The word pāṣaṇḍī refers to nonbelievers engaged in fruitive activities and to idolatrous worshipers of many demigods. Pāṣaṇḍīs do not believe in one God, the Supreme Personality, Lord Viṣṇu; they think that all the demigods have the same potency as He. The definition of a pāṣaṇḍī is given in the tantra-śāstra:
- yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ
- samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
- (CC Madhya 18.116)
“A pāṣaṇḍī is one who considers the great demigods such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa.” (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, 1.17) The Supreme Personality of Godhead is asamordhva; in other words, no one can be equal to or greater than Him. But pāṣaṇḍīs do not believe this. They worship any kind of demigod, thinking it all right to accept whomever they please as the Supreme Lord. The pāṣaṇḍīs were against the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and now we see practically that they also do not like our humble attempts to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. On the contrary, these pāṣaṇḍīs say that we are spoiling the Hindu religion because people all over the world are accepting Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the version of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. The pāṣaṇḍīs condemn this movement, and sometimes they accuse Vaiṣṇavas from foreign countries of being not bona fide. Even so-called Vaiṣṇavas—pseudo followers of the Vaiṣṇava cult—do not agree with our activities in making Vaiṣṇavas in the Western countries. Such pāṣaṇḍīs existed even during the time of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and they continue to exist. Despite all the activities of these pāṣaṇḍīs, however, the prediction of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu will triumph: pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma/ sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma. “In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.” No one can check the spread of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because upon this movement is the benediction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.