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Lobster Stand Man Forgiven

“The nasty vendors at the lobster-murder stand would throw hot stinky fish water at the devotees' feet as we went by. Later Jayananda brought them some cookie prasad and told them how nice it was that they were doing this nice service for us by cleaning the sidewalk!! They were melted.“ BLJT Devotees teach us from the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam how to control our senses in all circumstances, even when others commit grievous offenses to one’s person, the devotee does not retaliate. He does not see the act of intended harm; he does not take offense, and forgiveness is automatically given.

In the 9th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we learn the virtues of not taking offense from the story of Prsadhra, who was following the order of his spiritual master to protect cows. He stood all night by the cowshed, with a sword in hand, to guard them from danger. One rainy night, a tiger entered the land of the cowshed, and the cows ran hither and thither in fright. The strong tiger seized a cow, who screamed in pain. Prsadhra heard the clamor and rushed to the direction of the sound, and took up his sword, and due to the stars being covered by clouds, he could not see well, and mistook the cow to be the tiger, and mistakenly cut off the cow’s head with great force. The tiger’s ear had also been cut, and he fled. The next morning, Prsadhra discovered that he killed the cow instead of the tiger, and was in great despair. Although he committed the sin unknowingly, his family priest, Vasistha, cursed him to take birth as a sudra in his next life. Srila Prabhupada says in his purport; “It appears that Vasistha was not free from tamo-guna, the mode of ignorance. …. He should have taken Prsadhra’s offense very lightly, instead he cursed him to be born a sudra.” Prsadhra accepted the curse with folded hands, and took no offense from his family priest, and he took the vow of brahmacharya. Prsadhra thereafter was peaceful, and in control of his senses, and gave full attention to the Supreme Personality, Vasudeva, and he achieved pure devotion to the Lord, and became a great saint, and entered a forest fire, and was transported to the spiritual world.

Devotees who are neophytes, and less advanced, may want to defend their position. From this pastime of Saint Prsadhra, we see that we have a choice — to either take the path of the saint, and don’t take offense to the words of others, [sticks and stones may break me bones, so on] — or we can defend our false ego, and argue and fight, and take another birth to continue the altercation … which could possibly go on birth after birth.

Jayananda turns negative to positive

“Jayananda would always turn a weird situation into doing benefit for the other person. Like the Fisherman's Wharf episode, when the lobster-murder stand people threw hot and stinky fish water at the devotees' feet as they went by on hari-nama. I would have gotten into a fight with them, like yelling and shaking fists, but Jayananda was in control of his senses and approached them with cookies and said, “Thanks for doing such a nice service of cleaning the sidewalk.” This genuinely affected them. Similarly, he was always trying to give prasadam to others, like visitors of the temple, or taking out extra prasadam to the streets for the bums, and so forth. He was found to be cooking prasad for drunks in a bar. He was always asking wandering hippies to help with the carts, not just to get their labor, but to engage them in service for their benefit, knowing that even a little service brings transcendental eternal blessing.” BLJT