Vaisnava-ninda (Criticizing a Vaisnava)

BY: SUN STAFF - 3.6 2022

A serial presentation of 'Vaisnava-ninda' by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

The Result of Blaspheming a Vaisnava

Among all the different types of offences a jiva (living being) can possibly commit, no offence is more severe than blaspheming a Vaisnava. It is therefore essential to contemplate the meaning of vaisnava-ninda according to the scriptures. It is written in the Skanda Purana:

nindam kurvanti ye mudha
vaisnavanam mahatmanam
patanti pitrbhih sardham

hanti nindati vai dvesti
vaisnavan nabhinandati
krudhyate yati no harsam
darsane patanani sat

That foolish person who criticizes an exalted Vaisnava falls down to the hell known as Maharaurava, along with his forefathers. Whoever (1) kills a Vaisnava, (2) blasphemes him, (3) feels malice toward him, (4) does not properly greet him upon seeing him, (5) becomes angry with him or (6) does not feel joy upon seeing him, certainly becomes degraded as a result of these six types of misconduct.

It is written in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.74.40):

nindam bhagavatah srnvams
tat-parasya janasya va
tato napaiti yah so 'pi
yaty adhah sukrtac cyutah

A person who does not promptly leave that place where blasphemy of Bhagavan or His dedicated devotee, the Vaisnava, is perpetrated, becomes bereft of all his previously accumulated spiritual merit (sukrti) and meets with degradation.


Different Categories of Jivas and Appropriate Conduct with Each

Having thus been forewarned about vaisnava-ninda, it is absolutely imperative to first ascertain what specifically designates one a Vaisnava, and then determine which acts result in vaisnava-aparadha (offences to Vaisnavas). All jivas fit into one of four categories: (1) ordinary jivas; (2) religious jivas; (3) brahmanas and those jivas who resemble Vaisnavas (vaisnavapraya jivas); and (4) vaisnava-jivas.

With the wisdom that Sri Krsna resides in the heart of all jivas, one should honour every living being. A deeper respect should naturally be shown to the religious jiva, and, beyond this, it is imperative to feel even deeper honour for the brahmana-jiva and the vaisnava-praya jiva. But above all, it is enjoined that one must worship and serve the lotus feet of a vaisnava-jiva.

If one fails to offer respect to the common jiva, special respect to the religious jiva, and befitting honour to the brahmana and vaisnava-praya jivas, then one incurs sin (papa). However, to disrespect or dishonour a vaisnava-jiva is actually an aparadha (an offence against divinity). There is no form of sin that cannot be destroyed by performing ordinary penances, but an aparadha committed against a Vaisnava is not easily eradicated. Sins affect the gross and subtle material bodies, whereas an aparadha specifically affects the jiva'squest to establish himself in his constitutional position as a pure spirit soul, causing him to fall from his path. Therefore, those who wish to perform loving worship of the Supreme Lord (bhagavad-bhajana) must diligently protect themselves from committing aparadha.

(To be continued...)


Translated from Sri Gaudiya Patrika, Year 7, Issue 10 in Rays of The Harmonist, Kartika Issue, 2009