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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Hari Naam Cintamani > Chapter-XIV

Chapter Fourteen


Offenses in Deity Worship


     1.Glory to Lord Chaitanya, to Lord Gadadhara, and to Lord Nityananda, the life of Jahnava-devi! Glory to Advaita, the husband of Sita! Glory to Shrivasa and all the devotees of the Lord!


Lord Chaitanya Declares Haridasa Thakura the Acarya of the Holy Name


     2. Lord Chaitanya said, "Listen, O devoted Haridasa, you have now revealed the truth about the offenses to the holy name.

     3. "Because of your teaching the people of Kali-yuga will attain auspiciousness. You are the powerful acarya (teacher) of the holy name. (1)

     4. "O great soul, please hear. I am very pleased with any person who hears from your mouth the truth of the holy name.

     5. "You actions are saintly. You are a learned teacher. Your saintly character bears the ornament of the jewel of the holy name.

     6. "Ramananda taught Me the truth of the rasas. You have taught me the glories of the holy name.

     7. "Now please tell Me: What are the offenses in Deity worship? When the conditioned souls hear your words the blinding darkness in their hearts will perish."

     8. Haridasa said, "The servants of the Deity know these offenses. I have taken shelter of the holy name. How can I know these offenses?

     9. "Still, I cannot jump over Your order. What You make me say, I will say with great detail.


The Number of Offenses in Deity Worship


     10. "There are numberless kinds of offenses in Deity worship. All the scriptures have described them.

     11. "O jewel of all virtues, some scriptures count 32 offenses, and other scriptures count 50.


Four Kinds of Offenses


     12. "Referring to the scriptures, the wise divide these offenses into four kinds.

     13-14. "These offenses are offenses in serving the

Deity, offenses in establishing the Deity, offenses in gazing at the Diety, and miscellaneous offenses to the Deity. (2)


32 Offenses in Deity Worship


     15-24. "1. One should net enter the temple of the Deity in a car or palanquin or with shoes on the feet. 2. One should not fail top observe the various festivals for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as Janmastami and Rathayatra. 3. One should not avoid bowing down before the Deity. 4. One should not enter the temple to worship the Lord without having washed one's hands and feet after eating. 5. One should not enter the temple in a contaminated state. 6. One should not bow down on one hand. 7. One should not circumambulate in front of Shri Krishna. 8. One should not spread his legs before the Deity. 9. One should not sit before the Deity holding the ankles, elbows, or knees with one's hands. 10. One should not lie down before the Deity of Krishna. 11. One should not accept prasadam before the Deity. 12. One should never speak a lie before the Deity. 13. One should not talk very loudly before the Deity. 14. One should not talk with others before the Deity. 15. One should not cry or howl before the Deity. 16. One should not quarrel or fight before the Deity. 17. One should not chastise anyone before the Deity. 18. One should not be charitable to beggars before the Deity. 19. One should not speak very harshly to others before the Deity. 20. One should not wear a fur blanket before the Deity. 21. One should not eulogize or praise anyone else before the Deity. 22. One should not speak any ill names before the Deity. 23. One should not pass air before the Deity. 24. One should not fail to worship the Deity according to one's means. 25. One should not eat anything which is not offered first to Krishna. (3) 26. One should not fail to offer fresh fruit and grains to Krishna, according to the season. 27. After food has been cooked no one should be offered any foodstuff unless it is first offered to the Deity. (4) 28. One should not sit with his back toward the Deity. 29. One should not offer obeisances silently to the spiritual master. 30. One should not fail to offer some praise in the presence of the spiritual master. (5) 31. One should not praise himself before the spiritual master. 32. One should not deride the demigods before the Deity. * These 32 offenses in worshiping the Deity are described in a maha-purana.


Another Description in Another Scripture


     25. "O Lord, by Your wish I will briefly repeat another description of offenses in another place in the scriptures.

     26-40. "1. One should not touch the Deity in a dark room. 2. One should not fail to strictly follow the rules and regulations in worshiping the Deity. 3. One should not enter the temple of the Deity without first making some sound. 4. One should not offer any foodstuff to the Deity which has been seen by dogs or other animals. 5. One should not break silence while worshiping. 6. One should not pass urine or evacuate while engaged in worshiping. 7. One should not offer incense without offering some flower. 8. Useless flowers without any fragrance should not be offered. 9. One should not fail to wash his teeth very carefully every day. 10. One should not enter the temple directly after sexual intercourse. 11. One should not touch a woman during her menstrual period. 12. One should not enter the temple after touching a dead body. 13. One should not enter the temple wearing garments of red or blue color or garments which are unwashed. 14. One should not enter the temple after seeing a dead body. 15. One should not pass air within the temple. 16. One should not be angry within the temple. 17. One should not enter the temple after visiting a crematorium. 18. One should not belch before the Deity. 19. One should not smoke marijuana, or ganja. 20. One should not take opium or similar intoxicants. 21. One should not enter the Deity room or touch the body of the Deity after having smeared oil over his body. 22. One should not show disrespect to a scripture teaching about the supremacy of the Lord. 23. One should not introduce any opposing scripture. 24. One should not chew betel before the Deity. 25. One should not offer a flower which was kept in an unclean pot. 26. One should not worship the Lord while sitting on the bare floor. One must have a sitting place or carpet. 27. One should not touch the Deity before one has completed taking bath. 28. One should not decorate his forehead with the three-lined tilaka. 29. One should not enter the temple without washing his hands and feet. 30. One should not offer foodstuff which is cooked by a non-Vaishnava. 31. One should not worship the Deity before a nondevotee, and one should not engage himself in the worship of the Lord while seeing a nondevotee. (6) 32. The Deities should not be bathed in water which has been touched by the nails or fingers. 33. When a devotee is perspiring he should not engage himself in worshiping the Deity. 34. One should not take a vow in the name of God. 35. One should not cross or step over flowers offered to the Deities.

     41. "These arv all offenses in Deity worship. For a person engaged in worshiping the Deity they block his advancement in devotional service.


One Should Avoid These Offenses in Deity Worship


     42. "A person who worships the Deity should avoid these offenses.

     43. Avoiding the offenses to the holy name and the offenses in worshiping the Deity, a Vaishnava should taste the nectar of serving Lord Krishna.

     44. "If one somehow commits an offense, he should resolve to avoid the offense in the future.


A Vaishnava Should Avoid All the Offenses to the Holy Name


     45. "A Vaishnava who always avoids all the offenses to the holy name will attain a great treasure of devotional service. (7)


In the Stage of Ecstasy (Bhava) One Need Be Only Slightly Concerned About Offenses in Deity Worship


     46-47. {.sy  person who lives in a secluded place, is not engaged in Deity worship, and day and night walks on the path of ecstasy (bhava) in worshiping the Lord should always avoid the ten offenses in chanting the holy name. Those ten offenses to the holy name are the abode of all sufferings.

     48. "When the offenses to the holy name are gone, the stage of ecstasy (bhava) is manifest. The offenses do not occur in that stage. (8)


A Person Who Meditates on the Holy Name Should Be Engaged in Ecstatic Devotional Service (Bhava-seva)


     49. "When a devote meditates on the holy name, ecstatic devotional service (bhava-seva) arises within him. O Lord, your mercy brings this good fortune to the conditioned souls.

     50. "In the beginning the devotee is engaged in devotional service in practice (sadhana), but at the end he is given great love for the holy name.

     51. "Therefore one should chant the holy name. One should dive into the sweet nectar of the holy name. One should not adopt other ways to worship the Lord."

     52. By the power of Haridasa's mercy a penniless beggar writes this book, the Hari-nama-cintamani.




Chapter Fourteen Footnotes by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura


     (1) At the time of Lord Chaitanya's descent to this world Haridasa Thakura was made the acarya (teacher) of the holy name. Haridasa taught the conditioned souls about the holy name, namabhasa, and the glories of the holy name. He also taught them by his personal example.

     (2) These are the offenses in Deity worship. Some offenses apply to devotees directly engaged in Deity worship. Other offenses apply to devotees who establish the Deity. Other offenses apply to devotee who gaze at the Deity. Other offenses are offenses in general. It is not easy to know all these offenses.

     (3) One should not eat food that was not first offered to the Deity. That is an offense in Deity worship.

     (4) One should not offer to the Deity food that was first enjoyed by someone else. That is also an offense to the Deity.

     (5) In the temple before the Deity one should not praise anyone but the Lord. However, in that situation one must praise his spiritual master.

     (6) One should offer to the Deity food coked by a pure Vaishnava. Non-Vaishnavas should not be present when the Deity of Lord Krishna is worshiped.

     (7) The Vaishnavas should avoid the ten offenses to the holy name. If one is in a situation where they may be done, one should also avoid the offenses in Deity worship. If one cannot avoid all the offenses in Deity worship at least the major offenses should be avoided.

     (8) In the path of ecstatic devotional servce (bhava-marga), meditation on the activities of Deity worship (manasa-seva) is very powerful. In that situation the offenses in Deity worship do not apply. In relation to the worship of Govardhana-shila, Lord Chaitanya said to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Antya 6.294-300, 302-304):


     "Lord Chaitanya instructed Raghunatha dasa: `This stone is the transcendental form of Lord Krishna. Worship the stone with great eagerness.'*

     "Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu continued: `Worship this stone in the mode of pure goodness like a perfect brahmana, for by such worship you will surely attain ecstatic love for Lord Krishna without delay.*

     " `For such worship one needs a jug of water and a few flowers from a tulasi tree. This is worship in complete goodness when performed in complete purity.*

     " `With faith and love, you should offer eight soft tulasi flowers, each with two tulasi leaves, one on each side of each flower.'*

     "After thus advising him how to worship, Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally offered Raghunatha dasa the govardhana-shila with His transcendental hand. As advised by the Lord, Raghunatha dasa worshiped the shila in great transcendental jubilation.*

     "Svarupa Damodara gave Raghunatha dasa two cloths, each about six inches long, a wooden platform, and a jug in which to keep water.*

     "Thus Raghunatha dasa began worshiping the stone from Govardhana, and as he worshiped he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, directly in the stone. . . *

     "The amount of transcendental bliss that Raghunatha dasa enjoyed simply by offering water and tulasi is impossible to achieve even if one worships the Deity with sixteen kinds of paraphernalia. . . .*

     "Svarupa Damodara one day spoke to him as follows: `Offer the Govardhana stone eight kaudis worth of the first-class sweetmeats khnown as khaja and sandesha.'*