Regarding association with devotees, we look forward to it. Sometimes due to politics, back biting or fault finding, devotee’s comment saying they feel so miserable. They compare with the outside people feeling that the outside people are better. Please comment.
See, that’s maya. Maya makes people who are spiritually weak think like that, in different ways. You know like “chanting Hare Krishna doesn’t work” “devotees are not nice” “materialistic people are better”. These types of ideas at least amongst devotees arise in minds of devotees who have become spiritually weak. The thing is as you say “sometimes these things happen”. We cannot deny it at all. We have to know how to deal with it as devotees in actual Krishna conscious ways so we don’t become victimized.
There may be a problem, meaning that some senior devotee, some leader, may have just gone off track. Unfortunately these things have happened. People previously who admired him, looked up to him, but now they see him in a different light. It sort of undermines their Krishna consciousness. If there is a problem, people are complaining about a problem. Rather than become part of the problem or the extension of the problem by just gossiping about it, try to become part of the solution by helping to find out how to address the problem. Yes. Usually that will mean by approaching higher authority, getting them to intervene and to help adjust things and to help the people who are in difficulty. So we should try to be part of the solution even if we feel we are not qualified. You know if someone is having some serious spiritual difficulty, someone who is more senior to you, if we feel you know I can’t really speak to him he won’t listen to me because I’m junior then find someone who he will listen to. Or at least inform the authorities because they will be in a much better position to see what to do.
What to speak of if there is not really a problem. If it’s just gossip, if it really is just back biting and enviousness, something like that. First of all we should understand this is just a hangover. It’s a hangover from having been in material life where such things are normal. Some people they drink too much liquor, any is too much but they may really drink too much. When they’re in the intoxicated state they may think life is good (laughter), but the next day they wake up with a hangover. It’s almost like a joke but it isn’t. They may think when I was drinking I was happy, now I’ve stopped and I feel very bad so I must drink more, I must drink again. The tendency to become, envious, criticize, find fault, unnecessarily try to over evaluate others, this is all hangover from material existence. If we encounter people who are doing like that and we understand that this is what’s going on. The first thing we should do is avoid them and the whole circle where that’s going on. Yes, because it’s like poison.
In Krishna’s Vrindavan pastimes there is Kaliya the serphant. Kaliya represents the anartha, the undesirable activity of poisoning the hearts of other devotees. Not with some cyanide or strychnine but with poisonous talk. So we should people who are, even though they me devotees, but somehow they’ve gotten in this position, they’ve become a bit poisonous, and their association if you stay with them, you hear from them you’re going to become a bit poisoned. We should avoid their association.
Srila Raghunath das Goswami in his manah siksa, a very nice book, instructions to the mind. He gives the example that sometimes a group of devotees they sit around talking about another devotee. In negative ways. You may walk by and hear this and you may say “No no no we shouldn’t say that, he’s a nice devotee” but they may say “but we a talking about a devotee, this is constructive criticism” I don’t know if that really exists but they may say this. They feel what we are doing is good because we are talking about the devotee, how he could improve himself, supposedly. Raghunath das Goswami says that they think that this discussion is purifying, like having a nice shower, it’s purifying, cleansing. But he says actually it is like taking a shower, taking a bath with donkey urine.
If you can help, in one way or another, help, if there is a problem. If you know it’s just social cheap talk avoid it, avoid it.
(Transcribed from a lecture on SB 3.7.17 Three Classes of Persons, ISKCON Penang, Malaysia, 28-02-2017)