Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
Once when Srila Prabhupada was taking class, an old white-bearded person entered and walked down the middle of the room, interrupting the class. The other devotees sat in confused silence. The old beggar was wearing a raincoat and battered hat. In his hands are paper-towels and two rolls of toilet paper. While speaking, he walked past Srila Prabhupada and carefully placed the hand-towels by the sink and the toilet paper on the floor beneath. Then, clearing his throat and muttering something, he turned and walk out. Srila Prabhupada said with satisfaction. 'Just see. He may not be in order, but he has just begun his devotional service. Just see how it naturally comes. That is the process. Whatever we have - it doesn't matter what - we must offer it to Krishna.'"
Our Godbrother HG Devakinandan prabhuji quoting the above incident in one of his classes in Minneapolis said how Srila Prabhupada appreciated that person's service while so many others were thinking that the fellow was a disturbance in the class. He said that we should not try to minimize anyone else's position but should always encourage the services of others. By fanning the fire of enthusiasm, that which is even wrong, can become right. By criticizing and discouraging, that which has got a potential to become good, will be extinguished by that discouragement. The squirrel in Lord Ramacandra's pastime picked up a small dirt to build the bridge. Hanumanji and the Vanaras laughed. But Lord Ram came and said, he is doing what he can do to the best of his ability and the squirrel's service is not to be minimized. Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to SB 6.17.10, "A Vaishnava should always remain very humble and meek and offer respect to others. [Cc. Adi 17.31]
trnaad api sunicena / taror api sahishnunaa
amaaninaa maanadena / kirtaniyah sadaa 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."
A Vaishnava should not try to minimize anyone else's position. It is better to remain humble and meek and chant the Hare Krishna mantra."
Prabhuji said that everyone has got a value in the house of God. If we have this attitude, and if we do not have the pride that, "I am the greatest devotee", but understand that there are so many nice devotees much greater than me, then Krishna will help us to tolerate. Prabhu shared the amazing definition of tolerance which our beloved Gurudev gave. Maharaj said that "Tolerance means I totally do not agree with what you say, but you have the right to disagree with me and I will fight to protect your right to disagree with me. In that fight to protect your right to disagree, I tolerate." It is an amazing deep definition of tolerance which brings a totally different spin to the way we behave. This is founded on the principle of unity in diversity, but this behaviour will manifest only on the basis of maturity, good sadhana, plenty of love and service. So the next time we have the feeling that some one in the congregation is not up to the mark and is not serving, let us pause and think of the above.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi,
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