How can we counter the mind’s tendency to see the negative even in devotee association?
Time- 5 mins
Transcribed by- Nayanasundari Devi Dasi
Question: The mind tends to see negative and magnify it. How can you train it to see the positive and magnify it instead?
• If we are clear about our purpose i.e. Krishna bhakti, then we will associate with those who help to achieve that purpose.
• Mentality of criticizing and fault finding does not help in developing Krishna bhakti.
• If we are in a position of authority where we are meant to guide and correct others, then as a service we may do so.
• An empty mind is more inclined to develop the mentality of fault finding. Best way to avoid developing such a mentality is by wholeheartedly engaging ourselves in some service to Krishna.
All comes down to the purpose, why am I here? I am here to practice Krishna bhakti so that I can go back to Godhead. Whatever is favorable to this purpose I should accept and other things I should reject. Let us understand with the help of an analogy.
Consider Krishna consciousness movement to be like a hospital. People come to a hospital with different diseases. In a hospital, our job is not to see who has got which disease. Our job is to get ourselves cured. If we are clear about our purpose then we will focus only on curing ourselves. Sometimes some people go to hospital with a small infection but they associate with somebody who has a bigger infection and their disease gets worse due to that association. Similarly, we may come in the association of devotees, who have different conditionings which may affect us. One conditioning that can easily affect is the mentality to criticize or faultfinding. Such mentality will not bring us closer to Krishna rather it will drag us away from him. Everybody has faults, but seeing others’ faults, is not going to help us grow in our spiritual life.
Sixteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita mentions that one of the characteristics of the godly person is apaishunam i.e. aversion to faultfinding. In the fifth verse of Shri Updeshamrita, Srila Rupa Gosvami says, shushrushaya bhajana-vigyam ananyam anya-nindaadi-shunya-hridam ipsita-sanga-labdhya: “The uttama adhikari, pure devotees, have no inclination to find faults with others.”
If we are in a position of authority where we are meant to guide and correct others, then as a service we may do so. However, that is not what we have to be always thinking about. If we have a very strong faultfinding tendency, we can use the faultfinding tendency to find the faults of faultfinding. That way we can counter such mentality.
Sometimes, there are some faults with some devotees which are just intolerable. In such situations, we may have to take advise from some senior devotees. They can either help that devotee correct the fault or at least give us a proper perspective. In case of some incidental faults, we just ignore and focus on our bhakti.
People whose minds are empty are more inclined towards fault finding. Therefore, one good way to get rid from that mentality is to engage ourselves in the service of Krishna. The more our heart becomes filled with the desire to serve Krishna, then lesser will be the tendency for fault finding. Also, by taking up a service, we will also learn to sympathize with others. We will soon learn that serving Krishna is not so easy. When we ourselves do something, difficult and err in that, we understand that the high standards are very nice to talk about but when it comes to practice there is a struggle. We will then become more sympathetic towards others when we see their faults.