samatvena ca sarvātmā
It is the duty of an advanced devotee in the second stage of devotional perfection to act in accordance with this verse. There are three stages of devotional life. In the lowest stage, a devotee is simply concerned with the Deity in the temple, and he worships the Lord with great devotion, according to rules and regulations. In the second stage the devotee is cognizant of his relationship with the Lord, his relationship with fellow devotees, his relationship with persons who are innocent and his relationship with persons who are envious. Sometimes devotees are ill-treated by envious persons. It is advised that an advanced devotee should be tolerant; he should show complete mercy to persons who are ignorant or innocent. A preacher-devotee is meant to show mercy to innocent persons, whom he can elevate to devotional service. Everyone, by constitutional position, is an eternal servant of God. Therefore, a devotee’s business is to awaken everyone’s Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is his mercy. As for a devotee’s treatment of other devotees who are his equals, he should maintain friendship with them. His general view should be to see every living entity as part of the Supreme Lord. Different living entities appear in different forms of dress, but according to the instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā, a learned person sees all living entities equally. Such treatment by the devotee is very much appreciated by the Supreme Lord. It is therefore said that a saintly person is always tolerant and merciful, he is a friend to everyone, never an enemy to anyone, and he is peaceful. These are some of the good qualities of a devotee.