(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 15 December 2013, Soweto, South Africa, Lecture)
Temple life is a little bit like a pressure cooker! Out in the world, there are some outlets – when there is lots of frustration, you can just get drunk one night and get rid of that frustration!.
But as a devotee, all that you can do is eat lots of prasadam; take shelter in that since you cannot drink, smoke or do anything like that. For sex, you have to be married! There is no sexual recreation, it is just for the sport!
In this way, sometimes we may get into a pressure situation in the temple but you just have to tolerate. In a pressure situation, you brought your false ego and someone else has brought his and these two false egos really clash nicely!
So yes, it is very difficult. Lord Caitanya understands, he understands where we come from; he knows that we are not pure; he knows we are full of false egos. So, he knows that in the beginning, sometimes it gets out of hand. I have seen all kinds of cases – I have seen the skinny mataji strangle the fat one…
Lord Caitanya understands that in the beginning, we are going to be a little rough around the edges, and maybe there will be some sparks flying. He does not take it very serious but when we get really envious, “I am going to destroy this guy!” This is vaiṣṇava-aparādha, this is when it really gets to vaiṣṇava-aparādha if you just go after someone.
‘tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā,’ (Siksastaka, verse 3)
Be more humble than a blade of grass and more tolerant than a tree but if we just go after someone, that is envy and then you get strong reactions. But the little rough dealings between new devotees are not so serious, are not taken so serious. If you keep on doing it, it will destroy some taste!
Otherwise, what chance would we have? Because everybody comes from different background than a pure devotee. You cannot act like a pure devotee overnight. We should try, it is about trying. Sometimes we fail, but we should keep on trying to be more tolerant than a tree, to be respectful!