What Is An Offense? by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Is it an offense to unknowingly engage in bad association?
“Even if you associate with non-devotees unknowingly you commit an offense against devotional service.” (SajjanaToṣaṇī 5/5)
Why are offenses most grave?
“If one disregards and disrespects the Vaisnavas he commits an offense. Sinful reactions are nullified simply by undergoing ordinary atonement; but offense is not nullified so easily. An offense is is committed by both gross and subtle bodies and is thus a deviation from one’s quest for self-realization. Therefore, those who desire to worship the Supreme Lord must remain careful to never commit any
offense.” (SajjanaToṣaṇī 5/2)
What is an offense?
“When malevolent activity is committed towards the saintly persons and the Supreme Lord, it is called offense. Offense is most grave and therefore must be given up by all means.” (Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta 2/5)
Is it possible to attain Kṛṣṇa-prema if one commits offenses?
“One who does not attain love of God after worshiping Krishna birth after birth has certainly committed heaps of offenses. For only by chanting Krishna’s name without offenses can one attains Kṛṣṇaprema.”
(Navadvīpa Mahātmya, Chapter 1)
Who are offenders at the feet of Bhakti Devi?
“There are many propensities that are detrimental to devotional service like envy, hatred, pride and the desire for fame. Being induced by those propensities people criticize others, and are thus offenders at
the feet of Bhakti Devi.” (SajjanaToṣaṇī 10/10)
How do the madhyama adhikārīs commit offenses against the Vaisnavas?
“The counting of pure Vaisnavas begins with madhyama adhikārīs because their goal of life is to serve the pure Vaisnavas. If madhyamaadhikārīs give up the considerations of Vaisnava and non-Vaisnava, and behave as kanistha bhaktas they will then commit the offense to the Vaisnavas.” (Harināma Cintāmani)
What is more offensive than a Vaisnava aparādha?
“For an embodied living entity there is no offense graver than an offense committed against the Vaisnavas.” (SajjanaToṣaṇī 2/6)
What is the test for persons who consider that the Vaisnavas belong to a particular caste?
“Those who become averse to accepting the remnants of a pure Vaisnava, considering him to belong to a particular caste are cheaters and as such they cannot be counted as Vaisnavas. For those who are proud of their elevated caste, accepting the Vaisnava’s remnants is the real test.” (Prema Pradīpa, Ray 7)
Why is it improper to consider that the Vaisnavas belong to a particular caste?
“If you are really afraid of cheating your very self, then you should not consider that the Vaisnavas belong to a particular caste.” (Sajjana Toṣaṇī 9/9)
Is criticizing faults of a Vaisnava results in blasphemy of a Vaisnava?
“One who criticizes a Vaisnava’s caste, a Vaisnava who unknowingly commits an offense, a Vaisnava’s almost- destroyed faults, and a Vaisnava’s sinful behavior prior to his surrender, is certainly a blasphemer of Vaisnavas. Such a person will never develop a taste for chanting the Lord’s holy names. A pure Vaisnava is he who has taken shelter of pure devotional service. The above-mentioned four types of faults may be occasionally found in him; but there is no possibility of having any other significant faults in him. ” (Harināma Cintāmani)
What is the easiest way to achieve devotional service?
” One should give up the mentality of considering the Vaisnavas as belonging to a particular caste and instead he should take the dust from the feet of a devotee who is fully engaged in chanting the Lord’s holy names, and respectfully smear it all over his body.” (Harināma Cintāmani)
— Bhaktivinoda Vānī Vaibhāva Published by Īśvara dāsa.