Fanning the fire -Association of Devotees

Sometime we may have a certain layer, instead, just like a coal, if you don’t continually fan it, ashes form. So, even though, beneath that there is fire, sometimes…, a devotee is already on fire, but then they become little lax, or they become somehow implicated in some kind of subtle weeds or offenses, and then, somehow their devotional service slackens. And then, little ash forms over the Charcoal, so to speak. So Prabhupada said, we have to be continually fanning the fire. Even the association of devotees is such that one way or another it gets fanned. By association we are encouraged to, you see, come up to the proper standard. That’s…. one thing is that, when Narottam Thakur says that we should associate with devotees vaisnava seva chadiache … chadiache vaishnava seva, nistar payiache keba. That who has ever achieved deliverance who has given up the association and service of the devotees of the Lord?

In one purport in the Caitanya Charitamrta, Srila Prabhupada explains, the purport when Lord Caitanya met Rupa and Sanatana and embraced them and told them that they no longer should be known as Dabir Khasa and Sakir Mallika. But that they should be known as Rupa and Sanatana. In there He gave the blessing to them and He told the other devotees, you give your blessings to Rupa and Sanatana, so that they can be pure devotees, or they are pure devotees you give their blessings to them. Immediately, Rupa and Sanatana, they were humbled, they went and touched the feet of the other devotees. And the other devotees were congratulating them for getting the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So in the purport, Srila Prabhupada explains, this is the attitude of a Vaisnava. If he sees that another Vaisnava is getting the mercy of the Lord, He is not envious, He is not jealous. He is rather, congratulated. He’s rather happy, he’s overjoyed. “All glories to you! You have got the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.” They said that the non-Vaisnavas, or even in the garb of Vaisnavas, who is envious, when someone gets the mercy of Lord Caitanya, who is critical, unnecessarily, then such a person is not actually a Vaisnava. Because, a Vaisnava, means non-envious, non-jealous. So, when, Prabhupada said that when it says to associate with Vaishnavas, that means, those who are not envious or jealous. Those who are not bitter against their Godbrothers. But those who are having the quality of a Vaisnava, and if someone gives up the association of those who are envious, rather that is required. Because for a Madhyam adhikari devotee it says there are four recommended activities. We should surrender unto the Supreme personality of Godhead, we should befriend the devotees of Lord, we should be merciful and compassionate on the innocent and we should neglect the envious. So, Srila Prabhupada said, there are many envious and jealous persons in the garb of Vaishnavas, in this Krishna Conscious movement. And they should be completely neglected. Now when he says Krishna conscious movement he wasn’t only meaning the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. But, in the broad sense. Anyone who is proclaimed follower of Lord Caitanya. In the broad sense is a member of the Krishna Conscious movement. But, if they can appreciate that if Krishna Consciousness societies, spreading, Prabhupada, spreading this movement all over the world then we should neglect such people. It’s not that by neglecting them, that we are committing any offense. Rather, if they are envious of jealous, or if they have nothing good to say, and we neglect them. This is required.

His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaj

1984, 18th Sep, SB class @ New Orleans, USA