In many of Kripaluji Maharaj’s speeches, he makes mention of a rather important fact for daily life. He tells it to his preachers, his devotees, to anyone who will listen. Maharajji tells them and us that they have no greater ally than their critic. The one who follows them around, pointing out their faults, is not an enemy, but rather the truest of friends. So for today, on Father’s Day, let us understand where we have gone wrong, in mistaking our benefactors.
This is a misconception of both subtle and immense devastation for our minds. We hate criticism because we love praise. Now this is natural, we all enjoy the occasional compliment and pat on the back for doing good works. But even when the criticism is light, we resent it. We go so far as to seek revenge on our well-wishers, until they decide to be more charitable to us. It is a long practice we engage ourselves in, to seek out those who will stroke our pride and validate our sense of self-worth, and to shun those that will cut us down, and make us struggle to feel like we are worthy of even existing.
The fact of the matter is, without critics, there is no progress. No human being is perfect; there is always more we can do to improve ourselves. Just as we cannot dare to adjust a treasured idea or creation, we cannot dare to suggest to ourselves that maybe we could do better. Everyone needs someone to give them a little push, to provide that something extra to help them develop. Everything in nature works that way: the flowers need bees to help pollinate, crocodiles need birds to help clean their teeth, and humans need critics to come and force them to correct their mistakes.
We’re a little too willing to point out to others what they need to do to get ahead in life, but we cannot stand to have that thrown back in our face. Lucky for us, though, we have fathers in our lives. Fathers give criticism in a way that no one else can. A father shares knowledge with love, never forcing it. He wants to see you succeed, not only past your own expectations of that success, but beyond his own successes. Truly good fathers are there to nurture our growth, and any criticism they give comes not from self-aggrandizement, but love. With that in mind, thank Maharajji, our Divine Father, for his loving work to set us on the path to God.