What's wrong with telling someone "Good job"?
I can't think of any reason not to give out praise when congratulations are due. But religiously minded members of Radha Soami Satsang Beas sure did back in my RSSB speaking days.
I suspect that not much has changed. Which is too bad. Because spirituality should start from a base of being fully human.
That is, if we aren't engaging in the normal social niceties that bring people together and make everyday life flow more pleasantly, it's hard to see how we're on a path that leads to some sort of higher realization.
Quite a few years ago I remember being part of a panel that was advising satsang ("church") speakers at one of the periodic large RSSB gatherings. One of the organization's representatives said, "The worst thing anyone can do is congratulate a speaker after he or she has given a satsang." (satsang also means a talk, or sermon)
He explained that praise feeds the ego, so we shouldn't say anything even so simple as Thank you, I enjoyed your talk.
I disagreed. I told the group that if after years or decades of meditation a RSSB speaker is so easily influenced by a passing compliment, this is a pretty pitiful comment on the person's spiritual accomplishment, or lack thereof.
Good lord. Every day each of us gives and receives a lot of praise and blame. At work, at home, at school, on the highway ("Watch where you're going, you jerk!").
We should be able to let most of it roll off our backs without throwing us off balance. Especially if we claim to be following a spiritual practice, or path, that supposedly inculcates a feeling of detachment from worldly affairs.
Yet here was a high-ranking RSSB functionary telling initiates that they needed to walk on eggshells around satsang speakers, because a bit of praise could send their ego into a uncontrollable paroxysm of "Wow, I'm so great!"
Myself, I always enjoyed it when people came up to me after I gave a talk.
Some would have questions. Some would express their appreciation for my echoing their own feelings, because they didn't know that other initiates were as scientifically spiritually skeptical as they were. Some would take me to task for screwing up on some metaphysical or philosophical point.
Regardless, I liked the interchange. Person to person. Heart to heart. Mind to mind. Honest free-floating conversation, everybody saying what was true to them.
Like I said in a previous post, sat means truth. How can you have a genuine satsang if there isn't sat in both the speaker and the audience?
Being real – to me that's a big part of what spirituality, which really is nothing more than living life, is all about. Heck, maybe the only part.
"Thank you." "I didn't like what you said." "Here's where we differ." If that's what you feel, say it. Don't be afraid of being yourself.
There's nobody else you can be.