How to deal if we find any devotee committing offenses?
A devotee (Name hidden by me) asked like this:
“Hare krishna prabhuji, sometimes we after many efforts also, tend to observe the mistakes of our spiritual master or our spiritual brothers and sisters, will it destroy whatever advancement we have done in the path of bhakti?
Also prabhuji, in the age of kali, it is said that people are exmpted from suffering the consequence of mental offenses, so prabhuji, if by mistake we think ill about anyone will we suffer or not?”
Yes. Sometimes you may notice some devotees committing mistakes. It can happen only in small numbers because most of the devotees are careful in avoiding offences. Only a few may commit mistakes.
If a starting level devotee commits mistakes, it is understandable because he has not fully reformed. He has just started.
But, senior devotees should be very careful in their each and every approach because 100s of eyes are watching them all the time and they will be caught at any time though they act secretly. Lord Himself will expose their double acts because Lord does not bear committing sinful acts or even thinking of sinful acts with the strength of being a devotee.
However, I like to repeat that most of the devotees are genuine and sincere. If a devotee is serious in his devotional practices, he can’t be diverted by Maya to perform prohibited acts.
In case, as you said, you happen to see any devotee committing sinful acts, at the first stage, give him friendly advice to stop committing such acts. If he continues the same offensive acts, and if he belongs to any spiritual organization, please tell the president/ manager of that organization about his offensive acts in a polite manner. Do not have a complaining attitude, but, inform as a well wisher of that temple.
Before doing the above things, first ensure whether his acts are really offensive that can add disrepute to his spiritual organization or temple. Because some things may be offensive in your view, but, may not be so as per the specified rules.
And, in case you see a devotee speaks to girls, do not decide immediately that he is speaking with bad intentions. He may be telling them about God consciousness in detail.
In case you see a devotee administrator spending excessively, do not decide immediately that he is misusing funds. He may be spending for genuine needs as permitted by the authorities.
So, before deciding about sinful acts, first confirm it yourself without doubts.
In the case of guru, same advice applies. We have to be very careful in ascertaining whether a devotee is really committing sinful acts. If we misunderstand a genuine devotee as committing sinful acts, we can’t clear that serious Vaishnava offence.
About your second question, there is no such exemption for kaliyuga. Bhagavad Gita is suitable for all yugas. It is not only for three yugas except kaliyuga. So, even in kaliyuga, even if you think of having illicit sex, it is treated as actually having that. So, we have to involve our mind also, in Krishna’s face, lotus feet and lilas all the time. This will protect us from thinking of sinful acts.
However, since Lord is very merciful, He may forgive such mental offences if you are very sincere in your devotional practices. Because, during initial stage, such mental offences are natural. At the same time, when a devotee advances in devotion, his mind will get regulated to think of Krishna all the time.
And, any offence done during childhood stage or done really innocently during adult stage may be forgiven by Lord. The willful offences done with the awareness will be treated seriously.
Hope you have understood.