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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Hari Naam Chintamani > Chapter-X







     All glories to Lord Shri Gauranga, the life of Shri Gadadhara Pandit; all glories to Lord Nityananda, the heart of Shrimati Jahnavadevi; all glories to Shri Advaita Acarya, the Lord of Mother Sita; all glories to Shrila Shrivasa Pandit and all the devotees of Lord Chaitanya.


     With his hands folded and in a soft voice Shrila Haridasa Thakur said, "Now please hear about another namaparadha".  Sraddha (faith) is essential for chanting the holy name


      The foremost requirement for chanting Krishna's holy name is sraddha or firm faith.  One who is bereft of it cannot hear the name and is therefore unfit to chant.  High birth, respectable family, knowledge, strength, learning or wealth are not qualities that make a person eligible to chant the name.  The scriptures extol sraddha to be the one indispensible ingredient for proper chanting.  Lord Krishna's name is the jiva's most valuable treasure.  Faith means to have complete conviction that chanting Lord Krishna's name will automatically fulfill all duties and complete all pious activities.  Those who do not possess such faith are unfit to chant.


It is an offense to instruct the faithless on the holy name


     According to Vaishnava etiquette, a person who does not have faith in the name should not be initiated into chanting.  If a faithless person is initiated into chanting or is instructed about the glories of the holy name, then he will only defile and neglect the name.  This is the statement of scripture.  The swine will crush the pearls strewn before it and the monkey will tear the cloth it is given; the faithless person will likewise increasingly offend the holy name and thus invite his doom.  Simultaneously, the initiating guru will be dragged down by his share in these offenses. Very soon, he will be forced off the path of devotional service.


What is to be done if a faithless person wants to be initated


     The faithless person sometimes slyly comes to the Vaishnavas to beg initiation into chanting.  The devotee should see through this pretentious cheating and refuse him initation.  The pretender thinks, "The holy name of Krishna is the allpurifying agent, and once I've received the name I will not have to worry about commiting sins.  Besides, when I chant people will respect and worship me as a Vaishnava  then I can extract a goodly amount of service from them.  The prestige I have lost by my bad deeds will be regained fully by chanting; such a loss will never occur again.  I shall at last become very happy in material life", etc.  The devotee should demand of the pretender his full renunciation of dishonesty. To become worthy of initiation, he must at once neglect his desires for distinction and adoration, and should instead try to develop sraddha for the holy name.


        Only when faith in the holy name is present in the heart can one be initiated into chanting.  The holy name then carries the chanter across the material ocean of nescience.  But as long as one has not developed sufficient sraddha, he is unfit to chant.  One should hear the glories of the holy name from a saintly Vaishnava. Becoming humble by hearing his instructions, he should cast aside material desires and begin to chant.  When the Vaishnava spiritual master perceives the proper degree of sraddha in the candidate, he initiates him into the greatest spiritual treasure  Krishna's holy name.  But to initiate a faithless person is an abominable offense.  The guru goes to hell if he gives initiation to a faithless person for remuneration.


     If the guru knows that a person who has approached him for initiation is an insincere, faithless pretender, and yet he still heedlessly initiates this unfit person out of consideration for the material gain it may bring him, he is condemned as a namaparadhi.  If the guru was unable to make a correct assessment and gave the candidate initiation only to later discover that he is a pretender, he must make immediate redress for his mistake.


The remedy for this namaparadha


     If it was due to inadvertence and lack of experience that the mistake of instructing and initiating a faithless person occurred, the initiating spiritual master should be filled with fear and remorse.  He has to publicize his offense before the Vaishnava community and reject that insincere disciple, excommunicating him.  If the guru fails to act promptly, he will gradually sink into the depths of moral depravity and illusion, and be disenfranchized from the path of devotion. 


Lord Chaitanya's instructions to preachers


     Shrila Haridasa Thakur said, "O Lord Chaitanya, in Your instructions to those You have ordained to propagate the holy name, You specifically give warning about this.  Preachers may instruct the glories of the holy name only to the sraddhavan (persons with sraddha). 


      "This the way by which the whole world will be inundated with the chanting of the holy name: with loud congregational chanting, the holy name is to be propagated widely among the masses.  Those who are faithful will come forward and choose a bona fide spiritual master, receiving instructions and initiation in the name from him.  By sincere chanting they will surely obtain love of Godhead, Krishnaprema. 


      "Prostitutes, criminals, cheaters and other sinful people should first be made to give up their unrighteous, harmful ways. Sincere faith should then be implanted in their hearts by good association.  When their faith in Krishna's holy name matures, only then may they receive initiation.  This is the duty of a preacher as he goes from place to place.


The result of this namapardha


     "If, without paying heed to Your instructions, a guru initiates an insincere pretender, he commits a grievous offense for which he goes to hell.  The namapardhas committed by the charlatan disciple slowly but surely diminish the guru's spiritual potency, and finally the guru is ruined.  This offense has a  devastating effect on both the guru and the disciple  they both must enter hell.


Sraddha first, then initiation


     "My dear Lord, You were very merciful to Jagai and Madhai. These brothers were born in a brahmana family, their original names being Jagadananda and Madhavananda.  They became known as the worst rascals in Navadvipa due to their virulent and violent acts.   First You invoked faith in them and then You gave them the holy name.  O Lord, Your character and activities are exemplary, and they spread illumination throughout the world.  Let everyone follow Your wonderful example."


     Those who are servants of the servants of the Vaishnavas are entitled to wear the precious gem of this Harinama Cintamani.