I received some pretty heated comments recently, and today this comment came in so it is perhaps a good opportunity to set the record straight. Dr.Phil wrote this:
An off-topic question... On the one hand I consider you senior, on the other hand I sometimes see contradiction in you. I never intend to offend anyone or hurt anyone. When does asking questions in an unorthodox way become offensive ? When becomes critique offensive ? Where to draw the line ? I for example use bold language in speech which can easily be misinterpreted as an attack. I try to be more subtle and polite but it is not easy. Your criticisms are also by many (mis)understood as being offensive. Where do you draw your line ? How tough can we be in speech ? How hard can our line be in defending the truth, while we our liable to make mistakes. Maybe in the future you can devote a post on this topic. I am also interested in the viewpoints and experiences from the respected visitors on this blog. We all had our clashes and had to find a balance.... between shutting up, standing up, admitting mistakes and maybe even forgiving an offense or asking for forgiveness for offenses committed by ourselves. Forgive me any offense at your feet. And maybe you can shed some light or share experience, in your own time when you feel like it. (you can, but don't have to post this comment)
My response, here in public:
Dear Phil, I have the same problem indeed. My criticism or just plain comparisons between recent teachers and the foundational acaryas (the Six Gosvamis in particular) are often seen as offensive. I have also needed time to learn where to draw the line, and I have withdrawn, on the recent advise of Satyanarayan Prabhu, from off the internet into the private realm with this type of comparitive criticisms. Still I am reaping the fruits of previously made comments on the internet, as I experienced recently with a spate of unpleasant comments by readers. I have also learned to show some respect to teachers that I really dont agree with or that I even really dont appreciate personally, because some of them have a huge flock of followers, some of whom do not know the border between devotional indignation and dangerous fanaticism. The internet is a world wide web and there is no telling as to how many (sometimes dangerous fanatic) people actually surf to one's weblog. My opinion is that one should speak out frankly but without mentioning people by name and without insulting people, and as much as possible in the private realm. Otherwise one may disturb devotees' tender faith in their devotional leaders prematurely and thus do more harm than good. I may have caused such disturbance in the past, for which I offer my apologies once more. And yes, indeed, I can at least speak for myself that I am still in the process of learning, so some of my past criticisms have been misplaced, and I may well realise that for other points in the future as well.