If our faith is attacked internally or externally, what should we do?
Transcriber: Sharan Shetty
Edited by: Keshavgopal Das
Question: If our faith is attacked internally or externally, what should we do?
Answer: The approaches are different for both. Internal doubts can be dealt by going to devotees who know that subject. We have to learn which kind of devotee can address which kind of doubts. If we are analytical then we need the association of someone who is analytical. If we are culturally oriented, then we need the association of someone culturally oriented. Basically, we need spiritual guides and mentors who understand our mind and then help us.
Understanding someone’s mind means to step into the shoes of the seeker and understand the problem from seeker’s perspective otherwise situation will not improve. Generic advises like – why you think so much, just chant Hare Krishna – may not resolve the issue the seeker is struggling with.
Srila Rupa Goswami also emphasized like-minded association, therefore we need devotees who will understand and not judge us for our doubts. Some doubts have to be kept in seclusion where we withhold our judgement. Sometimes we doubt our beliefs and believe our doubts, but it is also important that we doubt our doubts.
There are two kinds of doubts – (i) head doubts (ii) heart doubts. Head doubts are more intellectual. For example, Srimad Bhagavatam describes the length of the Meru mountain as beyond sensory perception. Historians may doubt how can something be so big. In the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the path by which Lord Krishna came from Hastinapura to Dwarka is described. Srila Prabhupada says that some historians may try to retrace the path by which Krishna came but the surface of the Earth keeps changing and tracing Krishna’s path may be quite difficult. Therefore, devotees are simply satisfied that Krishna has returned to Dwarka to perform pastimes with his devotees. Srimad Bhagavatam is not a book of geography. It has some geographical knowledge but that it is not the specific purpose of the book. Such details are not to be given lot of emphasis. We study scriptures to pursue the purpose that was pursued by the original students of the scriptures. Head doubts are about facts and figures, which are important, but we study scriptures to remember Krishna and to increase our devotion for Krishna.
Heart doubts need to be addressed whereas head doubts can be kept in suspension. If people ask questions then we need to see what kind of people they are. If they are asking genuine questions, then we should answer them, but if people simply criticise everything out of habit it is better to keep a safe distance from them. One of the keys in having healthy relationships is – do not overvalue people who devalue you. If someone devalues our faith, then do not overvalue their ideas. We should rather value those who value us.
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