— Chapter Nine —

Sinning on the Strength of Chanting the Holy Name

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

Chanting destroys all anarthas

SRILA HARIDASA THAKURA said, "The holy name is eternally situated in pure goodness. Only very fortunate jivas can take shelter of Krsna's holy name. Chanting quickly removes the ananthas from the heart; consequently, hrdaya daurbalyam (weakness of heart) disappears. When undeviating faith in the Lord's holy name develops, the propensity to sin is totally extirpated.

All previous sins are also dissolved. The heart shines with positive purity. Sinful desires in the heart are rooted in ignorance. These three—sin, the seeds of sin and ignorance—are the source of all suffering for the conditioned soul.

"Chanting softens the heart and evokes compassion for all conditioned souls; the chanter constantly endeavors for their spiritual welfare. He cannot bear to see the sufferings of the conditioned souls, and tries to remove these sufferings by all means. He is unperturbed by y desires and the urge to enjoy the senses; he is repulsed by wealth and women. He follows the path of righteousness. He accepts only what is favorable for executing devotional service, and rejects that which is unfavorable. He has absolute conviction in all situations that Lord Krsna is his protector, savior and maintainer. He is free from attachments to the body and the notions of 'me' and 'mine'. In a humble state of mind, he constantly chants the holy name of the Lord. He is never again inclined to commit sinful activities.

Previous sin and its residue are destroyed

"Chanting gradually diminishes the propensity to sin and simultaneously purifies the consciousness. At this juncture, the taste for chanting begins to manifestand the inclination to commit sinful activities vanishes, though a faint residue of previous sinful activity still s in the consciousness. The receding sinful reactions leave an odor of sinful habit hanging in the air, but the chanter's contact with the name engenders a purity of willpower and mind that overcomes this clinging stigma of sin.

"Lord Krsna promised Arjuna that His devotees will never be in danger of destruction; in case of reverses, He will personally come to His devotees' rescue. The devotees' sins are annihilated by the Lord's mercy alone. The empirical philosopher (jnani) may subdue his sins with great efforts and penance; but as soon as he leaves or denies the shelter of Lord Krsna's lotus feet, he immediately falls down. Whoever simply embraces the Lord's protection is an elevated soul. His progress will never be impeded by obstacles. This is declared in the scriptures.

No need for ritualistic penances or prayascitta

"Perchance a devotee may commit a sin; still, he does not have to undertake the penance, or prayascitta, recommended in the Vedas to atone for and counteract it. Such sins are a passing phase; they will be drowned in the nectar of the holy name. The devotee is not lost from the path of spirituality.

"However, if a devotee commits another sin on the strength of chanting, then he is unsteady. He is a deceitful person and is doomed due to his namaparadha. Sins happen in two ways: due to sudden weakness or mistake and by premeditation. There is a vast difference in these two.

Being inclined to sin is namaparadha

"A materialist has to perform proyoscitta and repent bitterly if he commits sin. But if he commits sin on the purifying strength of the holy name, then even prayascitta is futile. He faces certain ruination. Even after untold retribution in hell, he'll not be absolved from this namaparadha. Just the inclination to sin itself suits in enough tribulation for the soul; if he further compounds his difficulties by deliberately committing sin on the strength of chanting, his fate is most lamentable.

Monkey renunciants

"The scriptures declare that the holy name is so potent it can neutralize more sins than one can commit even in a hundred million lifetimes. The most heinous of sins are counteracted just in the namabhasa stage of chanting. That is why cheats and charlatans take up chanting the name: they forsake the responsibilities of household drudgery and, hiding behind the renunciant's attire, travel from country to country. Their hearts are laden with desire's for wealth and women. You have described such persons as markata vairagis or 'monkey renunciants'.

This namaparadha is inevitable for the cheaters

"Some persons play-act as renunciants while maintaining a household mentality. These men are dead weights upon mother earth and human society, and should be avoided. A devotee who has taken shelter of the holy name can live in any situation—in household life or in the forest as a hermit. If the household situation is conducive to chanting, then the life of a mendicant is unnecessary and wrong; but if household life is unfavorable, the devotee is duty-bound to forsake home. It is a terrible offense to commit sins on the strength of chanting; this offender is forever banished from the path of devotional service.

"Devotees in the namabhosa stage of chanting must beware of such cheating company because it will have an evil influence on them. They will fall into committing this dreaded namaparadha. Those who chant the pure name are free from namaparadha.

Pure devotees are free from namaparadhas

"Devotees who have taken complete shelter of chanting the pure name are never prone to commit any of the ten namaparadhas. The holy name itself protects the pure devotees who have surrendered themselves to the pure name. But as long as the pure name has not dawned in the heart of the devotee, the danger of committing namaparadha is always threatening. Therefore devotees in the namabhasa stage have particularly to avoid this offense of committing sin on the strength of chanting.

Carefully avoid offenses

"A devotee must seek the association of pure devotees who chant the holy name offenselessly, and should be very alert against committing offenses. One who chants purely is of fixed mind and consciousness. He never deviates from thoughts of Krsna, even for a moment. As long as one has not strengthened his chanting to this point and has not fully surrendered to the holy name, he must be very vigilant to avoid offenses.

He must especially guard against the offense of committing sin on the strength of chanting. He should continuously chant the holy name and thus attract his spiritual master's mercy, which gives perfect knowledge of eternal relationship. This knowledge contains the science of pure devotion and the pure holy name.

Remedy for this aparadha

"If by some error this namaparadha is committed, one must search out the assembly of pure Vaisnavas. The propensity to sin is like a highway robber who accosts the wayfarer. The pure devotees are the guardians of the path who come to one's aid when the devotee calls aloud for their help. Just hearing that call, the robber immediately runs away, fearing that the guards will come. The guardians, the pure Vaisnavas, will console the devotee with soothing words and assurances of their protection."

I, the author of Harinama Cintamani, am a useless wretch. I impart this composition, having taken shelter of pure Vaisnavas.