The three days that Srila Gurudeva spent at Vrindavana was action-packed and many a lessons were learned. On one of the early mornings of Gurudeva’s visit I had a conversation with Gurudeva on the topic of one’s devotional effort in Bhakti and one’s relationship with Vaishnavas.
Srila Gurudeva highlighted the attitude that a Vaishnava should employ during the course of Bhakti to the divine couple under the auspices of a Sadhguru in the line of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s original movement. Praising any one in Bhakti more than what is required is not a very healthy way of communicating one’s liking to a Vaishnava. One has to weigh one’s words and language and restrain oneself from going overboard while praising the practices of another Vaishnava. Srila Gurudeva says that it is nice to appreciate but poisonous to praise by taking things too far with one’s praises. One should not spend too much time in sharing best practices in Bhakti with one another or talking too much on the subject because doing such a thing frequently may induce one of the six predominant vices into one’s mood which may poison the heart of a sadhaka who is not vigilant. So it is better to avoid praises especially in public or over indulgence in sharing niceties with devotees in particular.
The other aspect one should avoid is fault-finding or highlighting deficiencies in fellow-devotees. Overtly speaking about the subject is bound to induce feelings of distaste and animosity in one’s mood by talking negative about devotees. Nevertheless this habit also contributes to Vaishnava Aparadha in many ways. So this should be abandoned in priority. If something important has to be highlighted which has negative tones then that should be only highlighted to the Sadhguru in a humble mood and that too not in the mood of accusation but as a general concern for the welfare of fellow-devotees. If this is resorted to then this will not equate itself to Aparadha in any way but invoke grace on all concerned. Openly debating on Vaishnava Sadachar or Shastra should be avoided at all costs because such an attitude will inject venom directly into one’s sadhana. Aspects of Vaishnava Sadachar should be held topmost in mind while interacting with fellow devotees and one should act with utmost humility at heart. In case of any doubts on certain points one should place the query in a submissive mood to Guru and simply accept the answer given by Guru as final. Generally a devotee should cultivate the mood of ultimate acceptance while conversing with Sadhguru.
One should avoid over-highlighting aspects of one’s own devotional practices generally while interacting with fellow devotees. The devotee may tend to satisfy one’s own subtle ego through means of highlighting one’s dedication to sadhana or Guru while highlighting matters to fellow-devotees. This mood is poisonous to both the audience and the speaker because in such a mood what gets communicated is only negativity although one may be under the illusion that one is talking about Krishna and Bhakti matters. When one is eager to verify one’s sadhana, one can always share that with fellow devotees but the intention at heart should be inquiry and not projection. Since there is a Paramatma in everyone’s heart one has to communicate with one another with genuine intentions and that alone reflects the mood of one’s communication. During the course of a conversation if the intention is genuine, even if there is a debate on Bhakti matters, there is always sweetness during the course or end of the debate. A malicious attitude is that which poisons a devotee conversation. The mood of conversation or communication should always be well-being of others and this mood is the basis of higher attainment in Bhakti.