At Rādhākuṇḍa with Sādhu Bābā's new kṛpā pātra, Dāmodar
"I am not a vegetarian and teetotaller. You said that the Guru is not responsible for the sins of the disciple, so can I still get initiated?"
Advaitadas: "The Guru is not responsible when he accepted the disciple in good standing, and he trusts the disciple will follow the rules. If the disciple later starts breaking the rules the Guru is not responsible, but if he allows the candidate dīkṣā while knowing that he/she is not following the rules then he will suffer the reactions, because it is a premeditated breach of the rules by both Guru and śiṣya. Śrīdhara Swāmī teaches: nānubadhnīta pralobhanādinā balān nāpādayet "Not binding a disciple means the Guru should neither tempt nor force the candidate into initiation." Such initiation is useless. If the śiṣya is materialistic then -
yāvat pāpais tu malinaṁ hṛdayaṁ tāvad eva hi
na śāstre satya buddhiḥ syāt sad buddhiḥ sad gurau tathā
(Bhakti Sandarbha 1st paragraph, quoting Śrī Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa)
“As long as sin pollutes the heart one cannot accept śāstra as truth or see the genuine Guru as genuine.”
And if the Guru is materialistic then -
sa guru paramo vairī bhraṣṭaṁ vartma pradarśayet.
taj janma nāśaṁ kurute śiṣya hatyāṁ bhaved dhruvam
(Śrī Nārada Pancarātra 2.8.26)
“That Guru is the greatest enemy, if he shows the path of immorality and decay. He destroys the birth of his disciple and kills him instead.”
ARE SINS COMMITTED IN IGNORANCE PUNISHED?
Bhakta: In your blog of April 19,2006, you claimed that ignorance is an excuse, but what about this statement?
“Those who are not in knowledge, who commit violations of the standard laws, are subject to be punished under criminal laws. Similarly, the laws of nature are very stringent. If a child touches fire without knowing the effect, he must be burned, even though he is only a child. If a child violates the law of nature, there is no compassion.”
Advaitadas: This is a material example. Śrīdhara Swāmī comments on Śrīmad Bhāgavat 11.21.17:
doṣasya kvacid doṣatvābhāve guṇatve codāharaṇaṁ darśayati | samānasya tasyaiva karmaṇaḥ surā-pānāder ācaraṇam apatitānāṁ patana-hetur api jātyā karmaṇā vā patitānāṁ punaḥ pātakam adhikāra-bhraṁśakaṁ na bhavati, pūrvam eva patitatvāt | ato’tra doṣasyāpi doṣatā nāstīty arthaḥ
'One man's fault is another man's virtue or at least lack of fault. It is the same act (samāna karma), but if an apatita (brahmin or Vaiṣṇava) drinks alcohol, it is the cause of his/her falldown, but for those anyway fallen (śūdras or non-devotees) this does not cause further degradation because it is their normal way to be. Thus, though it is a flaw (for some) there is no flaw."
In the Manu Saṁhitā (8.337-8) it is said:
aṣṭāpādyaṁ tu śūdrasya steye bhavati kilbiṣam
ṣodaśaiva tu vaiśyasya dvātriṁśat kṣatriyasya ca
brāhmaṇasya catuḥ ṣaṣṭiḥ pūrṇaṁ vāpi śataṁ bhavet
dviguṇā vā catuḥ ṣaṣṭis tad doṣa guṇa vid hi saḥ
“In (a case of) theft the guilt of a śūdra shall be eightfold, that of a vaiśya sixteen-fold, that of a kṣatriya thirty-twofold, that of a brāhmana sixty-fourfold, or quite a hundredfold, or (even) twice four-and-sixtyfold; (each of them) knowing the nature of the offence.”