Learning Tolerance

By : 
Bhaktin Jennifer Robinson

“One should be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree.”” This quote comes from the Sri-Sri-Siksastaka by Lord Caitanya. This is a reminder that I tell myself daily. I have trouble with the tolerance part, so I decided to write on the subject. I learn more when I read and write about something I need to work on.

Tolerance is knowledge. Tolerance teaches us patience and forbearance. These are much needed on our spiritual journeys. The development of forbearance, patience and tolerance leads to liberation.

Those who are engaged in the advancement of spiritual knowledge will often experience much dishonor and insults from others. In prison, devotees mostly deal with the insults from other inmates and guards on a daily basis. This can be hard at times, but it is something that will make us stronger devotees. There may be impediments in making advancement in spiritual knowledge, but we must be tolerant and continue our progress with determination.

One way to tolerate the insults and dishonor is to pray. Pray that Lord Krsna shows you how to tolerate it. Ask Him ever so humbly. Always pray in humility and love.

Another way to overcome sensitivity to such nonsense talk is to just “blow it off.” Just ignore what is being said. People will get the message. Anyone who can tolerate such difficulties is eligible for liberation and their path to self-realization is assured.

There’s another part of this subject I want to write about. It is tolerating the urges of the mind and body. In The Nectar of Instruction, text one, we read, “A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, the belly and the genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.” I want to discuss the process of learning to tolerate the urges of the mind and body. I have problems in this area too.

One must learn to control his speech. There is much power in the way we speak. We can help others with our words. We need to speak only of Lord Krsna, not nonsense. Controlling speech is not self-imposed silence. Just speak as much as you can about Lord Krsna. Share Him with all who will listen. Also, chant the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, to help you to control your tongue. Speaking power is for glorifying the Supreme Lord.

One must also control the restless mind. To do so, one must always think of Krsna and how to serve Him best. I am always trying to do this. For example, I have many projects that I am working on to aid in my devotional service and to keep my mind on Krsna. This helps me to just try to fix my mind on Krsna’s lotus feet.

One must control the urges of the tongue and belly. We learn to control them by eating only Krsna prasadam at scheduled times. One should not eat out to satisfy the whims of the tongue and belly. When we observe fasting days such as Ekadasi and Janmastami, we can restrain the demands of the tongue and the belly.

One must also learn to control the urges of the genitals. They should be used only to beget a Krsna conscious child, otherwise, they should not be used.

One who practices resisting these demands or urges is called tapasvi, or one who practices austerities. Tolerance is an austerity and a very important one.

May Lord Krsna bless you with tolerance in all situations. Jai Sri Krsna!