Family life offers a battle field to our false egos, especially between husband and wife. So much time and energy can be wasted, arguing of petty little details and trying to establish who is right and who is wrong. And instead of using such opportunities for our purification by letting go of the demands the false ego makes, we do the opposite: we protect and defend ourselves.
We can often witness this also taking place in India's big cities in a traffic chaos. One rickshaw driver comes too close to another, and immediately they start screaming at each other to keep more distance: "This is my rickshaw! Can't you see I am here? Move out of the way!" I have witnessed situations where both jump out of their vehicles and beat each other up - in the middle of the street! And passers-by come running to separate the two, sometimes by beating them also. In this way, the false ego is bouncing back and forwards.
And thus we are caught in an ego battle with no end in sight. It can go on forever. As a rule, the persons involved are not interested to inquire in a humble frame of mind, trying to find out the truth. Rather, everyone seeks an opportunity to prove that they are right and everyone else is wrong. The aim of such debates is to get the ego satisfaction by being the winner, who is right.
And we can feel the contamination such kinds of exchanges bring along. We may detect an angry and ugly feeling in our heart, and our mind is agitated. The whole discussion may continue within our head, going around in circles. It may take quite some time to let go of it and shake off this contamination. It can take several hours, or even days.
We are strongly advised not to participate in such kind of discussions, since they are highly contaminating. There is no need, and even no use, since nobody derives any benefit and purification. Everybody only gets contaminated: those who witness it, and those who take part. Such exchanges are not uplifting to anybody. Better to simply respond with 'Hare Krishna' and withdraw from any further discussion, without further follow-up.
Therefore, in his book Bhaktyaloka, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur mentions debating as one of the various categories of prajalpa. They are a contaminating waste of time and energy, which serious Vaishnavas avoid.
Interestingly, two devotees may have very different opinions or approaches to certain aspects of devotional life and preaching. If they are beyond the false-ego platform, they will not try to prove to each other that their own idea and opinion is superior. In humility, they will respect each other's differences and visions and will appreciate and honor the contribution the other person makes to Lord Chaitanya's sankirtan movement. There will be no tension between them - in fact they can be the best of friends, going beyond the level of 'who is right, and who knows better.' Their friendship will be on the absolute platform of relishing the holy name and Krishna katha, and glorifying Srila Prabhupada.
During my visit to Soho Street temple I distributed 112 copies of my two books - devotees requested me to come back regularly.
On the 26th of September I took a train to Leicester/England....
Your servant, Devaki dd