(Srila Prabhupada bowing to Radha Gokulananda, Bhaktivedanta Manor, 1973)
"Religion means the natural sequence of life. When there is some discrepancy in that natural sequence of life and there is artificial way of life, at that time, the Lord or His representative comes, either as incarnation or the representative of God. That is the rule. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata. And abhyutthānam adharmasya. Unnatural life, when they are too much addicted to unnatural life, at that time the Lord takes His appearance. Why? It is necessary. It is necessary.
Paritrāṇāya sādhūnām (BG 4.8). Always, you'll know, there is always a class of men who are always God-fearing. There may be the percentage of such persons very small. But you'll find. That is the way of nature. There will be some percentage who are devoted to God. They are called sādhu. Sādhu. Sādhu. Sādhu means... Sādhu's description is there. Sādhu means sage, or saint. Who is a saint? Who is a sādhu. That description is given. Titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ.
This is the definition of sādhu. Saint, who is a saint? A saint is called who is very tolerant, tolerant, tolerant to the utmost.
You have got very good example of Lord Jesus Christ, a great saint, or sādhu also. He was, of course, more than sādhu. Now, just see his behavior, how much tolerant he was. He was being crucified and he was praying God, 'O Lord, forgive these people, what they are doing.' That, this is the significance of sādhu. Titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ. For their personal sake, they're always very tolerant, but they are very kind to all people, all living entities, very kind. In spite of their all disadvantages, they try to give something, real knowledge, to the people in general. Kāruṇikāḥ. And suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām. And a sādhu is not a friend of a particular class, particular community or particular country. No. A sādhu, a saint, is he who is friend of all, not only of human being, even of animals and less than animals. These are the qualification of sādhu. Ajāta-śatravaḥ.
And they have no enemies. Or they are not anyone's enemy. Everyone's friend. Enemy, of course, even the greatest man, you will find some enemy. This is the nature of this world. Even the most perfect man will have some enemy. So that is different thing. But the sādhu, the saint, is no, no one's enemy. He's friend of everyone. Titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām, ajāta-śatravaḥ śāntāḥ (SB 3.25.21). Ajāta... They are nobody's enemy, and santa, always peaceful. These are the qualifications of sādhu.
Now, here the Lord says that 'I come, or My representative comes...' Why? Paritrāṇāya sādhūnām (BG 4.8). Sādhūnām. The Lord is very much anxious for the saintly persons. Who have sacrificed everything for the service of the Lord, they are very, very dear to the Lord.
Lord cannot tolerate any insult, or any, I mean to say, misbehave to a sādhu. Although sādhu, they do not, I mean to say, mind if they are insulted, they do not mind, but the Lord will never tolerate if a sādhu is... Just like a small boy, your child, if somebody slaps him in the street... That boy may excuse, 'Oh, all right,' but his father and mother will never tolerate. 'Why you have slapped my son?' That is the nature. Similarly, the sādhu, who is a great devotee of the Lord, they might be tolerant. You can crucify him, can do any misbehavior to him. He's never angry. But God will never tolerate. We must always remember that. He has got special protection, special vision, on the sādhu.
You'll find in the Bhagavad-gītā that, that... Samo 'haṁ sarva... Samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ (BG 9.29). The Lord says, 'I am equal to everyone.' Otherwise, how He can be God. He is equal to everyone. Yes. 'I am equal to everyone. Nobody's My enemy and nobody's My friend.' Samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ: 'Nobody's My enemy. Nobody's My friend. I am equal to everyone.' But ye tu bhajanti māṁ bhaktyā teṣu te mayi: 'But anyone who is devoted to Me, oh, I have got particular attention for him.' Although He's neutral, still, the person who is devotee, who's always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, oh, there is a special protection, special. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa declares... You'll find in the Bhagavad-gītā, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: (BG 9.31) 'My dear Kaunteya, Arjuna, you can declare it in the, to the world that My devotee will be never vanquished, never be vanquished.' "
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, July 20, 1966)