Vaishnava Aparadh

 

After my initiation I prayed to my gurudev Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj saying “Gurudev kindly instruct me how can I attain Prema bhakti ?  ”  The first thing he told me is ‘One who does bhajan of Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani without committing  offence , he attains prem bhakti.”

The below discussion is taken from a book “Obstacles in Bhakti “of  Sri Srimad Binod Bihari Das Babaji maharaj. Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj comments about the book

Any devotee who is serious in performing Bhajan must read it and it will surely help him – I have no doubt in this regard.
—-Pandit Sri Srimad Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj(Radhakund Mahanta, the 34th representative to the seat of Raghunath Das Goswami)


Types of vaishnava aparadha:

The other aparadhas break the branches and leaves of the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti. However Vaishnav-aparadh is very powerful and it uproots the creeper altogether. If we commit the other aparadhas the creeper will, no doubt, grow weak, but it will continue to live. However, if we commit Vaishnav-aparadh the creeper of bhakti dries up completely.
Vaishnav-ninda is not the only way to commit Vaishnav-aparadha. Here are other ways too.

“hanti nindanti vai dweshti vaishnavan-nabhir-nadanti,
krudhyate yati no harshang darshane patanani shat.”

Meaning – “If we beat, criticize, disrespect, get angry with, do not express pleasure on seeing, do not pay obeisance and do not glorify a Vaishnav we commit Vaishnav-aparadh.” – (Sri Hari-bhakti-vilas)


 

Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, The most merciful avataar on Vaishnava Aparadha:

Sriman-Mahaprabhu has especially warned the sadhak about this Vaishnav aparadh. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat mention Vaishnav-aparadh repeatedly.

“madyapere uddharilo chaitanya gosain,
baishnab-nindukere kumbhipake dilo thain.
sobare gourachandra koribe uddhar,
byatirek baishnab ninduk durachar.
shool-papi sama jadi bhakta-ninda kore,
Bhagabat-pronam tothapi shighra more.
heno baishnab ninde jodi sarbagna hoi,
se jonar adhahpat sarba shastre kohi.
sarba maha prayashchitto je krishner nam,
baishnab-aparadhe se na miloye tran.”

Meaning – “Chaitanya Gosain (Sriman-Mahaprabhu) delivered even the drunkards, but He sent the ones who indulge in Vaishnav-ninda in the Kumbhipak hell. Gourachandra will deliver everybody except the ones who criticize the Vaishnavs since they are the most fallen ones. Even if one pays obeisance to Sri Bhagavan, he will perish if he criticizes a devotee since it strikes Sri Gourahari like a spear in His heart. All Shastras declare that even if one is all-knowing he will fall down if he criticizes a Vaishnav. Although Sri Krishna’s Holy name cleanses us of all the sins, He cannot
deliver us from the effects of Vaishnav-aparadh.” – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

“heno baishnab-aparadh jasi uthe hatimata,
upariya chinde tar shuki jay pata.”

Meaning – “A Vaishnav-aparadh is like an intoxicated elephant. It uproots the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti and its leaves dry up.” – (C.C.)


Some other references:

Besides these, other Shastras too have warned us about Vaishnav-aparadh.

“ninda kurvanti ye mudha vaishnavanang mahatmanang,
patanti pitribhih sardhang maha-raurava-sansthite.”

Meaning – “All those fools who criticize Vaishnavs, they fall into the Raurava hell along with their ancestors.” – (Skanda Puran)

“janma prabhriti yat kinchit sukritang samuparjiang,
nasham-ayati tat sarvang pidayed yadi vaishnavan.”

Meaning – “Those who hurt Vaishnavs, all their pious activities (even those performed in previous lifetimes) come to a naught.” – (Skanda Puran)

“pujitaih bhagavan vishnur-janmantarshatair-api, prasidati na vishwatma vaishnave cha-avamanite.”

Meaning – “Sri Bhagavan is never ever pleased with all those who show disrespect towards Vaishnavs.” – (Srimad-Bhagavatam)


 

Hearing vaishnava ninda is also  aparadha:

So now, you can understand how dangerous Vaishnav-aparadh is. If we keep on collecting Vaishnav-aparadh there is no point in performing lots of bhajan. There is no way we can progress even the slightest bit in bhakti.
Vaishnav-aparadh does not constitute only Vaishnav-ninda. May be someone comes to you and does Vaishnav-ninda, you only say “Yea, yea, that’s right”. Even then, you will have to bear the entire effect of Vaishnav-ninda. It is like this – suppose, someone comes to you with an application, you do not say anything, but only sign below it; this is proof enough that you are making that statement. Similarly, if someone comes to you and does Vaishnav-ninda and you quietly nod your head then you should understand that you too are making the same comments.


One should not do any ninda even if the devotee is deviated:

 

Disciple – That is all right. However, Shastras prescribe some behavioral code for the Vaishnavs, do they not? If some Vaishnavs do not follow these rules – instead – they behave in a completely opposite manner then why can we not mention it? Why should that constitute Vaishnav-aparadh?

Gurudev  – Most certainly, it will constitute Vaishnav-aparadh. Even if we see some Vaishnav behaving against the Shastriya-rules, we must not indulge in ninda. Instead, we should give him full respect, as a sadhu deserves to be given.This is because the Lord says in Sri Bhagavad Gita –
“api chedsuduraharo bhajate mam-ananyabhk,
sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah.”

Meaning – “Even if someone is most sinful, but he worships me alone, then you must consider him to be a sadhu.”

Hence, if we ever disrespect a sadhu it is an aparadh.
“hari-bhakti-para ye cha harinama parayanah,
durvritta va suvritta va tebhyo nityang namo namah.”

Meaning – “Whoever does Hari-bhakti and chants Holy Name – he may be good or bad – I pay him my obeisance.” – (Brihan-naradiya Puran)

“bhagavati cha haravananya-cheta
bhrisha-malino’pi virajate manushyah,
na hi shasha-kslushachchavih kadachit
timira-parabhavatam-upaiti chandrah.”

Meaning – “One who has bhakti for Sri Krishna alone, even if he is seen to commit some sinful activities, he always emits the aura of bhakti, just as the moon, although blemished, is not defeated by darkness.” – (Nrisimha Puran)

As evidence we may take the example of Marichi rishi’s six sons who had laughed when they had seen Lord Brahma (in a state of lust) rushing behind his own daughter. This aparadh forced them to take birth from Devaki’s womb in Kamsa’s jail and Kamsa killed them. Therefore, we must never ever show contempt for a Vaishnav. Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat has strictly warned
us –

“We shall never get any respite if we criticize a worthy Vaishnav, for his behavior is beyond our limited understanding. Sometimes a worthy Vaishnav commits the same activities as a sinful person, only by Sri Krishna’s kripa, someone can understand this – but there are others who fall in trouble (of Vaishnav-ninda) and perish. Those who do not fall in this pit, they survive in bhakti. I can see only one way out of this peril – it is best to glorify and behave humbly with everyone. In this mood, we must chant Holy Name and carefully hear from the great devotees. Then Krishna gives them divine
intelligence, he crosses over the material ocean and no one can stop him.”


 

How hearing ninda is an aparadha ?

Disciple  – All right, I will not do Vaishnav-ninda. However, if someone comes to me and does the same then how is it harmful?
Gurudev – Of course, it will harm you! If someone come to you and does Vaishnav-ninda – you don’t know whether that person is telling the truth or a lie, yet your respect towards that Vaishnav will decrease, won’t it? Immediately you will incur Vaishnav-aparadh ! This is why Shastras have ordered us not hear Vaishnav-ninda.

“nindam bhagavah shrinvan tatparasya janasya Vaishnav-aparadh,Tato napaiti yah so’pi yatyadhah sukritachchyutah.”

Meaning – “On hearing Sri Krishna-ninda and ninda of Sri Krishna’s devotees, those who do not leave the place, he loses all his sukritis and falls down to the hellish planets.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam)

“sadhu-ninda shunile sukriti hoy khoy,
janma janma adhahpat bede ei koy.’

Meaning – “The Vedas state that if we hear sadhu-ninda we lose our sukriti and fall down in every birth.”

From all these statements made in Shastras we can understand how dangerous is Vaishnav-aparadh ! So whoever wishes to progress in bhakti must be extremely careful about Vaishnav-aparadh. It is best to consider every Vaishnav as Sri Govinda’s dear devotee, show him respect and pay obeisance.


 

Everyone should show respect to everyone irrespective of order : No exceptions

For those in renounced order :

Disciple – Does this mean that even a Babaji should show respect to a householder and pay obeisance?

Gurudev – A Vaishnav is a Vaishnav. He may be a grihastha or a renounced – that is immaterial. We must never distinguish. We must show respect, behave respectfully and pay dandavat to every Vaishnav. Otherwise, we’ll be committing an offence. Sri Bhagavan sees our heart. Whose heart is always filled with Krishna and he is not interested in material things, is a true Vaishnav. Sri Gita has defined ‘sannyas’ as –
“jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi yo dweshti na kankshati,
nirdvandvo hi mahabaho sukhang bandhat pramuchyate.”
Meaning – “O Mahabaho! He who never desires anything material, is devoid of anger and envy, know him to be an eternal sannyasi. A pure devotee like him, who is devoid of such dilemma very easily, transcends material bondage and gains liberation.”
Sri Bhagavan has said in Sri Gita –
“anashritah karmaphalang karyang karma karoti yah,
sa sannyasi cha yogi cha niragnirna chakriya.”
Meaning – “Whoever discharges his duties without expecting any fruit thereof; he alone is a sannyasi, a yogi and not one who has given up all activities.”
Therefore, if we accept the above statement of Sri Gita, then it is quite possible that a grihastha, whom I have shown contempt so far, is actually a sannyasi. Therefore, I have no business to feel proud ‘Ohh! I am a Babaji’ and treat a grihastha with contempt. I will only be committing Vaishnavaparadh if I think him to be ‘a person worthy of my mercy’ or ‘a materialist’.

For those in household order:
Now this does not mean a grihastha should disrespect a Babaji and think – ‘What is there in a dress? Greatness depends on the quality of bhajan. I am a nice devotee, I perform good bhajan, while this person is only a Babaji in name, and he does not behave like one.’ Even this is wrong. If a grihastha thinks like this and has contempt for a Babaji, he is crossing maryada and so is committing Vaishnav-aparadh. If a grihastha sees a young Babaji and thinks – “I am old and experienced. Moreover, I have lived for so long in Vrindavan and performed bhajan while this Babaji is of my son’s age, so why should I pay dandavat to him? Rather I should bless him.” This is an aparadh. We must remember that ‘kaupin’ is not something ordinary. It is according to Sriman-Mahaprabhu’s wish and Goswamis such as Sri Rup and Sanatan have worn this attire. Therefore, we must never disregard this dress.
“maryada langhile hoy narake gaman.”

Meaning – “If we overstep ‘maryada’ we shall go to hell” – (C.C.)

He may do bhajan, he may not do bhajan, he may or may not behave properly, and still we should not disrespect him.


 

Even a newcomer in devotional life is to be given all respect:
Moreover, who knows, I am considering him to be my junior, I am thinking – ‘He is a newcomer, what does he know of bhajan?’ – In reality, he may have performed asadhan-bhajan for many previous lifetimes and is in a much more advanced state than I am. Therefore, I will be at a loss if I disregard him. Hence, it is best to consider every Vaishnav higher than myself, pay dandavat, and treat him with respect. Then we have nothing to fear. We must do dandavat to anyone who dons Vaishnav emblems such as tilak and Tulsi.
“sakal baishnaber sahit abhed dekhiya,
je krishna-charan bhaje se jay toriya.”
Meaning – ‘One who worships the lotus-feet of Sri Krishna without discriminating between Vaishnavs, he is delivered.”
– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

“e-kale je baishnaber bodo chhoto bole,
nishchinte thakuk se janibe koto kale.”
Meaning – “Whosoever discriminates between Vaishnavs may rest in peace, for it will take him a long time to realize the Truth.” (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)


 

Paying respect mentally is not sufficient:

Disciple  – Tell me, when I see a Vaishnav, will it not do if I pay him dandavat mentally?
Gurudev – How is that? Pranam means ‘By body, mind and speech’. If we do not pay dandavat bodily then it means we have a veiled pride. What will happen if he considers me inferior? Only those who think like this will not pay dandavat openly. Sriman-Mahaprabhu does not like this sort of Pranam. If we are ashamed to bow our head in front of Vaishnavs how van we expect to advance in the path of bhakti as shown by Sriman-Mahaprabhu?

‘baishnab dekhiya je na noway munda,
sei mundo pode giye naraker kunda.” -(Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Meaning – “The one who does not bow his head before a Vaishnav, his head falls into the pit of hell.”
When we meet a Vaishnav we should at least join our palms, lower our head, speak humbly and thus show respect.


 

How to see the quarrel between vaishnavas:

Disciple  – O exalted one, today I can see the Vaishnavs embroiled in so many quarrels, due to this my faith is shaking. What should I do?
Gurudev – Never ever speak like this, because Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat is saying –
“nitya-shuddha gyan bastu baishnab sakal,
tobe je koloho dekho sob kutuhol.
iha na bujhiye kono kono buddhi nash,
eke bonde, ar ninde, jaibeko nash.”
Meaning – “All Vaishnavs are eternally pure and have pure knowledge, when you see them quarrel it is only in play. Some foolish people don’t understand this and take sides. They praise one and criticize the other – they will surely
perish.”

Therefore we must think – “It is only a leela of the Vaishnavs. I am foolish, so am unable to comprehend” and we must not take sides. If you support one and find fault with the other, you will harm your bhajan.
“je papishtha ek baishnaber paksha hoy,
anya baishnaber ninde sei jay khoy.”
Meaning – “He is verily a sinner who supports one Vaishnav and criticizes another. Such a person will surely perish. – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)


 

Groupism must be forbidden:

We must not even go where there is groupism and Vaishnav-ninda.
je sobhay baishnaber ninda matra hoy,
sarba-dharma thakileo tar hoy khoy.

Meaning – Even if an assembly follows all the rules of Dharma, yet indulges in Vaishnav-ninda, it perishes.” – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)


 

How to save onself from Vaishnava aparadha:
Disciple – But O exalted one! I live amidst so many Vaishnavs. Then how can I save myself from such Vaishnav-aparadh?
Gurudev –For this we must stick to a few rules.
1. We should always remain engrossed in bhajan and sadhana.
2. We should not discuss anything else other than God.
3. We should speak with anyone only when it is absolutely necessary
to do so.
4. We should walk on the road with our head lowered and palms joined
– thus showing respect to everyone.
5. It is best to consider everyone superior to us.
6. When one comes to us and criticizes another person we should say,
“I have remembered some urgent work” and quickly leave that place.
7. If we ever see some fault in another, we should think, “my heart is
evil, so I am finding a fault in him, it is my fault and not his.” In this
manner, we must chastise ourselves.
If we do not live like this, we shall never get rid of aparadh and these huge
barricades will continue to block our progress in bhakti. We will never even
realize when, unknown to us, these aparadhs have accumulated and have
formed mountains on our path.


 

Getting rid of Vaishnava aparadha: Beg forgiveness from heart:

Disciple  – Now I am really scared. I have begun to realize that Vaishnav aparadh is very dangerous indeed! If I collect Vaishnav-aparadh, then no matter how much I try, I will make no progress in bhakti whatsoever. Please tell me how I can rid myself of these Vaishnav-aparadhs. Please have mercy on me.

Gurudev – Sriman-Mahaprabhu Himself has instructed how to get rid of Vaishnav-aparadh. He said –
“prabhu bole upadesh korite se pari,
baishnab-aparadh khondaite nari.
je baishnab-sthane apardh hoy jar,
punah se khomile se ghuche nohe ar.”
Meaning – “The Lord said –I can instruct you on this matter, but I cannot take away your Vaishnav-aparadh. The only way to get rid of this aparadh is to beg forgiveness from the person against whom you have committed the aparadh. If he forgives then you are saved, there is no other way.” – (C.B.)

Therefore, we must please the one against whom we have committed an aparadh by glorifying him and showing him respect. It does not mean we should go and angrily beat our head on the ground saying, “Sir! Please forgive me. It is entirely my fault! I should have never spoken to you at all! From now on I‘ll never talk to you and you mustn’t speak to me either.” In
this manner if we harbor anger against that person then it is of no use. The best way to rid ourselves of aparadh is to repent. “Alas! I am ignorant, so I have committed aparadh against a Vaishnav. Unknowingly I have hurt the feelings of a Vaishnav, shame on me! I am not qualified to be called a devotee at all. If my heart is blemished like this I shall never ever progress in bhakti.” In this way, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Bow at the feet of the one against whom we have committed aparadh and cry out in misery for forgiveness.


 

Just taking shelter of holy Name to counter aparadha will result in another naam aparadha:

Disciple –That’s good. The Shastras say, “If we take the shelter of Holy Name we will be rid of all aparadh.” So isn’t it better to follow Shastra and
take the shelter of Holy Name rather than beg others repeatedly to forgive us?
Gurudev – In that case we will commit another aparadh called ’to commit a sin on the strength of Holy Name’. We have to follow the above-mentioned rule only when we don’t know against whom we have committed an offence, or the person whom we have offended, is no more. It leaves us with no option other than to take the shelter of Holy Name. Then may be Holy Name will take mercy on us. Even then, we must remember that we must repent enough and we must be especially careful about not committing such an aparadh again. Otherwise, Sri Nam-prabhu will never be pleased.


 

Even if a vaishnava is not offended then also aparadha is committed:

Many times, we see that great devotees do not take offence in spite of behaving badly with them or insulting them. Instead, he considers it his own fault and repents. Even if someone treats him unjustly, or expresses anger, he thinks, “I have hurt him – it is all because of my faulty character.” Thinking thus, he chastises himself.

Although a great devotee may forgive us, yet the specks of dust on his feet do not forgive. Hence if we think, “Oh! He is a great devotee, he is not hurt, so I have not committed an aparadh,” the aparadh will not leave us and we shall have to suffer for it.

“mahater swabhab ajner dosh kshama kore,
krishner swabhab bhakta ninda sohite na pare.”
Meaning – “Hence, although a pure devotee does not accept aparadh, Bhagavan never forgives us, or you may say the dust of his feet do not forgive us.”

 


 

By Sri Srimad Binod Bihari Das Babaji Maharaj

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jai Sri Radhe
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 08:55:45

    “As evidence we may take the example of Marichi rishi’s six sons who had laughed when they had seen Lord Brahma (in a state of lust) rushing behind his own daughter. This aparadh forced them to take birth from Devaki’s womb in Kamsa’s jail and Kamsa killed them. Therefore, we must never ever show contempt for a Vaishnav. ”

    Hare Krishna!

    Can you please ask Sri Binode Bihari Das Babaji how this lila is supposed to speak to us today in the event of a Vaishnava attempting to commit incest with one of his own children or in the event of a Vaishnava attempting to molest children not his own or force himself sexually upon women?

    Do such “lilas” have anything practically applicable to us or are they just meant to be interpreted as illustrative stories/metaphors?

    Like

  2. krishnadasanudas
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 09:08:56

    Jai Radhe. If any Vaishnava is doing any antisocial work that must be reported to the authority or police who will take appropriate steps. But that does not mean we go and beat the vaishnava or begin to criticize him and publicly write bad about him.WE cannot become a judge and give verdict. There are authority who has that responsibility.It may be that the accusations are false propaganda in order to defame the vaishnava. We never know. We understand it is difficult at times. Krishna punishes even the vaishavas if he has committed an offence but still he is considered a sadhu as per sastra.
    Lord Bhahma ran after his daughter but he never molested her as his divinity protected him. Here it is shown that a personality like lord Brahma can also be affected by lust but he managed to control it. Becoming lusty is a thing and molesting another is a different thing. One who is advanced in devotional life will never molest anyone even if he is affected by lust. Better we leave it to authority and Krishna who will take care of everything. If we get ourselves involved in hate remarks gradually we will see we are getting deep into it and that bad quality becomes a part of our nature which is not good for devotional life. This is why criticism is forbidden.
    If we keep our eyes open we can easily find thousands of such examples where a vaishnava is found always criticizing others whether it be materialists or devotees of other sampradaya. It has become a part of his nature and inspite of chanting he will never ever progress in devotional life.

    If we ever get chance to ask Sri Binode Bihari Das Babaji on this topic we will definitely ask as your question is justified.

    Like

  3. Jai Sri Radhe
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 03:44:20

    Thank you for responding. The thing is though, Marichi-putra-gana only laughed. They did not go so far as to report the incident to any authority or to warn Brahma-putri’s mother or aunts to keep an eye on Brahmaji around her. Had they done so, I wonder what their “punishment” would have been? More? Less? Would they have been rewarded for their social justice warriorship/ethical integrity? Would they have been admonished for “jumping to conclusions/judging?

    Basically we need to review to what extent, if any, a lila of this type has any application to the nuts-n-bolts ground reality of your average sadhak.

    “If we keep our eyes open we can easily find thousands of such examples where a vaishnava is found always criticizing others whether it be materialists or devotees of other sampradaya.”

    Thousands, I don’t know. An equal if not even larger problem lies in the opposite direction: the tendency for bhaktas, particularly western ones, to over-idealize and pedastalize others, placing them on a higher level than they may be qualified for.

    You see this particularly flowing from the western bhakta to the Indian one. Assuming their “samskaras” are thicker for bhakti and they are rid of more anarthas than the supposedly culturally deprived western vaishnava sanga-ites.

    This creates a “see/hear/speak no evil” syndrome and a perfect storm for all manner of dysfunction and exploitation to take place, which is happening and has happened for hundreds, if not thousands of years in “sangas”.

    Hare Krishna!

    Like

  4. krishnadasanudas
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 10:54:34

    Jai Radhe,
    We are not in a position to comment if a lila is applicable in current scenario or not. We cannot negate sastra even if one is unable to realize its intentions . Reviewing sastra is foolishness. We humbly request you not to become a judge by pointing fingers or discriminating a particular race which is a serious aparadha and can lead one to hell as per Padma Puran . Please keep that in consideration and better focus at own sadhana rather than looking at the faults of others .
    One who is involved in aparadha finds valid logic in offending others but that will not do any benefit to him. Quite the opposite it will take him away from devotional life and he will not be able to relish taste in devotional life. I suggest you please read the whole book to understand the severity of vaishnava aparadha .
    Argument on sastric conclusions is not good and not supported by us . Hope you understand.

    Your insignificant servant.

    Like

  5. Sumanshyam
    Mar 29, 2017 @ 20:16:18

    If someone hears guru ninda becozof his past anarthas how can he releived from that apradh plz suggest

    Like

  6. Sumanshyam
    Mar 29, 2017 @ 20:21:43

    If someone commits vaishnav apradh he he will degraded in bhakti and after thathe will understand the effect of vaishnav apradh in bhakti and he will not do any apradh in future how will he can go ahead i. Bhakti plz suggest

    Like

  7. krishnadasanudas
    Apr 23, 2017 @ 22:55:55

    Winners are those who learn from their mistakes and move forward.

    Like

  8. krishnadasanudas
    Apr 23, 2017 @ 22:57:33

    Please go to your guru and ask him to bless you.

    Like

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