Think Before You Criticise OthersSrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1935
Here is a nice story from the life and teachings of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur:
Once some devotees were sent to establish a preaching center in Bengal. They worked day and night, equipping it as a beautiful temple. When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada arrived to install the Deities, he was very pleased and asked about one brahmacari who had worked hard on the preparations. The disciples told him, “Master, he became entangled with a lady. We rebuked him so much for his behavior that he fled from this place.”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur replied, “I don’t want to establish a preaching center here, nor do I want to install the Deities. In this world we spend hundreds of gallons of blood to bring a person out of the clutches of maya. If that person makes some mistake, it will be washed away by his serving Hari, Guru, and Vaisnavas, but you have chastised him and he has gone away. I don’t want to make a center here. Search for him and bring him to me; otherwise I will go away.”
His Anarthas Were Washed Away in a Moment
The anxious disciples began to search for that brahmacari. Madhava Maharaja, who at that time was named Hayagriva Brahmacari, found the errant brahmacari, apologised, and asked him to return.
The brahmacari wept, saying, “I was serving here, in a watch company, but I was not really happy. I wanted to return, but I was thinking, ‘How can I show my face?’ So I did not return.” He at once went running and weeping to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, thinking him more merciful than Krishna Himself, and all his anarthas were washed away in a moment.
We Should Not Criticise
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur told his disciples, “The purport is that we should not criticise anyone, whether a devotee or a worldly person.” Then he quoted a sloka:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, “One should neither praise nor criticise the conditioned nature and activities of other persons. Rather, one should see this world as simply the combination of material nature and the enjoying souls, all based on the Absolute Truth. Whoever indulges in praising or criticising the qualities and behaviour of others will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.28.1-2)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur continued, “To bring a person from the clutches of maya is very, very hard. If lust or any other attachment is present in that person’s heart it will go away very soon, if he is chanting and remembering and listening to hari-katha. Be very careful. Don’t criticise devotees or non-devotees. First look at your own condition, and try to purify yourself. Is there any lust in you? Is there any kutinati (deceit) in you, or not? Be worried about that; don’t worry about others. Sri Guru and Lord Sri Krishna are responsible for others. You cannot do anything to help them, therefore you have no right to criticise.”All Glories to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur!