Friendly and Sympathetic

By Giriraj Swami

Speaking in Los Angeles about the qualities of a devotee, Srila Prabhupada said, “Sympathetic. We should be very much sympathetic. If any of our fellow men fall sick, we must take care of him, give him help. Because, after all, we have got this body, sometimes we may fall sick. So we should be sympathetic. And friendly. Everyone’s friend. As Krsna is friend of everyone, suhrdam sarva-bhutanam, so if we are Krsna’s representative, how I can be enemy of anyone else? I must be friendly.” Reading about Srila Sanatana Gosvami recently, in Sri Bhakti-ratnakara (Fifth Wave), I was struck by how friendly and sympathetic–how loving and caring–he was: “After staying in one town, when Sanatana would go to another town, the people would follow behind him. Whether a young boy or old man, whoever it was, all would lose their patience and cry as the Gosvami would leave. Sanatana Gosvami himself would shed tears as he solaced them and sent them back to their own homes. Only after they all stopped crying and returned to their houses would Sanatana leave for the next village. As Sanatana approached the next village, the people would watch him coming from a distance. Whether young or old, man or women, everyone would say, ‘Here is Rupa, Sanatana.’ The Vrajavasis displayed wonderful affection.