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By Swami Gaurangapada
THE DEGREE OF ADVANCEMENT OF A DEVOTEE IS SOLELY BASED
ON HIS OR HER DEGREE OF ATTACHMENT FOR CHANTING THE HOLY NAME
Namacharya Shrila Thakura Haridasa in Hari-nama-cintamani:
jara jata name rati se tata vaishnava;
vaishnavera krame ei mate anubhava.
‚??To the extent one has attachment to the chanting of the Holy Names, to that extent he is to be considered a Vaishnava or a devotee or advanced spiritual personality.‚??
The most common question people ask is how to identify a genuinely advanced devotee so that they may associate with him or her. There are so many pseudo quacks posing as devotees, gurus and yogis in this world just for achieving some money, following, name and fame so 99% of spiritual seekers are getting cheated in the world.
The answer is very simple. Has he or she got attachment for chanting the Holy Names because chanting the Holy Names is the Yuga Dharma (only spiritual path) in Kali Yuga? If they have got attachment then they will try to chant constantly and first complete the order of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu of chanting 100,000 Names daily without fail before trying to fulfill His orders of spreading His Holy Names. Real attachment for something means you cannot give up that thing at any cost. Has the devotee got attachment to completing the order of Lord Gauranga of chanting 100,000 Names daily at all costs? If they have then they are very advanced without a doubt. Attachment to chanting is like a thermometer for measuring the stage or platform of advancement of any spiritual seeker.
Some say that quality of chanting is important than quantity. But this is a childish argument. If you are chanting with quality which means attentively, feelingly, with faith and with meditation on the meanings of
the Holy Names then you will feel like never giving up the Holy Name. So the qualtity will automatically follow the quantity.No one can steadily chant 100,000 Names daily for 6 to 8 hours a day without having the quality of meditation in the chanting of the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna. Thus one should not artificially claim that since one is chanting with quality so he or she need does not need to chant 100,000 Holy Names daily and a few Names are enough daily. By saying like this one actually exposes one's lack of quality in chanting.
Because if one is factually chanting with quality one will never try to refuse to chant more or justify it by petty excuses or devising other kinds of services to escape from completing the ideal quota of chanting which Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu, the Lord of Kali Yuga has personally given to us. Like Shrila Prabhupada said that his Guru said that those who do not complete the chanting of 100,000 Names are patita or fallen but still Lord Gauranga will be merciful to them if they at least chant 25,000 Names daily.
But along with that they should always have a desire to increase and not to remain fallen in the ideal definition of Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu Himself. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada states that one should constantly endeavour to raise oneself from the fallen position by increasing the quality and quantity of our chanting so that we can ultimately reach the Lord's infallible standard of chanting 100,000 Holy Names of God daily and please Him fully with our offerings.
Though Shrila Prabhupada has very mercifully made the concession to chanting a minimum of 25,000 Holy Names daily, why should we always remain fallen in the eyes of our Lord and Master Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu and our grand Guru Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. We should make all them proud of us by trying to reach to stage of following their original instructions of completing the chanting of 100,000 Holy Names daily. This is the most important instruction of Godhead for all time to come and there is no other instruction which can take priority over and above this because the Holy Name is the one and only means of deliverance for the fallen souls of Kali Yuga and 100,000 is the minimum ideal dosage of chanting the Holy Names to permanently and with full certainty cure the disease of the soul of misidentification with this material body.
The following is my favourite paragraph from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's essay Nama Bhajana which is a perpetual source of inspiration to me whenever I read it during or before or after chanting and it sums up the complete science of chanting:
"These premarurukshu (earnest desiring pure love for Lord Gauranga-Krishna) devotees chant and tell their beads three lacs (300,000) of times in 24 hours, and such felicity they find in the Name that a moment they cannot spare without Him, then when no time can be kept in time of sleep etc. they become incessant in their bhajan.Repeated rememberance of the Name as explained by Shri Gopal Guru Goswami will by degrees, drive out every scrap from the nature of man and then the Name appears in person before the spiritual eyes of the devotee. When the swarupa (form) of the Name fully appears, it is identical with the spiritual form of Krishna‚??the appearance of the swarupa of the Name is the appearance of the swarupa of Krishna. The more clearly and purely is the Name visible, the more the bhajan proceeds in the presence of His swarupa, the more do the three elements of which primordial matter is said to be composed, namely sattva (the stand of goodness), rajas (the stand of activity) and tamas (the gloom of pride, haughtiness etc. of the lowest inherent principle), disappear and there appear the spiritual attributes of Krishna in the heart of the devotee. Then again, when there is a happy union of the Name, Form and Attributes of Krishna, and devotees in their bhajan see them, the Lila (pastimes) of Krishna is awakened by the grace of Krishna in their pure heart as soon as they are absorbed in deep and easy natural meditation. Incessantly then does the maha-mantra dance on their tongue, the form of Krishna is then visible to their soul‚??s eye, all the attributes of Krishna are then observed in their heart and the bud of lila blooms in their soul while they are buried in meditation."
So all of you devotees, have a great day while chanting the Holy Names. Will post again later. Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!