Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.25 - Holy Name-The Ultimate Shelter (download mp3)
by Avatar Lila Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yadi kuryat pramadena
yogi karma vigarhitam
yogenaiva dahed amho
nanyat tatra kadacana
If, because of momentary inattention, a yogi accidentally commits an abominable activity, then by the very practice of yoga he should burn to ashes the sinful reaction, without at any time employing any other procedure.
The word yogena here indicates jñanena yogena and bhaktya yogena, since these two transcendental systems have the power to burn sinful reactions to ashes. It should be clearly understood that the word amhas, or “sin,” here refers to an accidental falldown against one’s desire. Premeditated exploitation of the mercy of the Lord can never be excused.
Significantly, the Lord forbids any extraneous purificatory rites, since the transcendental yoga systems are themselves the most purifying processes, especially bhakti-yoga. If one gives up one’s regular prescribed duties to perform a special ritual or penance, trying to purify a sinful reaction, then one will be guilty of the additional fault of giving up one’s prescribed duties. One should pick oneself up from an accidental falldown and go on vigorously with one’s prescribed duties in life without being unnecessarily discouraged. One should certainly lament and feel ashamed, or there will be no purification. However, if one becomes overly depressed at an accidental falldown one will not have the enthusiasm to go on to perfection. Lord Krsna also states in the Bhagavad-gita (9.30):
api cet su-duracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
“Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.” The most important point is that one should be properly engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, for then the Lord will excuse and purify an accidental falldown. One should, however, be most cautious to avoid such an unhappy event.