How can offenses be avoided?
Answer: In order to become free from offenses, one should ultimately begin to lead a positive spiritual life. One who is always afraid of committing offenses, thus continuously meditating on them, will not really advance in chanting. The following story illustrates this point:
In a forest, a millipede could dance wonderfully. A toad that was observing his dancing became envious and decided to stop the millipede. However,she did not want to just come along and clumsily trample him down; so she conceived of a devious plan.
The toad wrote a letter to the millepede. “My dear millipede, you are certainly the best dancer in the entire forest, and in your dancing all the fine arts of the whole universe are reflected. I have, however, a question: when you are dancing, do you lift first the 52nd foot and then shift to the other side with the 56th foot, or do you begin by softly rolling your 200th foot and then go back to the 150th foot? How exactly do you perform your dance? That is my question. Yours sincerely, the toad from the bog.”
The millipede read the letter carefully,and the next time when he came to the dancing place where all the forest animals had already gathered,he bacame embarrassed. Instead of just dancing as usual, he thought, “Do i start with the 52th foot,or do i roll slowly from the 200th foot ahead? How do i exactly perform my dancing?”
As he was fully entangled in his thoughts, he could not dance anymore. he began to stagger and to stumble.”What is the matter?” asked the forest animals in amazement. The toad had attained her objective. What actually was the matter is called “Paralysis through analysis”-being paralyzed by thinking too much. One who is continuously absorbed in various thoughts, always living with the fear to commit offenses, will not be able to chant properly. This principle, by the way, affects the whole life: To be always afraid of negative things, thus meditating on all kinds of possible mistakes, makes it very difficult to follow the path of Krsna Consciousness. The injunction is: Think of Krsna! Only that will bring us out of ‘maya’!
Therefore, it is essential for every devotee to live a positive spiritual life, beyond the constant anxiety of how to avoid offenses. The best is to reverse ther offenses and consider them in a positive light.
-From ‘The Nectarean Ocean of the Holy Name by HH Sacinandana Maharaj’