Vaisnava-ninda (Criticizing a Vaisnava), Part 7

BY: SUN STAFF - 15.6 - 2022

A serial presentation of 'Vaisnava-ninda' by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Criticism of a Vaisnava's previous faults is abominable

O readers, any faults that were present in a Vaisnava before the onset of bhakti should never be reflected upon, unless there is some good-hearted purpose in doing so. A Vaisnava should not be criticized for the insignificant remnants of his previous faults. This is why Sri Krsna has said in Srimad Bhagavad-gita (9.30–31):

api cet suduracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
ksipram bhavati dharmatma
sasvac-chantim nigacchati
kaunteya pratijanihi
na me bhaktah pranasyati

Even a man of abominable character who engages in loving service performed with one-pointed dedication (ananya-bhajana) to Me is still to be considered a saint due to being rightly situated in bhakti. He quickly becomes virtuous and attains eternal peace. O Kaunteya, declare it boldly that My bhakta never perishes.


It is offensive to criticize a Vaisnava for his waning faults or for any fault that appears by providence

By the influence of bhakti all the extremely abominable kinds of behaviour that may have existed in one's heart before the awakening of bhakti and have gradually become one's acquired nature (nisarga) diminish day by day and are finally destroyed within a very short time. Therefore, criticizing a Vaisnava without a virtuous motive, because of the presence of such waning faults, results in vaisnava-aparadha. Even if one observes some accidental fault in a Vaisnava that occurs due to divine providence, one should still not criticize him. In this context, Sage Karabhajana has said:

sva-pada-mulam bhajatah priyasya
tyaktany abhavasya harih paresah
vikarma yac cotpatitam kathancid
dhunoti sarvam hrdi sannivistah
Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.42)

That person who engages in exclusive bhajana of the lotus feet of Sri Bhagavan, having left all else, is most dear to Him. Even if the tendency to engage in some sinful, forbidden act somehow appears in his heart, Paramesvara Sri Hari, who resides directly within his heart, not only destroys those tendencies but also removes any reaction that would have come as a result of having committed some sin.

The underlying principle is that wrongly blaming and criticizing a Vaisnava for any of the faults just mentioned, which fit into three categories, leads to nama-aparadha, offences against the holy name. If one commits nama aparadha, a sphurti (divine revelation) of nama will never take place, and without such sphurtis it is not possible to become a Vaisnava.


Translated from Sri Gaudiya Patrika, Year 7, Issue 10 in Rays of The Harmonist, Kartika Issue, 2009