By Madhavananda das
For persons aspiring for service and ecstatic love for Krishna, fault-finding is a great impediment. In his purport to Caitanya-caritÄmá¹ta, Ädi 8.62, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has described the qualification of a vaiá¹£á¹ava:
It is a qualification of a vaiá¹£á¹ava that he is adoá¹£a-darÅÄ«: he never sees othersâ faults. Of course, every human being has both good qualities and faults. Therefore it is said, saj-janÄ guá¹am icchanti doá¹£am icchanti pÄmarÄá¸¥: everyone has a combination of faults and glories. But a vaiá¹£á¹ava, a sober man, accepts only a manâs glories and not his faults, for flies seek sores whereas honeybees seek honey.
In his SÄrÄrtha-darÅini commentary on ÅrÄ«mad BhÄgavatam 4.4.12, Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur has described four types of saintly persons according to how they see good qualities and faults:
1) Mahat (âgreat personâ) â A mahat has the ability to see some good in everyone. They also perceive faults in others, but they consider that those faults can be eventually transformed by certain methods into good qualities. Thus, if they feel that a person may be benefited by discussing that person’s faults, they may, under appropriate circumstances, speak harsh words. Neem juice tastes very bitter, but it can cure diseases when administered appropriately. It should be noted that a mahat will never reject or condemn a faulty person, but thinks only how that person may be benefited.
2) Mahattara (âgreater personâ) â A mahattara also sees good and bad qualities in others, but focuses on and praises the good qualities. Seeing a materialistic merchant, a mahattara will think, âAlthough he is a sense-gratifier, he takes good care of guests and is worthy of deliverance.â
3) Mahattama (âespecially great personâ) â A mahattama sees whatever good qualities others have and magnifies them, not seeing even the smallest fault. Viswanath describes their attitude, âThis person has stolen my cloth because he is cold, and though he has a weapon, he doesnât attack me because he is merciful. He is virtuous.â
4) Ati-mahattama (âextremely great personâ) â An ati-mahattama sees good qualities in others even where there are none. Their attitude is, âIn this world there are no bad people. Everyone is good.â
In the same purport, Viswanath also delineates four types of asÄdhus, wicked or bad persons, who are characterized according to their propensity for fault-finding:
1) AsÄdhu (âwicked personâ) â An asÄdhu sees some good qualities in others but presumes that eventually those good qualities will be overshadowed or spoiled by some fault. For example, upon seeing someone working for another personâs benefit, the asÄdhu will conclude that eventually he or she will want to exploit the person whom they are helping. Simply put, asÄdhus are not gentlemen.
2) AsÄdhutara (âvery wicked personâ) â An asÄdhutara is even more improper. He or she sees only faults in others and overlooks othersâ good qualities. âThis sannyÄsÄ« eats ghee rice to fill his stomach. He is lusty and should be considered fallen.â
3) AsÄdhutama (âespecially wicked personâ) â An asÄdhutama takes small faults and magnifies them, seeing no good qualities at all. Viswanath gives an example: An asÄdhutama will criticize and condemn a renunciate as being a âbogus rascalâ, for the fault of giving up the forest and living in the house of a married man. The asÄdhutama will conclude, âHis obvious motivation is only to steal the money of that householder.â
4) Aty-asÄdhutama (âextremely wicked personâ) â An aty-asÄdhutama sees faults in all others, even where there are no faults. âIn this world, or in this society, no one is good. Everyone is evil.â They are the very worst.
Excerpted from issue number 238 of Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu the fortnightly email magazine from ISKCON Gopal Jiu Publications. For information about obtaining a free subscription to Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu, write to:
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â Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami. ÅrÄ« Caitanya-caritÄmá¹ta. English translation and commentary by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Los Angeles. 1975.
â ÅrÄ«mad BhÄgavatam with commentaries by Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Gaudiya Math. Bagbazar. 1992. Bengali.
â ÅrÄ«mad BhÄgavatam, SÄrÄrtha DarÅinÄ« commentary of Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur. English translation by Bhanu Swami. Sri Vaikuntha Enterprises. Chennai, India. 2009.