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THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE HOLY NAME
All glories to Shri Gadadhara Pandit and Lord Shri Gauranga; all glories to Lord Nityananda, the life of Shrimati Jahnavadevi; all glories to Shri Advaita Acarya and Mother Sita; all glories to Shrila Shrivasa Pandit and all the devotees of Lord Chaitanya.
Shrila Haridasa continued to weep in ecstatic love. Lord Gaurachandra encircled him with His arms in a loving embrace and said, "O Haridasa, a devotee of your caliber is rarely found. You are wellversed in all spiritual conclusions and you are always unaffected by maya.
Elevation by pure devotion
"Taking birth in a low family and caste, you have proven to the world that Krishna is not obtained merely by amassing wealth, reputation, lineage or refinement. Whoever develops unflinching faith in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Lord as you have done is factually superior to the demigods.
"You are learned in all the truths of the holy name of the Lord; your spiritual conduct is exemplary; and you are an expert preacher. Therefore, O Haridasa, kindly reveal to Me something of the unlimited glories of the holy name. Please allow Me to savour your words.
Three stages of acceptance of the name
"One who chants the holy name even once is considered a Vaishnava devotee, and the householders should be very attentive to respect such a person. But the devotee who constantly chants Krishna's name is even a better Vaishnava, for he is endowed with all good qualities. The most advanced Vaishnava of all is he who inspires others who see him to immediately chant the Lord's name. When he chants the name even once, attraction to rendering eternal devotional service to the Supreme Lord is irrevocably established. Kindly tell Me how the nondevotees can be made to accept the chanting of the holy name of Krishna."
The spiritual identity of the holy name
Shrila Haridasa clasped his hands together. Eyes brimming with tears and voice choked in spiritual love, he began his reply in soft, gentle tones.
Lord Krishna's name is cintamani, formed of eternal and transcendental touchstone. Just as a touchstone yields all desirable objects, so the touchstone of Krishna's holy name gives religiosity, wealth, sense pleasure and liberation to a materialistic person. To a surrendered devotee, it offers pure love of Krishna.
Lord Krishna and His holy name are not different; They are the one and same Absolute Truth who is the allpervading yet supremely independent form of dynamic spirituality (chaitanya vigraha), fully cognizant and full of bliss, without beginning or end. Eternally free of material imperfection (nitya mukta), always situated in pure goodness (suddha sattva), the holy name, identical (abhinna) with He who is denoted by the name (the nami, or Krishna), descends to this world as the complete incarnation of the highest sweetness (rasa).
Krishna's name, form, qualities and pastimes are full of potency
Any object is known by four characteristic features: name, form, qualities and activities. Lord Krishna, the Supreme Object, is knowable in terms of His unlimited and eternal name, form, qualities and pastimes. The absence of these four features in anything denies its status as object. For example, Brahman is impersonal and formless; hence it is not an object unto itself, but simply a distinctive trait of the Supreme Lord.
Lord Krishna is the nondual Absolute Object who perfectly manifests Himself through the four features of name, form, qualities and pastimes. Each one of these features is fully potent and able to express Him in totality. They exist and are sustained by the Lord's sandhini potency, and they are eternal and transcendental. As Lord Krishna attracts all living entities, similarly the holy name, which is not different from Him, also attracts everyone.
Krishna's sublime form is as identical to Him as His holy name. Remembering and chanting Krishna's name immediately invokes His beautiful form in the mind, and both dance there harmoniously like inseparable partners.
Krishna's sixtyfour qualities are unlimited and transcendental. Brahma and Siva are expansions of His qualities, but they only partially display the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord, which is infinite, eternal, unending and absolutely spiritual. Krishna alone has the full sixtyfour qualities of the Supreme Person; even His full expansions like Lord Narayana and avataras like Lord Ramacandra are ornamented with only sixty of them. Demigods up to the level of Siva possess fiftyfive of these qualities, but only in limited measure. Ordinary jivas have just fifty, visible in mere fractional degrees, like small drops. Only Krishna, even amongst all His Vishnu expansions, is the master of four exceptional qualities visible in Him alone.
If the Lord's qualities are compared to waves, then His pastimes appear in these waves and continuously form, crest and reshape themselves again and again. Wherever they may be enacted, either in Goloka, Vaikuntha, or Vraja, they are always transcendental. Hence, the Lord's name, form, qualities and pastimes are of the same spiritual substance.
Conditioned consciousness is opposite to Krishna consciousness
The jiva conditioned by the illusory material nature experiences a state of consciousness that is a complete reversal of Krishna consciousness. Because he falsely identifies with his body, the jiva's name, form, qualities and activities are full of contradiction. Once he is purified of his material contaminations, these four features become harmonious and identical with the soul. But until he is liberated by the Lord's grace, the jiva will continue to suffer the pains of his false identification eternally. Krishna, being beyond material existence, eternally enjoys His name, form, qualities and activities as one Truth inseparable from Him.
The holy name is the primary feature
Of the four characteristic features (nama, rupa, guna, lila), the Lord's holy name is the primary one because it awards cognition of the other three. Therefore chanting the holy name is the foremost religious activity (dharma) of a Vaishnava. From the holy name gradually blossoms the Lord's form, qualities and pastimes. The entire panorama of Lord Krishna's pastimes is present in the holy name. Lord Chaitanya has personally declared Krishna's name to be the highest Absolute Truth.
There are only two realities in this world, the holy name and the jiva
In the entire material existence there is nothing comparable to the holy name. The holy name is the most precious jewel in the Lord's treasurehouse. In this whole universe there are only two meaningful truths: the jiva and the holy name everything else is deceptive. By the will of the Lord, the jiva entered this realm of inert matter and was bewildered by it, as when in the beginning Brahma thought himself to be all alone. But when Krishna descended into the world as His holy name, the spiritual reality of which Brahma and the other jivas are a part was revealed.
The name is of two kinds - principal and secondary
The holy name can be categorized in two types: principal and secondary. By taking shelter of Krishna's principal names, the jiva obtains the real boon of spiritual life. The holy names of the Lord that describe His transcendental pastimes and which contain all of the Lord's spiritual excellences are defined as principal names. They are, for example: Govinda, Gopala, Rama, Shri Nandanandana, Radhanatha, Hari, Yasomati Pranadhana, Madana-Mohana, Syamasundara, Madhava, Gopinatha, Vrajagopal, Raksala, Yadava, and so on. Anyone who chants the names of the Lord that depict His eternal pastimes can attain the Lord's supreme abode.
The secondary names and their symptoms
The Vedas address the Lord with names that describe His affiliation with His material energy. These are His secondary names, e.g. Creator, Supersoul, Brahman, maintainer and annihilator of the world, Yajneswar, Hara, etc. Such names of the Lord are invoked by those pursuing fruitive activities and empirical knowledge. In keeping with the Vedic directions, the chanting of such names of the Lord will result in piety and salvation. However, Krishnaprema, the most perfect result of chanting the holy name of the Lord, is attained only by saintly souls who invoke Krishna's principal names.
The pure name and namabhasa; different results
If the holy name is chanted just once, though impurely so, or if the sound is simply heard, then the living entity regardless of his high or low caste is immediately liberated. This is the declaration of scripture. And furthermore, when the holy name is chanted in the clearing stage (namabhasa the stage when impurities are swept from the heart of the chanter), then the highest goal is attained after some delay.
All other auspicious pious results including liberation can be quite easily achieved in namabhasa, but the attainment of love of Godhead is suspended for a while until the jiva reaches the summit of chanting the pure name or suddhanama. One obtains love of Krishna only after reaching this stage of pure chanting. In namabhasa, sin and unwanted desires in the heart are eventually dissipated; thereafter the devotee chants purely. Suddhanama offers the devotee the highest spiritual success, love of Krishna.
Vyavadhana or 'disruption' causes offense
Chanting should be free from any form of disruption because this will result in offenses against the holy name, which in turn pose an insurmountable obstacle on the path to success. Vyavadhan or 'disruption' is of two kinds. The first type is known as varna-vyavadhan or disruption in the syllables. For example, in the Bengali word 'hathikari', 'ha' and the last syllable 'ri' can be put together to form 'Hari', a name of Krishna. But because the syllables 'thi-ka' are inserted in the middle, the repetition of 'hathikari' will not give actual benefit. Yet the Islamic word 'haram' is not perverted by such disruption of the syllables or varna-vyavadhan. The syllables comprising the holy name 'Ram' are uninterrupted; hence, speaking the word 'haram' gives liberation because it is namabhasa.
The second type of vyavadhana is called tattva-vyavadhana or disruption of philosophical conclusions. This offense is much more serious. Lord Krishna's name and Lord Krishna Himself are non-different. But someone who is polluted by Mayavadi philosophy imagines them to be separate. Such an offensive conclusion is clearly against all Vedic teachings and will totally destroy one's spiritual life. It is impossible to obtain Krishnaprema from such chanting.
In summary, one should understand properly that the holy name is identical to the Lord Himself. The principal names of Krishna should be chanted as suddhanama, devoid of namabhasa and the aparadha of vyavadhana. The person who takes these considerations to heart and chants suddhanama even once is considered a Vaishnava. He is to be served with faith and devotion.
Overcoming namabhasa and attaining prema
Anyone wanting to attain the highest spiritual success of chanting purely must approach a bonafide spiritual master and serve him carefully and sincerely. Gradually, as all the anarthas or unwanted desires in the heart are destroyed, the transcendental name of Krishna appears and dances on the tongue of the devotee. The holy name, now nectarean in taste, cannot but be relished by the devotee at every moment. Thus spiritually intoxicated, the devotee always feels like dancing. As the holy name dances, the devotee likewise dances, and at that moment the ecstasy of love of Godhead also enters dancing into the devotee's heart. Then the entire world will dance and maya will flee away.
Only the faithful are eligible to chant the omnipotent holy name
The Supreme Lord has infused His transcendental name with all of His potencies and offered it to humanity. One who has sufficient faith in Lord Krishna's name is eligible to chant, and only one who chants the name is properly executing the prescribed duties of the human being. He is called an adhikari or possessor of the holy name.
The holy name is so potent that chanting does not dependent on conditions of time, place, rules, cleanliness, and so on. Pious activities, such as the giving of charity, the performance of sacrifices, the taking of ablutions, or the recitation of Vedic mantras are all regulated by stringent rules. But for the chanting of the holy name, the only prerequisite is faith. One who takes shelter of the holy name with unflinching faith will attain all perfection.
Accept things favorable to chanting and reject things unfavourable
The jiva in Kaliyuga must become free from deceit, join Lord Krishna's family of devotees and continuously chant the holy name. He should accept everything favorable for devotional service and at the same time reject unfavorable things. He should seek out the association of devotees and utilize his life in service to the Lord's holy name and the Vaishnavas. He should forego all other religious practices and pious activities and never worship any other devata. Nor should he think anything to be independent from Krishna. One who always chants the holy name and serves the devotees will surely obtain Krishnaprema.
Shrila Haridasa Thakura again placed his head on the Lord's lotus feet. Weeping, he begged the Lord that he might develop attachment for the holy name.
One who is blessed with love and devotion and who takes pleasure in serving Shrila Haridasa Thakura's lotus feet will find the touchstone of the holy name to be as precious as life itself.