The Highest Ideal Of Tolerance by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
While considering himself an ordinary conditioned soul, forced to experience the fruit of his karma, Haridasa Thakura humbly said, “I was obliged to hear statements that were antagonistic to the Supreme Lord as punishment for my previous misdeeds and aversion to Him. Due to misplaced tolerance I did not adequately protest the harsh statements of persons who were averse to the Lord. That is why the Lord has awarded this punishment to me.” The Lord awards severe punishment to those who, in order to make a show of tolerance, do not protest after hearing blasphemy against the Lord and His devotees. Even hearing blasphemous words against Hari, Guru, and Vaishnava, the prākṛta-sahajiyās’ attempt to justify their abominable, mean, duplicitous nature as ‘Vaishnava etiquette,’ simply guarantees their frightful degradation.
Thakura Haridasa was truly the highest ideal of tolerance, and because the members of the deceitful prākṛta-sahajiyā community try to artificially imitate the his tolerance, in the end they are subject to various miseries in life. Since the mahā-bhāgavata paramahaṁsa Vaishnava is personally free from the habit of criticising others, he is not pressed by the mundane urges to blaspheme or praise, talk unnecessarily or gossip. The prākṛtasahajiyās however, are not situated on such an exalted platform and their endeavors to imitate him are abominable duplicity. Therefore they inevitably suffer punitive
miseries. In order to teach this topic to the deceitful prākṛta-sahajiyā sampradāyas, Haridasa Thakura, showed himself as an ordinary person, indicating that was bound to experience fruitive results. The prākṛtasahajiyās are certainly forced to enjoy the fruit of their activities, but Haridasa Thakura, the crest-jewel among liberated souls and a pure chanter of the holy names of Hari, is certainly not forced to enjoy the fruits of his activities. Srila Rupa Goswamipada has described this matter in his Śrī Nāmāṣṭaka
(4) as follows:
vināśam āyāti vinā na bhogaiḥ
apaiti nāma sphuraṇena tat te
prārabdha-karmeti virauti vedaḥ
“The seeds of sinful activities that in their fruition cause rebirth for are not totally destroyed despite realization of oneness with Brahman through constant meditation. However, O Lord, as soon as Your holy names manifest on the tongue (even in the partial form of nāmābhāsa) all seeds of sinful activities are totally uprooted. This fact is elaborately glorified in the Vedas.”
Those who, even after hearing the blasphemy of Vishnu and the Vaishnavas, display their ‘cleverness’ by posing as advanced and liberal minded devotees, on the pretext of artificial gentleness or tolerance, without understanding the real purport of taror api sahiṣṇu—“more tolerant than a tree” are understood to be experiencing the results of previous grave offenses they have committed.
One should not consider such grevously offensve behaviour as trivial and advertise sense gratification aimed at accumulating mundane fame as worship of Hari. In order to instruct the people of the world, jagad-guru Thakura Haridasa pointed out the great faults of the foolish prākṛta-sahajiyās, who display artificial humility, by meekly saying: “I have heard blasphemy of Hari, Guru, and Vaishnava without hesitation; therefore I am a great offender. Since I did not protest, it would have been proper if Hari, Guru, and Vaishnava had awarded me more severe punishment; but the Lord is most merciful. He awarded me only the token punishment of being inhumanely tortured by the servants of the king and thus freed me from the offenses born from being complicit in blasphemy of Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. In this way the Lord has proved Himself as causelessly merciful, which bring happiness and satisfaction to my heart.” In the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (10.14.8) Lord Brahma prays to the Lord as
tat te ‘nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
‘My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, whilst patiently enduring the reactions of his past misdeeds and constantly offering You respectful obeisance with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.’
“In failing to protest the blasphemy of Lord Vishnu and the Vaishnavas I have distorted and changed the meaning and purport of this Bhāgavatam verse. That was my great mistake for which I suffered minor
punishment at the hands of the servants of the king.”
—Śrī Caitanya Bhāgavata Ādi-khaṇḍa 16.166, 167Gauḍīya-bhāṣya Commentary of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja Translated by Bhumipati Dāsa.