“If we learn how to love Krishna, then it is very easy to immediately and simultaneously love every living being. It is like pouring water on the root of a tree or supplying food to one’s stomach.” (Shrila Prabhupada, The Nectar of Devotion, Preface)
“I think one of the major distinctions with bhakti-yoga practice, the science of self-realization, sanatana-dharma, whatever term you want to use, is the dismissal of general charity work or philanthropy.
“Let me explain further. It is not that helping your fellow man is frowned upon. Charity is one kind of sacrifice, yajna. A person should not be attached to what they have. They should not be overly concerned with material life.
“It is in that area where general welfare work loses importance. It is tied to material life. Bhakti-yoga is for advancing the cause of spirit. An eternal engagement matching an eternally existing being.
“Naturally, there is concern as to what will happen to others. Who will take up the cause if I should abandon it? How will society function without the proper attention paid to the needy?
“The response is that bhakti-yoga is like watering the root. If you satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then all other responsibilities are taken care of automatically. You water the roots of the tree and the branches and leaves automatically get nourished. In the reverse situation the same proper distribution does not apply.
“Could you explain further, though? I don’t see how someone becoming a devotee of Shri Krishna will equate with meeting the highest interests for society at large. It obviously helps the individual within the engagement, but is not there an accompanying callousness to the suffering of others?”
One way to understand is to study the practice of dishonesty. The tendency to cheat is one of the defects of the human being. We know that we shouldn’t take an unfair advantage, but sometimes we can’t help it.
A person is identified as a cheater in the broader sense when they violate some law of society or the standard practices set forth in etiquette. Robbing a bank. Telling a lie to a police officer conducting a criminal investigation. Forging documents. Giving the wrong explanation to someone in need so that they will fail in their task.
A tendency to notice is that dishonesty is rarely practiced exclusively. If I cheat on my taxes, it probably means that I cheat in other areas. A prime example is the Rakshasa community described in Vedic literature. As man-eating ogres, they did not have an auspicious start. They were sinful by nature.
Not only would they eat human flesh, but they would employ deceptive measures to achieve their goals. Take a false form utilizing the kama-rupa-siddhi. Display false images on the battlefield to dispirit the opponents. Tell lies about the future so that someone will be scared into submitting to a plan that they are otherwise totally against.
Applying the same principle but on the inverse situation, we see how bhakti-yoga practice helps everyone. As Krishna is the Supreme Absolute Truth, devotional service represents the most honest practice. It strips away the dualities of material life, so that which remains is the individual spirit soul connecting with the Supreme Soul. The ideal example of this yoga is the thoughtful and concentrated repetition of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The honest devotee will likely be honest in other areas. Their good qualities will carry over. Helping the fallen will be the natural inclination. No one will have to remind them to be charitable. At the same time, they will be most liberal in sharing the highest wisdom, the secret to happiness lasting beyond the present lifetime. They will help those struggling in the vast ocean of nescience to find an eternal, blissful life that can begin immediately.
Cheating here and cheating there,
Not exclusive to situation where.
Because bad qualities abound,
When lack of dharma found.
On inverse to devotion apply,
How always with honesty to try.
So that in best way with others dealing,
And real truth of existence revealing.