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Constructive criticism from caring guides

Thursday, 14 March 2019 / Published in Recent Media / 160 views

Constructive criticism from caring guides
Excerpt from The Spiritual Scientist
‘See Criticism With a Critical Eye’
By Caitanya Charan Das
The bhakti tradition compares the cutting words of sages to a surgeon’s scalpel. Just as the scalpel cuts off unhealthy tissue, so too do the corrective words of our trustworthy spiritual guides destroy our misconceptions. Just as avoiding surgery can worsen the disease, so too fleeing from corrections can aggravate our illusions. Therefore, when we get constructive criticism from our well-wishing mentors, we need to humbly and honestly introspect and improve.

At the same time, the mentors too have the responsibility to offer criticism judiciously. For the scalpel to heal, it needs to be operated by an expert – and be expertly operated. Just because one is a surgeon doesn’t mean that any cut one does in any way will be therapeutic. Similarly, for criticism to do good, it needs to be offered by spiritual experts who accurately perceive the problem and the solution. And they need to deliver it sensitively so that those corrected feel valued and encouraged, not devalued and disheartened.

The biggest danger from criticism is that it may extinguish our inner fire, our drive to do something worthwhile in Krishna’s service. When criticism starts extinguishing our devotional desire, we need to step away from its source physically and turn away from it emotionally.

Ultimately, to sustain our devotion amidst criticism, we need to connect spiritually with the one who has given us our gifts and for whom we are striving to develop them. Our relationship with Krishna established through prayer, meditation and worship provides us an inner sanctuary beyond the reach of critics. By finding affirmation and inspiration in his loving remembrance, we access inexhaustible inner empowerment for persevering despite the world’s criticism.

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