Dealings among Devotees, Krishna’s Involvement

Question: How shall I deal with a situation when a person in the position of an authority is acting inappropriately? As I consider you an authority in spiritual literature, Vedic spiritual history and so on, perhaps you can give me some new aspects or views. 

Answer: If it does not concern you directly, and if you do not have a good relationship with the person in authority, then the best action is no action. My experience is that people do not take advice from others, especially if they are senior to them, or in a position of authority.

You will get into debates and arguments and the end result will be bitterness and spoiled relations. The general principle is: Do not speak unless asked – nāpṛṣṭam brūyāt kaścana.

Giving advice to an authority will only create trouble for you because somebody who is senior to you will not accept your advice. Unless you are looking for trouble, just be indifferent.

People in general are averse to taking instruction from others. If you really want to bring a change in their thinking, then you have to be very diplomatic about it. You may need to allude to it and not speak directly of it; tell a story or give an example of someone else. This way the person will not feel offended and may get the hint. This is a principle of pedagogy. 

This is what Kṛṣṇa has done in the Gītā. He is teaching Arjuna but He actually wants to teach us. Arjuna does not really need His instructions. He is Kṛṣṇa’s dear friend and already knows.

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Question: I understood that Kṛṣṇa manages our karma in such a way so we can  come close to Him, but on other hand I also heard that Kṛṣṇa Himself doesn’t interfere with the material word at all as He is located in Goloka Vṛndāvana and is busy with other things.

Answer: This means what you understood about Kṛṣṇa managing karma is either not right or He does manage karma and is not just busy in Goloka Vṛndāvana. The answer is that Kṛṣṇa does not interfere with the karma of non-devotees. However, He does interfere with the karma of His devotees. He says in Bhagavad Gītā 9.29,

samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu   na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā   mayi te teṣu cāpy aham

“I am equal to all beings. There is no one hateful or dear to Me, but they who worship Me with devotion are in Me and I am also in them.”

When He says He is equal to all, it means to non-devotees. He Himself says later that He takes care of His devotees. Therefore devotees cannot be included in what He calls “all.”

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Question: My relatives and I  have noticed that whenever we start chanting more rounds, then some unexpected and bad thing ALWAYS happens,  so we are scared to even chant.

Answer: Your experience proves that chanting works. What you experience is expected because this is the process of bhakti. While describing the progression on the path of bhakti, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī writes, ādau śraddhā tatah sādhu saṅgo’tha bhajana-kriyā tato’nartha-nvṛttiḥ syāt? “One begins bhakti when one has acquired śraddhā. Śraddhā impels one to seek the association of sādhus, which results in the performance of devotional service. When one engages in devotional service, one’s anarthas are dispelled.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.4.15-16)

When you do bhajana, which in your case is chanting more rounds, then the anarthas start coming out. Just like, when you want clean a pot, you pour water into it and scrub it. Then all the dirt that was sticking to the bottom comes up. The same thing happens in the beginning stage of bhakti. What you are calling  “unexpected and bad” is actually expected and good. If you continue with faith, gradually these anarthas or “unexpected and bad” things will start disappearing. But if you do not have faith, you will becomes scared and stop these devotional activities. Faith is very important to transcend the anarthas and progress in bhakti. 

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Comments ( 1 )
  1. Pancajanya

    I was of the understanding that the clearance of anarthas happen after one has taken diksha. Does bhakti happen immediately when one has shraddha (without spiritual initiation), or after one has received diksha? If anarthas can be removed without diksha, how much progress can the practitioner attain by chanting without initiation?

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