Disrespectful Dealings - Part 1

17th Jan 2015
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

When we are meeting people for the first time, we don't know about each other. And so we just treat people with genuine respect and move on. But as the days go by, when we associate with others more and more, we get to know about their strengths and weakness etc. As long as we see only good and ignore the bad, we are safe. But unfortunately dragged by the modes, we tend to see only the weakness. As the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt and feelings of pride creep in our heart. Humility vanishes and then we start judging others and even disrespecting others. This is a common experience in material world. But after taking up the process of bhakti also, when we fail to understand the real essence of bhakti is to see ourselves as Krishna's servant and everyone else as part and parcel of Krishna, we carry on the same bad attitude in our spiritual life as well. We start judging other devotees and we think that they are wrong and whatever we are doing alone is right. Such thoughts displeases Guru and Krishna and throws us very very far away from Them. The following story gives us a nice insight in this regard.

Yajnavalkya was the son of the sister of Mahamuni Vaishampayana, the Vedacharya of the Taittiriya section. He was studying the Taittiriya Samhita from Vaishampayana who was also his Guru. Vaishampayana had many other disciples too and they all were students of the Taittiriya Shakha. Once all the rishis decided to form an association near the Meru mountain and made a rule that any rishi who absented himself at the appointed hour should incur the sin of brahmahatya (the sin of killing a brahmin) for seven days. On that appointed day fell the shraddha ceremony of Vaishampayana's father. Vaishampayana thought, "Somehow I have to perform my father's ceremony. If the sin of brahmahatya comes to me, my disciples will observe the expiatory penance therefore". So Vaishampayana did not attend the meeting of the rishis. And accordingly he incurred the sin of brahmahatya.

Then Vaishampayana said to his disciples, "Now I have to expiate this great sin of brahmahatya. Therefore, you all will observe, for my sake, an expiatory penance for seven days". At once Yajnavalkya stood up and said, "O Guru! All these are poor-spirited young students. They will not be able to undergo such a hard penance. So, instead of all, I myself alone shall observe it in the manner in which nobody else can". Vaishampayana told Yajnavalkya not to undertake it alone. But Yajnavalkya persisted. The preceptor was offended at this audacious attitude of the disciple and said, "O proud one, you are very conceited. You get away from me. Enough of you who is disposed to despise wise brahmins. Give back to me immediately whatever you have learnt from me".

Upon the order of the Guru, Yajnavalkya, the son of Devarata, vomited out the collection of the Yajus in the form of food. The other disciples ate that food taking the form of the Tittiri birds, because they were very eager to receive the same. They then had the direct revelation of those Yajurveda collections.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam 12th canto while this pastime is being narrated, in the purport of 12.6.63, it is very nicely stated that Sri Vaishampayana was angry because one of his disciples, Yaajnavalkya, was insulting the other disciples, who were, after all, qualified brahmanas. Just as a father is disturbed when one son mistreats the father's other children, the spiritual master is very displeased if a proud disciple insults or mistreats gurus' other disciples. 

This is an important lesson for us to learn. Neither Guru, nor Srila Prabhupada, nor the Supreme Lord Krishna will be pleased if we keep fighting with or insulting other living entities, who ultimately are all His children. Many a times we don't even realise that we are displeasing Them and keep wondering as to why this is happening. The reason for this and the way out of it is very wonderfully explained by our God-brother, HG Devakinandan prabhuji in one of his classes and we shall see the same in the next offering, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi,
Abu Dhabi.