Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisance!
I always wanted to become a devotee. However, I feel I am not ready yet. It is especially regarding offenses that I shied away from committing myself.
There are some offenses which destroys every piety and, most importantly, Bhakti, we have been blessed with through devotional practice. One such offenses is Nama Apradha. Another much grievous is Vaishnava Aparadha. However, it is very hard to be completely free of these two offenses. For example, beginners like myself struggle to meditate on the Holy Names which constitute Nama Apradha and as for Vaishnava Apradh, sometimes I feel anger and see faults of devotees while associating due to impurities I have accumulated. Also, sometimes, I might have committed offenses unintentionally towards a devotee, which also have consequences of falling down. My point being, it is very hard to avoid all these offenses in reality. Sometimes I hear people gossip and may hear something unfavorable about devotees. Just hearing faults about devotees is again one of the major offenses. Even though, I do not try to react or indulge myself in gossiping, two offenses which is the most difficult to avoid is how you feel, see & hear. Since feelings cannot be immediately checked is there any ways with which to avoid these difficult offenses? If purity and being situated in Sattva Guna is a hallmark for approaching Krishna, shall I try to situate myself in mode of goodness before approaching Krishna or His devotees? Is offenses unavoidable in the initial stage? Also, how do I know whom I have offended unknowingly? All these truths sometimes makes me nervous approaching the devotees of the Lord, yet I do because I want to understand Krishna Consciousness.