“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)
स यदानुव्रतः पुंसां
अन्य एष तथान्यो ’हम्
sa yadānuvrataḥ puṁsāṁ
anya eṣa tathānyo ’ham
Friend1: Listen, I love the philosophical discussions as much as the next guy. Some of the word-jugglery is amazing.
Friend2: What are you talking about?
Friend1: Stuff like, “Good and bad are actually the same.”
Friend2: In what context?
Friend1: From the spiritual perspective. That is something you learn early on in the science of self-realization.
Friend2: It is true, though.
Friend1: Which, of course, seems ridiculous. If I stub my toe on the sofa downstairs, how is that good? If the sun rises tomorrow and warms up the otherwise frigid nature, I should be overjoyed.
Friend2: Okay, but the injured toe might lead to a positive development in the home.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: Because if you are injured, then you can stay inside and give your wonderful association to the wife and children.
Friend1: What about the sunshine?
Friend2: It decreases the visibility of a driver on the road, who thus cannot see the exit sign up ahead. They miss the turn and then become late to an important appointment.
Friend1: Okay, but that is only a temporary setback.
Friend2: Exactly! That is how good and bad are the same. Temporary.
Friend1: Alright, good job there. I have to hand it to you. Now work your magic on one of Prahlada Maharaja’s teachings. He says that a pandita no longer makes distinctions between friends and enemies.
Friend2: Does that not make sense to you?
Friend1: Come on! How will that make sense? If one person brazenly steals an election, out in the open, colluding with the media powers and higher-ups in both major political parties, they are obviously a criminal. The subsequent genocide they employ against political opponents is pure evil. There is nothing friendly about them.
Friend2: Well, you have to give an instance of a friend in order to properly compare.
Friend1: Take the same situation. You have a law enforcement official or an honest politician, as rare as that is. Someone who will put the spotlight on the criminal activity. Someone who is not afraid of being smeared, who is not intimidated by the nonsense arguments put forth, such as:
“You have no evidence. That claim has been widely debunked. You are a crackpot-conspiracy theorist.”
Friend2: Okay, so you have your enemies and your friends. You would get broad acceptance of the identifications you have made.
Friend1: Prahlada says that both are equal. At least to the pandita, the wise person, there is no distinction.
Friend2: And you have trouble understanding that?
Friend1: It is obvious to me that one is an enemy of the people and the other a hero.
Friend2: The reason is that both sides are serving God.
Friend1: I’m sorry, but God represents truth. He is not deceit, cheating, lying and the like.
Friend2: Oh, I beg to differ. When it comes to cheating, no one is better than God.
द्यूतं छलयताम् अस्मि
तेजस् तेजस्विनाम् अहम्
जयो ऽस्मि व्यवसायो ऽस्मि
सत्त्वं सत्त्ववताम् अहम्
dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi
tejas tejasvinām aham
jayo ‘smi vyavasāyo ‘smi
sattvaṁ sattvavatām aham
“I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.36)
Friend1: Then what are we teaching our children? What is the point of any person being honest?
Friend2: Listen, good qualities are beneficial in the long-run. They certainly bring us closer to God. At the same time, every person is serving God. The person stealing thinks that there will be no repercussions.
Friend1: That they can get away with the crime; because they believe there is no God.
Friend2: Which is one of the greatest compliments you can offer to the Almighty. You are essentially praising His illusory energy of maya.
“O Narayana, I exhibit intelligence in so many areas, but where there is an abundance of evidence to prove your existence, I willfully ignore it. You have fooled me so greatly that I even think that you do not exist.”
Friend1: They are serving God in that sense; I get it. But how are they not an enemy?
Friend2: Because they are still connected to Narayana, who is the source of men. I owe them some level of respect. They have Supersoul inside. They are part and parcel of God. That is how someone like Prahlada views others. It is a difficult standard to reach or even understand, but one that makes sense when there is information of the complete picture.
A friend with kind words to charm,
An enemy intent on harm.
How then the same viewing?
Wherefrom Prahlada reviewing.
Because both to Vishnu connected,
Even when concept of God rejected.
As belonging to same family as me,
Pandita in this way to see.