The importance of developing the qualities of humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

If we have no hankering, no sincerity, no chastity, no humility, and no tolerance, and do not give honour to others, how will we maintain our spiritual life? Everywhere we are initiated with the mantram. All over the world, we are practising Krishna consciousness, and happily we are enjoying everything. But we must follow properly. Both those who do not know anything and those who know something after hearing about it, think, “I am a master.” This is the difficulty everywhere. Actually, newcomers are not getting proper nourishment, and older devotees cannot practise properly. In this way, we are not in heaven and not on earth; we are in a middle position. We are not going up and not going down; we are floating in the middle. This is our situation.

Our lifetime has almost passed, and even if we get another lifetime of a hundred years or more, that is nothing.

kalo hy ayam niravadhi vipula cha prthvi

“This world is so big, and time is infinite.” There is no end, and day by day everything is passing away. What are we doing? Actually, we have given our lives to the practice of Krishna consciousness, but that must be properly adjusted with our environment, situation, association, and so on. Proper adjustment is necessary.

It is good to give others enthusiasm to practise hearing, chanting, remembering, and so on.

sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam
archanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam
iti pumsarpita visnau bhaktis chen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha tan manye ’dhitam uttamam
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 7.5.23–24)

[“Hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshipping, praying, considering oneself a servant, considering oneself a friend, and surrendering the self—if devotion consisting of these nine practices is first offered to the Supreme Lord and then directly performed, I consider that the greatest learning.”]

There are nine primary activities in our practising life. We are engaging in them, but we are not giving importance to humility, tolerance, and giving honour to others. If we are not humble, are not tolerant, and do not give honour to others, then we will be the loser.

Everyone is not highly qualified in Krishna consciousness. They are simply engaging themselves in service. It is very good. But side by side, there is a gradation: first grade, second grade, third grade, and so on. If practice is not proper, then clashes will come. Srila Guru Maharaj said, “There is no question of seniority.” We heard this statement on one of his tapes. Someone asked Guru Maharaj a question about someone else, thinking, “I am senior to him.” But Guru Maharaj answered, “There is no question of seniority here! It is necessary to know only where his mood of service is established.”

So, senior devotees must consider their own position and think, “How will I develop more in spiritual life?” It is necessary to make development. We are engaged, no doubt; but if there is no development, and day by day we lose the mood of devotion, then that is not good for us.

Experience helps us, but if ego comes to us, then we will lose our main position. Our senior devotees are experienced; they have some adhikar: position and quality. But that must be used properly—with humility and tolerance. Then everything will be perfect. We are very polluted, and we forget that.

Junior devotees do not have much experience. They need affection and love; but they do not always understand that. Still, we should not forget it. We should treat juniors like affectionate sons and daughters, or brothers and sisters. Then the Mission will be very happy.

We must consider the theory and follow the rules and directives Sriman Mahaprabhu mercifully gave us. If devotees do not develop the necessary qualities and qualifications, then how will they chant Hare Krishna properly?

trnad api sunichena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 17.31)

[“The Lord’s Name is to be chanted constantly with more humility than a blade of grass, tolerance like that of a tree, respect for everyone, and without desire for respect from anyone.”]

Actually, with the association of the devotees, I am completely happy. But when news of anything wrong comes to me, then I am very sad to hear it. It is my prayer to you all: properly follow Sriman Mahaprabhu’s directives and happily chant Hare Krishna.

Jay Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay!

Hari-nam-sankirtan ki jay!

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern representative of the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Both definitive and progressive, his exemplary life, practice, and teachings brilliantly illuminate the path of divine love. For more information on Srila Govinda Maharaj, please visit his biography page.
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