|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Hari Naam Cintamani > Introduction|
This is not an ordinary book. Only persons who have firm faith in Lord Chaitanya and in devotional service, and who take shelter of the holy name are qualified to understand this book. Persons who have faith that by following the path of sadhana-bhakti and taking shelter of the holy name they will attain all perfection are the best of spiritual aspirants. In Shri Shikshashtaka Lord Chaitanya taught about the holy name. Lord Chaitanya also taught Haridasa Thakura and selected him to be the great teacher of the holy name.
Authoritative biographies affirm that Haridasa Thakura was born in a Muslim family. This we know for certain. Haridasa was born in a rural village named Burana. Because of his previous pious deeds he soon became attracted to the worship of Lord Krishna. Leaving home, and fashioning a small cottage in the forest of Benapula, he passed his days chanting and remembering Lord Krishna's holy names. Harassed by nondevotees, he left and made a home by the Ganga's bank. Some wicked men sent a prostitute to corrupt him. Hearing Lord Krishna's holy names from Haridasa's mouth, the prostitute became a saintly devotee. Offering his small cottage in Benapula to the new devotee, Haridasa left that province. Singing and singing Lord Krishna's holy names, he crossed the Ganga, came to Saptagrama, and stayed in the home of Shrila Yadunandana Acarya. Accompanied by Yadunandana Acarya, again and again he attended meetings hosted by the rent-collectors Shri Hiranya and Govardhana. At one of those meetings he debated the glories of the holy name with a brahma-bandhu named Gopala Cakravarti. Hiranya and Govardhana fired that brahmana from his job, and because of his offense to a Vaishnava, the brahmana developed leprosy. At that time Govardhana's small son, Raghunatha dasa, became attracted to Vaishnavism by Haridasa's mercy. Sad at heart by hearing of Gopala Cakravarti's sufferings, Haridasa left that place, took shelter of Advaita Prabhu in Phuliya-grama, made his home in a cave by the Ganga's bank, and engaged in nirjana-bhajana (solitary worship of the Lord). Thinking his personal fame and glory unimportant, a devotee may leave the association of the people in general and live like a hermit, but the glory of a devotee can never really be hidden. In this way Haridasa's fame and glory became widespread. Hearing of it, the Muslims became angry. The Muslim king of that place had Haridasa arrested and made to suffer. Haridasa was filled with mercy to every living being. Not considering others' faults, he gave blessings to everyone. Leaving that place, he returned to his cave. A few days later Lord Chaitanya came to that place. In Lord Advaita's company, Haridasa met Lord Chaitanya and took shelter of His feet. From that time on Lord Chaitanya engaged Haridasa in preaching the glories of the holy name. When Lord Chaitanya went to Jagannatha Puri, Haridasa followed and lived by a Siddha-bakula tree. When Haridasa left this world, Lord Chaitanya personally placed him in a samadhi by the seashore and personally performed his funeral sankirtana and festival.
The devotees who associated with Lord Chaitanya in His pastimes became very devoted to Him. By His order they preached His teachings to the world. Asking of him some questions, Lord Chaitanya made the truth of the holy name appear from Haridasa's mouth. These teachings are described in many places in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata, and in many other books describing devotional service. Encouraged at various times various by devotees, I have compiled an anthology of various writings describing Shri Haridasa Thakura's preachings about the holy name. From different faraway places I gathered many books about Haridasa. Seeing that the statements of the sahajiyas, baulas, and many others are only incoherent ramblings that have no value, I have taken great care to avoid their words. In this way I found one or two books explaining the pure Vaishnava philosophy. Actually there were sixteen titles in thirty-two manuscripts, books pleasing to the rasikas. At this I was very happy. Shri Haridasa preached the glories of the holy name to various pure devotees, and, in their gurudeva's name, these disciples wrote various books. Seeing these books, the devotees in Shrihatta-grama who had originally encouraged me to write became very thankful. All these books I found contained Haridasa's teachings about the holy name. This book, Hari-nama-cintamani, is a compilation of those teachings. To please the devotees, devotees whose only wealth is Lord Krishna, I now publish this book. I do not think persons who are not devoted to the holy name, persons who do not think Lord Krishna is their only wealth, should read this book. I have no wish to hear the foolish arguments of the nondevotees.
There are many paths of sadhana-bhakti. Taking shelter of the holy name is one of these paths. From the time of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the exalted devotees have followed this path, which was taught by Shri Haridasa. For a long time the devotees residing in Vraja's forests have followed this path, and starting a few days before them, the bhajananandi Vaishnavas in Jagannatha Puri have also followed it. With my own eyes I have seen how they follow. At the end of their Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Shri Sanatana Gosvami and Shri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami clearly wrote about this method of performing pure devotional service, a method that consists of living in a solitary place and always hearing, chanting, and remembering the holy name without offense. This Shri Hari-nama-cintamani is written in the meter payara. Women, children, and persons unlettered in Sanskrit can easily learn Lord Chaitanya's teachings from it. In this book I have not placed any Sanskrit quotes, for that might trouble them. Other books have already woven a great garland of scripture quotes about the holy name. This Hari-nama-cintamani follows the statements of all those scripture quotes. If Lord Krishna wills, may this book be promptly published for the benefit of the devotees.
the servant Shri Bhaktivinoda,
whose only wealth is Lord Krishna