(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 1 June 2020, Radhadesh, Belgium, Caitanya Caritamrta Lecture: Disrespecting Vaisnavas)

Once one engages in criticising Vaisnavas, it becomes part of one’s nature. One will do it again and again until ultimately one offends Krsna!

Once one engages in criticising Vaisnavas, it becomes part of one’s nature. It sets in and one will do it again and again and again until ultimately one offends Krsna. He who offends Krsna, how can such a person approach Krsna? Such a person removes himself from Krsna and comes to a greater distance from Krsna. This is great misfortune. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami had one outstanding quality – he would never hear any criticism about any Vaishnava and in front of him, if anyone would criticise a Vaishnava he would just walk away. So, this is a wonderful policy because hearing criticism of Vaisnavas is contaminating our consciousness. This is something that we especially must pay attention to in spiritual life.

In the Bhagavad Gita, we have the following verse:
dvandva-mohena bhārata
sarva-bhūtāni sammohaṁ
sarge yānti paran-tapa

(Bhagavad-gita 7.27)

Because all living beings are afflicted by delusion of desire and hate or lust and envy, that tendency is there within us. We must make a conscious effort to check this tendency and be very diligent about this and ask for forgiveness when we do this. Although we are diligent about avoiding offences, we are not the International Society for Avoiding Offences. We are the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. So Krsna Consciousness comes first. First and foremost is devotional service. And then as we are absorbed in devotional service, it naturally becomes the course that we are careful not to criticise any Vaisnava or anything in relation to Krsna. In this way, we are eligible to make spiritual advancement. This is something we must learn. We must learn to glorify.

In Srimad Bhagavatam, it says:
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
na praśaṁsen na garhayet
viśvam ekātmakaṁ paśyan
prakṛtyā puruṣeṇa ca

(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.28.1)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One should neither praise nor criticise the conditioned nature and activities of other persons. Rather, one should see this world as simply the combination of material nature and the enjoying souls, all based on the one Absolute Truth.

So basically, one should not criticise a Vaisnava and one should also not glorify the Vaishnava in front of the Vaisnava. Criticising should never be done, however, glorifying the Vaisnava in front of him can sometimes be done. One who praises us, he is not our friend because he makes us proud. One who finds faults in us is our friend. We take it like that when someone speaks to us. One may break that rule of praising the Vaisnava in front of him, although one should understand that if one praises the Vaisnava too much, that may unnecessarily increase his pride. So, we are not helping him to develop his humility, but we will give credit, certainly give credit. It is said that in praising the Vaisnava, one must praise the Vaisnava for something genuine that he has done. That is the way.

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