Wrong philosophy may not obstruct people spiritually as much as our calling their philosophy wrong
Suppose we encounter people who follow some philosophy in which we can find many holes. We may be tempted to call their philosophy wrong.
We need to resist that temptation because more important than correcting people’s wrong philosophy is connecting them with the purpose of philosophy and the purpose of life at large: Krishna. The Bhagavad-gita (07.14) indicates that people explore life’s spiritual side for various reasons; metaphysical knowledge is just one of those. If people connect with some path, it’s not always because of that path’s philosophy; it’s frequently because they seek something else such as peace, relief from distress or a sense of belonging. If they get what they are looking for, they develop some emotional bond with that path and especially with that path’s teachers.
What happens when we call their philosophy wrong, and especially if we call their teachers wrong? Such criticism, no matter how logical, seems to them a direct attack on the things they consider sacred, things that have improved the quality of their life. Feeling threatened and wounded, they hit back at us or at least go away from us and from Krishna, deeming Krishna’s devotees fanatical. Thus, through our philosophical arguments, we end up defeating the purpose of philosophical argumentation: to help people come closer to Krishna. Pertinently, the Gita (03.26) urges us to not disturb people’s minds, but to encourage them in their gradual spiritual evolution.
Therefore, instead of criticizing others’ philosophical conceptions, we can use our creativity to help them experience in Krishna a spiritual solace deeper than whatever they have experienced in their present paths. Enlivened by that experience, they are more likely to re-examine their philosophical conceptions and, more importantly, their life-direction.
Think it over:
- Why do people explore a spiritual path?
- How may philosophical argumentation alienate people?
- How can we help people in their spiritual evolution?
03.26 So as not to disrupt the minds of ignorant men attached to the fruitive results of prescribed duties, a learned person should not induce them to stop work. Rather, by working in the spirit of devotion, he should engage them in all sorts of activities [for the gradual development of Krishna consciousness].
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