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






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


     Drenched in tears of ecstatic love, Shrila Haridasa Thakura  went on to explain, in a choked voice, the last of the offenses to the holy name.  "My Lord, this last namaparadha is the worst kind of offense; its presence stops the flow Krishnaprema." 


      Even after having taken spiritual initiation, most materially attached persons cannot fully give up bodily designations. They maintain a 'me' and 'mine' mentality that sidetracks them from the path of devotion.  Bodily designations, e.g. 'I am a brahmana', 'I am Vaishnava', 'I am king', or 'I am a rich man'; and possesiveness, e.g. 'This is my position, wealth, son, grandson and so on', symptomize immaturity of realization and are deterrents to proper cultivation of devotional service.  This is a terrible offense that is only gotten rid of when one surrenders to the holy Name.


The necessity and symptoms of surrender to the holy name


     Having given up first nine namaparadhas, every devotee must surrender completely to the holy name.  According to the scriptures, the process of surrender (saranagati) has six limbs.  It is impossible to explain them in detail here, but briefly they are as follows.


     The vow to accept everything favorable for the execution of devotional service; likewise, to reject anything unfavorable; to be convinced that Lord Krishna will always give protection; to depend wholly on Krishna for everything; to always feel meek and humble; and to throw oneself at Lord Krishna's lotus feet in full selfsurrender - these are the six limbs of surrender .

     Devotional service is possible only while alive. Hence one  must accept that which keeps the body and soul together, and not more.  Life must be molded to facilitate devotional service. Therefore one should develop a taste for objects that are connected to Lord Krishna.  Simultaneously, a natural distaste for deterrents to devotional service will also arise within the heart.  Lord Krishna becomes the only protector and maintainer, because no one is as dependable as He is.  Knowing this, one should think, 'As His eternal slave, I am somehow also an insignificant member of Lord Krishna's family. My only aspiration is to act according to His will.'


     One must then drop all false designations like brahmana, sudra, father, husband, king, subject, master, donor, maintainer; and attachments to money, body, sons, wife etc.  Instead, one should enter the mood of the paraphernalia of Lord Krishna, thinking: 'He is the real Master and Lord, and His will is imperative.  I am ready to act only to fulfil Lord Krishna's desire  and will not even think about my own wishes.  I will adjust my household affairs for the Lord's satisfaction. By His wish I will cross the material ocean. Only by His desire will I feel genuine compassion for the suffering souls.  In times of both joy and sorrow I remain eternally Lord Krishna's servitor. My moments of material enjoyment and my moods of renunciation are experienced only due to the Lord's will.'  When these feelings arise spontaneously, one achieves the stage of atmanivedana (surrender of the soul).


The consequences of not surrendering


     One unable to accept the six limbs of surrender is a prisoner of false ego who always thinks in terms of 'me' and 'mine'.  He proudly declares, 'I am the master here.  This  household and family belong to me.  The fruits of work are mine by right of labor, and I am their enjoyer, whether they be bitter or sweet.  I am my own protector and maintainer.  This women is my wife, here is my brother, he is my son.  By the sweat of my brow I earn my own living, and success is the reward of my endeavors.'


      Intoxicated with such egoism, these materialistic persons overestimate their own ability and intelligence.  Scientists propagate their theories and develop technology to flaunt their denial of God.  Among atheists, these are the worst demons.  They take credit for the so-called advancement of scientific technology and for the material comfort it brings.  But factually, it all happens by the Lord's will: this they completely fail to see.


     When the atheists hear the glories of the holy name they disbelieve them.  Yet sometimes even they utter Krishna's holy name due to the pressure of social custom.  But since this kind of chanting is bereft of faith, they never experience bliss.  Such are the stereotyped ways of cheaters who make a mere show of religion.  By repeating Krishna's name, even though in neglect, they earn a little piety, but they are deprived of the actual result of chanting - pure love of Godhead.  


      The cause of their offensiveness is material engrossment. They are so captivated by the illusory potency that they are blinded, and it is extremely difficult for them to get free of their offensive condition.  Only one who acquires a taste for pure devotional service becomes disgusted with material life; leaving it, he takes full shelter of the holy Name.


How to rid oneself of this offense


     Leaving aside all material attachments and accepting voluntary poverty, one should humbly worship Lord Krishna's lotus feet, taking full shelter of the chanting of the holy name.  He should aspire for the association of devotees and serve them without material desires.  Gradually his heart will become impregnated with attraction for the holy name. The egoistic mentality of 'me' and 'mine' will disappear and he will surmount the ocean of material nescience. 


      By hearing the glories of the holy name, the last traces of false ego will dissipate, and the symptoms of a pure devotee will then blossom in his heart, and he will take to the six processes of surrender.  He who finds complete shelter in the holy name is  a great soul, for he becomes the recipient of the great treasure of Krishnaprema.



The symptoms of one who is free from the ten namaparadhas


      In being warned to avoid the ten offenses to the holy name of the Lord, one is actually being ordered to positively implement the specific saintly qualities that render these aparadhas impossible.  Therefore, one must: not criticize but serve the saintly Vaishnavas; worship Krishna as the Absolute Supreme Lord; give full respect to the spiritual master who initiates one into the holy name; regard the scriptures that reveal the glories of the holy name as preeminent; know within the heart that the holy name is eternally situated in pure transcendence; root out and destroy the desire to commit sins; preach the glories of the holy name only to the faithful; give up ritualistic pious activities entirely; chant with full attention and surrender fully to the holy name.


Bhava is attained quickly when the chanting is free from offenses


     When one is thus free from offenses, he becomes the most  fortunate soul in the three worlds.  He acquires all good qualities and is eligible to receive Lord Krishna's causeless mercy.  Very quickly, his chanting awards him the divine fruit of bhava, the first stage of prema.  Thus the offenseless chanter is promoted from the sadhana or practice stage to bhava, or spontaneous pure devotional service.  From bhava comes prema, which, according to the scriptures, is the mature fruit of pure devotion, the pinnaccle of all perfection.  Lord Chaitanya personally guarantees that if any devotee chants the holy name free from offenses, he will quickly obtain Krishnaprema.


Pure bhakti is priceless; other attainments are imitation


     If one continues to chant with offenses, then in spite of many endeavors, he will never attain pure devotion.  The fruitive worker or karmi enjoys heavenly bliss through karma; the jnani obtains liberation as a result of empirical knowledge; but pure devotion to Krishna and Krishnaprema, which is very rarely attained, is had only through the proper execution of sadhanabhakti. 


      The bliss of heaven and liberation is compared to motherof-pearl (the shining inner surface of a pearl oyster shell), and pure bhakti to Krishna is the priceless gem pearl.  It is the jiva's prerogative and the success of his human birth to acquire pure devotion.  If one sincerely and expertly practices sadhana-bhakti, he very soon receives the seed of pure devotion or prema.  The meaning of expert practice is that one avoids the ten namaparadhas.


One must be greedy for pure bhakti to avoid offending the holy name


      If one is sufficiently greedy for obtaining pure devotion, then he will chant free from the ten offenses.  He must diligently avoid each of the offenses with feelings of deep repentance for having ever commited them.  He should pray sincerely to the lotus feet of the holy name and chant with determination.  Only then will he be blessed with the mercy of the holy name, which  will destroy all of his offenses.  No other activity or penance can possibly exculpate his offenses. 


How to stop namaparadha


      Offenses to the holy name of the Lord are dissolved only through constant chanting. When they are so destroyed, they can never reappear.  Constant chanting means, apart from a minimal time for rest and other bare physical necessities, that one should chant throughout all hours of the day with intense contrition.  No other penance or ritual is as effective as this.  When the offenses are destroyed, the pure holy name blossoms within the heart.  The pure name of Krishna delivers bhava and finally prema.


     Shrila Haridasa Thakura concluded, "O Lord Chaitanya, I humbly pray at Your lotus feet that the ten offenses in chanting the holy name of the Lord never find a place in my heart.  Please kindly grant that I may remain submerged in the nectar of the pure name." 


     Bhaktivinoda, the servant of the devotees, is able to recite Harinama Cintamani in great delight only on the strength of Shrila Haridasa Thakura's causeless mercy.