“He said that, She said that, They said that …”

It’s been an interesting week for me and during my interactions with devotees I have seen a trait which is quite disturbing and in simple words, it is Rumour mongering. (My American friends should bear with me as I do majority of my spellings in British English, hence the “u” in Rumour). That been said, Rumour mongering or spreading has no place whatsoever in any community speakless of a Vaisnava community. Now let’s look at the word itself, it simply means circulating a story or an event with “unverified” truth. You hear something, you dont double check but you jump on your social media, email, telephone, or even person to person gossip and start spreading these unverifird events, to what benefit?
One insightful factor about Rumour mongering is the way it is dessiminated. An envious person creates the rumour, an ignorant person spreads it and worse is a fool believes it. Why on earth would one take pleasure in spreading unverified events about others if not for envy? Why would you spread an event, or news you have no solid background proof for if infact you are not some ignorant fellow? And why on earth would you believe hook, line and sinker some “hearsays” without double checking if infact you are not a fool? Now one might say that sounds harsh, well brace yourself because in my humble opinion backed by sastric reference which I will give shortly, spreading rumours is not only harsh but dehumanizing. Let’s bolt back five thousand years plus, for those of you who know the story of the Syamantaka jewel. Satrajit went around defaming Lord Krsna’s name in the context of him being in possession of a jewel he didnt have, and claimed he must have killed his brother too. Now let’s backup here for a second, this is some guy defaming the Supreme personality of Godhead himself. What did Krsna do? He took it upon himself to go look for the jewel to set the record straight. Hey! He didnt have to do that, he is God, he could just say ” hey don’t you realise I’m God”. No, why because it was hurtful, embarassing, and above all a defamation of character.
I have heard some people, let me not say Vaisnava’s now, who justify their rumour mongering by saying well “you should be equipoised in the face of such dualities, Na socati Na kanksati” However these same people won’t also quote that ” Austerity of speech consists of speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial and not agitating to others and also regularly reciting the Vedic literature” (BG 17:15). How on Earth is a rumour truthful if not verified, how is a rumour pleasing, how is it beneficial, how does spreading it not agitate others?
Recently there was some friction in Mayapur and boy o boy there were a thousand versions online until the parties involved made their official statements and then intelligent people could weigh in on both statements and then draw their personal conclusions. HG Aindra das prabhu made a statement which I have taken the liberty to use as my heading, he says ” He said that, she said that, they said that, who cares who said whatever, human life is too short for all this nonsense” (I’m paraphrasing mind you).
Have you ever gone to a Temple, far away from your local yatra and you sense that people already have some pre-misconstrued ideas about you? Have you ever introduced yourself to a fellow Vaisnava and he /she says something to the effect of “O so you are so so and so prabhu” and you reply yes, is there anything and they say O nothing but you immediately see their actions change?
I really don’t want to sound anti-technology, however internet hasn’t really helped matters. With high spead wifi these days, rumours about you can be circulated around the globe faster than most people can recall where their japa bags are. Some devotees live, eat, breathe and thrive by spreading baseless, whimsical and hurtful rumours. Why? Just why?
The next time you see yourself in a situation whereby you might be hearing or reading some rumours, instead of spreading it or worse still believing it and being judgemental this is what to do.
1. Contact whomever is involved, if that person is within your reach, ask them the details of events.
2. If they are not within your circle of reach, it means most probably these people or person have little or no direct business with you, if so move on with your life. Incase you missed that, I meant ignore it.
3. When someone comes to you with a rumour about another person, don’t listen and spread it,simply nip it in the bud. If the person telling you about this rumour doesnt want to stop, ask them one simple question : “Can you repeat verbatim, that is word for word whatever you just told me to this devotee’s face if I were to bring him/her here right now? If they hesitate, mumble, keep quiet or say no, then there is a high probability it is a rumour based on litte or no facts.
4.Keep yourself busy, I mean materially and spiritually busy. In eveyday words, I mean “get a life” If you have enough time to go from person to person or online spreading rumours, I can bet you either have no material goal nor spiritual ones. That is why you have so much “free time”. High achievers do not have time to spread rumours.
4. Mind your own business. Now don’t mistake this for being impersonal, if you do not have a genuine intention to help stop the rumour, or to go to the very source to verify, or to help the person involved when you find out it is true, if it is true, then there is no point listening to or spreading it.
5. Just for a second put yourself in the shoes of whomever it is you are about to spread rumours about and ask yourself,how would I feel if someone did this to me? If your answer is negative then simple just stop. If your answer is positive which would be indeed rare then guess what not everyone likes “pain and disturbance” like you do. Quit.
I know this is quite long however do bear with me, there is a lot more I want to say about this but due to the fact that I intend to keep this within easy read I’ll draw the line here. Usually I dont request people to share only if it inspires them, however please do share this post to every vaisnava circle you know. This message needs to get out there.
Thank you, I look forward to seeing you here again for more insightful readings.

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6 Replies to ““He said that, She said that, They said that …””

  1. This thing is important, because so called karmis, they really enjoy gossiping. So we should be better.
    Thank you for giving the “what to do” if that happens at the end.
    Gauranga

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes. Denis nailed it. So called karmis, aka ordinary wordly people they enjoy sitting in a bar or elsewhere having a drink, smoking cigars and enjoying gossip. Talks about “did you know she did this..he was there.done that..said this..thinks like that.believes in that…oh he/she is just like that, you know, poor he/she..how ignorant they are..we are better aren’t we .” and like that they start to extract and highlight rarely what they like, but in most cases what they don’t like or possibly hate in each persons life they put on the table as a main dish to gossip about, in order for themselves to feast on it and feel good about themselves. Usually the talk boils in more memory coming to the surface of their conscious mind, mostly negative atributes or past activities of people they gossip to serve as a fuel to the fire of their feeling good about themselves. Rarely people really feel some shame talking like that, because they really feel good about themselves. No doubt. My experience is that when people talk to you behind your back, in a negative way, by gossip, they focus on you mentally and while doing that talk they send their disgusting vibes at you, and inevitably, in my case it was that I felt it, and it increased my feeling of disgust about myself, but in the same time I realized it is also their disgusting vibes that they try to shake off and feel good, like taking some garbage off your back, and having a relief.
    I am sick of it. Makes me puke, and simultaneously cry for their souls to be saved from such dangerous mentality. It is like an acid rain, such mentality. It can devour a persons life and relations that person has with others, doing it like a forest fire, instanly. It is happening world-wide, unfortunately. I wish I could say more about it, but I see I would have put myself on the place of a victim so I’ll stop here.
    Anyway, nice article. To the point. With quite a few guidelines and stuff. Really good. I look forward to some more nectar from your heart and mind. My man!

    Jay Nityananda!

    Liked by 1 person

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