(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 6 January 2013, Lenasia, South Africa, Sunday Feast Lecture)
Question: How do you avoid vaisnava aparadh?
By avoiding it! (laughing) There is really no other way. What can we say about that? How do you avoid stealing? You know, don’t do it, right? What kind of a question? You avoid it; it’s like that. But accidental vaisnava aparadh, what can you do?
My mother used to tell us a fairy tale as children and it was this. There were two princesses. And one princess, when she opened her mouth, roses would come out and the other princess, frogs would come out. In our case, it used to be frogs but now that we’ve become devotees, so many roses come out, right, and so rosy rosy rosy. However every once in a while, the inadvertent frog jumps out, “Oops, I shouldn’t have said that. You know, maybe that was a vaisnava aparadh.” Now what you gonna do? It’s hard to put the frog back in your mouth. You’ve said it. So then, one way is just to say, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that”.
But then, you have people who come the whole day, “Prabhu, please forgive me? Please forgive me.” You know what I mean? There’s this one devotee that does this all the time. It came to a point where I said, “I will only forgive you if you stop asking me to forgive you.” You know, gosh, all day, “Please forgive me. Please forgive me.”
So, if someone drops a bucket with dhal or something and you say, “You idiot!” That’s not vaisnava aparadh. It’s just saying the truth! (laughing) You don’t have to overdo it. Every time you say to someone, you know (points to the head), “You got something upstairs?” Well in some cases, they probably really don’t have anything upstairs and it shows. Now, we don’t have to go around and call people names, but you don’t have to be so worried that everything is a vaisnava aparadh. You know, there’s also normal human interaction in Lord Caitanya’s movement.
And we see that with Prabhupada; he was not so overly careful. Prabhupada would call a spade, a spade! He was not afraid of that. At the end of his life, he did ask his god-brothers for forgiveness if anyone took offence or if he made any offences. Of course, they said no. He said, “I had to be bold.” For preaching, right! Sometimes, vaisnava aparadh especially comes when you get envious. When you start to like just look at the person and think, “This one is rotten to the core! This one is not a vaisnava! You know, this one, I’ll never, ever, ever wanna see his face no more and I’ll never offer obeisances to this guy. He’s not a devotee.” That you should only say to the one in the mirror and never to any other devotee.