RESPECT AMONGST THE DEVOTEES
Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode
The renunciate vaishnavas should not think that they are more respectable than the ghastha vaishnavas. One should know that the difference in respect among the vaishnavas lies only between uttama-adhikārī and madhyama-adhikārī. Both uttamaadhikārīs and madhyama-adhikārīs are found amongst the ghasthas. This rule also applies to the renunciate vaishnavas.
The glories of the renunciate vaishnavas are that they have given up the association of women, greed for money, and bodily pleasure. The ghastha vaishnavas have special glories. Many of them work hard to earn money, and after serving Krishna, they serve ghastha and sannyāsī vaishnavas.
Whether one is a ghastha or a sannyāsī, the principal cause for respect is the attainment of devotional service. One should be respected as a vaishnava according to one’s advancement in devotional service. There is no other cause to distinguish the level of a vaishnava.
— Śrī Bhaktivinoda Vanī Vaibhava 25.11. Compiled by Sri Sundarananda Vidyavinode Prabhu.
Translated by Bhumipati Das, Published by Iswara Das and Touchstone Media. Vrindavan. 2002
– An expert from Sri Krishna-kathamrta Bindu, a free bi-monthly magazine service provided by Gopal Jiu Publications.