Four Things We Might Get Offended Over

[Prahlada offering garland]“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, O most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been purified, along with twenty-one forefathers in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.10.18)

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श्री-भगवान् उवाच
त्रिः-सप्तभिः पिता पूतः
पितृभिः सह ते ’नघ
यत् साधो ’स्य कुले जातो
भवान् वै कुल-पावनः

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
triḥ-saptabhiḥ pitā pūtaḥ
pitṛbhiḥ saha te ’nagha
yat sādho ’sya kule jāto
bhavān vai kula-pāvanaḥ

1. Someone cutting in line

“I was taking an international flight the other day. It was during the return trip to the United States where I got a look at how things operate differently elsewhere. In the home country, whenever the announcement for boarding starts, there is an orderly arrangement. Passengers go to their assigned queues.

[boarding gate]“With this experience, it was as if the announcement never happened. Everyone rushed towards the gate. I was at the front already and these other people tried to cut ahead of me. I noticed similar behavior at restaurants, when ordering at the counter. I was thinking to myself that if the same should happen back home, it could lead to a physical altercation.”

2. Someone making a racial or ethnic joke

“I mean I guess people can’t help themselves. They are accustomed to living within a certain community, where their exposure to outside cultures is limited. Whenever they see me they feel the need to make a remark that has nothing to do with the situation. I notice the same with my friends, as well. The comments are very offensive, but what can we do? Just shrug it off and move on. At least that is the approach I take.”

3. Someone telling you to go back to your country

“Similar to the racially insensitive comments, here someone sees that my complexion is not the same as the majority of the population. Though I’ve lived in this country for longer than they have been alive, and though I don’t speak with an accent they sometimes make the derogatory remark about leaving for home. This is my home, but arguing with someone who has no intelligence is a losing battle.”

4. Someone cheating us out of money

“I told this person that I did not want the extended warranty. I have purchased cars before. I have never used the warranty. I think it’s a rip-off. Even after the fact, the salesperson ended up adding it to my total for the purchase. The amount was rolled into the loan, so it was difficult to notice the additional expenditure.

“Anyway, right now I am so upset. I hate being cheated like this. I don’t mind spending the extra money, but don’t lie to me. It makes me never want to buy a new car again.”

These experiences are representative of the daily struggle involved with living amongst other individuals. The spirit soul is separate and distinct from other living beings. Though the quality is the same, the identity is different.

As that individuality will be exercised, there are sure to be clashes. There is much over which to be offended, but we get an idea on the saintly nature from a historical person named Prahlada. The son of a Daitya king, he diverged from the path of his forefathers by choosing the side of pure goodness.

The result was the worst kind of punishment. Prahlada had to face lethal force applied by his own father, who was the greatest atheist. In this regard, the child of five years of age had the most justification for taking offense. It would be understandable if he held a grudge against the lowest among mankind.

Yet when the final blow of justice arrived, Prahlada was not vengeful. The Supreme Lord dedicated a special descent for that situation, appearing as the half-man/half-lion named Narasimha. He did away with Hiranyakashipu, while the king’s son was offering a garland to the victor.

Prahlada was not jumping for joy, but he was pleased to see God in that amazing form. Afterwards, Prahlada asked for pardon for the sinful father. Though Hiranyakashipu was now departed, the ever-forgiving son wished the best for him.

This compassion was not due to ignorance. It was not misapplied, either. Rooted in intelligence, Prahlada understood that his father was under the sway of ignorance and that uncontrolled lust will cause a person to do the worst things.

[Prahlada offering garland]That lust is conquered through the shelter of the Divine, who is always willing to forgive, in the same way as the saints who represent Him, like Prahlada Maharaja.

In Closing:

Cutting in front of the line,
Remarks about skin color of mine.

Cheated of my money to earn,
Telling me to country to return.

So offended easily can be,
In Prahlada different behavior to see.

Though to him worst father gave,
Later asking God for soul to save.

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