Virtues and Vices of Others - Part 1

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

In many of the business centers or shops we can see boards saying “If you are satisfied with our services, please tell others about it and if you are not, then please tell us so that we can improve ourselves.”  

In all our human dealings also it is very pleasing, if we praise the living entities in public and if anyone is to be chastised, then it is a good etiquette to do so in private, as otherwise they will be very much embarrassed in front of others. This important etiquette is taught to us in a very beautiful way in Srimad Bhagavatam.  

In the eighth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we have the pastime of churning of the milk ocean for nectar. In the beginning, as a result of the churning, a huge amount of poison was produced. The Prajapatis, seeing no one else to save them, approached Lord Siva and offered him prayers full of truth. Lord Siva is called Asutosha because He is very pleased if one is a devotee. Therefore He easily agreed to drink all the poison generated by the churning. Thereafter, Lord Siva, who is dedicated to auspicious, benevolent work for humanity, compassionately took the whole quantity of poison in His palm and drank it. As if in defamation, the poison born from the ocean of milk manifested its potency by marking Lord Siva's neck with a bluish line. That line, however, is now accepted as an ornament of the Lord. So Lord Siva could hide the poison within His throat. We also see that the moon manifested from the ocean of milk and the same was placed by Lord Siva on His head for everyone to see. Because He carries the crescent moon on His head, He is called Chandramauleeshwara. There is a beautiful subhashitam in Sanskrit connected to this pastime of Lord Siva which brings out something we must learn and practise in our daily lives. The subhashitam says : 

  guṇadoṣau budhau gṛhṇan indu kṣvelāviveśvaraḥ
śiirasā ślāghyate pūrvaṁ paraṁ kaṇṭhe niyacchati 

A wise man holding both virtue and the vice (of others) keeps the former on head and (swallows) the latter in his throat just like Lord Shiva carries the moon (on the head) and the poison (in his throat).

So the common sensical good etiquette is that the virtues of others are praised openly and the vices are not openly criticised. We also understand that the poison was kept in the throat and the nectar which came at the end of the churning, was distributed to all the demigods. This also indicates that distressful news is not shared with others unless absolutely essential, whereas auspiciousness and happiness is shared with one and all.  

Krishna willing, we shall see the pastimes related to the above in the ensuing offering. 

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