AVAGUNA
December 26, 2003
St. Louis, MO

In Bhagavad Gita 16/21, Lord Krishna explains, "There are three gates leading to hell [i.e. lead to the degradation of the soul] - kaama (lust), krodha (anger), and lobha (greed)." Lord Swaminarayan also emphasized eradicating the three vices of hatha (stubbornness), maana(ego), and eershaa (jealousy). The latter three are in fact even more detrimental. However, Lord Swaminarayan has explained that perceiving avagunas (faults or flaws) in devotees is the most detrimental. (Dinkar Uncle related these as "diseases" of the gross body, subtle and causation body, and the soul, respectively.) Lord Swaminarayan has emphasized not perceiving avagunas in devotees throughout the Vachanamrut. Yogi Bapa has emphasized not perceiving negative in devotees in Sunruta, Mahelav Naa Sankalpa, and Gunaateeta Gnyaana Nu Navaneeta.

In Vachanamrut Gadhada First 1 (and Vadtal 14), Lord Swaminarayan references a verse from the Skand Puran that states "Sins committed elsewhere are destroyed at a place of pilgrimage, [but] sins committed at a place of pilgrimage are as if etched in iron," to explain that one should not perceive avagunas in a saint.
In Gadhada First 16, Lord Swaminarayan explains that a devotee (with viveka) "Rejects any apparent avagunas he perceives in a saint or devotee and accepts only their gunas (good qualities)."
In Gadhada First 28, likening a person who sees avagunas in devotees to a smoldering half-burnt log, Lord Swaminarayan explains that such a person will ultimately fall from satsanga.
In Gadhada First 31, Lord Swaminarayan explains that a person who sees avagunas in devotees may [eventually] also perceive flaws in God and profoundly great devotees of God.
In Gadhada First 35, Lord Swaminarayan explains perceiving avagunas in a great saint or God to be like dropping snake venom in tasty, sugared buffalo-milk - a person who percieves avagunas is unable to walk on the path of liberation.
In Gadhada First 53, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "A person who perceives avagunas in a great saint gradually regresses in satsanga; conversely, a person who perceives gunas in that saint progress, and his devotion towards God also flourishes."
In Gadhada First 67, Lord Swaminarayan explains that a person who perceives avagunas in a saint is malicious and will never acquire saintly gunas.

In Vachanamrut Kariyani 9, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "A person who is devoted to God in his heart and realizes the glory of God would never perceive avagunas in a devotee of God."
In Loya 2, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "When avagunas are perceived in a saint, one should think, 'I have committed a grave sin by perceiving avagunas in a brahmasvaroopa devotee of God.'...Only if this type of thought [of extreme remorse] remains in a person's heart...would he not fall from satsanga."

In Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 11, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "If in any way a person perceives avagunas in a devotee of God who, by God's command, performs karmas for the purpose of pleasing God, then adharma and its retinue will enter and reside in the perceiver's heart."
In Gadhada Middle 26, giving the example of Radhikaji and Shridama, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "No matter how great he may be, if a person perceives avagunas in others and gunas in himself, he will certainly encounter obstacles on the path of liberation."
In Gadhada Middle 44, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "A true devotee of God sees only his own avagunas; he never perceive doshas (flaws) in other devotees of God."
In Gadhada Middle 46, Lord Swaminarayan explains that for an ekaantika devotee, leaving the body is not death, but falling from ekaantika dharma is true death - and it should be considered that one has fallen from ekaantika dharma when he has abhaava (negativity) for God or His saint in his heart.
In Gadhada Middle 53, Lord Swaminarayan states, "Only out of one's foolishness does one perceive avagunas in God and His devotees, and becomes vimukha (or 'away' from satsanga)."

In Vachanamrut Gadhada Last 12, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "Even though he may be called a devotee, a person who has perceived avagunas in God or His devotee should be known to be like a rabid dog. [Since whoever has affection for or listens to such a person also becomes a non-believer]."
In Gadhada Last 22, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "The gravest of all sins is having dosha-buddhi (perceiving flaws) in God and His devotees, because due to that dosha-buddhi, animosity is formed with God and His devotees."

Finally, in Vachanamrut Gadhada First 71, Gadhada Middle 28, Gadhada Middle 40, Gadhada Middle 63, Vadtal 11, Vadtal 15, Gadhada Last 35, amongst others, Lord Swaminarayan explains that to droha (harm or insult) God's devotees is the greatest sin.

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