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58 -Compassion Toward Living Entities
1. What is the highest welfare activity?
There are three ways to exhibit compassion toward the living entities. Compassion can be displayed toward the gross material body, and this is counted as a pious activity. Distributing free food to the hungry, free medicine to the diseased, free water to the thirsty, and free clothing to those afflicted by cold, are all expressions of compassion related to the body. Providing free education is an expression of compassion related to the minds of the living entities. But the highest form of compassion is in relation to the living entities' souls. From such a compassionate propensity is born eagerness to deliver fallen souls from the miseries of material existence by awarding them devotional service to Krsna. (Sajjana Tosani 9/9)
2. To which living entities does the phrase jiva-daya, "compassion for others," apply?
It is to be understood that jiva-dayd refers only to conditioned souis. Moreover, among conditioned souls, those who have become inclined toward Krsna should be treated as friends, not as candidates for compassion. Therefore, mercy is to be shown only to those who are foolish or ignorant among the conditioned souls. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/8)
3. What is the difference between the welfare activities of the karmis, jndnis, and bhaktas?
Those who follow karma kdnda do not endeavor to give others eternal benefit. Rather, they think that compassion relating to the body and mind is the most auspicious. The followers of jnana kdnda think that compassion relating to the mind is the most beneficial. But the Lord's pure devotees eternally benefit the living entities by preaching devotional service to them.
(Sajjana Tosanl 9/9)
4. What is the proof of a Vaisnava's compassion toward the living entities?
Until a living entity's good fortune has been awakened, his propensity to serve Krsna does not arise. Helping the living entities awaken their good fortune is the only proof of a Vaisnava's compassion toward them. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/8)
5. How does a Vaisnava show compassion toward living entities?
The main activity of a Vaisnava is to incline living entities toward serving Lord Krsna. Whenever curing diseases or satisfying the body's hunger becomes the main objective, it is to be understood that there is a lack of Vaisnavism there. This is because by such activities, the living entities receive only temporary relief, not eternal relief. Whenever such activities are directed to help the living entities inclination towards Krsna, however, the Vaisnavas take pleasure in them. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/8)
6. How should one conduct oneself as a devotee?
Teach your saintly characteristics to others. You are engaged in good activities, that is all right, but the living entities of the material world who are just like your brothers are becoming degraded due to their sinful activities. (Sajjana Tosanl 5/10)
7. Which materialists are fit to receive a Vaisnavas mercy?
The devotees should display mercy toward the non-duplicitous materialists.
(Bhdgavatdrka Maricimdld 15/126)
8. What kind of preaching makes a Vaisnava happy?
A Vaisnava becomes particularly happy when he sees that by his preaching about Krsna even one living entity has taken to Krsna's service. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/8)
9. Is there any difference between jlva-dayd and the basis of devotional service to Krsna?
Compassion cannot be separated from raga (attachment). There is no difference between jlva-dayd and the basis of devotional service to Krsna.
(Sri Krsna-samhita 8/18)
10. How does a Vaisnava show mercy, and why is it topmost?
When a person takes shelter of bhakti; mercy towards all living entities is a natural quality. Compassion does not have separate existence from bhakti. This quality when offered to the Lord is called bhakti or prema. It becomes friendship, compassion and indifference when directed towards other living beings. This feeling is inherent in the eternal soul. In the spiritual realm, this quality manifests only as friendship, but in the material world, it manifests as friendship towards devotees, mercy towards the innocent, and indifference towards the offenders. These are but different aspects of the same compassion. In the conditioned state, this compassion is stunted. It starts with one's own body, and then widens to include one's household, then one's caste, then one's fellow citizens. Expanding, it includes the human beings of the whole world. A materialist's compassion becomes complete when it is directed towards all living entities. Patriotism is but an aspect of this sentiment in relation to one's country, and it is philanthropy when directed towards all humanity. The Vaisnava is not limited by these sentiments. He is compassionate to all living entities, regardless of caste, creed, nationality, mental, or physical condition. (Caitanya-siksamrta 3/3)