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Neophytes Observe the Pure Devotee Only Externally.

Srila Prabhupada transcendentally laments about the unfortunate neophytes who are unable to appreciate the empowered activities and observe the maha-bhagavata from external point of view thus committing serious offenses.

If we consider the bodily defects of a Vaisnava, we should understand that we are committing an offense at the lotus feet of the Vaisnava. An offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava is very serious. Indeed, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has described this offense as hati-mata, the mad elephant offense. A mad elephant can create a disaster, especially when it enters into a nicely trimmed garden. One should therefore be very careful not to commit any offense against a Vaisnava. Every devotee should be ready to take instructions from a superior Vaisnava, and a superior Vaisnava must be ready to help an inferior Vaisnava in all respects. One is superior or inferior according to his spiritual development in Krsna consciousness. One is forbidden to observe the activities of a pure Vaisnava from a material point of view. For the neophyte especially, considering a pure devotee from a material point of view is very injurious. One should therefore avoid observing a pure devotee externally, but should try to see the internal features and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In this way one can avoid seeing the pure devotee from a material point of view, and thus one can gradually become a purified devotee himself.

Those who think that Krsna consciousness is limited to a certain section of people, a certain section of devotees or a certain tract of land are generally prone to see the external features of the devotee. Such neophytes, unable to appreciate the exalted service of the advanced devotee, try to bring the maha-bhagavata to their platform. We experience such difficulty in propagating this Krsna consciousness all over the world. Unfortunately we are surrounded by neophyte Godbrothers who do not appreciate the extraordinary activities of spreading Krsna consciousness all over the world. They simply try to bring us to their platform, and they try to criticize us in every respect. We very much regret their naive activities and poor fund of knowledge. An empowered person who is actually engaged in the confidential service of the Lord should not be treated as an ordinary human being, for it is stated that unless one is empowered by Krsna, one cannot spread the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world.

When one thus criticizes a pure devotee, he commits an offense (vaisnava-aparadha) that is very obstructive and dangerous for those who desire to advance in Krsna consciousness. A person cannot derive any spiritual benefit when he offends the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Everyone should therefore be very careful not to be jealous of an empowered Vaisnava, or a suddha-vaisnava. It is also an offense to consider an empowered Vaisnava an object of disciplinary action. It is offensive to try to give him advice or to correct him. One can distinguish between a neophyte Vaisnava and an advanced Vaisnava by their activities. The advanced Vaisnava is always situated as the spiritual master, and the neophyte is always considered his disciple. The spiritual master must not be subjected to the advice of a disciple, nor should a spiritual master be obliged to take instructions from those who are not his disciples.


NoI: verse 6 purport





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