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TO COMMIT SIN ON THE STRENGTH OF CHANTING THE HOLY NAME
(NAMNO BALAD YASYAHI PAPABUDDHI)
IS THE SIXTH OFFENSE
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 Shrivas Pandit and all the devotees of Lord Chaitanya.
Chanting destroys all anarthas
Shrila Haridasa Thakur continued by explaining that the holy name is eternally situated in pure goodness. Those jivas who take shelter of Krishna's holy name are most fortunate, because chanting soon removes the anarthas from their hearts. Consequently, hridaya daurbalyam (weakness of heart) disappears.
As faith in the Lord's holy name becomes firm, the propensity to sin is totally extirpated. All previous sins are then dissolved, and the heart shines with positive purity. Sinful activities sprout from the seeds of sinful desire in the heart, and the sinful desire seeds are rooted in ignorance; these three (ignorance, the seeds of sin and sin) are the source of all suffering for the conditioned soul. Not being able to bear the sufferings of His dependent parts and parcels, the Lord in His infinite compassion gives them help through the process of bhaktiyoga by which the lust to enjoy the senses is driven from their hearts.
As one practices bhakti, he finds materialistic endeavor to enjoy wealth and women repulsive. He follows the path of righteousness, being satisfied in his service to the Lord. He accepts only what is favorable for executing devotional service and rejects that which is unfavorable. He has absolute conviction in all situations that Lord Krishna is his protector, savior and maintainer. He is free from attachments to the body and the notions of 'me' and 'mine.' In a humble state of mind, he constantly chants the holy name of the Lord. Such a person is never again inclined to sinful activities.
Previous sin and its faint residue are also destroyed
Chanting gradually diminishes the propensity to sin and simultaneously purifies the consciousness. As the inclination to commit sinful activities vanishes, taste for the holy name appears, though a faint residue of previous sinful activity still lingers on in the consciousness. The receeding sinful reactions leave an odor of sinful habit (papa gandha), but the chanter's contact with the name engenders a strength of willpower and a purity of mind that overcomes this clinging smell of sin. Lord Krishna promised Arjuna that His devotees will never be in danger of destruction. If there are reverses He personally comes to His devotees' rescue. The devotees' sins are annihilated by the Lord's mercy alone. The empirical philosopher or jnani may subdue his sins with great efforts and penance, but as soon as he leaves or denies the shelter of Lord Krishna's lotus feet, he immediatly falls down. The scriptures testify that whoever simply embraces the Lord's protection is an elevated soul, and his progress will never be impeded by obstacles.
There is no need for ritualistic penances or prayascitta
By chance, a devotee may commit some sin, but still he does not have to undertake the penance of prayascitta. Such sins are a passing phase that will be drowned in the nectar of the holy name. The devotee is never lost from the path of pure devotion.
However, if a devotee again commits another sin, this time calculating that the strength of holy name will counteract the reaction, then he is not fixed on the path of pure devotion. Rather, he is a deceitful person doomed by his offenses to the holy name. Scripture affirms that there is a vast difference between sin committed due to sudden weakness or mistake and due to premeditation.
Just being inclined to this namaparadha is utterly ruinous
For karmis, the means to get free of sinful reaction is the performance of prayascitta in repentence. But if someone even contemplates relieving himself of the reaction of deliberate sin by exploiting the purifying strength of holy name, he is utterly ruined, and no amount of prayascitta will help him. Even after untold retribution in hell, he will not be absolved from this mental namaparadha. If just the inclination to commit sin on the strength of chanting results in such tribulations for the soul, the fate of one who acts on that inclination is too terrible to envision.
This namaparadha is inevitable for the cheaters
The scriptures declare the holy name to be so potent that it can eradicate a burden of sins that even in ten million lifetimes could not be committed. Even the gravest of sins are counteracted just in the 'namabhasa' stage of chanting. And that is precisely why the cheats and charlatans are attracted to the chanting of the holy name. They forsake the responsibilities of honest labor as being drudgery and, disguised in the renunciate's attire, travel from country to country, their hearts smoldering with desires for wealth and women. Such persons are called markata vairagis or 'monkey renunciates'.
These unfortunate fellows dress as sannyasis but nurture the householder mentality. They are nothing more than dead weights upon mother earth and human society and must be avoided. A devotee who has taken shelter of the holy name can live in any situation in household life or in the forest as a hermit. If the household situation is conducive to chanting, then the life of a mendicant is unnecessary, but if household life is unfavorable, the devotee is dutybound to forsake it. In either case, it is a terrible offense to commit sins on the strength of chanting. Such an offender is forever banished from the path of devotional service.
Devotees in the namabhasa stage of chanting must beware of such cheating company because that company will have an evil influence on them they will also fall down into committing this dreaded namaparadha. As for those who are chanting the pure name, they are always free from this namaparadha.
Pure devotees are free from the ten namaparadhas
Devotees who have taken complete shelter of chanting the pure name are never prone to commit any of the ten namaparadhas. The holy name Himself protects these pure devotees who have surrendered themselves to chanting. But as long as the pure name has not dawned in the heart of the devotee, he is always threatened by the danger of commiting namaparadha. Therefore devotees in the namabhasa stage have to particularly avoid this offense of commiting sin on the strength of chanting.
Vigilance is required in the namabhasa stage
A devotee must seek the association of pure devotees who chant the holy name without offense, and he should personally be very alert against committing offenses. One who chants the name purely is of fixed mind and consciousness, since he never deviates from thinking about Krishna for even a moment. As long as one has not strengthened his chanting to the point of full surrender to the holy name, he must be very vigilant to avoid offenses. He must especially guard against the offense of commiting sin on the strength of chanting. He should continuously chant the holy name and thus attract his spiritual master's mercy, which yields sambandhajnana. This knowledge reveals the science of pure devotion and the pure holy name.
The remedy for this namaparadha
If by some error one commits this namaparadha, one must go before an assembly of pure Vaishnavas. The propensity to sin is like a highway robber, and the pure devotees are like the guardians of the path who come to one's aid when the someone calls aloud for their help. Just hearing that call, the robber immediately runs away, fearing that the guards will come. The guardians, the pure Vaishnavas, will console the devotee with soothing words and assurances of their protection.
I, the author of Harinama Cintamani, am a useless wretch. I recite this composition having taken shelter of the pure Vaishnavas.