Encouraging Words

29th Mar 2024
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

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

In one of the recent Granthraj offerings of the transcription of the class by our beloved Gurudev HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj, on Srimad Bhagavad Gita 6.35, 15th June 2003, we see Maharaj saying, “Please don’t look to the defects of others. If you see defects here, defects here, defects here, defects here, you will be defective. You will see all bad. So if you see, fault, bad, fault, bad, fault bad, then you become bad. Association is bad. If you see good, good, good, good, good, everything will be good. Even the frog has a mystic power, frog can breathe under the ground. That is his mystic power. So, what to talk of the living entities who are much more saner, higher intelligence we are granted. You must have some mystic power, and everybody has a good side. Don’t look to the bad side. We are in the habit of criticizing always the bad side. Don’t look please. Encourage all the living entities to be good, and in the end, everybody will be like good. If you say to the person that you are very good, he has to be good anyway. And again tell him that he is very good, “yes” he will say, “really, I am very good. I must be good”. So, whatever little defects he has here and there, will go away. Otherwise if you discourage the people, they will behave that way."

  Herein we see Maharaj giving us a very very valuable psychological insight into the human behaviour. This is so much relevant for us in our day to day dealings with others. I was  so much amazed when I saw the successful application of the same principle by Srila Sanatana Goswami when he was imprisoned by Nawab Hussain Shah. Sanatana Goswami resigned his ministerial post in the Muslim government of sixteenth-century Bengal, having decided to dedicate his life to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission. The Nawab, or governor, imprisoned Sanatana, angered by his resignation. At that time, Srila Sanatana Goswami received a letter from Srila Rupa Goswami. Srila Rupa Goswami  had included in his note a beautiful and mysterious Sanskrit verse:

yadu-pate kva gatā mathurā-purī
 raghu-pate
 kva gatottara-kośalā
iti vicintya kuru
va mana sthira
 na sad ida jagad ity avadhāraya

“Where has the Mathura City of Yadupati gone? Where has the northern Koshala province of Raghupati gone? By reflection, make the mind steady, thinking, ‘This universe is not eternal.’ ”

Yadupati is a name for Lord Krishna, and Raghupati a name for Lord Ramacandra. Long ago They had appeared on earth and played as human beings, displaying Their eternal pastimes in the city of Mathura and the province of Koshala respectively. Now They had appeared again as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to entice mankind from the prison of material life in this temporary universe, and Lord Caitanya was currently on His way to Mathura, followed by Rupa Goswami. When Sanatana Goswami received the note, he became very pleased. He immediately went to the jail superintendent and spoke as follows. Madhyalila 20.5-6

tumi eka jindā-pīra mahā-bhāgyavān
ketāba-korā
a-śāstre āche tomāra jñāna
eka bandī chāḍ
e yadi nija-dharma dekhiyā
sa
sāra ha-ite tāre mukta karena gosāñā

 Sanātana Gosvāmī told the Muslim jailkeeper, “Dear sir, you are a saintly person and are very fortunate. You have full knowledge of the revealed scriptures such as the Koran and similar books. If one releases a conditioned soul or imprisoned person according to religious principles, he himself is also released from material bondage by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Flattered by the compliments from his fellow government servant, the jail keeper could not deny he was indeed a learned scholar and saintly person. He was all ears as Sanatana Goswami  continued, stressing their long-standing friendship and requesting release as a personal favor. “Previously I have done much for you,” Sanatana Goswami  said. “Now I am in difficulty. Please return my goodwill by releasing me.”

 Srila Prabhupada in his brilliant purport to Madhya lila 20.6 writes, “It appears from this statement that Sanātana Gosvāmī, who was formerly a minister of the Nawab, was trying to cheat the Muslim superintendent. A jail superintendent had only an ordinary education, or practically no education, and he was certainly not supposed to be very advanced in spiritual knowledge. But just to satisfy him, Sanātana Gosvāmī praised him as a very learned scholar of the scriptures. The jailkeeper could not deny that he was a learned scholar, because when one is elevated to an exalted position, one thinks oneself fit for that position. Sanātana Gosvāmī was correctly explaining the effects of spiritual activity, and the jailkeeper connected his statement with his release from jail.”

We see later that the jailkeeper infact released Srila Sanatana Goswami and by this he got the eternal spiritual piety. After hundreds of years, even today we are  reading about him while reading about Sanatana Goswami. Do we remember any ordinary jailkeeper after so many years? As Maharaj says, encouraging words sparks the goodness in others.

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