The Ten Offences, Day 1 Continued, Durban, South Africa
We’re going to talk as we go on, about different aspects of the holy name and so on and the potency of the holy name, so that will come up more when we get to the 5th offence, 6th offence, like that, how powerful the holy name is. Okay, so now we are still going through the 1st offence.
We talked about different types of qualities, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s explanation. Now we have also written up one board here, you see on this side, 4 types of blaspheme and we want you to know them, please for the test. There are 4 main types of blaspheme, this is according to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, you just write them down, that you blaspheme or criticise someone, make some funny remarks about a devotee because of their birth. You know, I am sure you can all imagine what sorts of things people might say like that, their poor background, you know, what sort of history the person had prior to Krsna Consciousness then the devotee in the course of trying to practice Krsna Consciousness. Sometimes devotees get into trouble and they may break a principle somehow or just somehow or other get into some difficulty. So accidental fall down we shouldn’t hold that against them that “oh ya him, I remember what he did 5 years ago,” that sort of thing.
Last traces of previous sin like, just to give you an example I think it’s quite a good example, that when Srila Prabhupada took Krsna Consciousness to America and so many American boys and girls became devotees, then went to Europe, so Krsna Consciousness was spreading in the Western world and Prabhupada then took after some years, took some devotees to America, I mean to India and the caste brahmanas and so many people there because they, I mean actually they are in certain respects much better mannered and much more cultured in certain respects and you know the American boys and girls, a little loud sometimes, you know, and sometimes eat with the left hand and things like that, which matter, I mean we should learn about these things, if we don’t know them already but they are not big, big, big things, as we mentioned for someone who is really attached to Krsna. But the caste brahmanas, some caste brahmanas and others there in India, they notice some of these things you know, little, you could say “grossness”, something like that and so they thought this was quite bad and Srila Prabhupada, He noted that and He really didn’t appreciate that. So last traces of previous sin because of previous sin, one is born in a sinful family and has sinful habits, and gets brought up in an environment which encourages that but then if they take to Krsna Consciousness whole heartedly then we shouldn’t hold that against them, so that’s the sort of thing we mean by traces of last previous sin.
There is one amusing incident, I am sure you have heard of where some of those devotees on the first visit, they were in Vrndavana and they went to one of the main temples there, what we call the “caste goswami” temples, the people who run it are disciples, ah, decedents of disciples of the Six Goswamis and they have adopted the name or term “Goswami”, as their family name. Ya. So anyway a couple of our devotees were there, watching the arati in one of the temples and the pujari was doing the arati and he saw they were there and then he went and offered them something and they received it nicely and they were behaving very well. Ya and that pujari was quite surprised that they were well mannered and you know they interacted in a like gentle way and like that. So in the end the pujari came and said, “you are such nice devotees you carry on like this and in your next lives you can be born in a family like this and you can offer arati on the altar here.” So the devotees, anyway, they really didn’t know what to say and they went back to Srila Prabhupada and told Srila Prabhupada that this is what the man had said and Srila Prabhupada said, “so well what was your reply?” and said “well we didn’t really, we just heard what he said”. Prabhupada said, “You should have told him, that if you carry on offering the arati so nicely like this, then in your next life you can take birth in ISKCON.” Ya, Prabhupada said that.
So you know all these things about, I remember I have had personal experience debating with, the brahmanas, some brahmanas in Jaganatha Puri. Ya. One of the brahmanas who you know they have traditional services there so this particular one, or there was two or three of them but the main one, he was one of the main pujaris who dresses Lord Jaganatha and you know we were, and he was you know on a certain level he was quite friendly and you wouldn’t think he was the sort of person who if you walked into his temple and he would kick you out or get the guards to come and hit you with a stick. So we asked “well you know, can we come in?” and he said “no, no”. We asked “why not?” And then we had been discussing on the basis of scripture and he was acknowledging “yes, yes, this and that”, and he said “because you have eaten cow”. So he wouldn’t let us in. So you know this falls into this category here, maybe its number 1, oh no number 4, number 4 or number 1, it’s sort of connected with them both; sins prior to becoming a devotee and so on. So these are four types of blasphemy which if you do them, ya it’s not very good, it’s very bad. So you please note those and we are going to ask you about those in the test.
Next thing is, oh we mentioned about Krsna’s explanation in Bhagavad Gita, number 3, well, let’s relate it to what we were talking about earlier, about, in fact it’s related really to blasphemy number 2. Ya.
api cet su-duracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyau
samyag vyavasito hi sau
And Krsna is saying, the translation is there, I think, yes.
“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.” (BG. 9.30)
So even if someone does something really bad, a devotee but they remain, they are fixed or at least they are trying to be Krsna Conscious and they are dedicated to that. They are not just running off and you know breaking all the principles, you know some difficulty arose but actually they are really trying to recover their position. There Krsna says sadhur eva. Yes. Putana was asadhavi but here Krsna is saying sadhur eva. Eva means definitely. Definitely a sadhu. Definitely a saintly person and you may have heard about Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s commentary on that verse, chapter 9, verse 30. There is a dialogue, he presents a dialogue between Krsna and Arjuna, in which Arjuna is protesting, that how can we consider this person a sadhu if he’s done some nonsense and Krsna is insisting yes, you must, because I say so and then Krsna or Arjuna asked, it’s a fairly, quite a long conversation actually and at the end Arjuna says “well look, I could understand, that if a someone did some, a devotee falls down and they are trying to get themselves together again then we might say, okay this person is sadhu, but what if they carry on doing that nonsense. We can’t consider them a sadhu can We?” But Krsna says “no that as long as this person remains engaged in devotional service like the main quality, swarup laksana, remains attached to me, to Krsna”, then Krsna says “such a devotee, lamenting and lamenting, that I am like a black sheep amongst the devotees and I have this bad habit and I can’t get free of it. I can’t get free of it, but still I am going to continue in devotional service, I’ll still continue”. Then Krsna tells Arjuna that “I take, I personally accept the sinful reactions of that person, of that devotee. I take them on My head and in due course of time, through that regret and repentance the devotee becomes purified, but in the mean time I carry that devotee. I carry that devotee and I take his reactions”. So like this, this is Krsna’s explanation in Bhagavad Gita, which is carrying on from what we discussed earlier.
So let’s go on now to the last one, some case histories, there are many case histories, we mentioned Ambarish Maharaja with Durvasa Muni, that was a case history. I am sure you can think of some others; can you think of any really interesting, heavy blasphemy, offence, Vaisnava aparadha cases from our scriptures? How about Jagai and Madhai? That’s pretty heavy.
Have you heard of Chapal Gopala? Have you heard of Chapala Gopala? He was pretty heavy; but he actually wasn’t that heavy in a sense. What happened with Chapal Gopala, he is mentioned in Caitanya Caritamrta and in more detail in Caitanya Bhagavata. Chapal Gopala, he tried to, someone suggesting something? No? He tried to embarrass Srivas Thakura, who was a leading Vaisnava by putting outside his door, the paraphernalia for worshiping Durga, not just Durga but Candi, who is a particular form of Durga who is worshipped with meat and liquor. She is a very pretty heavy form of Durga. So he left these things outside Srivas Pandit’s, Srivas Thakura’s door, and you know along went things like red hibiscus, you know about that? We do not offer red hibiscus to Krsna, it’s only for Durga. Patchouli, you know what is patchouli, it’s used by Lord Shiva, and it’s not used by Vaisnavas. All these things and Srivas Thakura walked out and actually some people saw and they came and knocked on Srivas Thakur’s door and said “what’s this?” Srivas Thakura, of course you know it was nothing to do with him so he said, “Oh, so now you found out what I am like.” He didn’t say, “Oh it wasn’t me, I am being blamed”; no, he said “now you know what I am like.” So anyway the person who done it was Chapal Gopala. It’s a very funny name because “chapal” means shoe so Gopala, the shoe or shoes Gopala, something like that.
So it was Chapal Gopala, he was trying to embarrass Srivas Thakura. So you know what happened to Chapal Gopala? Sjoe! He got leprosy as a result of that offence. He got leprosy and his body was falling to pieces literally, sort off dissolving and he was in the most horrible suffering condition. So what he did, he did a good thing. He approached Lord Caitanya. He previously was one of the people who had been mocking Lord Caitanya but he approached Lord Caitanya. Let me just read it cause it’s pretty effective. So, “Suddenly a leper appeared in the assembly and came before the Lord. He threw himself on the ground like a stick, groaning in pain. Then getting up he lifted his arms high and began to wail loudly. He cried, O merciful Lord, You have risen like the sun on this earth only to dissipate the sufferings of this material life. Your compassionate nature is always moved by the distress of others and so I have come to You. I am burning in the pain of leprosy. Kindly tell me how I can be relieved of this” (CB, Antya 4)
So you know what Lord Caitanya said? Do you think He said “oh yeah really, such a shame”, yes “let Me call a doctor” or “I’ll help you certainly just surrender to Me”. “I’ll help you,” you think that’s what Lord Caitanya said? I am afraid not.
“When the leper had finished speaking, the Lord addressed him angrily with a thundering voice. He said, Go! Go away from here! Just seeing you incurs sin. Even if a very pious man sees your face, the whole day will bring him only despair. You are a wretched sinner and an offender of Vaisnavas, much more suffering is in store for you. You cannot tolerate this pain, you contemptuous rascal, how are you going to live through the sufferings in the Kumbhipaka Hell?”(CB, Antya 4) People in the Kumbhipaka Hell are cooked in boiling oil with bodies that don’t die but which feel pain, very sensitively, you just touch them and wow it’s a shocking experience, but even if you cut, try and cut their head off they won’t die. Yes, you cut their head off, they are still alive, yes, Kumbhipaka.
“A Vaisnava is so pure that just uttering his name can cleanse the entire universe. Lord Brahma takes pleasure in singing the glories of the Vaisnavas. One easily attains the inconceivable association of the Supreme Lord Krsna simply by serving one Vaisnava. In fact, nothing is superior to the worship of a Vaisnava.” Then Lord Caitanya quotes Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krsna again addressing Uddhava, 11.14.15, “My dear Uddhava, neither Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Lord Sankarshana, the goddess of fortune nor indeed My own self are as dear to Me as you are.” (CB, Antya 4) There is significance in the mentioning of those particular people, Lord Brahma is the son of the Lord, Lord Shiva is His partial expansion, Lord Sankarshana, Balarama is His brother and Laxmi is His wife. None of them are as dear to Krsna as Uddhava or as a devotee.
“Anyone who offends a Vaisnava and criticizes him has to suffer terrible consequences, life after life. A person’s piety, education, and austerity are rendered useless by criticising a Vaisnava. Lord Krsna even refuses to accept worship from that person even if he is a Vaisnava.”
“Mother Earth feels blessed when the Vaisnava dances on her. Just the very sight of a Vaisnava destroys nescience and sin in every direction and when dancing, if he lifts his arms to the sky, he waves away all ill fortune in the heavenly abodes.” (CB, Antya 4)
Put your hands up, and say, “Hare Krsna!”, “Hare Krsna!” How merciful are you, you just waved away all ill fortune in the heavenly abodes.
“Such an elevated devotee is Srivasa Thakura and you are so demoniac that you have offended him. Your leprosy is just a mere reminder of your offence. The actual punishment is yet to come, to be meted out by Yamaraja, in 8,400,000 species of life. Therefore I do not even want to see you but I am not the one to deliver you.” (CB, Antya 4)
That pretty heavy. That’s pretty heavy. This man you know he’s suffering so badly, his body is literally melting. His fingers just everyday, a little bit goes and his whole body, everything was melting away with leprosy and like leprosy is a disease of heat in ayurvedic terms. Heat, the body’s, the heating system of the body becomes too high so the body starts melting, so ya, his body was just melting away. Lord Caitanya took it pretty heavily.
So then Chapal Gopala replied, with utmost humility and meekness holding a straw in his teeth. He prayed, “In my ignorance I have destroyed myself. Delirious with the material disease, I have grievously criticized and offended a Vaisnava.” (CB, Antya 4)
Anyway then he goes on basically, oh ya, oh yes interesting, “For this heinous act, I have rightly deserved my painful dues. Now my Lord, please think of my deliverance.” (CB, Antya 4) So then the Lord replied, “Leprosy for an offender is just his first punishment. It is only the beginning; the worst is yet to come. Yamaraja has 8,400,000 types of excruciating punishments waiting for the offenders. You should go right away to Srivasa Pandita and throw yourself at his feet.” (CB, Antya 4)
Ya, so he did that and Srivasa Pandita forgave him immediately and he became alright immediately. He became fine and he became one of the devotees, he joined Lord Caitanya’s party. And the author, Vrndavana Das Thakura, makes a very interesting comment at the end.
“If one sees two Vaisnavas quarrelling, then one should never think that something is amiss, or that there is enmity and malice between them. Such quarrelling is in fact pleasing to the Lord and is transcendental. The arguments and abuses exchanged between Rukmini devi and Satyabhama devi although sounding like serious fights are factually not so, because they are forever united in their service to their common Lord and master. There is no enmity between Vaisnavas.
The Supreme Lord Himself induces these fights due to His frolicsome nature. But, if anyone foolishly sides with one Vaisnava against another, then he is doomed due to offending a Vaisnava. The Vaisnavas are the extensions of the Lord’s limbs, so how can one benefit by serving Him with one hand and inflicting pain on Him with the other?
One who has developed such vision becomes steady in devotional service. One who understands that Lord Krsna and His devotees are non-different and with this knowledge serves the Lord can easily cross the ocean of nescience. One who glorifies, hears, and understands these transcendental subject matters can always avoid vaisnava-aparadha.” (CB, Antya 4)
So, yes, an example of how the Lord takes it so extremely seriously, very seriously, you know who would not be compassionate on a poor leper, ya but the Lord took it so heavily. I want to talk also about Jagai and Madhai but we have run out of time, so we can talk a bit about them tomorrow.
Any comments or questions, so far?
Are you meant to speak into a microphone? Is he meant to speak in a microphone? Just speak into a microphone.
Nrsimhananda Prabhu: You were talking about swarup laksana…so would a…and the attachment the devotee has for Krsna which is one of the main principle qualities…uh… for us to you know not offend Him… uh… would Krsna then reciprocate according to that degree of attachment? Or how do we identify you know someone is just you know someone is…if you try to correct someone or help someone who is attached to Krsna and might not be chanting and…you know what intensity of attachment…
Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Yes. Okay that is a good question. We started off right at the beginning by saying that you know, you can’t offend any devotee even if they are, you know someone who is right at the very beginning stages of and has many problems. But at the same time Krsna being a person he appreciates more, some devotees then others, like we just read that verse 11.14.15 where Krsna tells Uddhava that neither Lord Brahma, who is a devotee, or Lord Shiva, or Lord Balarama or Laxmi, they are all devotees. They are as dear to me as you and then the gopis or the inhabitants of Vrndavana and ultimately the gopis are the most dear of all and Krsna, yes, Krsna will reciprocate, I mean your reactions for offending a Vaisnava may vary according to the advancement of the devotee. Ya, like Chapal Gopala, he sort of played a practical joke you could say on Srivas Thakura, it’s not a big thing really in a certain sense but Krsna took it so seriously, oh, so very seriously, ya so that is an example.
Then there are many, actually you could have a course just on this subject of Vaisnava aparadha so we just kind of touching on, a few, a few important points but they are different. Here we have 4 types of blaspheme but there is blaspheme on 3 different levels, blaspheme within the mind, blaspheme which is verbally expressed and blaspheme which is physically expressed and we are going to talk, mention a little about Brghu Muni if we have time, who experimented with those 3. So you know if you think blasphemously about a devotee then it may happen that you get a reaction within your mind.
There is a very interesting story about Rupa Goswami, in Bhakti-ratnakara, who unintentionally, he actually didn’t commit an offence, there was no fault, but someone felt offended by him within his mind. Rupa Goswami was meditating on Radha and Krsna’s pastimes and he was in his transcendental body, externally you know, he was just not conscious. So in this pastime, in this pastime, what happened was, if I remember correctly, that Radharani was trying to decorate herself, it’s the pastime connected with Sringara-vata in Sri Vrndavana town. Radharani is trying to decorate herself secretly without Krsna seeing, but Krsna is sneaking up behind Her and Krsna, some of the manjaris are decorating Krsna’s hair, but Krsna you know told them one side and now He steps in and now He is decorating Radharani’s hair and Radharani thinks it’s one of the gopis, so you know this is going on. She picks up a mirror and sees there is Krsna and laughs and everyone laughs and Rupa Goswami who is Rupa Manjari, the head of the Manjaris, he or she laughed and Rupa Goswami’s external body laughed. Ya and there was one elderly Vaisnava who was kind of you know, very old and his body was not very strong and he was hunched back, sort of awkward, very awkward type of bodily condition. So he was walking along and he saw there was Rupa Goswami, looked up and suddenly saw here’s Rupa Goswami looking straight at me and laughing at me and he thought, “Wow, what have I done.” He got into tremendous anxiety. Actually there was no offence; there was no offence on Rupa Goswami’s part. There was no question of someone like that committing an offence the thing is that that devotee felt anxiety within the mind, ya so it was like that, and Rupa Goswami suddenly he came out of his meditation and he couldn’t understand why is my meditation broken, so then again he sat down, he was trying to go into his meditation. He couldn’t, he tried, and he tried but he couldn’t re-enter that meditation and he got into anxiety. He got into anxiety, now that elderly Vaisnava you know, there is Rupa Goswami, “Seeing Rupa Gosvami laugh broke the Vaisnava’s heart, so without speaking, he went to see Sanatana. That Vaisnava said to Sanatana, “When I went to see Rupa Gosvami, he started laughing upon seeing me. Being distressed in my mind, I did not say anything, but came to inquire from you.”
Sanatana explained to the Vaisnava the reason behind Rupa Gosvami’s laughter, and the Vaisnava felt repentant on hearing the explanation. He lamented, “Why I have gone at that time? Without knowing Rupa Gosvami’s mind, I have offended him.” Thinking in this way, that the Vaisnava was disturbed. Sanatana Gosvami, however, pacified him.
Meanwhile, Rupa Gosvami, who was absorbed in those pastimes, suddenly lost his feelings of ecstasy. Being very disturbed, Rupa Gosvami looked around understanding that someone had come there. “I have committed an offense by not showing someone proper respect.” Thinking like this, he went to see Sanatana Gosvami.
Seeing Rupa Gosvami coming, that Vaisnava went ahead to greet him and offered his obeisances by falling on the ground. With great humility, he said to Rupa Gosvami, “I have committed an offense, therefore please forgive me. A short time ago I came to see you, and without understanding your actions some doubts came in my mind. Therefore I came here to Sanatana Gosvami who mercifully cleared my doubts. Now if you kindly show your mercy on me then my mind will be pacified.”
Hearing these words, Rupa Gosvami felt grief stricken and with folded hands fell to the ground offering obeisances. “I cannot describe how much I have offended you. Please forgive me.” In this way with humility and devotion they forgave each other and thus felt pacified. Returning to Sanatana they absorbed themselves in topics of Krsna for a long time. When everyone heard about this incident of Rupa Gosvami, they were struck with wonder.
My dear brothers, be very careful with the Vaisnavas. Beg their forgiveness from any offense with your heart and soul. Be careful not to find faults in the Vaisnavas and always chant their glories. All the previous acaryas say that even a learned person cannot understand the behaviour of a Vaisnava. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has instructed these things through His dear devotees. Holding the lotus feet of the devotees on your head always drown yourself in the ocean of devotional mellows.
Remembering the lotus feet of Srinivasa Acarya, Narahari dasa thus describes this Bhakti-ratnakara.” (Bhakti-ratnakara, Lord Nityananda’s pastimes at Sringara-vata)