Nectar of Devotion - Offenses
to Be Avoided
Madhurya Kadambini - Chanting—the Remedy for Offences
Hari Bhakti Vilas - The process of atonement
Attaining Forgiveness for Offenses - Aparadha kshama:
Atonement for committing offenses (Archana Paddhati):
See more on Asaucham - times of ritual impurity (Sutikam & Mrtakam)
All the rules of puja are formed to prevent one from committing offense to the Lord. If one breaks a rule and commits offense the first remedial measure is to beg forgiveness for the offense with a sincere heart.
As a safeguard, one should in conclusion beg pardon for any unintentional offense (intentional offense is out of the question for one who is initiated) as the final means of accruing success from the puja.
To free oneself from offense one can also bath in the Yamuna at Mathura and serve the Lord there; study a chapter of Bhagavad Gita every day; worship Salagrama sila with Tulasi leaves, read verses glorifying Tulasi on dvadasi while staying awake all night; and mark oneself with the weapons of Vishnu and then worship the Lord.
Following is a list of some of the offenses in deity worship. This not a complete list of all possible offenses towards the Lord, but gives one an idea of how one should respect the Lord. the offenses have been divided into five groups for convenience, according to the Padma Purana .
Lack of purity in body and mind:
To come to the temple after associating with drunkards.
To worship the deity after talking to beggars or tantriks.
To touch anything eaten by a dog and then com into the temple.
To appear before the Lord after taking food without first washing hands and mouth, or in any unclean state.
To come before the deity after having seen a corpse, having visited a burning ghat, or after having eaten onions, meat or other forbidden foods.
To touch the Lord without having brushed the teeth, or after having touched a woman in her period, a lamp or a dead body.
To serve the deity after having rubbed oil on ones body (an impure state).
To come before the deity improperly dressed: wearing red, blue, unwashed, dirty or another persons clothing.
To enter the temple with unclean feet.
To serve the Lord with undigested food in ones stomach.
To worship the deity while sweating.
To exit from puja to stool.
To serve the Lord while angry.
To talk mundane matters while worshipping the Lord.
Lack of respect:
To enter the Lord's temple in a vehicle of any sort.
To enter the Lord's temple with shoes on.
To come before the Lord without paying pranamas.
To pay pranamas with one hand.
To circumabulate in front of the deity.
To point at the Lord with ones finger.
To show ones feet to the deity.
To squat before the Lord.
To lie down and sleep before the Lord.
To eat before the Lord.
To chew pan before the Lord.
To wear a covering such as chaddar over the head and body before the Lord.
To pass air in front of the Lord.
To sit with ones back to the Lord.
To spit in the Lord's temple.
To wear horizontal tilaka before the deity.
To accept or give things to another person in front of the Lord.
To offer an article which has already been enjoyed by another person.
To look at the Lord when he is not open for viewing.
To disrespect the nirmalya (prasada garlands, caranamrta),
To offer meat to the Lord.
To speak lies, loud words, cruel words, angry words, indecent words,
or unspiritual words before the deity.
To cry before the deity.
To criticize or praise someone in front of the deity.
To greet another person before the Lord.
To criticize the Lord or the devatas.
To curse the Lord.
Lack of effort:
To perform worship with less than what one is capable of.
To neglect the Lord during his festivals.
To worship the Lord without offering items such as incense, gandha, malya etc.
To neglect to offer the season's fruits to the Lord.
To come before the spiritual master without words of praise.
To serve the Lord while ignoring the pancaratrik injunctions.
To open the temple doors without sounding of instruments.
To touch the Lord in the dark (neglecting to light any lamp).
To touch the deity with the left hand.
To worship or touch the deity without having performed acamana.
To worship the deity without sitting on an asana.
To worship the Lord with old flowers.
To worship the Lord with unsuitable flowers.
to worship the Lord with begged flowers.
To worship The deity while sitting on the Lord's asana (pitha).
To worship the deity without having first worshipped the destroyer of obstacles. To bathe the Lord in water touched by the fingernails.
To offer the Lord grains cooked by a non vaisnava.
To worship the Lord before non vaisnavas.
To worship the deity during asura kala.
Lack of faith:
To eat the food offered to devatas or wear garlands offered to
To eat food without first offering it the Lord.
To eat the food of a materialist.
To fail to observe the vratas such as ekadasi.
Lack of servitorship (pride):
To show pride before the deity, by thinking oneself the best worshiper,
or by performing elaborate puja for name and fame.
To praise oneself before the deity.
In the supplementary Vedic literature, there is the following list of thirty-two offenses in the matter of serving the Lord: (1) One should not enter the temple of the Deity in a car or palanquin or with shoes on the feet. (2) One should not fail to observe the various festivals for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as Janmäñöamé and Ratha-yäträ. (3) One should not avoid bowing down before the Deity. (4) One should not enter the temple to worship the Lord without having washed one's hands and feet after eating. (5) One should not enter the temple in a contaminated state. (According to Vedic scripture, if someone dies in the family the whole family becomes contaminated for some time, according to its status. For example, if the family is brähmaëa their contamination period is twelve days, for the kñatriyas and vaiçyas it is fifteen days, and for çüdras thirty days.) (6) One should not bow down on one hand. (7) One should not circumambulate in front of Çré Kåñëa. (The process of circumambulating the temple is that one should begin circumambulating from the Deity's right-hand side of the temple and come round. Such circumambulation should be performed outside the temple structure at least three times daily.) (8) One should not spread his legs before the Deity. (9) One should not sit before the Deity holding the ankles, elbows or knees with one's hands. (10) One should not lie down before the Deity of Kåñëa. (11) One should not accept prasäda before the Deity. (12) One should never speak a lie before the Deity. (13) One should not talk very loudly before the Deity. (14) One should not talk with others before the Deity. (15) One should not cry or howl before the Deity. (16) One should not quarrel or fight before the Deity. (17) One should not chastise anyone before the Deity. (18) One should not be charitable to beggars before the Deity. (19) One should not speak very harshly to others before the Deity. (20) One should not wear a fur blanket before the Deity. (21) One should not eulogize or praise anyone else before the Deity. (22) One should not speak any ill names before the Deity. (23) One should not pass air before the Deity. (24) One should not fail to worship the Deity according to one's means. (In Bhagavad-gétä it is stated that the Lord is satisfied if some devotee offers Him even a leaf or a little water. This formula prescribed by the Lord is universally applicable, even for the poorest man. But that does not mean that one who has sufficient means to worship the Lord very nicely should also adopt this method and try to satisfy the Lord simply by offering water and a leaf. If he has sufficient means, he should offer nice decorations, nice flowers and nice foodstuffs and observe all ceremonies. It is not that one should try to satisfy the Supreme Lord with a little water and a leaf, and for himself spend all his money in sense gratification.) (25) One should not eat anything which is not offered first to Kåñëa. (26) One should not fail to offer fresh fruit and grains to Kåñëa, according to the season. (27) After food has been cooked, no one should be offered any foodstuff unless it is first offered to the Deity. (28) One should not sit with his back toward the Deity. (29) One should not offer obeisances silently to the spiritual master, or in other words, one should recite aloud the prayers to the spiritual master while offering obeisances. (30) One should not fail to offer some praise in the presence of the spiritual master. (31) One should not praise himself before the spiritual master. (32) One should not deride the demigods before the Deity.
This is a list of thirty-two offenses. Besides these, there are a number of offenses which are mentioned in the Varäha Puräëa. They are as follows: (1) One should not touch the Deity in a dark room. (2) One should not fail to strictly follow the rules and regulations in worshiping the Deity. (3) One should not enter the temple of the Deity without first making some sound. (4) One should not offer any foodstuff to the Deity which has been seen by dogs or other lower animals. (5) One should not break silence while worshiping. (6) One should not pass urine or evacuate while engaged in worshiping. (7) One should not offer incense without offering some flower. (8) Useless flowers without any fragrance should not be offered. (9) One should not fail to wash his teeth very carefully every day. (10) One should not enter the temple directly after sexual intercourse. (11) One should not touch a woman during her menstrual period. (12) One should not enter the temple after touching a dead body. (13) One should not enter the temple wearing garments of red or blue color or garments which are unwashed. (14) One should not enter the temple after seeing a dead body. (15) One should not pass air within the temple. (16) One should not be angry within the temple. (17) One should not enter the temple after visiting a crematorium. (18) One should not belch before the Deity. So, until one has fully digested his food, he should not enter the temple. (19) One should not smoke marijuana, or gaïjä. (20) One should not take opium or similar intoxicants. (21) One should not enter the Deity room or touch the body of the Deity after having smeared oil over his body. (22) One should not show disrespect to a scripture teaching about the supremacy of the Lord. (23) One should not introduce any opposing scripture. (24) One should not chew betel before the Deity. (25) One should not offer a flower which was kept in an unclean pot. (26) One should not worship the Lord while sitting on the bare floor; one must have a sitting place or carpet. (27) One should not touch the Deity before one has completed taking bath. (28) One should not decorate his forehead with the three-lined tilaka. (29) One should not enter the temple without washing his hands and feet.
Other rules are that one should not offer foodstuff which is cooked by a non-Vaiñëava, one should not worship the Deity before a nondevotee, and one should not engage himself in the worship of the Lord while seeing a nondevotee. One should begin the worship of the demigod Gaëapati, who drives away all impediments in the execution of devotional service. In the Brahma-saàhitä it is stated that Gaëapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nåsiàhadeva and in that way has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore, all devotees should worship Gaëapati. The Deities should not be bathed in water which has been touched by the nails or fingers. When a devotee is perspiring, he should not engage himself in worshiping the Deity. Similarly, there are many other prohibitions. For example, one should not cross or step over the flowers offered to the Deities, nor should one take a vow in the name of God. These are all different kinds of offenses in the matter of executing devotional service, and one should be careful to avoid them.
In the Padma Puräëa it is stated that even a person whose life is completely sinful will be completely protected by the Lord if he simply surrenders unto Him. So it is accepted that one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes free from all sinful reactions. And even when a person becomes an offender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he can still be delivered simply by taking shelter of the holy names of the Lord: Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare. In other words, the chanting of Hare Kåñëa is beneficial for eradicating all sins, but if one becomes an offender to the holy names of the Lord, then he has no chance of being delivered.
The offenses against the chanting of the holy name are as follows: (1) To blaspheme the devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the holy name of the Lord. (2) To consider the names of demigods like Lord Çiva or Lord Brahmä to be equal to, or independent of, the name of Lord Viñëu. (Sometimes the atheistic class of men take it that any demigod is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viñëu. But one who is a devotee knows that no demigod, however great he may be, is independently as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, if someone thinks that he can chant "Kälé, Kälé!" or "Durgä, Durgä!"and it is the same as Hare Kåñëa, that is the greatest offense.) (3) To disobey the orders of the spiritual master. (4) To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of the Vedic version. (5) To consider the glories of chanting Hare Kåñëa to be imagination. (6) To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord. (7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord. (It should not be taken that because by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can be freed from all kinds of sinful reaction, one may continue to act sinfully and after that chant Hare Kåñëa to neutralize his sins. Such a dangerous mentality is very offensive and should be avoided.) (8) To consider the chanting of Hare Kåñëa one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities (karma-käëòa). (9) To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name. (Anyone can take part in chanting the holy name of the Lord, but in the beginning one should not be instructed about the transcendental potency of the Lord. Those who are too sinful cannot appreciate the transcendental glories of the Lord, and therefore it is better not to instruct them in this matter.) (10) To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter.
Every devotee who claims to be a
Vaiñëava must guard against these offenses in order to quickly
achieve the desired success.
PRAYASCITTANY ASESANI TAPAH KARMATMAKANI VAI
YANI TESAM ASESANAM KRSNA ANUSMARANAM PARAM
KRTE PAPE'NUTAPO VAI YASYA PUMSAH PRAJAYATE
PRAYAS CITTANTU TASYAIKAM HARI SAMSMARANAM PARAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/49,50 from VISNU PURANA)
Among all atonements such as austerity, charity, japa (silent chanting), and fasting, the remembrance of Lord Sri Krsna is the topmost. The atonement to remove sinful activities is the only way, but remembering Lord Hari is the topmost atonement to remove sin.
KARMANA MANASA VACA YAH KRTA PAPA SANCAHAH
SO'PY ASESAH KSAYAM YATI SMRTVA KRSNANGHRI PANKAJAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/55 from BRAHMA VAIVARTA PURANA)
Anyone who has accumulated sins by actions, mind and words, those sins are removed only by remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna.
SAKRN MANAH KRSNA PADARAVINDAYOR
NIVESITAM TAD-GUNA-RAGI YAIR IHA
NA TE YAMAM PASA-BHRTAS CA TAD-BHATAN
SVAPNE 'PI PASYANTI HI CIRNA-NISKRTAH
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 6.1.19)
Even if a person has not fully realized Krsna, he becomes completely free from all sinful reactions by accepting the true method of atonement, full surrender at His lotus feet. Even in dreams, such surrendered souls do not see Yamaraja or his carriers, who are equipped with ropes to bind the sinful.
LABHAS TESAM JAYAS TESAM KUTAS TESAM PARA BHAVAH
YESAM INDIVARASYAMO HRDAYASTHA JANARDANAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/62 from PANDAVA GITA)
The blue lotus-colored Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Syamasundara, in whoever's heart He resides, ?
VEDESU YAJNESU TAPAHSU CA IVA DANESU TIRTHESU VRATASU CAIVA
ISTESU PURTESU CA YAT PRADISTAM NRNAM SMRTE TAT PHALAM ACYUTE CA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/63 from SKANDA PURANA)
Whatever merit is gained by performing sacrifice, performing austerities, giving charity, going to the places of pilgrimage, fasting, following the scriptural rules and regulations and building water ponds and gardens is all attained by one who remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Visnu (Krsna).
YASYA SMARANA MATRENA JANMA SAMSARA BANDHANAT
VIMUCYATE NAMAS TASMAI VISNAVE PRABHA VISNAVE
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/71 from SKANDA PURANA)
Just by remembering the all-influential, powerful Lord Sri Visnu, one's connection within this world of repeated birth and death is completely cut. To such a Personality of Godhead, I pay my obeisances.
TADAIVA PURUSO MUKTO JANMA DUHKHA JARADIBHIH
BHAKTYA TU PARAYA NUNAM YADA IVA SMARATE HARIM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/? from SKANDA PURANA spoken by Parasara Muni)
When someone remembers the Supreme Lord Hari with devotion, at once he becomes free from fear, distress, old age, etc. without a doubt.
NIRASIR NIRMAMO YASTU VISNOR DHYANA PARO BHAVET
TAT PADAM SAM AVAPNOTI YATRA GATVA NA SOCATI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/77 from VISNU DHARMOTTARA)
Anyone who, after giving up all sense enjoyment and greed, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord Visnu, he attains Lord Visnu's abode where there is no distress.
ETAN SANKHYA-YOGABHYAM SVA-DHARMA-PARINISTHAYA
JANMA-LABHAH PARAH PUMSAM ANTE NARAYANA SMRITI
(SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 2.1.6)
The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life.
TATAH PADODAKAM KINCIT PRAK PITVA TULASI DALAIH
GRHITE NACARET TENA SVA MURDHNY ABHISECANAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/87)
SARVA MANGALA MANGALYAM VARENYAM VARADAM SIVAM
NARAYANAM NAMASKRTYA SARVA KARMANI KARAYET
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/89 from VAMANA PURANA)
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayana, who is all auspicious among auspicious things, who is the best of all, who gives benedictions of all kinds, should always be remembered while performing all kinds of activities.
UPA PATAKESU SARVESU PATAKESU MAHATSU CA
PRAVISYA RAJANI PADAM VISNU DHYANAM SAMACARET
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/102 from NARADA PANCARATRA)
Anyone who wants to become free from all kinds of obstacles and great difficulties, should always remember and worship Lord Sri Visnu early in the morning or the last part of the night within his house.
VIBHAJYA PANCADHA RATRIM SESE DEVA ARCAN ADIKAM
JAPAM HOMAM TATHA DHYANAM NITYAM KURVITA SADHAKAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/104 from VAIHAYASA PANCARATRA)
A mendicant should divide the whole night into five parts after sunset and in the last part he should daily perform japa, sacrifice and meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
RATRES TU PASCIME YAME MUHURTAU BRAHMYA UCYATE
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 3/105 from VISNU SMRTI)
Therefore it is written that the last part of the night is called the brahma muhurta.
That Japa of the Vishnu mantra is Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna
Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Chanting—the Remedy for Offences
Obstructions on the path of pure
devotion are caused by aparädhottha anartha (unwanted desires coming
from offences). These offences refer particularly to näma-aparädhas,
or offences against the holy name, and they do not include seva-aparädha,
offences committed in devotional service and in worship of the Deity. Seva-aparädhas
are excluded because conscientious devotees remove such offences by reciting
prayers and constantly performing devotional service, thereby avoiding
the possibility of the offence in its seed form growing into a future reaction.
Chanting the holy name of the Lord also effectively removes the reactions
to seva aparädha. Therefore, if a devotee is careless in avoiding
seva-aparädha, knowing that his chanting will nullify his reactions
to such offences, then that is an offence against the holy name. The scriptures
warn us that committing sins on the strength of chanting the holy name
is a very serious näma-aparädha.
Although chanting is shown here to be the remedy for curing sevä-aparädha, it is actually the remedy for offences committed in performing all parts of devotional service. The scriptures state that if a person sins knowing that later he can perform some atonement (präyaçcitta) to absolve them, the sins instead of being removed become even more serious.
In different scriptures, the Supreme Lord states that anyone who tries to serve Him, even unsuccessfully, need not be concerned, because the devotee's service, however imperfect, is never wasted. Again Kåñëa has said that anyone who simply chants a particular ten-syllable mantra [(klià) gopéjana-vallabhäya svähä] attains all perfections.
Offences are not in the Category of Sins
Then one may ask whether it is a
näma-aparädha if a devotee cannot complete this discipline on
the path of devotion. The reply is that it is not. Sinning on the strength
of chanting means that one sins deliberately and thereby is guilty of näma-aparädha.
(Whereas sinful activities can be recognized as those actions strongly
condemned in the scriptures, and whereby the scriptures give remedial measures
to rectify them.) A person who is unable to reach his spiritual goal sometimes
fails from carelessness, not necessarily from the compulsive habit of committing
It is interesting to note that when a person does not attain the goal of karma-yoga the scriptures strongly condemn it, but when one fails to reach the goal of devotional service the scriptures do not react in the same way. The Çrémad-Bhägavatam (SB 11.2.34-35) states:
ye vai bhagavatä proktä
upäyä hy ätma-labdhaye
aïjaù puàsäm aviduñäà viddhi bhägavatän hi tän
yän ästhäya naro räjan na pramädyeta karhicit
dhävan nimélya vä netre na skhalen na pated iha
The Lord's instructions to people
in general who are ignorant about the ultimate goal of life regarding God
realization is factually true religion and is also preached in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam.
Those on this path of perfection may run blindfolded but will never trip
over and fall down to illusion.
Anyone who wholeheartedly takes up devotional service (bhagavatat-dharma) even with knowledge of its deep philosophy and its many practical aspects, may act contrary to the rules of one or some of its various practices much like the neophyte may. However, such a devotee still does not incur sin, nor is his advancement depreciated. In this case the word “blindfolded" cannot be interpreted to mean being blind or ignorant of the rules of the çruti and småti scriptures, otherwise this would obscure the principal purport of the text. The word “blindfolded" does not mean that one should ignore the thirty-two offences in devotional service just because the Lord said that “one may run blindfolded but will never ... fall down to illusion. (Two examples of these thirty-two offences [seva aparädha] to avoid are that one cannot enter the temple with shoes on or whilst one is riding on a palanquin. Both of these are offences prohibiting certain actions.)
How to Absolve Offences
A person who offends the Supreme Lord is referred to as a two-legged animal. It is mentioned that offences committed against the holy name may be old offences or new ones; if either of the offences are done unwittingly then certain symptoms will surely reveal as much. Constant chanting of the holy name will lead to unflinching faith in devotional service. This constant chanting gradually diminishes the effects of the offences. But if the offences were committed knowingly, right from the start, then special arrangements for counteracting them are recommended.
Blaspheming a Saintly Person Is Deadly
Now we shall discuss the ten offences against the holy name: The first offence is to criticize and blaspheme the devotees. Blaspheming in this context means to be envious of, and antagonistic towards, the saintly devotee. If one even accidentally commits this offence against a Vaiñëava he must bitterly repent of his low behavior. just as poison is counteracted by poison, similarly, the offender, having set aflame his spiritual life with blasphemy, must be purified in the fire of contrition. The offender must go and fall at the feet of the devotee he reviled and beg forgiveness until he is again able to please that Vaiñëava. He Must approach the devotee with trepidation in his heart and think that by pleading, praising, offering repeated obeisances, or by any means he must satisfy the offended devotee. Yet, if for some reason he is unable to appease the devotee then the offender must continue to serve him for many days in a way that will impress and satisfy him, In case the offence is of such a serious nature that the Vaiñëava's ire remains unpacified, then the offender must strongly condemn his own abominable action and think, “Oh, how shameful! I have blasphemed a Vaiñëava' I shall have to suffer millions of years in the fire of hell.” With a heavy heart, the aparadhi must then take complete shelter of the holy name and chant incessantly, knowing this to be his only hope.
The holy name of Kåñëa is all-powerful and can absolve any offence, however serious. The offender may incorrectly think, “If this is true about chanting, their why should I have to fall at the Vaiñëava's feet in such a humble manner and demean myself? After all the scriptures ensure that for one who commits näma-aparädha chanting on its own will clear away all offences, hence I shall certainly be again pardoned.” Such thinking is incorrect. Instead, the offender becomes enmeshed in another heinous näma-aparädha, that of committing sin on the strength of chanting the holy name.
The offender may once again try to
rationalize his misbehavior by saying, “According to the scriptures (SB
11.11.29) only those who are compassionate, peaceful, and tolerant are
called sädhus, or saintly persons. Therefore, the offence of blaspheming
a devotee is appropriate only when someone who possesses these characteristics
is criticized, not for one who has not developed these qualities. In reply,
the scriptures state that even if reprobates, cheaters, hypocrites, pretenders,
outcastes, and worse take up devotional service, needless to say they are
still considered to be sadhus. They must not be criticized for their past,
however terrible it may have been, and they cannot be barred from being
accepted as Vaiñëava devotees. nor can their devotion be deprecated.
The sastra further declares that if a mahä-bhagavata, or an elevated pure devotee, is offended, he simply brushes aside the entire episode because he possesses immense compassion, and he will not acknowledge the behavior as an offence. As for the guilty party, he must fall at the sadhu's feet and beg forgiveness so that his heart may be purified. We learn from the sastra and the sadhus that even if the maha-bhagavata. effortlessly tolerates the foolish person's blasphemy, his followers cannot bear this atrocity; they punish the offender by wishing him to suffer appropriately for his offence.
The pure devotees are incorruptible and independent in thought. They do not require a reason to shower their causeless mercy on any soul, however wretched he may be. Sometimes they display great magnanimity by showing profound mercy to a downright offender and harsh critic. At the same time they are not swayed by praise in order to make them act compassionately. The story of the elevated devotee Jada Bharat is a good example. King Rahugana once engaged Jada Bharat to carry his palanquin. After going some way, the king began to rudely criticize Jada Bharata who simply showered him with mercy. In another incident, the atheistic Daityas were very offensive to Uparicara Vasu, the King of Cedi. A third example is that of the despicable Madhai who threw a stone at Lord Nityananda, causing His forehead to bleed profusely, yet the Lord showed him causeless mercy. So far we have discussed the first näma-aparädha, that of offending a devotee. The same principle is applied to another offence against the holy name that of disobeying the orders of the spiritual master.
If one commits any of the above offenses (the offenses in Deity worship), one must read at least one chapter of Bhagavad Gita. This is confirmed in the Skanda Purana, Avanti khanda. Similarly, there is another injunction, stating that one who reads the thousand names of Vishnu can be released from all offenses. In the same Skanda Purana, Reva-khanda, it is said that one who recites prayers to Tulasi or sows a Tulasi seed is also freed from all offenses. Similarly, one who worships the Salagram sila can also be relieved of offenses. In the Brahmanda Purana it is said that one who worships Lord Vishnu, whose four hands bear a conchshell, disc, lotus flower and club, can be relieved from the above offenses. In the Adi-varaha Purana it is said that a worshipper who has committed offenses may fast for one day at a Holy place known as Saukarava and then bathe in the Ganges
(Archana Paddhati – The Process of Deity Worship, page 97.)
.....so basically the solution to atonement for committing offenses is the same as the process....means more of the same, practice making perfect.