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

Chapter Five

Devantare Svatantraparadha

To Consider the Names of the Demigods Like Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma To Be Equal to or Independent of the Name of Lord Vishnu


shivasya shri-vishnor ya iha guna-namadi-sakalam

dhiyabhinnam pashyet sa khalu hari-namahita-karah


"To consider the names of the demigods like Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma to be equal to or independent of the name of Lord Vishnu."*

1.Glory to Lord Chaitanya, the life of Gadadhara! Glory 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!

2. Respectfully folding his hands, Haridasa then said, O master of the worlds, please hear of the second offense.




3. "Lord Vishnu is the supreme non-dual truth. His form is spiritual. He is always situated in pure goodness.

4. "Lord Krishna, who enjoys pastimes in Goloka, is the best of all truths. He is the reservoir of all rasas. He is decorated with sixty-four auspicious qualities.

5. "Sixty of these qualities are manifested in Lord Narayana's form. The same sixty qualities are manifested in Lord Vishnu's pastimes also.

6. "The same sixty qualities are manifested in the purusha-avataras and the svamsha-avataras. (1)


Different Kinds of Vibhinnamshas (Separated Potencies) of Lord Vishnu. The Individual Souls Possess Fifty of These Qualities


7. "Lord Vishnu's vibhinnamsas (separated potencies) are of two kinds. Of these two kinds the individual souls (jivas) possess fifty of these qualities in quantities like a drop of a drop.


The Demigods Headed by Lord Shiva Are Also Vibhinnamshas, But They Are Not Like Ordinary Individual Souls. They Possess Fifty-five of These Qualities


8. "The demigods headed by Lord Shiva always possess these fifty qualities in greater quantity. (2)

9. "Five more qualities are also wonderfully present in them. (3)


The Presence of Sixty of These Qualities Indicates Lord Vishnu


10. "These fifty or fifty-five qualities are fully present in Lord Vishnu. This all the scriptures say.

11. "Five more qualities are present in Lord Narayana. No one else ever possesses these qualities.

12. "Lord Vishnu possesses sixty of these qualities. He is the Supreme Lord. The demigods headed by Shiva are all His servants.

13. "The demigods headed by Shiva are all vibhinnamshas (separated potencies of the Lord). They are the best of the individual souls (jivas). Lord Vishnu is the master of all the individual souls and the master of all the demigods.


Ignorant People Think the Demigods Are Equal to Lord Vishnu


14. "Very ignorant people who think the demigods are equal to Lord Vishnu do not understand the truth about the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

15. "Lord Vishnu is the supreme controller in this material world. The demigods headed by Shiva are servants who carry out Lord Vishnu's commands. (4)

16. "Some people say that when it comes into contact with maya's three material modes, the impersonal Brahman becomes the demigods. (5)


The Final Conclusion in the Debate of Various Philosophies


17. "The conclusion of the scriptures is that Lord Narayana is the supreme object of worship. Following His command, Brahma and Shiva create and destroy the material universe.

18. "People who neglect Lord Narayana and worship the demigods instead remain plunged in the world of birth and death.

19. "Some people may say, `I know very well that Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Lord. I know that the Vedas say that Lord Vishnu is present everywhere in the material world

20. " `Therefore Lord Vishnu resides in all the demigods. Therefore when one worships the demigods one worships Lord Vishnu also.'

21. "To speak these words is forbidden. They are not the teaching of the scriptures. To worship the demigods in this way is forbidden. (6)

22. "Lord Vishnu is present everywhere in the material world. That you certainly may say. The truth is that by worshiping Lord Vishnu one also worships all the demigods.

23. "If one waters a tree's roots, the whole tree will flourish. However, if one waters only the leaves and not the roots, the tree will die.

24. "Therefore if I neglect the demigods and worship only Lord Vishnu, by that action I attain the result of worshiping all the demigods.

25. "From ancient times the Vedas have honored this rule. Fools who neglect this rule are headed for trouble. (7)

26. "With the arrival of Kali-yuga and with the entrance of the misleading mayavada theory, the people, thinking them equal to Lord Vishnu, now worship many demigods.

27. "Each demigod grants a specific boon, but Lord Vishnu grants all boons. He is the protector and maintainer of all.

28. "If the people filled with material desires knew the truth, they would turn from the demigods and attain the boons they wish by worshiping Lord Vishnu.


What a Grihastha Vaishnava Should Do


29. "A grihastha who is a devotee of Lord Vishnu should unhesitatingly worship Lord Vishnu with his every deed.

30. "Chanting Vedic mantras in various rituals (samskaras) beginning with garbhadhana-samskara and ending at the cremation ground, he should worship Lord Vishnu.

31. "Following the command of the Vedas, he should worship Lord Vishnu and the Vaishnavas. To the demigods and pitas he should offer the remnants of what was offered to Lord Vishnu.

32. "Persons who in their worship of the demigods and offering of shraddha to the pitas follow the ideas of the mayavadis perish because of their offense.

33. "Thinking the demigods are independent of Lord Vishnu, they commit an offense to the holy name. By that offense their progress in devotional service is blocked.

34. "Persons who think that the demigods headed by Shiva are controllers independent of Lord Vishnu commit a fearful offense. (8)

35. "The demigods are manifested from Lord Vishnu's superior potency (vishnu-shakti or para shakti). The Vedas never say they are independent of Him.

36. "It is because Lord Krishna has given them the power that Shiva, Brahma, Ganesha, Surya, and the dik-palas have been controllers from ancient times.

37. "Therefore I know that Lord Krishna is the only supreme controller. I count the demigods among Lord Krishna's potencies.

38. "Therefore, turning away from the idea that his true duty is material in nature, the grihastha should act in a spirit of devotional service.


How Does a Vaishnava Follow Grihastha-dharma?


39. "Thinking them as devotional service, he performs the various rituals and samskaras. By offering them the remnants of what was offered to Lord Krishna, he pleases the demigods and pitas.

40. "He avoids worshiping the many demigods and goddesses. Because they are all devotees of Lord Krishna, they are satisfied with his actions.

41. "By worshiping Lord Krishna and the Vaishnavas, he attains all benefits. He does not commit offenses to the holy name. He always chants the holy name.


Earning One's Livelihood by Working Within the Institution of Four Varnas


42. "Human beings who in this material world follow the duties of the varnas walk on the path of piety in their journey carrying this material body. (9)


Rules for Persons Outside Varnashrama (Antyaja)


43. "Outcaste persons (antyaja) and persons of mixed birth (varna-sankara) should renounce all degraded activities and accept the role of shudras in this material world.

44. "Outcastes and persons of mixed birth should accept the role of shudras, because without the four varnas one cannot be pious in the world of birth and death.


Earning His Livelihood by Working Within the Institution of Four Varnas, A Resident of the World of Birth and Death Can Walk on the Path of Devotional Service


45. "In this world of birth and death one should follow the system of four varnas, act righteously, and purely serve Lord Krishna.

46. "If one follows the four varnas but does not worship Lord Krishna, he will be thrown into hell.

47. "Outside of the rules of the varnas a grihastha should do nothing. All a grihastha's duties are within the varnas.

48. "In this world one should follow the duties of the varnas and also worship Lord Krishna.

49. "Following the varna's rules, one should worship Lord Krishna.

50. "This is called bhakti-yoga (the yoga of devotional service). By practicing bhakti-yoga at the end one finds ecstatic love (bhava) for Lord Krishna arise within him. That is the conclusion of all the scriptures.

51. "When ecstatic love for Lord Krishna arises, there is no need to follow the many rules and regulations. When this ecstatic love arises, the soul's journey taken in the vehicle of the material body is successful. (10)

52. "In this way a grhastha Vaishnava attains the Supreme, who is not different from His name. He meets Lord Vishnu, who is not different from His holy name.


The Pure Truth is that Lord Vishnu Is Not Different From His Name and Qualities


53. "Another truth is that Lord Vishnu is not different from His name, form, and qualities.

54. "One should never think that Lord Vishnu is different from His form. Lord Vishnu is non-dual, indivisible, spiritual, and all-powerful.

55. "If one does not understand that Lord Vishnu is not different from His name,m form, and qualities, then one's chanting will be bnamabhasa. It is not possible to attain pure love (prema) for Lord Krishna in this way.

56. "By the mercy of a bona ifde spiritual master the anartha that is this misunderstanding becomes destroyed. Worshiping and worshiping the holy name, that person eventually attains the stage of pure chanting.


The Offense and Faulty Logic of the Mayavadis


57. "The speculative philosophers claim that Lord Krishna is different from His name, form, and qualities. That idea is an offense, an offense they do not abandon.

58. "The mayavadis say, `The Supreme Truth is the impersonal Brahman, which is qualityless, changeless, and formless.

59. " `Lord Vishnu's names and forms are all created by maya. When maya disappears, Vishnu merges into the impersonal Brahman.'

60. "All these ideas are illusions, fallacies. The mayavadis' mistake is that they think the Suprmee is ultimately void, that He has no potencies.

61. "Actually the Supreme Brahman has all potencies. He is Vishnu. Vishnu and Brahman are the same Supreme. Only the names are different. That is the conclusion of the Vedas. (11)


The Relationship Between Vishnu and Brahman


62. "Lord Vishnu is the Supreme Truth. He has a qualityless feature and a feature with qualities. Still He remains one.

63. "Breaking apart all obstacles, Lord Vishnu's inconceivable potencies easily reveal the Lord's sublime handsomeness. (12)

64. "The individual souls, however, have very small intelligence. They do not have inconceivable potencies.

65. "If they try with their limited intelligence to understand the Supreme Controller, they will attain only a very limited understanding of Him. They do not have much power to understand Him.

66. "If they turn from Lord Vishnu and worship the demigods (13) or the impersonal Brahman, they will be in a position where they do not know what is good for them and what is not.

67. "Persons who understand the true spiritual nature of the Supreme know that Lord Vishnu is not different from His names and qualities.

68. "Persons who have pure knowledge of Lord Krishna worship Lord Krishna in the form of His holy name.


How Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva Are Not Separate


69. "Material names and forms are different from the person to whom they refer. However, spiritual names and forms are not different from the person to whom they refer.

70. "To think Lord Vishnu is different from His names and forms is a great mistake, an anartha. To think that Lord Shiva is independent of lord Vishnu is also a great mistake. (14)


The Devotees and Mayavadis Act Differently


71. "A saintly devotee takes shelter of the holy name alone. He worships Lord Krishna as the only Supreme Lord. He turns from other Deities.

72. "However, he does not blaspheme the demigods or other scriptures. Saying, `They are servants of Lord Krishna', he worships and honors the demigods. (15)

73. "Every day a grihastha devotee places offerings before Lord Krishna. With these offerings he places the demigods, pitas, and people in general.

74. "Whenever he sees the Deities of the demigods, he says, `He is a servant of Lord Krishna', and then he bows down to offer respect.

75. "If the mayavadis worship Lord Vishnu and offer things to Him, out of fear the devotees will not accept the remnants of those offerings.

76. "The mayavadis are offenders to Lord Krishna's holy name. Whatever worship they offer, Lord Krishna does not accept.

77. "To accept the remnants of offerings to the demigods is an offense. Pure devotees never accept such offerings.

78. "However, when he worships Lord Vishnu, a pure devotee may also worship the demigods and then offer to them the remnants of what he had first offered to Lord Vishnu.

79. "To accept these remnants is not an offense. Worship of the demigods done in this way does not block advancement in devotional service.

80. "A pure devotee (shuddha-bhakta) does not commit offenses to the holy name. Chanting the holy name, he attains pure love (prema) for Lord Krishna. The holy name makes him glorious.


The Remedy for Offenses


81-82. "Although one may have foolishly thought Lord Vishnu on the same level as the demigods, if one understands the truth of Lord Vishnu and also repents his previous misunderstanding, then Lord Vishnu will forgive his offense. The offender will then be careful not to commit that offense again. (16)

83. "Lord Krishna is the friend of His devotees. His nature is to forgive their previous mistakes. He is an ocean of mercy, an ocean of forgiveness.

84. "A Vaishnava should avoid demigod worshipers. He should worship Lord Vishnu.

85. This Hari-nama-cintamani is the very life of Bhaktivinoda, who stays at Haridasa's feet.



Chapter Five Footnotes by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura


(1) Lord Vishnu, Vaikuntha's master Narayana, and Goloka's master Krishna, whose form is splendid and who enjoys playful pastimes, all have forms of pure goodness. Lord Sankarshana-Vishnu in Vaikuntha goes to the Karana Ocean and manifests the form of Lord Maha-Vishnu, the first purusha-avatara. Entering every universe, Maha-Vishnu becoems Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. Then, entering every conditioned soul, He becomes Kshirodakashayi Vishnu. These three are the purusha-avataras. From Kshirodakashayi Vishnu the various svamsha-avataras, headed by Matsya and Kurma are manifest. All these forms of Lord Vishnu possess sixty of these qualities. The shakty-avesha (empowered) incarnations are all vibhinnamshas (individual souls). Parashurama, Buddha, and Prithu are examples of shakty-avesha incarnations.

(2) The ordinary conditioned individual souls possess these qualities in a quantity like a drop of a drop. The demigods possess these qualities in somewhat greater quantity.

(3) The demigods headed by Shiva also possess five more qualities in addition to these fifty. However, they do not possess the qualities in fulness, as the Forms of Lord Vishnu do.

(4) That they carry out His commands means that they are His servants.

(5) This is a mayavadi idea. They say, "When it comes into contact with the three modes of material nature, the qualityless impersonal Brahman becomes the demigods."

(6) One should not say, "Lord Vishnu resides in all the demigods", and then proceed to worship the demigods separately from Lord Vishnu. Rather, one should simply worship Lord Vishnu. In this way one honors all the demigods. There is no need to worship the demigods separately from worshiping Lord Vishnu.

(7) Trouble and calamity are in the future for they who worship the demigods. The worship of Lord Vishnu is situated in pure goodness. It is eternal and it is endorsed by the Vedas. Fools do not understand this.

(8) People who, thinking, "Vishnu is one god, Shiva and the other demigods are other gods," worship the demigods thinking them all equal gods, commit an offense to the holy name. Other people who, thinking, "The demigods are Lord Vishnu's gunavataras or Lord Vishnu's servants appointed to specific posts", worship the demigods do not commit an offense to the holy name. The demigods are Lord Vishnu's potencies. They get their powers from Him. They have no power independently.

(9) During his stay in a mtaerila body in the material world, the soul should follow the varnashrama institution. That institution is the eternal religion (sanatana-dharma). The varnas were established by great sages in the holy land of India. If they are present in other countries they are not in their original pure form, although in some form they are widespread at the present time. Without first accepting the divisions of the varnas, divisions that correspond to the different natures of different human beings, one cannot attain perfection. Gradually becoming fortunate, the outcastes (antyaja) and persons of mixed birth (varna-sankara) may become sinless, act purely, and enter Lord Krishna's family. These rules are eternal.

(10) As long as he is in the stage where he must follow rules and regulations, the conditioned soul should follow varnashrama. However, as he worships and worships the Lord, the soul eventually finds that ecstatic love (bhava) for the Lord rises within him. When love rises within him, the soul becomes beautiful in nature. Then he may send the rules and regulations away, for he has risen above them. The people in general cannot understand this stage. Pure ecstatic love (shuddha-bhava) appears by its own wish.

(11) The mayavadis are small-minded. Seeing variety in the material world, they assume the spiritual world must have no variety. Because their faith is not complete, they imagine that the Supreme is dry and impersonal, without nectar. They will not accept the truth that the Supreme has names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. They think the impersonal Brahman manifests itself in the form of Lord Vishnu. The mayavada theory is a great calamity for the individual souls. Staying far away from the narrow-minded mayavada ideas, the pure devotees (shuddha-bhakta) have unflinching faith that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not different from His names, forms, qualities, and pastimes.

(12) Firmly accepting the Supreme Lord's inconceivable potencies, the devotees pay no attention to His qualityless impersonal aspect. They throw far away all the logical objections spoken by the mayavadis.

(13) Persons who turn away from the worship of Lord Vishnu, whose feet are worshiped by all the demigods, are people whose intelligence is broken into pieces. Thinking the Supreme is the impersonal Brahman and everything is all one, they have no power to understand what is good for them and what is bad.

(14) It is a mistake to think that Lord Vishnu is different from His names, forms, qualities, and pastimes. Persons who think Shiva and the demigods are independent of Lord Vishnu are people whose knowledge is broken.

(15) Devotees of Lord Krishna do not blaspheme the demigods or other scriptures. Why not? Because the devotees throw far away the illusions of dry logic. The non-devotional scriptures and the worship of the dmeigods are meant for certain souls. It is the only path for them. The different scriptures are meant for different kinds of people, but all these scriptures strive to make their followers into devotees of Lord Krishna at the end. Therefore the devotees do not criticize the worship of the demigods or the non-devotional scriptures. That criticism is an offense. Giving up all criticism of the non-devotional scriptures and all ideas that the demigods are independent of Lord Vishnu, one attains the mercy of the goddess of pure devotion (shuddha-bhaktir kripa).

(16) In the entire world there is no atonement better than remembering Lord Vishnu. Everywhere in the Vedas it is said that brahmanas in distress should gaze on Lord Vishnu's feet. Remembering Lord Vishnu's holy name and gazing on Lord Vishnu's feet are the same. That is said.