How a Vaishanava sees others !

Hare Krishna.
18th Feb, 2015. Gurgaon


I recently heard a very nice lecture by HG Vaisesika Prabhuji gave in Mayapur.

The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime.
(SB 3.25.2)

In his short lecture prabhuji was able to tell what is the result a vaishanava’s tapasya ? How a vaishanva is always compassionate on others and how should we see non devotees and finally how we can engage everyone in the service of Lord, all points were an eye opener for this shudra. In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes that the purpose of austerity is also to make our hear soft, this relates to what we recently heard from HH Bhakti Vijnana maharaj on making our soft, I always thought ( wrongly, this is not for a vaishanava) that austerity makes one’s heart hard !!

Prabhuji began `Although a Vaisnava has sufficient power in tapasya, he does not become angry when put into difficulty. If one undergoes tapasya but does not become a Vaisnava, however, one does not develop good qualities. For example, Hiranyakasipu and Ravana also performed great austerities, but they did so to demonstrate their demoniac tendencies. Vaisnavas must meet many opponents while preaching the glories of the Lord, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that they not become angry while preaching. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given this formula: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna/ amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. adi 17.31]. “One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” Those engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree; then they can preach the glories of the Lord without difficulty.

Prabhuji said In the prosecution of the Krishna Consciousness movement, practically everything can be used in the service of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada states in this verse about the kinds of austerities devotees perform. The result of those austerities is that their hearts become more forgiving.

Srila Prabhupada says in the purport that our austerity must make our heart soft. We must become more forgiving. What does it mean to be forgiving? Prabhuji said that there are three ways of seeing people:

A) One way is according to their past. This is the most conservative. Such and such has sinned in the past therefore they are not qualified. Basically we see people how they have behaved with us in their past, this is the judgmental mode and I fall under this category most of the times.

B) Prabhuji then added that someone more liberal might look at someone only in the present, they may say to forget the past. What is he doing now?

I once asked Shyamsundar Prabhuji on how to overcome this mentality of judging others. Prabhuji then shared how he once requested HH Vedvyasapriya Maharaj a cure for the same disease and Maharaj told him that the key to overcome is that we should see everyone with a `refreshed button pressed’ ! What does it mean ? It means that we should see everyone without remembering that person’s past dealing with us or what we heard about him from others, this is specially true with for those devotees with whom we are not on best terms or who may have even offended us in the past. We deal fresh, with no prejudice holding us back. I try to imbibe this wonderful instruction but mostly at the need of the hour I tend to forget it ! Still I push myself to imbibe it and whenever I have been able to apply this formula it works wonderfully well, equally surprising the other person and my own self.

C) Prabhuji said that the most liberal person sees the future potential of the living entity. Those who know the miracle of distributing the holy name and the literary kirtan of the holy name, written down on pages, to people all over the world, believe in the power of this literature and the names of God, therefore they become forgiving of what has been done in the past or even what they are doing right now.

This is one step further higher, what a wonderful way to see others, to look at their potential. I wonder that this must be how Srila Prabhupada would have seen all the hippies in USA, not what they done in their past or what they are doing now but what they could become ! This is a wonderful benchmark to copy.

Vaisesika Prabhuji said that `It is in using everything to connect these living entities with Krishna, that we perform our greatest tapasya.’ Sukadeva Goswami tells kirata, to believe it that anyone from any section of society, even the most degraded, can come to the topmost position because of the power of Lord Vishnu that comes through his devotees.’

Prabhuji ended his lecture with the below story.

In San Francisco, I went with a group of devotees to chant Hare Krishna and distribute books and prasadam downtown. It was the most busy day of the year, called Black Friday. If anyone’s heard of Black Friday, please say Haribol ! In a crowd of people coming down the street who were watching the Harinam Sankirtan, I saw a couple, a young man and a young woman together. They were dressed like the hippies of old. As soon as they saw the Sankirtan party they stopped, as if mesmerized. They just stared and did not move.

I went over and introduced them to the Bhagavad Gita. They were so interested that they sat down right on the sidewalk in the middle of the whole crowd. They began to go through the Bhagavad Gita. I suggested at one point that they keep the book and asked if they could give a donation. When someone gives some hard earned money in return for a book, it qualifies them to read the book.

They searched up and down the many pockets that they had in their clothes. They couldn’t find any money at all. The man pulled out a blue cigarette lighter and he looked at me and said, “You don’t want this.” I said, “Yes I do, give it to me.” It turned out that it was their most valuable possession. They needed it to.

I realized how important it was about a half an hour later when some of their friends came up to me. They said, “My friends are over there but they sent us over here because we need a light.” But it made me realize that they had given up something very important to them. So I took that blue lighter home. And I cleaned it more than I’ve ever cleaned any item before. I keep it with my puja paraphernalia. Every day when I light a ghee wick or an incense to offer to the Saligram or to Giriraja, I think of that couple. I pray that their service will be accepted.

To hear this lecture, please press HERE.

My own learning from this lecture

  1. When I meet people I should try to see what they could become !
  2. All austerities should make my heart softer.
  3. I should practice to become more forgiving.
  4. I should strive to engage everyone in the service of Lord, including my own self.
  5. I live to be corrected.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

p.s. : I have recently added two more pages on the blog

( It’s a brief essay on the life of Mahaprabhu by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and the shastric pramana of Mahaprabhu advent in this yuga)

(I have uploaded almost all my general notes from CC in Q&A form on this page)

I request all the readers to kindly go through these pages at leisure and if you like then please share with your friends.