Dear Prabhus and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad and Vaishnava acharyas.
A vaishnava is a devotee of Vishnu/Krishna. Vaishnavas aim to break free of the cycle of birth and death through devotional service to the Supreme Lord. The word 'Vishnu' means "ONE WHO PERVADES EVERY WHERE". He is not limited by space, time or substance and is free from all flaws and is endowed with infinite number of attributes.
An understanding of the higher goal of one's life has always been sought by many vaishnava acharyas from time immemorial. So many vaishnava acharyas have appeared in the line of disciplic succession coming after Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to spread the jewel of vedic knowledge in India. The songs composed by great acharyas like Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Narothama dasa, when sung by pure vaishnavas who follow the rules and regulations of vaishnava tradition, actually awaken the Krishna consciousness dormant in every living entity. The transcendental writings of stalwart Vaishnavas starting from the six Goswamis all the way upto Srila Prabhupada is also embellished with the transcendental attitude of love and service to the Supreme Lord Krishna. Srila Prabhupada was instrumental in condensing all the essence of our previous acaryas and spreading this vaishnava culture to the West as well as to all corners of the world and we all reap the benefits to-day.
Vaishnavas are held in high esteem because of their ideal character, godly nature and spiritual knowledge. A Vaishnava is an ocean of mercy. Every one of us have desires but a vaishnava can fulfill all desires. They are compared to 'Desire' tree, a type of tree in the spiritual world Krishna loka, which can give any type of fruit as one desires. A vaishnava is addressed as 'Maha Bhaga' which means 'one who is capable of bringing great-fortune'. Hence the vaishnavas go door to door to make the unfortunate people fortunate and their main mission is to save sinful persons who are suffering. They may even go to the extent of going to hell in order to deliver conditioned souls.
Krishna's mercy descends only through the vaishnavas hence we should be extremely careful to avoid offence to vaishnavas. If a devotee commits vaishnava-aparadha, his offence is like a mad elephant uprooting and trampling his creeper of devotion, afterwards the creeper's leaves dry up and become lifeless.
In Padma Purana, Lord Shiva glorifies Lord Vishnu and Vaishnavas when questioned by mother Parvati as to Whose worship is the greatest:
aaraadhanaanaam sarveshaam/ vishnor aaradhanam param
tasmaat parataram devi/ tadiyaanaam samarcanam
"Lord Shiva tells his wife Parvati, My dear Devi, the worship of Lord Vishnu is the top most worship. However, above this worship of Lord Vishnu is the rendering of service to vaishnavas, who are related to Lord Vishnu."
Srimad Bhagavatam is full of examples of glorious service to Vaishnavas, the foremost being that of Sri Prahlad Maharaj who inspite of being offered direct service by Lord Nrsimhadev unto Himself, requested Him to let him serve his spiritual master, pure vaishnava Srila Narada Muni, because unless he had not shown him the path of devotional service to attain the Supreme Lord, how could he have gotten the rarest of opportunities to see the Lord face to face?
So let us render non-duplicitous, greatful service to Vaishnavas by whose mercy we can get closer to Krishna without delay.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupad and Gurudev,
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