Questions

Regarding the question of trustworthiness, that implies someone being trustworthy to someone else. It occurred to me, we have the example of the drunk doctor who gave very good advice to Srila Prabhupada if I’m not mistaken, to take morning walks. He certainly wasn’t self-controlled and yet in that specific way he was trustworthy. Conversely we’ve seen examples of very advanced devotees who are very fixed who may not have given the perfect ideal advice in terms of material considerations about a career or marriage or health etc. and so could you kindly speak a few words on this?

That doctor, it wasn’t really that he was trustworthy; he didn’t understand the condition Prabhupada was in. He didn’t know Prabhupada was having a heart attack. He thought, he’s just, maybe not a malingerer as such, but just it’s not a serious situation so he gave not serious advice. Somehow Krishna, in certain situations, Krishna may speak through people if Krishna really wants to. We’ve probably all had the experience, I know I have, of sitting in a class, something is on my mind and suddenly in the class the devotee just answers your question or something like that. These things happen by Krishna’s arrangement. It’s not that the devotee was planning, that yes you know “He is in such a condition he needs to hear this therefore I’m going to slip it in”. It’s actually Krishna’s arrangement. So that doctor even by medical standards was not at that time really trustworthy because he was intoxicated and he wasn’t thinking straight. Yes. He misunderstood Prabhupada’s condition and he just wanted to leave actually so he just said “Oh you know, he just needs more exercise”. Prabhupada as a great transcendentalist he understood, like they say you can take gold from a dirty place, it was a really dirty place, but somehow by the grace of the Lord there was something in it. Not that Prabhupada at that time needed to just stand up and go on a morning walk. He needed to go to hospital for a while. But in the long term Prabhupada applied that.

You know with very advanced devotees, it depends, it really depends, on how advanced they may really be. It also depends on the perspective on the situation because in any given situation that a devotee finds himself or herself in, usually there will be, often there will be, a number of possible approaches on how to deal with the situation. There may be a number of possible right answers or right enough, depends on the situation. Could really be the best thing if he or she does certain things or you know a first class, second class or third class type of approach. So it depends. Sometimes even advanced devotees may misunderstand a situation. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not advanced. It may mean that they don’t know enough about the situation to really give the most relevant advice.
(19-03-2016, Trustworthiness and the Question of Death, SB 1.19.24, Durban, South Africa)

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