Monday Morning Greetings 2017 #46 – On Being Considerate

November 13th, 2017

The raucous and outrageously over amplified sound of the Indian wedding band from the nearby town of Govardhana even pierced my sound protectors. I cursed them. It wasn’t only that my early morning chanting was disturbed. I could tolerate that. I just hate when people are blatantly inconsiderate. Other examples raced through my mind.
 
Years ago I was responsible for overseeing the main temple kitchen in ISKCON Vṛndāvana. [1] My specialty was personally organizing gourmet feasts on special holidays and seeing that the fifteen preparations were impeccably served. One of our specialties was cauliflower and potato sabjī with fried paneer. When it came time to serve the feast inevitably one senior person would use their rank to sit in the front of the line. After receiving a generous helping the devotee would not only direct the humble server to stop and serve him a second helping, but worse would direct the server to pick out the soft and succulent cheese pieces just for themselves. I would freak. If people selfishly do that, by the time we get to the end of the line there will be no fried paneer left for others. How inconsiderate!
 
Here is another: I was sitting in a relatively small room in India with a few people sharing our reflections on Śrīla Prabhupāda. It was fairly hot and we had the fans at full blast. A thin senior sannyāsi (monk) walked in and instructed someone to shut the fans. I can tolerate the heat, but I was boiling inside. I thought: Because he has a vāta constitution and is cold, he sees the whole world as cold, even if others are sweltering. How insensitive!
 
I could go on and on. And I am sure I also am not innocent. It’s the core material disease to see the world according to our own desires and to think of our self before others. Perhaps this racket is blasting in my ears to teach me a lesson and make me condemn the very thing that must still be in myself. If that is how the law of karma works, it is doing a good job for inconsideration has become my pet peeve. I abhor it.
 
To be considerate is not just another moral principle. To think of others before oneself is the foundation of the bhakti tradition. If we don’t learn that in our ordinary dealings, whether it is within partnership, family, or community how will we be qualified for the spiritual world where the basic qualification is pure devotion, to always see the desires of God and all his servants before our own?
 
The band played on and I pray to never be that way: May we always be considerate!
 


[1] Oversee means that as a temple manager the kitchen was under my direction, not that I was the cook.

 

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