Why so-called advanced devotees are sometimes rude?

Lord Shri Hari Vishnu

Question
Hare krsna Maharaja. Good day. Dandavas.
I have a question. Why some devotees who perform very good service for Srila Prabhupada and sometimes have many years in Krishna consciousness are rude and hostile to other devotees, sometimes justifying their way of being with their position? Our philosophy speaks of humility and love, there are devotees who do not profess love for other devotees, or even respect. They speak harshly and sometimes ridiculing other devotees. Is Krsna satisfied with this service? Are they forgiven for all these rude attitudes towards the devotees for their service? What can I learn from this, apart from never wanting to be like them?
Ys paramesvari dd

 

Answer
Dear Vaisnavi,
The easiest answer to your question would be, no, the devotee must always be gentle and sweet in his interactions with others. However, fortunately or unfortunately, things are not so simple.
In the world of human beings, in the world of those who are on the way to becoming devotees and in the world of various degrees of devotees there are many realities that sometimes escape easy definitions.

Let’s immediately remove the category of offenders and ill-mannered ones who are in a completely material level. Whether they wear a dhoti or a sari or not, they remain boors.
Due to past karma they maintain a harsh and unpleasant nature due to envy, caused by unsatisfied desires. Bhagavad-gita (16.4-5) describes it as asuram-bhavam, a demonic nature.
“Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, hardness and ignorance – these qualities belong to those of the demonic nature, or son of Prtha. The transcendental qualities are favorable to liberation, while the demonic qualities constitute slavery. Do not worry, son of Pandu, because you were born with divine qualities. “
Those who feel pleasure in treating badly others are called sadics.

Then there are the devotees, which is the category to which most of us, students of the Vaisnava school, belong.
We see excellent devotees, who do an admirable service, but who sometimes or often behave in deplorable manners. The asuric qualities described above are less evident in the devotees but are there and moreover other negative qualities emerge.
Tendency to criticism, lack of respect for superiors, equal or inferior, or even sense of irresponsibility or even absence in their service thus causing damage to so many devotees, hindering the service of others by placing blocks to prevent them from taking positions higher than their… it could go on and on. All these things are visible even in supposedly advanced devotees.
The reason for the presence of these anarthas (unfavorable elements) is that they are on the path to perfection but still have a long way to go before transcending their material nature. As long as this does not happen their service is “misram”, mixed. As with Kubja. Samanjasa-rati: Kubja had affection for Krishna but with desires for personal enjoyment.
These devotees do good service mixed with the material elements that correspond to their material nature.

At this point a question comes out: all right, so how should we see all this? With a philosophical eye so justifying their wrongdoing in treating others badly with the excuse of philosophy? Does our philosophy justify misconduct and rudeness of various kinds?
Ours is a realistic philosophy, which explains how things are in their entirety, not in their outward manifestation. Again, Ganga was a murderer as long as we did not come to know about Vasistha’s curse. A human reaction is, Ganga is a murderer, a realistic reaction is, she was a murderer for all relative effects but not for its absolute effect.

It is right to criticize the wrongdoing and less right to criticize the wrongdoer. In fact, what reason would there be for having schools if we do not have the patience to tolerate the mistakes of the students? If a student makes a mistake we do not throw him out but we help him to correct himself. After all it is normal for students to make mistakes.

Vedic and Vaisnava culture teach us how we must see life. Again, the real use of putting on dhoti, saris, tilaka and chanting Hare Krishna is to get help for changing our way of interacting with things, circumstances and people of life. We have to do this as Vaisnavas, not as men and women.
If one is wrong to criticize, we are wrong to feeling offended. These are two errors. Obviously the first one is more serious but the second one also can become disastrous. I see whole temples and zones blocked because of devotees who can not tolerate a criticism or a nonsense that someone has done to him.

We must think, he is doing wrong but I will not fall into the trap of Maya and I will be a selfish opportunist. I will infinitely recite the verse “trinad api sunicena” and so I will draw benefits even from their harshness. So I can live, think, feel, want, perceive, react as a true Brahma-varca (advanced devotee, a vedantist) and not as a European / American / Asian with a dhoti and a sari on.
Whether Krishna will forgive various types of offenders is not up to me to say. What I think is that hoping they get punished will reveal in me a vindictive nature that is nothing better than any wrongs I may have received.

Then there are the natures of very advanced or even transcendental personalities, but for the time being this concerns us only for academy.
In fact, when Utanka cursed King Pausya to become blind because the food offered to him was not hot and he had a hair inside, someone may say “what an exaggeration”. The Sastras are full of stories of great sages (like Durvasa and Agastya) who apparently lose patience over insignificant things.
The point is that in the spiritual nature there exist natures of different kinds, even opposite: from the “burning heat” of Srimati Radharani to the “sweet condescension” of Candravali; from the humility of Nityananda Prabhu to the fury of Narasimhadeva.
But the explanation of all this is another story.

In conclusion, mistreating others is bad and feeling offended by this is not good.

– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
7 december, 2018

 

 

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