By Giriraj Swami
We, as conditioned souls, tend toward impersonalism. Every conditioned soul has two conditioned tendencies: one is toward sense gratification, and the other is toward impersonalism. So we carry impersonal conceptions with us even when we come to devotional service, and our impersonal conceptions may influence us to deal in impersonal ways even though we know in theory that we all are eternal persons and that Krsna is the supreme eternal person. Still, in practice we may tend to act in impersonal ways, because we may still have impersonal ideas that devotees should not feel sorrow or anger—or any “negative” emotion. And we may try to avoid responsibility for how our behavior affects other devotees by saying, “Prabhu, why are you getting upset? You shouldn’t get upset.” Although there may be truth to the notion that under certain circumstances a devotee should not become upset, we also should not act in such a way as to upset the prabhu. “Prabhu” means “master.” We are meant to see each other as masters and ourselves as servants. So we shouldn’t say, “Now, Prabhu, don’t get upset.” One wouldn’t tell one’s master not to get upset. Rather, we should say, “Oh, I am so sorry, my dear master. I am sorry that I made a mistake. I am sorry that I upset you. Please forgive me. Please rectify me.” That is the meaning of prabhu.