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The fifth offense is to consider the glories of the holy name to be exaggerations. In the Jamini-samhita it is said: “Persons who give the interpretation that the glories of the holy name as described in the Sruti, Smrti and Puranas are exaggerations, live always in hell.” In the Brahma-samhita, the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains to Bodhayana: “Any person who, after hearing the descriptions of the various benefits obtained by chanting the holy name thinks these benefits are exaggerated, I throw into a host of sufferings and torture in many horrible ways.”
Hari Nama Chintamani by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Chapter 8 - Interpreting the Holy Name
jaya gaura-gadadhara, shri-radha-madhava
Haridasa spoke, "O son of Shaci, the fifth offense is giving interpretations to the name and its glories.
"The Smritis or Puranas glorify the holy name of Krishna, stating that if one should chant the name either in negligence or in faith, Krishna will show that person great mercy. 'Mere is no knowledge as pure as the name; there is no vow as powerful as the name. There is no meditation more effective than the name nor is there any fruit greater than that attained by the name. There is no greater renunciation than the name; there is no greater peace than the name. In this world there is no greater pious activity than taking the name, nor is there any quicker progress than in the name. The name is the highest liberation, the highest freedom, the highest destination, the highest peace, the point of no more searching. The name is the highest devotion, the name is the purest inclination of the jiva, the name is the highest love, and direct remembrance of the Lord. The name is the cause of all causes, the Supreme Lord, most worshipable, and is a form of guru to bring one to the Lord.
"It is stated that one thousand names of Vishnu are equivalent to one name of Rama, and three names of Rama are equivalent to one name of Krishna. The Vedas say that the holy name is purely spiritual and thus they constantly glorify the name. One who minimizes the effects of chanting the holy name as stated in the Vedas and Puranas is an extreme offender. The rascal who commits arthavada against the name is doomed to rot away in hell. Some people say that the results of the holy name that are stated in the scriptures are not true but only meant to attract one to the name. But those persons, due to lack of bhakti-sukriti, lacking faith, cannot understand the real purport of the scriptures or the greatest welfare of mankind. Instead they will take the opposite interpretation.
"Because the karma-kanda section of the Vedas is meant to satisfy one's selfish desire for material gain, for motivation's sake many tempting results are offered. However, in the process of pure bhakti, the candidate practices unselfishness, for the goal of bhakti is unmotivated service to Krishna. Therefore, although the statements concerning the holy name are not exaggeration meant to motivate but are the true effects of the name, the devotee does not take the name for his own material enjoyment. He does not ask for the fruits mentioned in the scriptures.
"If one performs the sacrifices prescribed in karma-kanda with the desire for material gain, that is called cheating. If one has desire and faith in the happiness of material objects, one will ask for material results from a sacrifice. But if one can execute one's activities without interest in these material results, one's heart will become purified. That is the actual purpose of the karma-kanda. When one's heart is purified, one's interest and taste for culturing bhakti begins. By chanting the holy name bhakti develops and matures. Thus it can be seen that the end result of karma-kanda is to come to taste the holy name, at least if those activities are done properly. The results one can obtain from chanting the name are far beyond anything one can obtain by wandering in any of the fourteen planetary systems. Indeed the results from the holy name are incomparable. But how can a karmi or jnani obtain these results with their offensive attitude?
"Just by namabhasa one can get all the results obtained by the processes of karma and jnana. If such results can be obtained by namabhasa, is there need to doubt the great benefit one will get by chanting the pure name? All the glories of the name that are recited in the scriptures are accepted as fact by the sincere bhakta. The low class men do not accept this, however, and by their doubting commit offense, which leads them to certain ruin. From the beginning to the end of the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas, the name is glorified. To minimize and interpret these glories, which are clearly stated by the authority of the Vedas, will yield no good result.
"The Lord and the Lord's name are one, for the Lord has invested in the name all His transcendental energies. Thus He has made chanting of the holy name the supreme process. As the Lord is completely independent and full of all energies, He has by His will invested in karma-kanda activities His material energy, and in brahma-jnana, His nirvana energy. But in the holy name He has invested all energies with all results. Why argue about why and how? The Lord can do what He wants. Therefore the intelligent, learned man will not yield to interpreting the glorious name.
"If one happens to commit arthavada, he should humbly go before an assembly of Vaishnavas who engage in discussions about Krishna and reveal his offense at their feet, begging sincerely for forgiveness. The devotees of the Lord, conversant with all the glories of the holy name, will mercifully forgive him and embrace him. The offense of interpreting or concocting will not occur again. If one happens to talk with one of these offenders, one should immediately, without taking off one's clothes, bathe in the Ganges for purification. If any pure water is not available, one should mentally purify one's self."
He who has faith in the mercy of Krishna's dearest Shri Radha, wears this Hari-nama-cintamani as a necklace.(Translated by Bhanu Swami)