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A true devotee is not afflicted by others and nor is a source of affliction

A true devotee is not afflicted by others, nor is he a source of affliction to others. The Gita uses the word udvega, which means affliction, disturbance or perturbation.

Learning to offer his pleasure and pain to the object of his love, God, a devotee is not unduly perturbed in any situation. Again, since he does not take sides in an issue, having no axe to grind himself, he is never a cause of perturbation in others.

Of course, if some people do not understand him he does not lose his sleep over it. Instead of trying to be good and pleasing to everyone, he tries to keep his mind on God.

Bhavanath, Sri Ramakrishna’s devotee, once said to him, ‘I feel disturbed if I have a misunderstanding with someone. I feel that in that case I am not able to love all.’

The Master replied, ‘Try at the outset to talk to him and establish a friendly relationship with him. If you fail in spite of your efforts, then don’t give it another thought. Take refuge in God. Meditate on Him. There is no use in giving up God and feeling depressed from thinking about others.

SourcePrabhudha Bharata editorial page 13. Issue December 2003.