TEXT 156
yadi vaisnava-aparadha uthe hati mata
upade va chinde, tara sukhi' yaya pata
yadi—if; vaisnava-aparadha—an offense at the feet of a Vaisnava; uthe—arises; hati—an elephant; matamad; upade—uproots; va—or; chinde—breaks; tara—of the creeper; sukhi'-shriveling up; yaya—goes; pata—the leaf.
"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.
One's devotional attitude increases in the association of a Vaisnava.
tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa
janame janame haya, ei abhilasa
By his personal example, Narottama dasa Thakura stresses that a devotee must always remember to please his predecessor acarya. The Gosvamis are represented by one's spiritual master. One cannot be an acarya (spiritual master) without following strictly in the disciplic succession of the acaryas. One who is actually serious in advancing in devotional service should desire only to satisfy the previous acaryas. Ei chaya gosani yara, mui tara dasa. One should always think of oneself as a servant of the servant of the acaryas, 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 Adi-lila (Chapter Eight, verse 24). Giving up the regulative principles and living according to one's whims are compared to a mad elephant, which by force uproots the bhakti-lata and breaks it to pieces. In this way the bhakti-lata shrivels up. Such an offense is especially created when one disobeys the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called guru-avajna. The devotee must therefore be very careful not to commit offenses against the spiritual master. As soon as one is deviated from the spiritual master, the uprooting of the bhakti-lata begins, and gradually all the leaves dry up.

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