isvare tad adhinesu
balisesu dvisatsu ca
prema maitri krpopeksa
yah karoti sa madhyamah
“An intermediate or second class devotee, called madhyama adhikari, offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to ignorant people who are innocent, and disregards those who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
So this is now the description of the three classes of devotees: kanistha, madhyama and uttama adhikariiand this of course is the description of the madhyama adhikari, or middle class devotee. This is one verse describing the main characteristics, but there are 10 or 11 more verses elaborating on the uttama adhikari, because the uttama adhikari is so uniquely important. It is not that 10 madhyama adhikaris can equal one uttama adhikari. So the uttama adhikari is in a special category of their own, and their association
is something extraordinary. The kanisha adhikari;their association can also help. It just depends on the circumstances. But the madhyama adhikari can definitely help the living entities, because the madhyama adhikari is systematically engaged in the process of devotional service, and is systematically trying to give the process of devotional service. And in this way, in very practical and real terms, help the conditioned souls get out of their entanglement. So the madhyama adhikari then, is a very important type of devotee.
Kanistha adhikaris are not important. Sometimes, something positive may be there. But otherwise it’s just really a matter of his good fortune that he happens to be engaged in devotional service. There’s no real qualification. But the madhyama adhikari is showing qualification, and this is described here, in terms of the four particular characteristics displayed by the madhyama adhikari: offers his love to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a friend to the other devotees, is merciful to the innocent and disregards the envious. Why? On the basis of his or her Krsna consciousness. The kanistha adhikari does not love the Supreme Lord, although there is an acceptance, and he may associate with all different types of people really, depending on the circumstances. He is not so clear in his mind, about the different types of people. And in many cases, just in terms of his sense gratification and different material considerations, he may choose to associate with different types of people. He may also attribute more importance to certain types of devotees, not in terms of their real advancement in Krsna consciousness, but also on the basis of some
more material types of consideration, like “they are apparently nice to me”.
Sometimes for example, the more advanced devotee may chastise a neophyte devotee if he is really doing something detrimental, so the neophyte devotee may then think, “Oh, he is not being nice to me, he is an angry person, or he is not a kind person.” So like this, the kanistha adhikari or very beginning devotee, is still conditioned by many different conceptions of life, and may make his or her decisions in these terms. “This devotee is nice to me; I will associate with him or her. That devotee chastised me, I was talking about the latest Bollywood movie;What’s the latest Bollywood movie?…anyway I was talking about the latest Bollywood movie with another devotee, we were having such a nice discussion, and this other devotee, more senior technically, came along and chastised us! Why are we talking about this? So this is very unmerciful type of consciousness”And so forth.
But the madhyama adhikari, the middle class devotee, being described here, is much more fixed in real understanding and the decisions that such a devotee makes are based on real Krsna conscious considerations. Like Srila Prabhupada, not that He is a madhyama adhikari, but in certain respects He was exhibiting those characteristicsibut He is higher than a madhyama adhikari, but in terms of being chastised, Prabhupada told the story: He was sitting in class, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was giving class, He was right
at the back, and next to him was another devotee, an elderly devotee, who was very hard of hearing. And every now and then that elderly devotee would bend toward Prabhupada and ask, “What did he say? What did Srila Bhaktisiddhanta say?” And Srila Prabhupada would turn to him and explain, quietly of course, and right at the back. So this was ok, but it was not appreciated by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta pointed to Srila Prabhupada, “You, Prabhu, would you like to give the class? Would you like to speak? Why don’t you come here? And you sit here, and you speak.” And everyone just turned and looked at Prabhupadailike who are you?! And Prabhupada, naturally its embarassing, and Prabhupada said that afterwards, although he had been embarrassed at first, relished that experience of being corrected, and He would remember it from time to time in a very appreciative mood, that Guru Maharaj was very merciful.
And Prabhupada, we saw actually in His behaviour, that when He would give class, He would not tolerate any noise, even an innocent little kiddy wail. Like little children, they don’t mean any harm, but they just feel in one way or another, and they just cry. And they are not trying to be irritating, but Prabhupadaiwell; there are two stages of dealing with such children. First stage is the mother will put the hand over the child’s mouth, and if that doesn’t work, she will take the child out. So in this regard, it’s good in temples if there is a room, where the class is channelled to, by some speaker system, but is not going to interfere with anybody in the class.
Anyway, the madhyama adhikari, the middle class devotee, is actually more advanced, and then he or she really feels some love for the Lord, not just when Krsna is nice to me. When Krsna gives me things. Wellilike when Krsna lets me pass my exams. So when I pass, I will tell Krsna, “You are very nice.” But somehow or other, not by Krsna’s fault but because I didn’t work hard enough, I don’t pass the exam, even though I prayed to Krsnaithen I think Krsna, what sort of God are you! You are not doing Your job. And so on, like this. The kanistha, the lower class of devotee, will have this type of attitude, of sometimes being favourable to Krsna, and sometimes not. Sometimes enjoying the association of devotees, and sometimes preferring
some other association. Sometimes trying to preach to the non-devotees and innocent, and other times wanting their association. Yes
When the Bollywood stage show comes, and the Bollywood actors come to do some stage presentation, then instead of coming to the Sunday programme at the temple, we will go to see the Bollywood show. Actually one of my own disciples told me, at the time that he was going to get second initiation, but still had to get the recommendation, so the initiation committee decided that he shouldn’t get. And the one devotee, the main one who thought he shouldn’t get, said that he went to a Bollywood show, some show where a number of these Bollywood stars came for an evening, big show in Durban. And so this devotee on the committee said, he shouldn’t get second initiation because he was at that show. He was at that Bollywood show. And
they asked him in the presence of the devotee who wanted second initiation, “How do you know that? Did someone tell you?” He said “No, I saw him there, I was there.”!! (laughter)
So you see, this is all kind of the kanistha consciousness. And the madhyama adhikaris oppose the demons, because they can see that these people are against Krsna. What is the point trying to present Krsna to them, because they will not accept. But ratheriyou know, I remember, in South Africa there are these “born-again Christians”, very fired up, they will put down every other religion in very rude and inconsiderate terms, and just shout at people that they have to accept Jesus, and if not, they are going to hell. So, we would meet these people when we go out preaching, and sometimes, for whatever reason, we would get into a discussion with them, thinking that we could present Krsna consciousness to them. But at the end
of 10 or 15 minutes or after whatever you were talking to them, you walk away feeling disturbed. Not like you’re thinking, “Is Krsna God? Or should I worship Jesus?” Not like thatibut its just dealing with such arrogance and such offensiveness, its just likeiwell, if you’re dealing with anything unpleasant, like if its too hot, and you just feel that heat, its not really a matter of your mental condition, its just the circumstances. So if you are in the company of such people, not that you really become influenced to accept their ideas, but just by being so close to such horrible energy, you feel that energy.
So the madhyama adhikari, the second class devotee is on the basis of real Krsna consciousness, not just on sentiment. “Do they treat me like this? Do they treat me like that? Or whatever. But on the basis of real Krsna consciousness, the madhyama adhikari takes shelter of Krsna under any circumstances, positive or negative.
As Lord Caitanya says, “My dear Lord, You are my worshippable Lord whether You crush me with Your embrace, or make me broken-hearted by not being visible to me.” Doesn’t make any difference, I’m always taking shelter of Your lotus feet. Not when You embrace me and everything is feeling good, then “Hare Krsna! Haribol!” But when there’s some test, then I’m thinking, “Well, maybe I should go back, maybe I should do Kavady;Kavady is coming up?
So this is the basis of the madhyama adhikari;he appreciates the devotees, because they are devotees. And even some devotees, if they are not much of a devotee, they have many problems and many things wrong, but still the madhyama adhikari appreciates whatever Krsna consciousness is there; and then the innocentihe is willing to make that effort to help them; and avoiding the demons, because they are envious of Krsna.