Finding Fault is Pitfall

21st Feb 2016
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

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

Once a lion became very thirsty and went to a stream to quench its thrust. There a lamb was already drinking water downstream. The lamb was a fleshy young one. The lion thought it would be a good dinner for him. He hit upon a plan to deceive the lamb and shouted. "You rogue! How dare you make water muddy for me?" "Excuse me, Sir," said the lamb. "How do I make water dirty whereas you are drinking upstream?" The lion had nothing to reply. He again shouted, "Oh, I could remember. You called me bad names here last year." "How can it be, sir", said the lamb. "I was not born then." He growled and said, "It must be your father. It is the same whether it is you or your father. I must take my revenge." Saying this he jumped over the lamb and ate it up. Here we see that there is no reason for the lion to find fault with the lamb. But since he had planned to somehow eat him, he criticized him for things he never did. When we want to put down someone because we are envious of that person, we also adopt the same strategy. Unnecessarily we find faults with them and criticize them. Srimad Bhagavatam  while describing the unnecessary criticism of Lord Siva by King Daksha describes this envious tendency in 4.6.47 as,

pṛthag-dhiyaḥ karma-dṛśo durāśayāḥ
parodayenārpita-hṛd-rujo ’niśam
parān duruktair vitudanty aruntudās
tān māvadhīd daiva-vadhān bhavad-vidhaḥ

Persons who observe everything with differentiation, who are simply attached to fruitive activities, who are mean minded, who are always pained to see the flourishing condition of others and who thus give distress to them by uttering harsh and piercing words have already been killed by providence. Thus there is no need for them to be killed again by an exalted personality like you.

This tendency is verily condemned by the Lord. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita verse 18.28, thatexpertise in insulting others (naiṣkṛtiko) characterizes those working in the lowest mode of ignorance and the Lord lists apaiśunam - aversion to fault finding, as the characteristic of godly men endowed with divine qualities. I have been wondering how Srila Prabhupada translates the word "apaiśunam"  as "aversion to fault finding". Trying to avoid fault finding or critical tendency is one thing, but how to develop aversion for that? The dictionary defines aversion as strong dislike or disinclination. This disinclination is what we are expected to develop regarding fault finding. On the other hand, the general nature especially because of our envious nature is to find fault without sparing, whether it be reasonable or not. I came across the following beautiful verse by Bhartruhari in Niti shatakam verse 54 which aptly describes this nature.

jāḍyaṁ hrīmati gaṇyate vrata-rucau dambhaḥ śucau kaitavam
śūre nirghṛṇatā munau vimatitā  dainyaṁ priyālāpini
tejasviny avaliptatā mukharatā vaktary aśaktiḥ sthire
tat ko nāma guṇo bhavet sa guṇināṁ yo durjanair nāṅkitaḥ

Some people perceive the gentle as dull; the strict as pretentious; the honest as hypocritical; the brave as cruel; the reticent as foolish; the soft-spoken as bootlickers; the influential as haughty; the eloquent as talkative; and the steady as unambitious. Is there even one virtue of the virtuous that these faultfinders have not maligned?

Whether constructive or destructive, criticism can damage the sense of self worth of the other person. Hence we have to be very very sensitive and have to find out whether we have the authority and discretion to criticize and make an inner search to see if we are very very genuine while doing this having only a well wishing attitude and nothing else. More than the damage it does to the self worth of others, the fault finding attitude is a great pitfall we create for ourselves as Srimad Bhagavatam instructs in 11.28.2,

para-svabhāva-karmāṇi yaḥ praśaṁsati nindati
sa āśu bhraśyate svārthād asaty abhiniveśataḥ

Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the qualities and behavior of others will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities.

By contemplating how our critical nature will deviate us from our own best interest, we should make all out efforts to develop strong dislike or disinclination for this fault-finding tendency. I am struggling to do this and I seek the blessings of everyone to help me to make a sincere endeavor in this direction.

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