(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 16 January 2015, Bhaktivedanta Manor, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 9.10.21-22)
The reputation of Krsna’s devotee is essential. A devotee is naturally honest and detached. Dishonesty is a sign of material attachment, it is a sign where we think that we have to be controllers, ‘This situation is getting out of hands! I am not getting what I need in this world of dharma and this honesty is simply blocking the way. Now, only a lie can save me!’ This means that we want to be controllers, it means that we want to bring this situation into our grip so that WE get the advantage. It means that we have a fruitive intent and we are calculating for our gain, and we think, ‘I am the controller of this universe and I need to make arrangements to put everything in the right place so that everything is comfortable for me!’
This shows a lack of reliance on the Supreme Lord, a lack of knowing that Krsna will provide and Krsna will take care. Therefore, a vaisnava will naturally take shelter of honesty. He does not take shelter of manipulation, lying and scheming. No, it is all selfless for Krsna. A vaisnava knows, ‘I am not a controller, I simply try and Krsna will make all the arrangements.’ Therefore, honesty is natural for devotees. It is a quality of goodness, of saintliness, of being trustworthy and of being transparent.
Vaisnava honesty is important because if we are not honest, who will take this message of Krsna consciousness, who will trust us!? And if people do not trust us, they will not trust what we have to say either. Therefore, this honesty is essential for a devotee who is simple and has nothing to hide. If one takes this position that there is nothing to hide, then there can be no sinful activities, no skeletons in the closet. How simple and nice is life then – with no facade, no mask, just be as you are!