By Bhakti Charu Swami
A Vaishnava does not want to criticize anyone. For example, in Vrindavan, there was one very, very exalted Vaishnava.
One day, there was a mahotsava, a festival. Many people were invited. This person noticed that one Vaishnava was not there, so he questioned what happened to him.
Somebody said that he has done this and that, so we did not invite him. This very senior Vaishnava got up and started to walk to the door. When asked why he was leaving, he said, “For such a small little fault you have rejected him, you do not know all the faults that I have. I know that if you get to know about them, you will reject me also. Before that happens, I decided to leave.”
That is the mood of a Vaishnava. He is as humble as a blade of grass. If we want to become Vaishnavas, we should not find faults. Those who are in management, they have this thankless task of finding out all the garbage and trying to rectify. We should leave it to them.
Materialistic people are gossip mongers. They say, “He did this, he did that.” All their joy is derived from speaking badly about others. When we speak badly about someone, we are actually taking his bad karma. Before speaking ill of someone, be aware of that fact. You are actually ridding him of his bad karma and accepting it yourself. You are causing great injury to your own spiritual life. Mahaprabhu told Raghunatha Dasa Goswami not to indulge in mundane discussion. Mundane discussion means speaking badly about others, backbiting. This fault-finding and backbiting causes the heart to shrink, whereas Krishna Consciousness is the process that expands the heart.
A Vaishnava derives joy by glorifying devotees. Devotees are the reservoir of good qualities. If out of hundreds of good qualities, someone displays one bad quality, it should not be magnified. Make it a point to create a very nice atmosphere by glorifying others. That is what Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted. Desiring no respect, glorification, adoration for ourselves, we should offer all respect, glorification and adoration to the Vaishnavas: “See how wonderfully he is rendering his service. He has offered himself to Srila Prabhupada.” That is how we should see every Vaishnava, what to speak of a very senior devotee.
Then, a very nice atmosphere will be created. Vaishnavas are like swans. They live in a very clean lake. The crows live wherever there is garbage. This becomes very obvious in Calcutta in the morning. When we were in Calcutta, I used to chant on the rooftop sometimes. I would see that there are crows and there are pigeons. The pigeons would fly to the rooftops. People would throw grains and the pigeons would take the grains, but no crows would come. They would just gravitate towards the garbage.