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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Vaisnava Etiquette

88- Vaisnava Etiquette


1. With which devotional symptoms should one associate?


It is the eternal duty of a Vaisnava to develop symptoms of love by associating with and serving devotees and remaining indifferent to external formalities.

(Sri Krsna-samhita 8/17)


2. What is the duty of every Vaisnava? Can one become detached by his personal endeavor?


One should not find fault with Vaisnavas even if they were previously engaged in sinful activities, if they still have sins left, or if they accidentally commit sins. Unless one has a good reason, one should not criticize others' sins. Rather, one should display appropriate mercy toward all living entities and should consider himself a fallen soul. Thus he should expect no respect for himself, but give all respect to others. A householder Vaisnava should remain detached from material objects and accept only that material enjoyment that relates purely to Krsna. In this way, he should cultivate the mellow of chanting the Lord's holy names. When taste for Krsna increases, the taste for sense gratification is automatically   destroyed. In such a situation, a mood of spontaneous detachment will automatically arise. However, this mood cannot be awakened artificially. (Sri Manah-Siksa, Verse 10)


3.How should one glorify a Vaisnava's qualities?


One should not speak about a Vaisnava's birth, sleeping, or laziness even if one happens to see them. One should quickly stop finding fault with Vaisnavas and rather glorify their qualities.

(Sajjana Tosani 7/3)


4. How should one sit in front of Lord Visnu or a Vaisnava?


One should not sit before Lord Visnu or a Vaisnava with his legs stretched out. (Sajjana Tosani 7/3)


5. Is it right to either glorify oneself or criticize others in front of a Vaisnava?


One should neither glorify oneself nor criticize others before a Vaisnava. (Sajjana Tosani 7/4)


6. Should a practitioner consider himself equal to other Vaisnavas?


A practitioner of devotional service should not consider himself equal to other Vaisnavas. (Sajjana Tosani 7/4)


7.Is it proper to associate with hypocrites and Mayavadis on the pretext of showing them compassion?


Those who want name and fame, sense gratification or liberation, take shelter of cheating and either become hypocrites and woman-hunters or take shelter of impersonal philosophy and thus offenders or envious. Devotees should carefully avoid such association and never indulge in it. On the pretext of showing such cheaters compassion, many people  associate with them and eventually fall down. (Sajjana Tosani 11/6)


8, Is it right to associate with those who are attached to materialists?


There are some people who themselves are not materialists but who take pleasure in associating with materialists. Their association should also be given up.

(Sajjana Tosani 10/11)


9. In whose house can householder Vaisnavas accept prasada?


A Vaisnava householder can accept prasada and drink in the house of pious, well-behaved householders. He should be extremely careful about accepting prasada at the houses of nondevotees and sinful people. (Sajjana Tosani 11/11)


11. If one does not give up bad association, is there any hope that one can attain devotional service to Krsna?


There is no hope of attaining devotional service to Krsna unless one gives up bad association. (Sajjana Tosani 11/11)


12. What is the main etiquette practiced by Vaisnavas?


The principle etiquette practiced by Vaisnavas is to renounce bad association. There are two kinds of bad association, woman-hunters and nondevotees. For women, associating with men is to be considered bad association. Illicit association with women and being henpecked by them are both forms of bad association.



13. What specifically should one think about on each Ekadasi?


On each Ekadasi one should think about how much advancement he has made since the last Ekadasi. If one finds that he has not made any advancement, or has even degraded his position, then he should understand that his lack of progress was caused by bad association. Thus he should endeavor to renounce that association. (Sajjana Tosanl 4/5)


14. How is Vaisnava etiquette protected?


Unless one renounces bad association, one cannot become situated on the platform of Vaisnava etiquette. There are two kinds of bad association, namely, association with those who are overly attached to women, and association with those who are devoid of devotional service to Krsna.

{Sajjana Tosanl 4/5)


15. How should Vaisnavas respect one another according to their status?


If an uttama-adhikdri is a householder and a madhyama-adhikan is a sannyasi, the madhyama-adhikdri sannydsl should offer obeisances to the uttama-adhikdri Vaisnava.

(Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 8)


16.What are the characteristics of a renunciant?


The first characteristic of a renunciant is that he is completely devoid of the desire to associate with women. He is compassionate toward all living entities, he considers money insignificant, he accumulates only as much wealth as he needs, he is purely attached to Krsna, he renounces the association of materialists, and he is equipoised when honored or dishonored. He is also reluctant to undertake huge enterprises and is neither attached nor detached in life or death. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 7)