We commit a Himalayan blunder when we become hostile to anybody in this world by seeing his bad practices and bad actions. We have got no grudge over any person but we do not support the evil practices. We should condemn those practices.
Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharajji
One of the things that have worried me in my writing is vaishnava aparadha. I try to be very careful with how I phrase things, but things will fall through the cracks or someone will take offense of what I write anyway. I make sure that I have no animosity and if there is, that is a fault within me that I need to work at. My motto is “Condemn the action, not the person” and taking the road of non-judgmental distinction. That is what I try to achieve.
Such offenses are called vaishnava-aparadha. Aparadha means “offense.” If one commits vaishnava-aparadhas, all of his progress in devotional service will be checked.
Purport of SB 4.21.37
But how do one know if one has committed vaishnava aparadha, however unintentionally?
If one commits vaishnava aparadha, one’s devotional progress will be checked. But how do you discover if you are being “checked”? How do I know I’m not cheating myself?
In the debates that have been about the rasa of Srila Prabhupada and Premananda Prabhu, both parties easily claims that the other party are committing Vaishnava aparadha. My stance is that it’s not up to me to decide whether someone is committing Vaishnava aparadha, because I don’t know what’s in their heart. Instead I look at all parties and think that they are filling the role Krishna wants them to have, even when I don’t agree.
I can look at what somebody have written and think “this is not appropriate”, but I will not use the word vaishnava aparadha easily and certainly not publically. What I also see is that all parties, especially in the rasa of Srila Prabhupada seem to be connected to high class association and therefore is protected in my mind. If one keeps high class association, doesn’t that mean that they will progress anyway?
But then we have the cheating aspect of Guru. Which tails back to the original question, how do we understand that we are being checked? And will we understand it even when we are being cheated by a Guru? I know how clouded my intelligence is, and probably already are. I wouldn’t recognize if I were checked, I wouldn’t understand it.
I may think I’m progressing while in reality I’m not? I know I may be overthinking things here and that in reality we can easily recognize progress when we look backwards. But at the same time, if we are being cheated we may not have it in us to look backwards and that may be a part of the cheating aspect.