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— Chapter Eight —

Considering the Glories of the Holy Name to be Imaginary

All glories to Lord Gauranga and Srila Gadadhara Pandit; all glories to Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. All glories to the places of Lord Gauranga's pastimes, and to the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord.

The glories of the holy name

HARIDASA THAKURA continued: "O Lord. Gauranga! The fifth offense or namaparadha is to think that the glories of the holy name are exaggerated. This is against the scriptural injunctions. For instance, it is offensive to think, "The scriptural presentation of the glories of the Lord's holy name is not entirely true, because hyperbole has been employed to increase the reader's faith in the chanting of the name."

"It is a fact that in the karma-kanda and jnana-kanda sections of the Vedas, ritualism and philosophical speculation have been greatly praised, and such praises are intended to elicit interest in these processes. But the same is not true in the case of the holy name; therefore to think so is an abominable offense.

"The smrti says that anyone who chants the holy name, whether with faith or neglect, attracts the merciful attention of Lord Krsna. The name is the purest form of knowledge, the best of all vratas or vows and the highest meditation. It gives the ultimate auspicious results and is the most sublime renunciation. Chanting is a matchless spiritual activity, the holiest of pious activities, and the supreme path of self-realization. It offers the greatest liberation and goal. The holy name is divine and situated in the paramount spiritual realm, it is super-excellent devotional service and the best purifying agent, showering love of Godhead. It is the essence of all scriptures, the cause of everything, the Supreme Absolute Truth, the most worshipable object and acts as the supreme spiritual instructor and guide.

"A thousand names of Lord Visnu are equal to one name of Lord Rama, and three names of Lord Rama are equal to one name of Lord Krsna. The scriptures always glorify the holy name of Krsna and expound its transcendental excellences.

One goes to hell for thinking the glories of the holy name are exaggerated

"Only a hardened atheist thinks the passages of sruti and smrti scriptures describing the super-excellent qualities of the name contain exaggerations. Whoever commits such an abominable offense rots eternally in hell. Only a reprobate thinks that exaggeration has been used to help inculcate faith and taste in chanting. He has no idea of the purport of the scriptures and of what is beneficial for humanity.

He takes everything backwards. Since this person has no reserve of previous pious activities, he can never develop faith in the edicts of devotional service. The chanting of the holy name is the most superior form of devotional service. A person with insufficient piety cannot acquire a taste for chanting, and will not have adequate faith in its unlimited results. Those who accept just one section of the scriptures cannot perceive the essence of the scriptures.

The described results of chanting are all factual

"The karma-kanda section of the Vedas contains cunning, selfishly motivateds material knowledge. But selfish motivations are totally absent in the Vedic science of devotion and in the process of chanting the holy name. In the karma-kanda process, the results are merely transient sensual enjoyments, whereas the results of chanting the holy name and of performing devotional service are eternal. In chanting of the holy name of the Lord, capriciousness and cheating are shunned. When a devotee inspires a pious person to chant, it is done without selfish motives.

But when a person inspires another to engage in fruitive activities, he simply places the promise of material gains in the back of the other's mind. This is capricious. The Vedas inform us that chanting begets unlimited auspicious results. Only one who has no interest in his spiritual self-interest, in self-realization and in the attainment of perfection will reject this verdict.

"Fruitive activities, being material, give material results. One who rejects such fruitive results and simply performs his life's duties free from selfishness, purifies his heart and understands the essence of chanting the holy name. A purified heart strives for self-realization and is naturally repelled by material activities.


The holy name is transcendental

"The holy name already includes self-realization, and chanting it is prescribed by the Supreme Lord Himself. Selfless activities lead to the chanting of the holy name. Pious results that a brahmana could not accrue anywhere in the entire universe are easily obtained by chanting Krsna's name. The supreme position of the chanting of the holy name cannot be diminished merely by envious statements made by fruitive workers and empiricists.

"Simply by namabhasa chanting one gains all the results of fruitive activities and empirical knowledge. So if only namabhasa can offer such wonderful results, then surely the pure name can offer so much more, unlimitedly. Therefore whatever results the scriptures say are gained from chanting are easily available to the devotee who is attached to the pure name.

The doubter is doomed

"One who doubts this fact is a sinner who is doomed because of committing namaparadha. All the revealed scriptures—the Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, the puranas etc.—are filled with explanations of the super-excellence of the holy name. So to doubt these statements is abominable.

"The holy name and the Lord Himself are the same. The Lord has personally positioned chanting His holy name at the very top of all devotional activities. The Supreme Lord is fully independent, autocratic and omnipotent. All rules have come into force due to His arrangement. He has declared fruitive activity to be material and has revealed that cultivating knowledge of impersonal brahman leads only to the extinction of consciousness, putting it in deep slumber. After explaining all this, the Lord, of His own accord, has invested His entire potency in His holy name. There is no point in raising any objection. Hence, an intelligent person will carefully avoid offending the all-powerful name of the Lord.

The method for counteracting this offense

"If this namaparadha is somehow committed, the offender has to go humbly to the assembly of Vaisnavas and attentively listen to the narrations of the pastimes and qualities of the Supreme Lord from the lips of a pure devotee. Full of remorse, the offender must admit his transgression against the holy name and beg forgiveness from the Vaisnavas. The Vaisnavas are realized in the glories of the name; they will mercifully deliver the offender from his sins by embracing him. Then the offensive mentality will be purified and he will be protected from the onslaught of maya. Offenses against the holy name are committed because of maya's deception. If a devotee meets or even just sees the face of such an offender, he should immediately take bath in the Ganges. If the Ganges is not nearby, he should bathe in some other pure water. In the event that this also is not possible, he should purify himself, by bathing mentally."

One who is surrendered to Krsna's most beloved consort Srimati Radharani, and to the mercy of His flute, will be adorned by the glory of Harinama Cintamani.