Compassion needs to be felt as affection, not as condescension

When people are in need and are helped, they receive the help eagerly. However, when they are needy but don’t feel the need, they don’t take help, especially if the givers make the receivers feel bad about themselves. Such is frequently the predicament in the sharing of spiritual knowledge.

While practicing the Bhagavad-gita’s spiritual wisdom, we may feel inspired to help others by sharing it with them. However, during such sharing, if we judge them, labelling them as degraded and making them feel bad, we cripple our capacity to connect with them. No one likes to feel looked down upon.

When we share Krishna with others, we need to focus not on where they are morally, but on who they are spiritually: eternal parts of Krishna. Even if they are fallen, Krishna hasn’t left them – he is still in their hearts. That’s why we too have no right to look down upon them. After all, we might well have been in their position, in similar illusion, if Krishna hadn’t causelessly intervened in our life by giving us his mercy in the form of spiritual knowledge.

The Bhagavad-gita (6.32) states that the topmost yogis see the true equality of all living beings in both their happiness and their distress – they naturally want to increase everyone’s happiness and decrease their distress by providing them spiritual knowledge. When, after internalizing this empathic understanding, we strive to connect with others in a mood of sharing and caring, our compassion is felt by others as affection, not as condescension. With respect, concern, and sensitivity, we can find the best way to help them bring Krishna into their lives.

When we thus become messengers and representatives of Krishna’s wisdom and love, we can please him, receive his mercy and ourselves become increasingly, joyfully attracted to him.

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