Virtues and Vices of Others - Part 3

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

This is in conclusion of the previous offering titled, "Virtues and Vices of Others", wherein we were meditating on the various pastimes in Srimad Bhagavatam related to the following points: 

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. 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 saw the first point in the last offering. We shall see the other points. 

2. The vices of others are not to be criticised in public:
In the pastime of worshiping the Govardhana hill, we see that Indra was ashamed of having attacked Vrindavana with a violent storm, Indra secretly came before Lord Krishna, offered obeisances and he wanted to seek forgiveness from the Lord. Srimad Bhagavatam says in 10.27.2 

vivikta upasaṅgamya vrīḍītaḥ kṛta-helanaḥ
pasparśa pādayor enaṁ kirīṭenārka-varcasā 

Indra was very ashamed of having offended the Lord. Approaching Him in a solitary place, Indra fell down and lay his helmet, whose effulgence was as brilliant as the sun, upon the Lord’s lotus feet. 

In the purport it is mentioned that, "From the commentaries of the ācāryas we understand that Lord Kṛṣṇa wanted to provide a solitary meeting for Indra, so that he would not be further humiliated. Indra came to surrender and beg forgiveness, and the Lord allowed him to do so privately."

Herein we see that the Lord did not want to embarrass Indra and He allowed Indra a private audience wherein he could open his heart and admit his offences.  

3. The distressful and unpalatable happenings are not to be distributed to others:
When Mahatma Vidura returned to Hastinapura after his pilgrimage, Maharaja Yudhisthira made loving enquiries about the pilgrimage and asked about the welfare of the descendants of Yadu who were always rapt in the service of Lord Sri Krishna. On being thus questioned, Mahatma Vidura gradually described everything he had personally experienced, except news of the annihilation of the Yadu dynasty. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.13.13 says, 

nanv apriyaṁ durviṣahaṁ nṛṇāṁ svayam upasthitam
nāvedayat sakaruṇo duḥkhitān draṣṭum akṣamaḥ 

Compassionate Mahatma Vidura could not stand to see the Pandavas distressed at any time. Therefore he did not disclose this unpalatable incident because calamities come of their own accord

The material world is a place of calamities and miseries at every step. Just like a forest fire somehow blazes without being set by anyone, our situation is such that perplexities appear without our wanting them and it is more so in Kaliyuga. So it is very important that we do not add to the miseries of the living entities by speaking unpalatable truth, causing more distress. Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport, "According to Niti sastra, one should not speak an unpalatable truth to cause distress to others. Distress comes upon us in its own way by the laws of nature, so one should not aggravate it by propaganda." So Mahatma vidura just held it within his throat just like Lod Siva held the poison in His throat.  

4. Auspicious news and happiness are to be shared with others: It is part of the Vedic culture that whenever there is any occasion to celebrate in the family, like the birth of a child or marriage, then charity is given profusely and all are invited for a good feast. Our happiness multiplies by sharing it with everyone. We see that after Kamsa was killed by Krishna and His parents were released from prison, Vasudeva had his sons initiated by sacred thread as the token of second birth, which is essential for the higher castes of human society. Vasudeva called for his family priest and learned brahmanas, and the sacred thread ceremony of Krishna and Balarama was duly performed. During this ceremony, Vasudeva gave various ornaments in charity to the brahmanas and endowed them with cows decorated with silken cloths and golden ornaments. Then Vasudeva remembered the cows he had wanted to give in charity to the brahmanas after the birth of Krishna and Balarama. But being imprisoned by Kamsa at that time, Vasudeva had been able to do so only within his mind, for Kamsa had stolen all his cows. With the death of Kamsa, his cows were released, and now Vasudeva gave the actual cows to the brahmanas. 

May we cultivate the civilized behaviour of praising virtue in public and correcting the vices in private, as also not to propagate unpalatable happenings and to share happiness and ultimate auspiciousness with one and all.  

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