Negative Feelings, Preaching, Līlā

Question: I am bombarded by negative feelings (precisely dveṣa) when I have to deal with my extended relatives who are not on the path of bhakti. But when I deal with my work colleagues who are not Indian by birth, I am ok with them. I believe this difference is due to my expectations. How can I develop sama-dṛṣṭi towards everyone? How can I be free of these feelings at my kaniṣṭha stage of bhakti? 

Answer: Just remember a few things:

  1. Everyone in the material world is conditioned. You may think they have freedom to act but in reality, they are being impelled by material nature. 
  2. People are ignorant.
  3. To have expectations that they will change is a sure way to be unhappy.
  4. You cannot change anyone except yourself.
  5. It is your responsibility to change yourself.
  6. It is not your responsibility to change others. 
  7. If you have changed yourself, you may be able to change others. 
  8. Take care of your responsibility, and don’t waste time on the impossible task of changing others.
  9. Do not have unrealistic expectations of others. 



Question: I have learnt that distributing knowledge and preaching is a very important aspect of spiritual life. Is it necessary to preach in order to advance? Should I become a preacher?

Answer: First of all, it should be understood very clearly that the goal of spiritual life is not preaching or distributing knowledge. The goal is to become a devotee. Preaching is a side effect of that. But in any case, the first step is to learn śāstra properly from a qualified teacher. That is necessary to attain perfection and that is also necessary if one wants to preach and distribute knowledge. You cannot give knowledge if you don’t have it.

Therefore, my simple advice to you is to first understand śāstra properly, and to then decide whether you want to be a preacher.



Question: Jaya and Vijaya in the form of Śiśupāla and Dantavakra got liberation and went to Vaikuṇṭha. How did they come back as Jagāi and Madhāi in Mahāprabhu’s līlā?

Answer: If you understand the meaning of the word līlā, you will be able to answer your own question. Līlā means play, therefore, they enacted the role of sinful people so that Mahāprabhu could manifest His grace on them.




2 thoughts on “Negative Feelings, Preaching, Līlā”

  1. On the point of preaching, I remember distributing knowledge to people as a member of a modern sect of Vaishnavism. Once someone asked me what they have to do to become a practitioner of this knowledge? In my perhaps lack of expertise in preaching but otherwise honest response of what I understood to be an important part of the process, I told this person that they have to read the books and similarly distribute them as I was doing if they became convinced of their teaching. I could see from the person’s facial expression that the thought of being a preacher was not to their liking. Being somewhat uncomfortable with distributing this knowledge to random people, I reflected on my original intention in joining this sect: to receive spiritual education, but soon after becoming a member it became clear that along with this education one was expected to be a preacher. So, there I was in a busy shopping mall distributing knowledge that I hardly any real understanding of.

  2. I think ‘preaching’ can take on a type of evangelical approach of wanting to change others although such people are not looking for change. One may believe that the testament of ones path as divine is in the ability to distribute knowledge to the faithless, or those of other faiths other than bhakti. Moreover, that preaching is already on the highest level of acts to be performed by a bhakta. However, the evangelical mood may hover and cross over into what Sri Krishna cautions to Arjuna in the 18th chapter of the Gita, verse 67, “This confidential knowledge should never be revealed by you to a person who is not prepared to undergo spiritual discipline, or to one devoid of devotion, or to one who is not whole-heartedly inquisitive, or to one who is envious of Me.” So, what may have been a good intention may actually become a hinderance to ones own devotional development.

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