How to deal with the erring devotees without Vaishnava Offence?
A girl devotee asked like this:
“How to tolerate situation when we see that brahmachari is doing partiality. And if we put forward our right then is it vaishnava offense. How to beg forgiveness for this vaishnav offense. If m talking to temple president about partiality of brahmachari, it may hurt brahmachari which I don’t want.”
In such cases, we have to confirm whether a devotee is really showing partiality. Though he seems so, we should review whether he has genuine reasons to do so.
Sometimes, the activities of temple managers may seem like partiality, but, if you see from their side, they may have no other way and may have genuine reasons.
I have noted the pressures of temple managers closely in India. If the temple has around 100 visitors on every sunday, they need atleast Rs.5000 for Prasadam distribution per Sunday Programme. They need around Rs.300 for flowers for every Sunday and also around 100-150 every day on other days. And, they have commercial electricity charges. They need to supply water.
In fact, conducting a Sunday Programme is like conducting a marriage function. Even our parents struggle to manage even a single family of 2-4 people. But, a temple president / manager is conducting a function like a marriage every week. In addition to that, he has to arrange other festivals. Such festivals need lakhs of money to go well.
And, every temple will have some resident devotees. The temple has to protect them all the 30 days a month by giving food, shelter, dress, soap, etc.
So, the temple needs money. Such a temple of around 100 Sunday visitors need atleast 50,000-60,000 Indian Rupee every month. I am telling minimum need.
If you take those 100 people, all 100 will not donate to the temple. Just 3-4% of devotees may donate. So, the temple has to approach outside traders, businessman, etc., for collecting more revenue. Since some of those people donate only if they receive some respect and honour, the temple manager has to give some extra respect and honour for such heavy donors.
Seeing this, a devotee may think: “Oh, I am serving the Lord from within the temple for many years. But, this manager is giving undue respect for such new comers just for donating sizable money?”
But, he has forgotten the fact. Resident service and revenue – both are equally important for a temple. So, a resident devotee should not worry, but, feel happy in just serving the Lord even if the manager do not spend more time and care for them. Such resident devotees and other congregational devotees should understand the pressures of managers that he has to ensure that the donors continue to donate every month. If he does not care them, they may stop donating, because, they may not have attained the spiritual maturity of considering the pressures of managers.
Even among resident devotees, the manager has to give more attention and appreciation to some devotees who need extra attention. Usually in families, the parents give more care for children giving more problems and they leave the good child freely without care, because this good child will take care of its need on its own.
Similarly, the managers give more attention to those who need extra attention and they do not worry about those who can take care of all affairs on their own.
Treat the temple managers like your parents. You will understand them.
In case, you find any devotee really treating you partially without any reasons, just speak to him frankly, friendly and humbly. There is no problem in this world without a solution. You can solve any problem through friendly discussions.
I have written about the pressures of managers and devotees. Since they have to achieve the results through resident devotees, these resident devotees may also have such pressures. So, there are chances for different approach even by a resident devotee.
And, no two persons are alike. So, you can’t expect a devotee to behave like you. He may have to gain more experience to come to the matured state.
So, just take all such unavoidable affairs in temples easily. If a devotee repeats his acts purposefully, you may tell the manager frankly without a complaining tone. This will help the manager to watch that devotee and if true, take action. Only if there are serious malpractices, we have to worry. These things are natural in any administration.
To avoid Vaishnava aparath, report to the manager about any issues ONLY AFTER ASCERTAINING THAT A DEVOTEE IS DOING WRONG OR HANDLING THE ISSUES IMPROPERLY. DO NOT REPORT WITHOUT VERIFICATION.
ALWAYS DEAL THROUGH THE TEMPLE MANAGER, NOT WITH THE ERRING DEVOTEES DIRECTLY. THIS IS SAFE FOR YOU TO AVOID VAISHNAVA APARATH.
Hope this helps.