Why Should I Behave Piously If Reputation Can Be So Easily Destroyed

[Shri Krishna]“The false rumor that Krishna had killed Prasena and had taken away the jewel was spread everywhere like wildfire. Krishna did not like to be defamed in that way, and therefore He decided that He would go to the forest and find the Syamantaka jewel, taking with Him some of the inhabitants of Dvaraka.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 1)

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Friend1: I think there is a verse in the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas where the poet tries to convey the idea that reputation is nearly impossible to maintain.

Friend2: Well, reputation can be good or bad.

Friend1: I’m referring to the positive side. The two examples cited are Shri Krishna and Sita Devi.

Friend2: You mean because of dancing with the gopis, and the like?

Friend1: As king of Dvaraka. The people one time suspected Krishna of stealing a silly jewel.

Friend2: Syamantaka? You think that is silly?

Friend1: In the sense that Krishna would not need it. Yes, it was important because it could produce endless amounts of gold each day. Something like unlocking the back of an ATM machine and withdrawing cash each day.

Friend2: Except this time there is no debit to someone’s account. It’s not stealing; this is a gift from the sun-god.

Friend1: Whatever it is, Krishna sure doesn’t need it. He wouldn’t go around stealing it from people. Butter? Now that’s a different story.

[Shri Krishna]Friend2: True.

Friend1: With Sita Devi, it’s even worse. There is a reason for the term “slut-shaming” today. For a woman, chastity is important. The last thing she wants to be known as is a prostitute.

Friend2: The corresponding feature with men would be manliness. Would rather not be seen as a coward or someone who can’t stand up to bullies and the like.

Friend1: I don’t need to go into the full details there, as Sita Devi is the most chaste woman in the world. She is devoted in thought, word and deed to her husband, who is actually the Supreme Lord.

Friend2: It’s just the way of the world. People will say anything. You can’t have a one hundred percent approval rating, even if you cure the deadliest disease in the world.

Friend1: I was going to get to that. A sports commentator says the wrong thing during a segment on live television. It is not properly worded, but any decent person can understand what he was talking about. There was another broadcaster in the segment sitting next to him. No issues when it was first aired.

Friend2: And then afterwards, when social media got to work, fireworks?

Friend1: The usual meaningless and baseless charges. Racist. Bigoted. Anti-immigrant. Hate-filled. That other commentator even publicly apologized. Honestly, I was more offended by that. You can say things that I may strongly disagree with, but I respect you as long as you honestly hold those beliefs. But if you sit there and lie to me, trying to tell me something is offensive when it isn’t, then I have no respect for you.

Friend2: It’s known by the acronym CYA. That is the corporate world. Do whatever it takes to hold onto your job.

Friend1: Okay, but the “offender” in this case stuck to his guns. He did not apologize. He knew he didn’t do anything wrong. He went out with honor and dignity, while the other guy is still in the spotlight.

Friend2: Sadly, that’s how things go sometimes.

Friend1: My question is, what is the point? Why behave piously if people can tear you down regardless?

Friend2: You can look to Rama’s wife’s situation. Her reward for pious behavior was sitting in Lanka surrounded by female ogres threatening to eat her. The leaders, the Rakshasas, considered her to be the worst person for not giving in to Ravana’s advances.

Friend1: I think that is a good analogy. You have the bad people running the show. Isn’t that more justification for taking to adharma?

[Sita-Rama]Friend2: Why? To rise to power? You are not trying to impress them. Who cares what they think? Let them sip their expensive wine and eat their overpriced food. They live in a false reality, anyway. You are trying to please the man upstairs. Act in ways that He will notice. We chant the holy names for this reason: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Why for reputation caring,
By outside opinion scaring?

When never all to please,
Cast aside with ease.

Since Krishna notice to take,
And never supporters to forsake.

Dharma for Him alone,
Can rescue and call me His own.

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