There is a specific tendency visible in many people (mostly in those who hate varNAshrama but don’t want to appear as haters) to expect 100% observance of shAstrokta-dharma and AchAra from anyone who appears to follow them.
Let us accept that there is nothing called 100% observance of any rule, either shAsrtIya or other. It’s a journey where we learn shAstra-s, gain shraddhA in vidhi-niShedha and then try to follow them according to our eligibility and likings(yes they contribute to our behaviour). These factors are common for any area of unforced-natural-learning.
So, if a sannyAsI is good at one dharma, as study of vedAnta(by the way it’s his core-dharma), and bad at other(non-possession and travel, etc.); I can just expect that he continues his journey to learn, earn shraddhA and enthusiasm to follow more and more. I’ll never go to him and say that – ‘what’s in following shAstrAdhyayana, when you are not able to shun possession?’ This is very negative attitude, which is basically asking to shun one good quality just because he doesn’t possess another good quality. People having such tone are actually haters to core, or idiots, or shraddhAjaDa-s – whichever category you like to name. They are themselves not respectful to the fact that someone is trying at least, or that he has some good qualities.
The correct way to reach such practicing person is to tell them/expect from them that they will not shun the present good quality and gain one more, and one more, and more.
And, why ask sannyAsI-s only? sannyAsI-s have very few rules to follow. What about a brahmachArI-s, who never knew about brahmacharya, or upavIta or sandhyA; or a gRhastha who has to follow even more dharma-s and AchAra-s.
If we start to shut mouth of people based on their adherence of some rules, instead of their knowledge, I think most of you may not get any chance to post any mail here(Advaita-l). Isn’t it?
So, a discussion must not depend on what you do. It must be based on knowledge. That’s why sannyAsI-s and gRhastha-s and brahmachArI-s are a part of this community, although they are all imperfect at the same time.
So, never bring character of a person to win an argument. It’s the worst logic, if we can term it a logic, which can be used.
And, don’t fear that someone is questioning someone, because when you fear that thing and act defensive it’s just a sign of your unclear understanding. Why not try to face questions and have some answers prepared using our precious time and intelligence. This exercise will allow you to eradicate you vague understanding about that person or idea, or it may reveal that you don’t have enough knowledge to support or blame him/that.
One more thing to learn from critics is that they have courage to question. Most of us don’t possess that owing to our shraddhA(preoccupation!?) or we think that that’s trivial (for reasons even unknown to us or for some vague reasons).
When someone asks those questions, you have got some chance to test whether you have sufficient reasons to refute the objection/solve the problem or not. Are those reasons, actually reasons or just some type of untested ideas?, etc.
So, I think it is better to not ask or point fingers at others’ character, when this list is open, i.e. when it doesn’t ask about and verify you character/adherence to dharma.
Moreover, you can shut mouth of critics if you are too many, as it happens in advaitin-yahoo group. But, that’s not healthy. You are creating an atmosphere where you can pass fatwa(फतवा) for everyone who is not like you. But, when you go outside your area/group, you will feel helpless, because you can’t stop others there, in neutral or other’s territory. So, your attitude will eventually weaken you. I don’t think that it is preferable for any sane person.
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