Escaping the Association of False Saints

Escaping the Association of False Saints

Kapila explained: “Intimate association binds the soul, but experts know that the same intimacy applied towards saintly people opens the doorway to liberation.

One what criteria can a person be evaluated as “saintly”? Kapila explained, “You can recognize a ‘saintly person’ by the ‘ornaments’ they wear: tolerance, compassion, friendship with all creatures, enmity towards none, serenity, and honesty. Deeper than these ornaments, you can recognize a ‘saintly person’ by their essential nature: their entire being is firmly fixed in devotion to me. For my sake they are willing to sacrifice their own deeds, their own friendships, and even their own families.”

Canto Three (25.20–22)

The hallmark of such determination is that they are willing to sacrifice anything and everything for it.

But not at the expense of others. We have seen so many people run away from their families by putting on saffron halloween costumes and claiming to be sannyāsīs or brahmacārīs seeking the Absolute Truth, when in fact they were simply seeking to get free from the burden and stress of the responsibilities entrusted to them by the Creator. We ourselves have been guilty of this. But real saints do not behave in this manner. We did not see Kardama, for example, leave to the forest until his son was grown and promised to take care of Devahūti. We do not see Śrī Rūpa, for example, leave his family without first arranging for their welfare by giving a huge amount of wealth into their accounts.

Selfishness which dons the garb of “saintliness” is the most pernicious and disgusting of all. Better to be an honest drug addict than a deceptive “saint.”

To associate with false saints is worse than associating with materialists, for the association of a false saint directly destroyed ones interest and trust in the path of saints, bhakti, whereas the association of materialists merely inclines one towards materialistic pursuit if one is particularly weak. We should avoid false saints as we would avoid persons carrying a terrible, contagious disease.

In avoiding the false saints, we should not ourselves become a false saint by enjoying the garbage of criticizing them. Silently, patiently, calmly, honestly, and without enmity, we should arrange to avoid the intimate association of false saints, simply by not taking their example, advice, or instruction very seriously at all.

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  1. HK! I’m curious to know what is the source of your translation.

    I looked up Prabbhupada’s translation of 3.25.22 and here it is:

    “Such a sādhu engages in staunch devotional service to the Lord without deviation. For the sake of the Lord he renounces all other connections, such as family relationships and friendly acquaintances within the world.”

    This translation aligns with the idea of “firmly determined in the devotion of their entire being” – and not “firmly determined to become devoted to me.”

    According to Prabhupada “kurvanti” means perform, where is you present it as become. This translation is also consistent:

    Just wanted to get your response please. Ys


    1. They are my translations, drawing from a few sources (particularly Prabhupāda’s, Bhanu Swāmī’s, and often Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s elaboration on individual words) compared against the original Sanskrit. The posts here are first drafts for email and blogs, they get edited again (by me) before being published in the “Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive” series of books.

      I was going with that translation based on implications of kurvanti and dṛdha. But after reading your comment I agree with you. I’ve edited the blog post accordingly. Thanks for your comment.


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