(6/11) On Others' Offences
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
What is a temple (math)? A temple is a centre of Hari-kirtan. A temple is not just some building. You can make a ten-storey building, but if there is no Hari-katha going on in it, it is not a temple. Hari-kirtan is the life and soul of a temple. A temple is where laziness, unrighteous behaviour, 'village' thoughts, 'village' talks or base material desires have no place whatsoever.
When you go door to door for collection, you will be tested. Common people will criticise you saying that they are donors and you are beggars (that they hold a higher position than you, that you are the recipients of their mercy); some will be ready to chastise you – as the result, your tolerance can grow, you will have an opportunity to be humble and give honour to others. Just by seeing your qualities of being humbler than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree and respectful to others, common jiva souls will be benefited.
You may think, 'Oh, that place is bad, I do not want to go there,' but no, you must go there again and again. When we went for collection to some place, you ran away from there because you saw that the people were not friendly, but I did not give up. I went there again and again, thinking, 'I will go first and clear this jungle!' And you see now that people are coming – everything has become clear. So, if you go somewhere but people do not want to hear Hari-katha or people swear you, you must go there again and again – go there ten times again.
Devotee: Will it not be a vaishnav-aparadh? If you keep coming to such people and people swear you, is it not that we are making people commit vaishnav-aparadh?
Who will swear me? They can swear me all they want. If they make offences, it is their problem. Gurudev had one disciple in Jangalpara. That 'disciple' wrote a letter to Gurudev. There were no mobiles phones before, so we communicated by sending letters written on post cards. When Gurudev read the letter, he threw it to me saying, 'Look! Look what kind of people you bring to me and what kind of language they use!' I read it and thought, 'Disaster!' I called another devotee in that area and asked him to make some arrangements [to pacify the man].
[A cow moos again in the background.] Tell your mother to milk the cow. Why is the cow crying? Have you fed it? When we are hungry, we are shy, so we do not say anything, but cows are not shy – when they are hungry, they cry.
That man wrote to Gurudev very roughly, 'I am her husband! How could you give my wife initiation without my permission?! She got initiation from you and now when I come home, she does not offer any obeisance to me. She keeps your photograph and only offers her obeisance to that photo!' After that, none of the sannyasis went to that house for preaching. I also did not tell anybody about it. One time, when we were doing a parikrama early in the morning, I led the party inside that house since it was on our way (I remembered their house and wanted to go there). When I came there, I saw that man going out of the house and entering the bathroom outbuilding. He went there and did not come out. I thought that he was probably playing some game. We danced, chanted and then had a programme on the veranda at that house. The devotees who came with me told me, 'Let us leave now,' but I said, 'No, let us stay and eat here! They must have some muri, mustard oil and green chilli – we can have that. They do not need to cook anything.' It was already nine o'clock, but the man had still not come out of the bathroom! Next year, when we went on a parikrama during collection, we again came to that house and we saw insects crawling out of that man's body and flies swarming around him. His daughter-in-law brought some honey and kept it outside his room. We had something to eat at that house again, and this time that man kept calling us with folded palms, 'Please come, please come! I have made much offence. Please save me! Please save me!' I remembered Chapal Gopal's story at that time... I told him, 'You have made so much offence to Vaishnavs, you dared chastise Gurudev(!), so now you are suffering the result of your own actions. The Lord will save you.' After a short time, he died. That man ended up suffering from leprosy...
So, those who make offence to a Vaishnav get the result of their actions. Do not worry about it. But you must make sure that you do not make offence yourself. If you hear somebody criticising Vaishnavs, this is bad and those who do it make an offence, but if you tell somebody about it, you will be also committing an offence. Others can say whatever they want, but if you tell others what you have heard, that fault will come to you. I wrote about this in Guidance 4, in the chapter about Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu's teachings. You must control your tongue. For example, you get to see that somebody steals prasad – those who steal commit a sin, but if you tell others about it, it will be your sin.
Moreover, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that if somebody tells something to you or treats you disrespectfully, do not become angry with the person. But your guru-varga, scriptures and great souls are absolutely flawless – they are completely liberated, they are associates of the Lord; if somebody out of ignorance says something about them, this is wrong and you must not hear such talks (you must rectify their mistake), and if you cannot rectify the person or cannot avoid hearing it, then leave the association of this person. It is an offence to hear such things.
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