If senior devotees behave unethically, how can we maintain our inspiration?
Transcribed by: Keshavgopal Das
Question: If senior devotees behave unethically, how can we maintain our inspiration?
Answer: There can be three different possibilities when there is some unethical behaviour in a senior devotee –
(i) accidental unethical behaviour due to difficult circumstances
(ii) unethical behaviour due to past life conditioning or strong attachments
(iii) deliberate unethical behaviour.
Everyone goes through difficult phases through its life which could be emotional, relational, financial etc. We ourselves in our lives may have acted in ways in the past for which we are not proud. Sometimes in the pressure or heat of the moment, somebody may do something, which may be out of character with the way they normally would behave. If that is the case, then it is good to give them the benefit of doubt and leave it at that.
If they behave in the same way again and again, then we need to understand that the process of bhakti may or may not work for all the anarthas in the same way for everyone. Some people have very strong attachment to something. I know of one devotee who is chanting for twelve years but still he is not able to give up tea. It is not that this devotee is not a sincere devotee, he is practicing sincerely, but somehow it is very difficult for him to give up tea. For such cases, if we find that their anarthas or conditionings are creating trouble for us, then we need to keep a respectful distance from them.
If we find that someone has done financially something wrong, for example not returning money they may have taken from someone, then depending upon the magnitude of the problem, we can report it to someone senior. We need not do this in a revengeful mood but so that the person may not harm the faith of others. The idea is that the senior authority should talk to the devotee and set things right or at least give us the right perspective, for example giving the background or the nature of that senior devotee so that we can understand the situation better.
We should remember that we are all in a hospital. We all come here with our own conditionings. For some people one type of conditioning may not be a big issue but for some it may not be easy to overcome.
In the devotee community also, we need to be clear why we have come here. Our motive should be to grow in Krishna bhakti. However, different people in devotee community may not have come for the same motive. Some might be coming for socializing or finding some business contacts or may be some other motive. If we are in an association, we should focus on those devotees who are also focussing on the same purpose while maintaining a respectful distance with those whose motive may not be the same. Association of devotees means, devotional association. If it is mundane discussion or discussion which distracts us from Krishna, then that is not really association.
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