~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

A Vaisnava fixed in the name is the real sadhu

"When I hear a sadhu chant the holy name, I offer my respects to him, knowing him to be a perfect Vaisnava; A Vaisnava is the spiritual master of the world, a true friend of every being, always an ocean of compassion. Anyone who criticizes a Vaisnava goes directly to hell and suffers untold pains birth after birth.

The doors of bhakti are closed to this offender because devotional service is the merciful gift of a Vaisnava to the living entities. The Vaisnava is an abode of Lord Krsna's spiritual potencies; others receive krsna-bhakti only by his confidential association.

"The potency or sakti of pure devotion is a blend of hladini (Krsna's pleasure-giving potency) and samvit (Krsna's knowledge-giving potency). The pure bhakti potency is instilled by a perfected pure devotee in the aspirant devotee; it is by this process that the bhakti potency is handed down. The bhakti potency reposes in the heart of a transcendentalist, and it uses him as a vehicle for further movement. When a jiva becomes free from envy and is inclined to devotional service, the bhakti potency is then transferred from a pure devotee's heart into that jiva’s heart. This is a great mystery. The three great touchstones that offer the mercy of a Vaisnava in attendance to bhaki are: the Vaisnava's eatable remnants, the water from his foot bath, and dust from his lotus feet.

How a Vaisnava imbues his potency in others

"When one sits in the presence of a Vaisnava for some time, one feels Krsna's potency exuding from his person. This potency enters the heart of a faithful person and impregnates it with bhakti. He experiences immediate ecstasy. Just by a moment's association with a Vaisnava, bhakti is invoked in the heart of a pious person. Immediately he'll be inspired to chant Lord Krsna's name; gradually, the holy name will offer him all the spiritual qualities.

Vaisnava-ninda or criticism of a devotee

"An offender against a sadhu is one who criticizes a Vaisnava about his caste, some unpremeditated accidental falldown, the last traces of his previous sins, or his sinful activities prior to his surrendering to Lord Krsna. This offender will never develop a taste for chanting the name. One who has taken complete shelter of the pure devotional process is considered a pure Vaisnava.

The four above-mentioned faults may be present in him, but he is totally free from all the other shortcomings. Hence criticizing him spells doom for the offender. The glories of the holy name are propagated by the Vaisnava; Lord Krsna does not tolerate any criticism against him. One may discard all other activities like religiosity, yoga, sacrifices, fruitive activities, empirical knowledge and so on; if one simply chants the holy name, that is the quintessence of spiritual culture.

The sadhu takes complete shelter of the holy name

"The real sadhu never criticizes demigods and other scriptures; he simply chants the holy name. Regardless of whether such a sadhu is householder or a sannyasi, one should eagerly take the dust from his lotus feet. The purity of a Vaisnava is judged by how much attraction or rati he has for the holy name. It has nothing whatsoever to do with his official status as a Vaisnava, or his wealth, erudition, youth, pleasing appearance, strength or following. Therefore one who takes shelter of the holy name must rescind the propensity to criticize sadhus.

"Pure devotion based on chanting is dependent on the mercy of the pure devotee and his unalloyed devotion. Without these two everything will become perverted and spoiled. Bhakti recedes at the first indication of sadhu-ninda, which then becomes namaparadha. Let the aspirant devotee disapprove of sadhu-ninda and serve and associate with the sadhus.