An offense to a pure devotee of the Lord is called vaisnava-aparādha, the mad elephant offense.
“An offense to a pure devotee of the Lord is called vaisnava-aparādha, the mad elephant offense. In the discharge of devotional service, an offense to the feet of a pure devotee creates havoc and stops one's advancement. Thus one has to defend the plant of bhakti by fencing it off properly and taking care not to offend pure devotees. Then the plant of devotional service will be properly protected.” (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 1)
When Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda about the process of pure bhakti, He paid special attention to protecting our devotional accomplishments from offenses unto the lotus feet of pure devotees. This is noted in the Caitanya-caritāmộta (Madhya 19.156-157):
yadi vaişņava-aparādha uțhe hātī mātā upāde vā chiņde, tāra śukhi'yāya pātā
“If the devotee commits an offense at the feet of a Vaisnava while cultivating the creeper of devotional service in the material world, his offense is compared to a mad elephant that uproots the creeper and breaks it. In this way the leaves of the creeper are dried up.”
PURPORT. One's devotional attitude increases in the association of a Vaisnava:
tāndera caraṇa sevi bhakta-sane vāsa
janame janame haya, ei abhilāșa
By his personal example, Narottama dāsa Thäkura stresses that a devotee must always remember to please his predecessor ācārya. The Gosvāmis are represented by one's spiritual master. One cannot be an ācārya (spiritual master) without following strictly in the disciplic succession of the ācāryas. One who is actually serious about advancing in devotional service should desire only to satisfy the previous ācāryas. Ei chaya gosāñi yāra, mui tāra dāsa. One should always think of oneself as a servant of the servant of the ācāryas, and thinking this, one should live in the society of Vaisnavas. However, if one thinks that he has become very mature and can live separate from the association of Vaisnavas and thus gives up all the regulative principles due to offending a Vaisnava, one's position becomes very dangerous. Offenses against the holy name are explained in Ādi-līlā, chapter eight, verse 24. Giving up the regulative principles and living according to one's whims is compared to a mad elephant, which by force uproots the bhakti-latā and breaks it to pieces. In this way the bhakti-latā shrivels up. Such an offense is especially created when one disobeys the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called guru-avajñā. The devotee must therefore be very careful not to commit offenses against the spiritual master by disobeying his instructions. As soon as one is deviated from the instructions of the spiritual master, the uprooting of the bhakti-latā begins, and gradually all the leaves dry up.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Brahma Sutras (81)
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