The devotees of the Lord understand that it is māyā's influence that has spoiled the people and made them demoniac. Thus the inherently noble disposition of the devotees leads them to think only of the demons' benefit, without a tinge of envy. The devotees are therefore known as patita-pāvana, "the saviors of the fallen." In fact, the devotees are more compassionate than the Supreme Lord Himself. Of course, it is the Supreme Lord's grace alone that makes them more compassionate than the Lord. And by the mercy of such devotees, the lowest sinful men and women can attain the lotus feet of the Lord.
On the other hand, offending such pure devotees finishes all possibility of salvation. If one offends the Supreme Lord, only His pure devotees can save the offender, but if one offends the pure devotee, then even the Supreme Lord will not save the offender from doom. For this reason alone, pure devotees never feel offended. When Jesus Christ was being crucified, he did not blame anyone for it. Haridāsa Ṭhākura was severely lashed in twenty-two marketplaces by the Muslim Kazi's sentries. Still he prayed to the Lord not to punish his tormentors. Lord Nityānanda was wounded by the two rascals Jagāi and Mādhāi, yet the Lord stood His ground, bleeding profusely. He delivered the two notorious brothers and thus brilliantly exemplified the title patita-pāvana. Such is the profound compassion of the pure devotees.
Therefore the reprobates' only means of attaining any piety is through the association of devotees. We are looking forward to that time when the stalwart disciples of that illustrious crest jewel of all Vaiṣṇavas, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, having received the blessings of their spiritual master, will come together again for the benediction of the whole world and, without wasting any more time, preach the message of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī always tried to dissuade his disciple, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, from going to Calcutta, which he considered a bastion of Kali-yuga. Yet though some might think Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura disobeyed his guru's order, he preached not only in Calcutta but in other capitals of Kali-yuga, such as London, Berlin, Bombay, Madras, and Delhi. He vehemently opposed the idea of constructing a temple in some quiet spot and leading a passive and uneventful life in the monastery. He represented perfectly the ideal of utilizing 100 percent of one's energy in God's service for the spiritual upliftment of humanity. A certain Gujarati friend offered to build him a temple in Ville Parle, a quiet and remote section of Bombay. He immediately refused. We had the greatest good fortune of seeing him act and preach in this way. And now it is our ill fate that after the passing away of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the exemplar of patita-pāvana, we have returned to our lowly, fallen ways. Is there a glimmer of hope for our deliverance?
From the ocean of loving compassion, which had been completely dammed up, Lord Nityānanda cut a canal of love of Godhead and flooded the entire world. And then some persons called caste Gosvāmīs, claiming to be the Lord's descendants, again dammed up that ocean of mercy with their malpractices of fruitive activities and rituals. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura once more cut open the canal of love of Godhead and brought in the flood waters. And now are we, of all persons, trying once more to dam it up like the caste Gosvāmīs? By the influence of the good association of the Lord's devotees, even a fool and rascal like me, possessed of a destructive, demoniac mentality, can accumulate enough piety to become inspired to serve the Supreme Lord.
By nature children are restless and playful, so in the kindergarten they are given toys and games to interest them in learning. Similarly, a neophyte is trained to perform activities in the mood of sacrifice, and he is encouraged to worship the Deities according to the scriptural injunctions. The expert Vaiṣṇava preceptor then gradually draws him toward the platform of pure devotion by narrating the spiritually potent topics of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and giving him the remnants of food offered to the Supreme Lord. These two aspects of devotional life act like medicine on the neophyte, who, like the rest of the world, is affected by the material disease. Devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa is the living entity's eternal birthright; it is not a new subject fabricated by the human mind. A base fool thinks that devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa is merely a mundane psychological state of mind. But in truth devotional service is our eternal spiritual substance—"the essential spiritual reality" (vāstava-vastu), according to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2). Devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa can be invoked naturally in the purified hearts of devotees. When a disease is cured, the patient feels hungry; similarly, when a neophyte accrues sufficient piety by associating with devotees, he feels attraction for devotional service within his heart.