On Vaishnav Aparadh
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
You must believe and have faith in this—Gurudev told me if you serve Vaishnavs (if you do sadhu-seva), Krishna will come and serve you.
Gurudev also said that we do not come to this world, we have not joined this mission to become a Vaishnav or a Krishna-bhakta. We have come to this mission to be a servant of devotees. This is our identification. We are servants of devotees. We are not devotees of Krishna directly. This is our main conception and Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's conception is also like this.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur also says,
রাধা-ভজনে যদি মতি নাহি ভেলা ।
radha-bhajane yadi mati nahi bhela
"If you do not worship Srimati Radharani, your worship of Krishna is nothing."
রাধার দাসীর কৃষ্ণ সর্ব্ব বেদে বলে
radhara dasira krsna sarva-vede bole
"Krishna is the property of the maid servants of Srimati Radharani. All Vedas say this."
রাধিকা দাসী যদি হোয় অভিমান ।
radhika-dasi yadi haya abhimana
Those who consider themselves maidservants of Sri Radha will quickly meet Gokula-Krishna (Kan).
This is our main conception—to be a servant of devotees. Our identity is not a Krishna-bhakta, or a devotee of Krishna—we are devotees, servants of Srimati Radharani. This is main for us and it is necessary to understand this.
You have probably read in Srimad Bhagavatam that when all the yajna-patnis (wives of brahmans) wanted to serve Krishna, Krishna did not allow it, but then they understood, "You do not like us, but You always like the gopis and Radharani, then can we serve them?" Krishna accepted it, "Yes, that is the proper line!"
Do you have any questions?
Question: How can we avoid offences?
You know how to avoid it. There are different kinds of offences—there are four types of Vaishnav-aparadh, thirty-two types of seva-aparadh, ten dhama-aparadhas, and ten Nama-aparadhas. Read what these offences are and try to avoid them. Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Gurudev also say that sometimes although we have read about these offences, we may consciously or unconsciously make some offence, that is why we should always ask for forgiveness. You do not know whether you are making an offence or not, but always ask when you pay obeisance to a Vaishnav, "Please remove my offence."
Sometimes some Vaishnav may make some aparadh, and we all the time talk about it or think about it. This is not good. Sometimes, somebody can make some little offence, but we must not discuss that with others.
One of the offences is also when you sometimes see a boy doing something wrong at the beginning, in his early life, but after that he may become a Vaishnav, join Krishna consciousness and become good, then you must not discuss his previous behaviour with others.
Sometimes you may also hear some aparadh, some Vaishnav ninda (criticism, abuse). When this happened, Bhaktivinod Thakur gave advice—he always keeps quiet (mauna, মৌন) and does not say anything. Sometimes also in Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's time, some brahmacharis would fight and come to Prabhupad to complain about each other, but Prabhupad would stop both of them and say to them, "You must glorify each other for ten minutes."
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Gurudev, and also Srila Guru Maharaj said that everybody has some good quality and some bad quality, and we must not take anyone's bad quality—we must not listen to anyone's bad qualities, we must not search for anyone's bad qualities. Do not be a drain inspector—if you always inspect the drain, you will always get a bad smell. Moreover, Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Gurudev also say that if somebody has some bad quality and you always speak bad about that person or always discuss that person, you will have to accept that bad quality—that bad quality will come to you, and your good quality will come to that other person.
You have heard many pastimes about offences. For example, Ramachandra Puri was an offender to his Gurudev, Sripad Madhavendra Puripad. You know what offence he had made. Ramachandra Puri always searched others' faults, he even criticised Sriman Mahaprabhu, but Sriman Mahaprabhu gave him respect. Everybody complained to Mahaprabhu, "He always speaks bad about You, but You are giving him a high asan (honourable seat)!" Mahaprabhu did not say anything. One day, Ramachandra Puri came to Mahaprabhu's room in Gambhira and saw some ants there. He said, "O navin sannyasi (O new sannyasi)! I guess You are eating too many sweets, that is why You have ants in Your room!" Mahaprabhu thought, "I have heard that this man always criticises Me behind My back, but now He is telling it in front of Me!" and He replied, "Yes, Prabhu. What can I do? I am a fallen sannyasi. Sometimes My tongue wants to take sweets, so I eat sweets." But actually Mahaprabhu did not eat sweets...
When one makes an offence to a sadhu or Guru, this offence gradually goes up to the Lord. That is why we must always avoid sadhu-ninda, Vaishnav-ninda. You know that this is the first of the ten offences to the Holy Name. If you criticise sadhus, even if you chant the whole day and night, the result will be nothing. Gurudev also told many times that you may chant the whole day, you may chant one lakh Holy Names, but if you always search others' faults, you will not get any result. "Vaishnav habe adosa darasi"—a Vaishnav will not see others' faults, he will see he is the guilty one, "Everybody is innocent, I am guilty."
In a nutshell, if you know it is a Vaishnav-aparadh, you must always avoid it. Sometimes, a Vaishnav-aparadh may happen unconsciously, but then you should always ask when you pay obeisance to a Vaishnav, "Please remove my offence." Even when you come to the Lord, always pray, "Please remove my offence."
Do you have any other questions?
Question: If some sannyasi or brahmachari make an offence, is it an offence if I object?
You can correct them, but I will give you one example. You can read about this in Chaitanya-charitamrita.
Sriman Mahaprabhu knows what is right and what is wrong, but once He wanted to hear about it from His devotee, so He consciously did something wrong, some offence. What did He do? There was one widow lady who had a son, and that son always came to Mahaprabhu. One day, Damodar Brahmachari told that boy not to come again, but the boy complained about it to Mahaprabhu, "That old brahmachari always tells me not to come, not to come." Mahaprabhu laughed a little and gave him a sweet. Then, one day Damodar Brahmachari could not tolerate it any more, so He came to Mahaprabhu and told Him directly, "Prabhu, You are doing wrong. We preach about You, we go outside and if somebody says anything bad about You, we cannot tolerate it, and they will be making a big offence. I know that this boy is not bad, but people know his mother is a widow and a very beautiful lady—You must avoid the association of that boy." Mahaprabhu thought, "What is going on? I am a sannyasi and a brahmachari is chastising Me!" Then Mahaprabhu decided, "Yes, Damodar is the perfect man. I can send him to My mother with some Jagannath prasadam and cloth. Who else can I trust?" So, this is how Mahaprabhu chose Damodar to be sent to Nabadwip. Gurudev also said—was Mahaprabhu thinking only about His mother? No. His mother was old at that time, so He actually sent Damodar to Nabadwip and not anyone else because Vishnupriya was there.
So, if some brahmachari or sannyasi does something wrong, do not tell others about it, it will give a bad name to our society, but you can tell about it directly to the person, then it is not a problem.
Here is present Sripad Bhakti Amrita Paramarthik Maharaj, he is a disciple of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, and he is helping very much with preaching—he does the yajnas, he does the puja. He helps me in preaching very much, and he also has humility, Vaishnavata (Vaishnav qualities).
Who is a Vaishnav? Gurudev told, a Vaishnav is the one who has these qualities:
তৃণাদপি সুনীচেন তরোরিব সহিষ্ণুনা ।
trnad api sunichena taror api sahisnuna
"One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives honour to others without desiring it for himself, is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Krishna."
"Those who have given up money, women, and fame, are the true Vaishnavs."
(Vaishnav Ke? 11)
Everybody says that tridandi sannyas means kaya, mana, vakya (being surrendered and serving with one's actions, mind, and speech), but Gurudev preaches that sannyas means not only kaya, mana, vakya—a sannyasi should actually have more qualification: he must be more humble, more tolerant and give more honour to others.
[His Divine Grace requests Sripad Bhakti Amrita Paramarthik Maharaj to speak to the assembled devotees.]
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