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਪੈਂਦੀ). The slanderer slanders me, but even so, I love him (because, by doing so, he takes my sins upon himself). ||1||Pause|| He alone knows the Way, who has been slandered. Through the Shabad, he is approved at the God's Doors (he keeps the Lord's Name in his heart - ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦੇ ਨਾਮ ਨੂੰ ਉਹ ਆਪਣੇ ਹਿਰਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਵਸਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ) (sggs 1330).

Ignorant mind is wasteful. According to the Gurbani's Divine diagnosis, our groping in Maya (illusion, ignorance etc.) is the reason many of us engage in such foolish act of blemishing and tainting others. As stated by the Gurbani, there are many such people wasting the precious human life doing the mean act of smearing and judging others. Instead of examining their own weaknesses and thus judging themselves, they waste their life looking at other people's "filth". Kabeer Sahib compares such foolish and unsaintly people with an empty pitcher that makes too much noise.

  • ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਛੂਛਾ ਘਟੁ ਬੋਲੈ ॥ ਭਰਿਆ ਹੋਇ ਸੁ ਕਬਹੁ ਨ ਡੋਲੈ ॥੪॥੧॥: kahu kabeer shhooshhaa ghatt bolai. bhariaa hoe s kabahu n ddolai ||4||1||: Says Kabeer, the empty pitcher makes noise, but that which is full makes no sound (i.e., the fool or the person empty of virtues talks too much, but the wise or the person full of virtues does not) ||4||1|| (sggs 870).
  • ਨਿੰਦਕੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਮਲੁ ਧੋਵੈ ਓਹੁ ਮਲਭਖੁ ਮਾਇਆਧਾਰੀ ॥: Nindak nindaa kar mal dhovai oh malbhakh mayadhaaree: By slandering, the slanderer washes other's filth (filth of others Bikaars, filth of the bad actions they commited, etc.), (but in the process he - ਮਾਇਆ-ਵੇੜ੍ਹਿਆ ਮਨੁੱਖ) the worshipper of Maya (himself becomes used to) eating the filth (of others) (sggs 507).
  • ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਪਰ ਦੂਖਨਾ ਕਰਹਿ ॥ ਕਈ ਕੋਟਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਸ੍ਰਮ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Kayee kot par dookhnaa karahi. Kayee kot maya sram maahi: Many millions slander others. Many millions struggle in Maya (sggs 275).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਦਾ ਪਚਿ ਮੁਆ ਵਿਚਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਭਖੈ ॥: Nindaa kardaa pach muaa vich dayhee bhakhai: Slandering others, he (sinner) wastes away and dies; within his body, he burns (sggs 315).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਰੁ ਉਠਾਵੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਮਜੂਰੀ ਭਾਰੁ ਪਹੁਚਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Nindaa kar kar bahu bhaar outhaavai bin majooree bhaar pahuchaavaniaa (sggs 118).
  • ਪਰਾਇਆ ਛਿਦ੍ਰੁ ਅਟਕਲੈ ਆਪਣਾ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਵਧਾਵੈ ॥: Paraaiaa shidra atakalai aapanaa ahankaar vadhaavai (sggs 366).

In nutshell, the Gurbani would like us to "love" those too who malign us, for they do us a great favor! In other words, be "pleased" with them and think that "this, too, is for the best". Those who talk crap and disparage others, unaware of the consequences of their foolish acts, wash others' sins off and take upon themselves. It's pretty good deal! Isn't it? However, this deal will be fruitful only if we take it positively (in a Gurmukh way) — recognize any shortcomings and then sincerely eradicate them.

  • ਗੁਣ ਸੰਗ੍ਰਹੁ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਅਉਗੁਣ ਜਾਹਿ ॥: Gun sangrahu vichahu aougun jaahi: Gather merits, and let your demerits depart from within you (sggs 361).
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਅਵਗਣ ਗੁਣਹ ਸਮਾਣੇ ਐਸੀ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਪਾਈ ॥: Nanak avagan gunah samaane aisee gurmati paaee: O Nanak, demerits are dissolved by merits; such are the Guru's Teachings--Gurmati (sggs 1111).
  • ਬੰਦੇ ਖੋਜੁ ਦਿਲ ਹਰ ਰੋਜ ਨਾ ਫਿਰੁ ਪਰੇਸਾਨੀ ਮਾਹਿ ॥: Bande khoj dil har roj firu presaanee maahi: O human being, search your own heart every day, and do not wander around in confusion (sggs 727).
  • ਜੇ ਲੋਕੁ ਸਲਾਹੇ ਤਾ ਤੇਰੀ ਉਪਮਾ ਜੇ ਨਿੰਦੈ ਤ ਛੋਡਿ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥: Je lok salaahe taa teree oupamaa je nindai tz shod nza jaaee: (O Lord) If people praise me, the praise is Yours. Even if they slander me, I will not leave You (sggs 757).
  • ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਛਾਡਉ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਭਾਵੈ ਨਿੰਦਉ ਲੋਗੁ ॥: Bhagti na cchaadayu raam kee bhaavai nindayu logu: I will not forsake God's devotion even if people slander me (sggs 1366).
  • ਛੋਡਿਹੁ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਤਾਤਿ ਪਰਾਈ ॥: Shodihu nindaa taat paraayee: Abandon slander and envy of others (sggs 1026).

— T. Singh