Ranking My Favorite People

[Krishna's lotus feet]“When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased with the living entity because of his devotional service, one becomes a pandita and does not make distinctions between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then thinks, ‘Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and therefore we are not different from one another.’” (Prahlada Maharaja, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.12)

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Friend1: Have you ever thought about who is the person you prefer the most?

Friend2: Besides Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead?

Friend1: I mean amongst your friends and family.

Friend2: Is this like trying to decide which of your kids is your favorite?

Friend1: Maybe. Something along those lines. “This person is my best friend.” “That person I can’t live without.”

Friend2: I guess. Maybe. What brings this up?

Friend1: I was thinking about it with regards to people close to me. I realized the list hasn’t always been the same.

Friend2: Yeah, it can’t be. We’re coming and going. Someone we are close with today may move somewhere far in the future. Then we will miss them.

Friend1: You can go years without seeing someone, but they are still a close friend. At least that’s the way it seems to me.

Friend2: Yeah. I hope you realize that such lists are based on what people do for us.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: This person is my friend because they help me. That person is my enemy because they aren’t as favorable towards me. Prahlada Maharaja says that these are the dualities coming from a material existence.

Friend1: Are they not real, though? You don’t think there is something behind the concept of enemies? Didn’t Sita Devi hope that her husband, Shri Rama, was making alliances, treating His friends well?

“I trust that He is getting friends and also been approached for friendship. I trust that He has auspicious friends and that His friends are giving Him first priority.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.18)

[Sita-Rama]Friend2: Well, we know that Shri Rama was playing the role of ideal man, husband, prince and leader. Administrators have to make distinctions. They have to differentiate between the law-abiding and the criminals.

Friend1: But the rest of us shouldn’t be making distinctions?

Friend2: At the highest platform of consciousness, you’re supposed to view everyone as a friend.

Friend1: How is that possible, though? Is it just a state of mind or is there reality to back it up?

Friend2: This is how the saint behaves. They see everyone as serving God to some extent. They try to help those that are serving God’s illusory energy of maya. They offer this help because maya does not bring much happiness. In fact, the changes in fortune happen almost on schedule, without endeavor.

Friend1: The happiness in serving God is different?

Friend2: Right. It lasts. It stays. The saint thinks everyone is their friend, because everyone is connected to God, who is so dear to them.

Friend1: I’m not quite sure I can relate to that understanding.

Friend2: It’s very difficult to. Prahlada is one example. He was favorable to everyone around him. There were enemies close to home. The father ordered the royal guards to kill Prahlada. The boy did not hold a grudge. He did not make a ranking system, where the mother was first on the list and the father last. Prahlada was extremely forgiving. He didn’t think he was better than his classmates. He instructed them on the science of self-realization because he thought that’s what a friend should do.

Friend1: I see. Interesting. I will know if I am advancing if I start to like more and more people?

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: Haha, I don’t know. I’m just explaining the mindset of the saint to you. By no means am I one, but it is nice to appreciate their kindness. It is one of the reasons people like His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are compared to an ocean of mercy.

In Closing:

Not that first on list the mother,

And last the demoniac father.

Prahlada with an equal view,

Friends even his enemies too.

Vision of sameness, through link connected,

Hating not king who to bhakti objected.

Saints this high platform to reach,

Then by example to teach.

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