Virtues and Vices of Others - Part 2

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

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Virtues and Vices of Others", wherein we were meditating on the nice message conveyed in the below subhashitam in Sanskrit, in relation to the pastime of churning the milk ocean and Lord Siva swallowing the poison and keeping it in His throat.  

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).

From this we learn the following: 

1. The virtues of others are to be praised openly like the moon is carried on the head by Lord Siva.  
2. The vices of others are not to be criticised in public just like the poison was kept in the throat by Lord Siva. 
3. Also the distressful happenings are not to be distributed to others just like poison was not distributed 
4. Auspicious happenings and happiness are to be shared with others just like the nectar was distributed to the demigods.  

We shall see some related pastimes in this regard  

1. The virtues of others are to be praised openly: While praising the virtues also, there are a class of good persons who set a new standard as mentioned in the following verse from Niti satakam by Bhartruhari. 

manasi vacasi kāye puṇya pīyūṣa pūrṇāḥ 
tribhuvanam-upakāra-sreṇibhiḥ prīṇayantaḥ 
para-guṇa-paramāṇūn-parvatī  kṛtya nityaṁ 
nija-hṛdi vikasantaḥ  santi santaḥ kiyantaḥ 

There are a few good people, filled with the nectar of purity in thought, word and action, pleasing the three worlds with a series of beneficial acts. They make a mountain of the tiniest virtues of others and rejoice in their heart

We can see this quality present in Lord Siva who is glorified by Goddess Sati in the verse 4.4.12 of Srimad Bhagavatam 

doṣān pareṣāṁ hi guṇeṣu sādhavo
gṛhṇanti kecin na bhavādṛśo dvija
guṇāṁś ca phalgūn bahulī-kariṣṇavo
mahattamās teṣv avidad bhavān agham 

Twice-born Dakṣa, a man like you can simply find fault in the qualities of others. Lord Śiva, however, not only finds no faults with others’ qualities, but if someone has a little good quality, he magnifies it greatly. Unfortunately, you have found fault with such a great soul. 

 Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport, "There are some highly qualified persons who accept only the good qualities of others. Just as a bee is always interested in the honey in the flower and does not consider the thorns and colors, highly qualified persons, who are uncommon, accept only the good qualities of others, not considering their bad qualities, whereas the common man can judge what are good qualities and what are bad qualities. Among the uncommonly good souls there are still gradations, and the best good soul is one who accepts an insignificant asset of a person and magnifies that good quality. Lord Śiva is also called Āśutoṣa, which refers to one who is satisfied very easily and who offers to any person the highest level of benediction. For example, once a devotee of Lord Śiva wanted the benediction that whenever he touched someone on the head, that person’s head would at once be separated from his trunk. Lord Śiva agreed. Although the benediction asked was not very commendable because the devotee wanted to kill his enemy, Lord Śiva considered the devotee’s good quality in worshiping and satisfying him and granted the benediction. Thus Lord Śiva accepted his bad qualities as magnificently good qualities."

We also see that Lord Krishna accepted the motherhood of Putana because she pretended to be an affectionate mother, allowing Krishna to suck her breast. Srila Prabhupada writes, "The Lord accepts the least qualification of the living entity and awards him the highest reward. That is the standard of His character. Therefore, who but the Lord can be the ultimate shelter?" 

Krishna willing we shall see the other points in the ensuing offering. 

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