kripa-sindhubhya eva cha
vaishnavebhyo namo namaha
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees and can fulfill the desires of everyone, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls.
The Vaishnava Pranam mantra which is chanted by the devotees on various occasions throughout the day is a most glorious and wonderful verse describing the amazing potency that the mercy of the Vaishnavas can have. The devotees of the Lord are most munificent, their hearts melting out of compassion, and they look upon all living entities as the eternal servants of the Lord and therefore as the object of their respect and affection. Such devotees of the Lord are just like desire trees and are fully capable of fulfilling all the desires one may have. There are many instances in the history of the world where the great devotees of the Lord,due to their compassionate nature, mercifully fulfil all desires, spiritual and material, of those requesting them for benedictions. However, knowing well that the ultimate good of one and all lies only in becoming a surrendered devotee of the Lord, they preach the glories of the Lord far and wide and bestow mercy upon all. Such wonderful devotees are always eager to bestow true good fortune upon the fallen conditioned souls and therefore all their benedictions ultimately lead one to the lotus feet of the Lord. It is therefore said in the Shastras that even a moment of association with the pure devotees of the Lord can deliver one from the bondage of this material world. Being pleased with the loving devotion of his pure devotees, the Lord delivers 21 generations of predecessors and 21 generations of successors and grants them all auspiciousness. One may think that one is therefore only supposed to pay respect to the pure devotees and the rest are not required to be respected. However, it is not so. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that a person who even once says the name of the Lord is to be considered as a devotee of the Lord and due respect should be given. Even the neophyte devotees who are just beginning their journey on the spiritual path become the cause of the deliverance and auspiciousness of 7 generations of predecessors and successors. It is therefore very important to give due respect to all the Vaishnavas. And failure to do so results in one of the most dangerous offences, Vaishnava Aparadh, which is like a Mad elephant capable of destroying one’s creeper of Bhakti. Therefore we should always give due respect to all the Vaishnavas, and Srila Rupa Goswami, in his Upadeshamrita, gives us guidance as to how to pay proper respect to the various Vaishnavas.
Understanding the glories of the Vaishnavas, let us pay our respectful obeisances as their lotus feet and beg for their mercy, for their mercy is capable of fulfilling our cherished desire to serve the Lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar.