To become Krishna conscious do we need to change our complete behaviour or do we just need to learn respect and love for Vaishnavas?
Transcription By: Sudha Mehta Mataji (From Bosnia)
Edited By: HG Murlidhar Prabhu
Question: To become Krishna conscious do we need to change our complete behaviour or do we just need to learn respect and love for Vaishnavas?
Answer: The two are not independent of each other; the two are not non-intersecting sets. Actually, becoming Krishna conscious means learning to love and serve Krishna and that includes learning to love and respect and serve those who love Krishna i.e. the devotees. But then it also involves seeing the connection of Krishna with everyone. We respect the devotees because they are connected with Krishna and to the extent we see their connection with Krishna to that extent out Krishna consciousness is deepening. However we also need to extend our vision of the Krishna connection so that we see that Krishna is connected not only with the devotees he is connected with all living beings. That’s why the Madhyamadhikari is the second stage in the process of Bhakti. In the first stage a person is just thinking that I am connected with the deity i.e the Kanisht adhikari; so the person comes to temple and goes away. The Madhyam adhikari recognises the value of devotees and that’s why respects the devotees; but along with that such a person also knows that God has connection with all living beings and that’s why the person respects other living beings also and sees them as souls, parts of Krishna. The way Madhyam adhikari devotee respects other living beings is by trying to share Krishna consciousness with them.
For madhyamaishwara is the objective of Prema; tadaadhineshu the devotees are objective of Maitreya; Bali sheshu the other living beings who are innocent who do not know about god for them there is Kripa; for dvisatsu, for the envious there is upeksha one neglects them because one understands that their blaspheme will make me disconnected with god.
That’s why I should not stay in their association; I should keep them in a distance; the best way that I can serve them is through my prayers offered from a distance.
So certainly our behaviour with all living being should become sensitive and compassionate according to our position. Also when we become Krishna Conscious we develop qualities. The qualities of the devotees are tolerance, humility, forgiveness and self-mastery and all these are very important on the spiritual path. Now we shouldn’t think that this is a big burden that I have to do and I have to change my whole behaviour to become Krishna conscious.We can take it step by step by step; the more we practice spiritual life, the more we associate with devotees, study the scriptures which offers the models of good behaviour, through it all we will feel inspired to take deeper and deeper shelter of Krishna and in this way we will be able to reform our behaviour. If there are some specific blind spots that we have or if we have specific areas where we are insensitive or harsh in our behaviour we can take conscious efforts to change that but over a period of time just by being Krishna conscious, at a subtle level also our behaviour will change. Prabhupada would say that our devotees will be known as perfect gentleman and ladies because they behave in a cultured and dignified way. We do want to change our entire behaviour and also an important part of that change of entire behaviour and character is proper respect for devotees and we can take steps for it but we should not let those thoughts burden us. We can try to be Krishna conscious according to our capacity and this change of our whole character and behaviour will happen over a period of time.