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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Offenses Against the Chanting

57 --Offenses Against the Chanting of the Holy Names


1.How grave is namaparadha?


As the holy name of the Lord is the highest object, so namaparadha is more serious than all other kinds of sinful activities or offenses. All sinful activities and offenses are destroyed when one takes shelter of the holy names, but namaparadha does not go away so easily. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


2. Can namaparadha be compared to any sinful activity?


If the five kinds of sinful activities are multiplied ten million times, still they cannot compare to namaparadha. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 25)


3. Can one gain anything by making a show of chanting the holy names without giving up the offenses?


Without realizing the difference between ndma and namabhasa, many people think that the holy names consist of only alphabets and therefore assume that by chanting without faith, they can attain perfection. To substantiate their claim, they present the history of Ajamila and various scriptural injunctions. It has been described before that the holy name is fully transcendental. Therefore it cannot be  understood by the blunt material senses. Thus unless one takes shelter of chanting the holy names offenselessly, there is no possibility of achieving any fruit from one's chanting. The result  a faithless person attains when he utters the holy names without faith is that later he will be able to chant faithfully. Therefore those who misinterpret the holy name's glories and advertise  the holy names as a limb of fruitive activity, considering the holy name a mundane sound vibration, are extremely materialistic and are offenders at the feet of the holy name. (Harinama-cintamani)


4. Is it not an offenses against the holy name to unlawfully initiate a woman in order to take advantage of  her association on the strength of chanting the holy names?


Once upon a time, a Vaisnava sannydsl became attracted to a beautiful young woman. Being induced by his sinful propensity, he finally decided as follows: "Since I always chant the holy name, I can make that woman my disciple by giving her hari-nama initiation. Then I can accept service from her. In the process, whatever sinful activities will be committed will certainly be destroyed by the holy names we both will chant. The woman will also get the opportunity to become a Vaisnavi. The association of a Vaisnava is rare. Moreover, I will learn many things about the ecstatic love of the gopls from her association. Where else could I get such association?" Thinking in this way, the Vaisnava sannydsl made that woman a Vaisnavi and enjoyed her service. This is an example of the ultimate ndmdparddha. {Sajjana Tosani 8/9)


5. Why does the holy name not bear fruit immediately?


If the all-powerful rain of the holy names falls on the hard stones of the body, home, wealth, followers, and greed, then it does not immediately bear fruit. These obstacles are divided into two classes, namely, small obstacles and large obstacles. When there are small obstacles in the course of chanting, such chanting becomes ndmdbhdsa and awards its result late. If there are large obstacles while chanting, then such chanting is ndmdparddha. Unless one chants incessantly, one's offenses will not go away. (Jaiva Dhaima, Chapter 24)


6. What are the symptoms of those devoid of unalloyed devotional service?


The following are symptoms of those devoid of pure devotional service: they engage in condemned activities, such as disregarding pure Vaisnavas and associating with nondevotees (which includes illicit association with women and materialists); disregard the spiritual master; blaspheme the devotional literature; consider the Lord and His names to be different; consider the holy names to be equal to pious activities; lack faith in the chanting because they possess the mentality of "I and mine;" and they commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy names.

{Sajjana Tosani 6/7)


7. What are the ten kinds of namaparadha?


The ten kinds of ndmdparddha are as follows:

1. To blaspheme the devotees who have taken shelter of the holy names. It is also an offense to neglect them by thinking that they know only the science of the holy names and know nothing about jhdna-yoga, etc.


2. To consider the demigods independent of Krsna. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Lord of lords. All the demigods and demigoddesses are His servants and maidservants. Simply by worshiping Krsna, the demigods are automatically worshiped. Without such faith, if one considers Krsna as one God and Siva as another and thus imagines many independent gods, that is an offense.


3. To disobey the spiritual master. If one thinks that the spiritual master is expert only in the science of the holy names but knows nothing about other types of sadhana, that is an offense. Actually, for one who has attained knowledge of the science of the holy names, which is the ultimate goal of all pious activities, there is nothing left for him to be attained or known.


4. To blaspheme the Vedic literature. The Vedic literature has glorified the holy names in various ways. It is an offense to maintain a hostile attitude or lack of faith toward the Vedic statements glorifying the holy name.


5. To give some interpretation on the holy names. It is an offense to think that holy names like Rama, Krsna, and Hari are imaginary, and as such the Lord has no names, forms, qualities, or activities.


6. To commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy names. It is a grave offense to think that by chanting, all one's sinful reactions will be destroyed or that chanting will gradually purify one's heart so that one will no longer have a taste for sinful activities, while planning in the meantime to continue committing those sinful activities. Such a mentality is an offense.


7.To consider chanting the holy names equal to pious activity. It is an offense to not take shelter of the holy name by thinking that chanting is a pious activity, similar to following religious principles, observing vows, or undergoing austerities. Such a mentality leads one to think that by taking shelter of any pious activity, one's heart can be purified. Thus one minimizes the holy name.


8. To remain inattentive while chanting the holy names is an offense. It is an offense to not pay attention while chanting—to become indifferent or lazy toward chanting. To become indifferent means to think of various forms of material enjoyment while chanting, to not have a taste for chanting, and to repeatedly look for the head bead to see when one will have completed his round. It is also an offense to chant the holy name under the influence of the cheating propensity or for name and fame.


9. To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy names. One should first preach the glories of the holy names to foolish, faithless persons. Then, when they develop sufficient faith in the holy names, he should be awarded the holy name through intitiation. It is a grave offense to initiate an unqualified person in order to collect money.


10. To maintain the mentality of "I and mine." It is an offense to engage in chanting the holy names while maintaining excessive attachments for material enjoyment even after understanding the holy name's glories.  If one gives up these ten forms of namaparadha and engages in hearing and chanting Krsna's holy names, he will certainly achieve love of God, which is the goal of the chanting. (Sajjana Tosani 11/7)


8.  What is the definition of the first namaparadha ?


The first namaparadha is to blaspheme those saintly persons who have taken complete shelter of the holy names and have given up all pious activities, cultivation of knowledge, and practice of yoga. The Lord's holy names cannot tolerate blasphemy of His devotees, who are engaged in spreading the actual glories of the holy names. By accepting the devotees who are attached to chanting the holy names as topmost, and by chanting the holy names in their association while giving up all blasphemy, one can quickly attain the holy name's mercy.

(Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


9. How many forms of the second namaparadha are there?


The second namaparadha has two forms. The first is to consider the names, qualities, etc., of Sadasiva, the foremost demigod, and of Lord Visnu, the Supreme Lord, to be different. If one imagines that Sadasiva is an independent god and Lord Visnu is an independent god, one falls into the category of accepting many gods. As a result, one's unalloyed devotional service to Krsna will become obstructed. Krsna is the Lord of lords, and the lordship of all demigods, headed by Siva, is dependent on Krsna. In other words, the demigods have no separate independence or power. By chanting the holy name with such a conviction, one does not commit offense. The second form of this offense is to consider the names, forms, qualities, and pastimes of the Lord to be different from His eternally perfected body. Therefore, one should accept Krsna's forms, names, qualities, and pastimes to be spiritual and non-different from one another. With such a mentality, one should chant Krsna's holy names. Otherwise, he commits namdparadha. It is prescribed that one should engage in chanting the holy names of Krsna after achieving this knowledge. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


10. What does it mean to disobey the spiritual master, which is the third offense?


Those who think that the spiritual master, who awards the holy names, is only conversant with the scriptures dealing with the holy names and is therefore inferior to the spiritual master who is well-acquainted with Vedanta and other philosophical literature are certainly offenders at the feet of the holy names. Actually, there is no spiritual master superior to he who knows the science of the holy name. To consider such a spiritual master insignificant is an offense. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


11. How should one treat his spiritual master?


One should not think his spiritual master an ordinary human being. Rather, one should respect him as an associate of Krsna filled with Krsna's energy. To consider the spiritual  master as Krsna is the philosophy of the impersonalists, not the philosophy of pure Vaisnavas. {Harinama-cintamani)


12. What is the fourth namaparadha ?


The glories of the holy names are found in all the Vedas and Upanisads. Therefore it is an offense to blaspheme Vedic literature. Unfortunately, many people respect other Vedic instructions but neglect the Vedic instructions that glorify the holy names. Thus, they commit offense at the feet of the holy names. Due to this offense, they do not develop a taste for chanting.

{Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


13. What does it mean to give some interpretation on the holy names of the Lord?


Those who say that the statements of the Vedas, revealed scriptures, and Puranas that indicate the holy name's glories are exaggerated go to hell forever. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


14. What is the fifth offense in chanting the holy name?


The fifth offense in chanting means to think that whatever the sdstras have said regarding the chanting of the holy name are not factual but are said only to to draw people's attention to the holy name. To think like this an offense. Those who think like this will not develop a taste for chanting. One should engage in chanting Hari's holy names by maintaining full faith in the words of sastra. One should not associate with those who interpret the Lord's holy names. What to speak of associating with such persons, even if one suddenly meets such persons, he should immediately bathe with his clothes on. This is what Sri Gauraiiga taught. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


15. What will happen to one who thinks that the glories of Hari's holy names are imaginary?


It is an offense to consider the Lord's holy names as imagination. The impersonalists and materialists think that the Supreme Absolute Truth is impersonal and devoid of name, form, etc. Those who conclude that His holy names, such as Rama and Krsna, have been imagined by the sages, are offenders at the feet of the holy names. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


16. What does it mean to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting?


Those who engage in committing sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy names are offenders at the feet of the holy names. The sinful activities that are committed on the strength of the holy name cannot be counteracted byyama, niyama, or other yogic processes. Since his mentality is counted among the namaparadhas, it can be countered only by the prescribed practices for counteracting offenses against the holy name. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


17. What does it mean to counteract sinful reactions by chanting the holy name?


Those who conclude, "Let us commit sinful activities and also chant Hari's holy name, and after the debit and credit have been calculated, there will be no balance of sinful reactions left," so commit fresh sinful activities, are cheaters and offenders at the feet of the holy name. (Sajjana Tosani 8/9)


18. What makes one commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name?


Since persons are already offenders to the name, their chanting remains namabhasa and is not pure. Namabhasa eradicates previous sinful reactions and does not allow the taste for committing fresh sinful activities to develop. Whatever sinful reactions that are left over from one's previous sins also gradually become destroyed by namabhasa. If a person seldom commits sinful activities, then these left-over reactions will be nullified. But if a person who has taken shelter of the holy names thinks that since all his sinful reactions have been destroyed by his chanting, he can commit new sinful activities—because those reactions too will be destroyed— then his chanting is offensive. He is committing sins on the strength of chanting the holy name. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


19. What is the offense of considering the chanting of the holy name to be equal to a pious activity?


Although hari-nama is both the sadhana by which we can achieve the goal of life and the goal of life itself, hari-nama cannot be compared to mere pious activities. Those who think chanting the holy name a pious activity non-different from other such activities are offenders at the feet of the name. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


20. What is the main impediment blocking one from developing attachment for chanting?


If one gives up all the offenses in chanting, but remains inattentive, he can never develop attachment for chanting. {Sajjana Tosani 11/1)


21. What are the various definitions of inattention while chanting?


O Lord! All anarthas are produced when we do not pay attention to our chanting. The exalted devotees have defined inattention as indifference, laziness, and restlessness. {Harinama-cintamani)


22. What is the symptom of a restless chanter?


Those who are afflicted with restlessness try to finish their prescribed rounds as soon as possible. One should be extremely careful not to commit such an offense while chanting. (Harindma-cintdmani)


23. Why is inattention in chanting the source of all offenses?


O reservoir of all transcendental qualities! If one chants the holy names of the Lord but his attention is elsewhere, how can he benefit? If even such a person chants one hundred thousand holy names of the Lord, still a drop of the mellow of ecstatic love will not be attained. O Lord! This is the definition of inattention while chanting the holy names. This offense is deeply rooted in the hearts of materialists. (Harinama-cintdmani)


24. How can laziness be destroyed?


The characteristic of a saintly person is that he does not waste time. By seeing such character in another, one will certainly hanker after it. One will think, "Alas! When will I become fortunate enough to chant, sing, and remember the holy names of the Lord like this saintly person?" Such enthusiasm in a lazy person's mind will destroy his laziness because he will remember Krsna.



25. Why does one become indifferent to chanting the holy names?


If the desire to accumulate wealth, enjoy the association of women, name and fame, to cheat others, and to seek victory over defeat fills one's heart, that will naturally make one indifferent to chanting the Lord's holy names. (Harindma-cintdmani)


26. What is the fault of instructing the faithless persons about the glories of the holy names?


To instruct the faithless about the glories of Lord Hari's holy name is an offense. The faithless include those who are averse to the Supreme Lord's service and those devoid of a taste for hearing His holy names. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


27. What kind of offense is it to maintain the mentality of "I" and "mine"?


Those who are intoxicated by the mentality that "I am such-and-such in this material world, and these riches and followers are mine," and who seldom hears the glories of the holy name from the mouths of saintly persons because of ignorance or flickering faith, and who display no love for the holy name, are offenders at the feet of the holy name.

(Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 24)


28. Why does an initiated devotee fall from the path of devotional service?


Even after being initiated, the majority of materialists fall down from devotional service because of their mentality of "I" and "mine." (Harindma-cintdmani)


29. How can we remove the mentality of "I" and "mine"?


We should seek devotees who have renounced material enjoyment and possessiveness and who worship the lotus feet of Krsna by chanting His holy names. We should then associate with them. By serving such devotees, we will gradually give up the waves of material enjoyment and develop faith in the holy name. In this way, our "I" and "mine" mentality will be destroyed and we will cross the ocean of material existence. (Harinama-cintamani)


30. What is the goal of the offenders at the feet of the holy name?


The holy name will certainly award whatever fruits an offender of the holy name desires from his chanting. However, the holy name will never award him love of God. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 25)


31. How can we counteract namaparadha?


If we commit offenses in Deity worship, the holy name can counteract them. Offenses to the holy name are only counteracted by chanting the holy names themselves. Constant chanting of the holy names awards all perfection. (Bhajana-rahasya Chapter 2)