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Excerpts from a lecture given by His Holiness Giriraj Maharaj in Vrndavan.

Lord Chaitanya advises Ragunath Goswami that devotional gardener should protect the devotional creeper by fencing it on all sides ,and what is the fencing? The fencing is the circle of pure devotees. If one always remain within the circle of devotees, he can be protected from the offences of vaisnava aparada and to the contrary if one associate with non-devotees, the mad elephant of vaisnava becomes set loose. One may cultivate his garden for very nicely many years. He can water the plants, he can remove the seeds, he can do everything, but if in no time and all of the mad elephant enters the garden, he can break all the plants and uproot them. So one must be very careful not to offend devotees.

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur says that bhakti recedes at the slightest hint of vaisnava aparada. Bhakti goes away. It may happen knowingly and unknowingly we may offend devotee. Like Maharaj Rahugana didn't know that jadbharat was a devotee or that he was commiting an offence. But still he commited an offence. But jatbharat didn't take offence. Does it mean that someone who offend an exalted and maha bhagavat devotee is not liable to suffer the reactions to has offense because the devotee does not take offense. NO., he still has to suffer the reactions.........Srila Krsna das goswami comments that the symptoms of the devotee, that he does not take offense when he is being offended and the symptoms of Krsna is that He cannot tolerate offences against devotees..........The dust of the devotees is very powerful and it can someone to Vaikunta and it can send someone to hell.

Srila Prabhupada give the example of the sun that the heat and light of the sun will cause other plants to wither and dry. So the association of devotees, if we serve the devotees will cause us to advance in Krsna Consciousness and the association of devotees , if we offend the devotees will cause us to fall down because the result of offense is that the offender will become overwhelm with material desires either for material enjoyment or even for impersonal liberation. Both are considered material desires. If we offend a devotee and if we think 'well he is not really a devotee because the devotee are suppose to be humble but he is not humble, devotees are suppose to be tolerant, but he's not tolerant, he should have tolerated my insult.

So we try to minimize the seriousness of our offenses by finding fault in the devotee we offended. We become further implicated in vaisnava aparad and once we become implicated we just become more and more offensive. So we should be careful. If we do commit an offense or realize that we've commit an offense to a devotee then as King Rahugana has done, we should go to the devotee, we should feel very repentant, we should fall down at the devotees feet and beg for forgiveness..........So Bhaktivinod Thakur says that apart from the negative injunction that one should not find fault with vaisvava or one should not minimize the spiritual master. The positive side is that one should appreciate the vaisnava. One should glorify vaisnava, serve vaisnava, glorify the spiritual master, serve the spiritual master and that is the other side. So the negative side is we shouldn't offend them and that positive side is we should serve them and glorify them and that well protect us from offenses and when we are free from offenses the Holy Name well bestow his full mercy upon us and we'll set the full result and we'll develop pure love of Krsna.

Hare Krsna!