Tuesday, June 18, 2013


tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā harih

     One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.

     This is difficult to do in any circumstance. But especially difficult when I feel slighted or offended by someone I respect and consider a teacher, guardian or guide. This is because in order to maintain the relationship of respect and remain in a state of mind that allows me to remain in their shelter I cannot go into a defensive mode. I must remain open. Whether the offense is actual or not. 
     In the case of my spiritual guide the person may have some rough edges, but I know they are far, far more advanced on the spiritual path than I am. Those rough edges may jab and sting at times. Maybe the person becomes exhilarated from a very active day and shows some false pride. In that condition they belittle me. But it is only a fleeting thing. It is not their regular state. If I lash out in self defense more damage than good is done. If indeed the person is our teacher let them teach us tolerance, in this instance not by showing tolerance themselves, which they regularly do show, but by me learning to tolerate by tolerating them.
     The Christian use of the word forgive is similar to the use of the word tolerance here. But I like tolerance better because forgive implies I have made the judgement they have done something wrong. So the element of judgement puts me in the elevated position  of judging. I may not be qualified for that elevated position. A little trick of the false ego sneaking in there. Whereas tolerance simply implies something is a little comfortable.
     The so-called offense may not actually be an offense. It may be perceived as an offense only in my mind. I have some idea of myself that has not been validated by the other person. So I am looking for validation, acceptance, approval yada, yada, yada. But this is going to be there somewhat in a teacher disciple relationship. 
     In either case, real offense or imagined, the winning strategy is given in this verse. It is not just a one on one battle of the egos going on in a spiritual relationship. There is something else going on much more exciting and blissful. The Lord is present in the spirit of love and devotion. That's the prize. And He very clearly states here what pleases Him. Tolerance....

For chanting, reading and discussion in Chaitanya lila and the great value of the confidential path of raganuga bhakti please visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment