— Chapter Thirteen —

Maintaining Material Attachments of 'I' and 'Mine'

All glories to Sri Gadadhara Pandit and Lord Sri Gauranga; all glories to Lord Nityananda, the life and soul of Srimati Jahnavadevi; all glories to Sri Advaita Acarya, the Lord of Mother Sita; all glories to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya.

The worst offense against the holy name

DRENCHED IN TEARS of ecstatic love, Srila Haridasa Thakura went on to explain, in a choked voice, the last of the offenses to the holy name. "My Lord, this last namaparadha is the worst kind of offense. Its presence restricts the free flow of divine love, prema.

Even after having taken spiritual initiation, most materially attached persons cannot fully give up bodily designations. They maintain a 'me' and 'mine' mentality that sidetracks them from the path of devotion. Physical designations, e.g. 'I am a brahmana', 'I am Vaisnava', 'I am a King'; or 'this is my position, wealth, son, grandson and so on', symptomize spiritual immaturity and are deterrents to proper cultivation of devotional service. This terrible offense is only ameliorated when one surrenders to the holy name.

The necessity of surrender to the holy name

"Every devotee must cease all namaparadhas and surrender completely to the holy name. According to the scriptures, the process of surrender has six limbs. It is beyond my ability to describe them in detail.* Yet I shall touch upon these six and place them before Your lotus feet.

"The vow to accept everything favorable for the of devotional service; likewise, to reject anything unfavorable; to be convinced that Lord Krsna will always give protection; to depend wholly on Krsna for everything; to always feel meek and humble; and to throw oneself at Lord Krsna's lotus feet-these are the-six limbs of surrender.

"Devotional service is possible only while alive, hence one must accept only that which keeps the body and soul together. Life must be molded to facilitate devotional service; therefore one should develop a taste for objects that are connected to Lord Krsna. Simultaneously, a natural distaste for deterrents to devotional service also develops within the heart. Lord Krsna becomes the only protector and also the only maintainer, because no one is as dependable as He is. I, as His eternal slave, am somehow a part of Lord Krsna's family, and my only aspiration is to act according to Lord Krsna's will.

"One must give up false designations like brahmana, sudra, father, husband, King, subject, master, donor, maintainer. Relinquish all attachments to money, body, sons, wife, etc. Instead, one should center the attachments and relationships around Krsna, thinking: 'He is the real Master and Lord, and His will is my imperative. I am ready to act only to fulfil Lord Krsna's desire and won't even think about my own wishes. I will adjust my household affairs for the Lord's satisfaction. By His wish I will cross the material ocean. In times of both joy and sorrow I will remain eternally Lord Krsna's servitor. Only by His desire can I become compassionate to the suffering of others. All my moments of material enjoyment and my moods of austerity are experienced solely due to the Lord's will. When these feelings arise spontaneously, one achieves the stage of atma-nivedana (surrender of the soul).

* For a more detailed consideration of the six limbs of surrender, please see The Nectar of Instruction (Sri Upadesamrita), by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

What occurs without surrender

"One unable to accept the six limbs of surrender is a prisoner of false ego who always thinks in terms of 'me' and 'mine'. He proudly declares, 'I am the master here. This household and family belong to me. The fruits of work are mine by right of labor, and I am their enjoyer, whether they be bitter or sweet. I am my own protector and maintainer. This woman is my wife, here is my brother he is my son. By the sweat of my brow I earn my own living. Success is the reward of my endeavors.' Intoxicated with egoism, these materialistic persons overestimate their ability and intelligence.

Scientists propagate their theories and develop technology to flaunt their denial of the Lord's omnipotence and even of the Lord Himself. Among atheists, these are the worst demons. They take credit for the so-called advancement of scientific technology and for the material comfort it brings. But factually, all is done by the Lord's will; this they conveniently forget.

"When the atheists hear of the glory of the holy name, they disbelieve it. Yet sometimes even they utter Krsna's holy name due to the pressure of social norms, but since this kind of chanting is bereft of faith, they never experience bliss. Such are the stereotyped ways of cheaters who make a mere show of religion. By repeating Krsna's name, even though in neglect, they earn a little piety, but they are deprived of the actual result of chanting: pure love of Godhead. The cause of their offensiveness is material engrossment. They are so captivated by the illusory potency that they are blinded, and it is extremely difficult for them to get free of their offensive condition. Only one who acquires a taste for pure devotional service becomes disgusted with material life; leaving it, He takes full shelter of the holy Name.

How to rid oneself of this offense

"Leaving aside all material attachments and accepting voluntary poverty, one should humbly worship Lord Krsna's lotus feet, taking full shelter of the chanting of the holy name. He should search out the association of sadhus and serve them without material desires. Gradually his heart will become impregnated with attraction for the holy name. The egoistic mentality of 'me' and 'mine' will disappear, and he will surmount the ocean of material nescience. By hearing the glories of the holy name, the last traces of false ego will dissipate. Symptoms of a pure devotee will then blossom in his heart, and he'll take to fhe six processes of surrender. He who finds complete shelter in the holy name is a great soul, for he becomes the recipient of the treasure of krsna-prema.

Symptoms of one who is free from namaparadhas

"Full spiritual benefit is not acquired simply by avoiding the ten namaparadhas. These ten offenses have, their distinctive features; in being warned to avoid them, one is actually being ordered to positively implement the specific saintly qualities that render these aparadhas impossible.

Therefore, one must not criticize, but glorify, the saintly Vaisnavas. Worship Krsna as the Supreme Absolute Lord. Realize the excellence of the guru who initiates one into the holy name. Comprehend the pre-eminence of the scriptures that reveal the glories of the holy name. Root out and destroy the desire to commit sins. Know within the heart that the holy name is eternally situated in pure transcendence. Preach the glories of the holy name only to the faithful. Give up ritualistic pious activities entirely, and surrendering fully to the holy name, chant without delusion.

Bhava attained quickly by offenseless chanting

"When one is thus free from offenses, he becomes the most fortunate being. He acquires all good qualities and becomes eligible to receive Lord Krsna's causeless mercy. Very quickly his chanting awards him the divine fruit of bhava, the first stage

of prema. Thus the offenseless chanter is immediately promoted from the sadhana or practice stage to bhava, or spontaneous pure devotional service. From bhava comes prema, which, according to the scriptures, is the mature fruit of pure devotion, the acme of all perfection. My dear Lord Caitanya, You have personally substantiated the fact that if any devotee chants the holy name free from offenses, he'll quickly obtain krsna-prema.

Offensive chanting impedes pure devotion

"If one continues to chant with offenses, then in spite of many endeavors, he will never attain pure devotion. The fruitive worker or karmi enjoys heavenly bliss through karma the jnani obtains liberation as a result of empirical knowledge; but pure devotion of Lord Krsna, which is very rarely attained, is available only through pure devotional service. The bliss of heaven and liberation is compared to mother-of-pearl (the shining inner surface of a pearl oyster shell), but pure devotion to Krsna is a priceless gem, the pearl itself. It is the jiva's prerogative to attain the success of his sadhana. The meaning of expert practice is that one avoids the ten namaparadhas.

The severity of namaparadha

"If one is sufficiently greedy for obtaining pure devotion, he'll chant free from the ten offenses. He must diligently avoid each of the offenses with feelings of deep repentance for having ever committed them. He should pray sincerely at the lotus feet of the holy name and chant with determination. Only then will he be blessed with the mercy of the holy name, which will destroy all of his offenses. No other activity or penance can possibly exculpate his offenses.

The process of renouncing namaparadha

"Offenses to the holy name of the Lord are dissolved solely through constant chanting. When they are thus destroyed, they can never reappear. Constant chanting means, apart from a minimal time for rest and other bare physical necessities, one should chant throughout all hours of the day with intense contrition. No other penance or ritual is as effective as this. When the offenses are destroyed, the pure holy name blossoms within the heart. The pure name of Krsna delivers bhava and finally prema.

"O Lord Caitanya, I humbly pray at Your lotus feet that the ten offenses in chanting the holy name of the Lord never find a place in my heart. Please kindly grant that I may remain submerged in the nectar of the pure name."

This wretched Bhaktivinoda is able to recite Harinama Cintamani with great joy only on the strength of Srila Haridasa Thakura's causeless mercy.