Abhirāma dāsa: In your class last night, you said that in Kali-yuga we are not held responsible for the bad thoughts of the mind. Yet, in one of your purports on Manaḥ-śikṣā, you explain that due to offenses committed by the mind it will take many lifetimes to attain perfection. How do we reconcile this? Are we responsible for offenses committed by the mind?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: What is he asking?
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: You said in your class that if someone in Kali-yuga is thinking of committing a sin, there is no reaction. Conversely, if one thinks of doing something good, one gets benefit from that thought. However, you state in the Manaḥ-śikṣā that if one commits offenses in the mind, he cannot attain kṛṣṇa-prema for many lifetimes.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Manaḥ-śikṣā has warned us to be careful. In all other Purāṇas it has been told that if you think bad thoughts, you will not be accountable for those thoughts, but this is referring to sinful thoughts, not to offensive thoughts. Regarding sins, if you think about hurting or killing someone, you will not have to suffer the fruit of having performed that activity.
If one commits offenses in the mind, he may manifest that action externally, and that is another reason that śāstra has warned against it. It is said that one should not imitate Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā, not even by mind.

naitat samācarej jātu
manasāpi hy anīśvaraḥ
vinaśyaty ācaran mauḍhyād
yathārudro ‘bdhi-jaṁ viṣam

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.30)

[One should never imitate the behaviour of great persons. If out of foolishness an ordinary person imitates such behaviour (i.e. Kṛṣṇa’s dancing with the gopīs), even mentally, he is doomed; just as one who imitates Rudra by swallowing an ocean of poison.]

Although mental sins do not affect us, we should not perform sins even in our mind. If we dwell on such acts, we may end up engaging in them externally.
Śrīpāda Bhāgavata Mahārāja: Are you saying, then, that we will not get a reaction for mental sin, but we will get some reaction for mental aparādha?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes. Aparādha is different; it is very dangerous.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: One of the six types of offenses to a Vaiṣṇava is not being happy to see him.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: That is an offense committed in the mind, and another offense is being angry upon seeing a Vaiṣṇava.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes.
Devotee: Doubt is also a mental state.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Doubt is also bad.

ajñaś cā śraddadhānaś ca
saṁśayātmā vinaśyati
nāyaṁ loko ‘sti na paro
na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ

Bhagavad-gītā (4.40)

[But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.]

Walking with a Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2007
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