~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

A secondary process for the karmi and jnani

"O Lord! You are an ocean of magnanimity and the Supreme Controller of everyone. You are always keen to serve the conditioned souls, including the karmis (fruitive workers) and jnanis (empirical philosophers). Thinking of their welfare You have proposed a secondary devotional path. The karmi who follows varnasrama-dharma associates with saintly persons and executes his duties for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Hari. Such activities cleanse his heart and gradually destroy the desire for more fruitive work. In its place the seed of sraddha, or pure faith, is sown within his heart.

"On the strength of his piety, the jnani obtains the association of pure devotees of the Lord and invokes their inherent compassion towards himself. This helps him easily develop firm faith in the process of pure devotional service. The association of a pure devotee is a secondary devotional path for the jnani. You often say, O Lord, 'My servant, the jiva, succumbs to the treachery of My illusory potency. I always know what is beneficial for him and thus I inspire him to develop an aversion to sense enjoyment and liberation, and in its place I grant him attraction to devotional service unto Me. I lead the jiva in the pursuit of fulfilling his material desires and very subtly deflect his yearnings toward a secondary devotional path, and in this way strengthen his faith and love.'

"O Lord! You are most merciful and all this is a reflection of Your causeless mercy. Without Your loving intervention, how could the jiva ever become purified?

Religion has deteriorated in Kali-yuga

"In Satya-yuga, sages who took up the process of meditation were purified by the Lord and given the treasure of devotional service. In Treta-yuga, the same spiritual success crowned those who flawlessly performed opulent sacrifices to satisfy the Lord, and in Dvapara-yuga You granted devotion to those who adhered perfectly to the path of Deity worship. With the advent of Kaliyuga, O Lord, You saw the dreadful condition of the jiva and relinquished all hope in the processes of yoga, meditation, fruitive activities, sacrifices etc.

"People in Kali-yuga are short-lived, always harassed by disease, and are born with a weak physique and psyche. They are handicapped from the outset. The cultivation of varnasrama-dharma, sankhya philosophy, yoga and empiricism will not yield the strength needed to redeem the jivas in Kali-yuga. And the secondary sub-devotional paths of jnana and karma are extremely narrow and hazardous. The two secondary paths that lead to the shrine of devotional service are: 1) the association of saintly persons during spiritual discussions; and 2) work performed without desire for results in which everything is offered to the Supreme Lord. In Kali-yuga both have become contaminated. Genuine saintly persons, now rarely seen, have been displaced by a brand of crass, commercial pseudo-spiritualists. Religious activities are no longer performed for purifying the consciousness but for mere enjoyment of the results. Therefore these secondary paths are no longer beneficial. Even the process of Deity worship that gave the highest spiritual success in Dvapara-yuga has become impure and degraded.

"The jivas then tried other means to reach the final destination but were confronted with many insurmountable obstacles. The path that directs one to the goal is the actual means, and what is gained by the execution of the means or process is the final destination. Receiving the Lord's mercy is the goal of human life. But karma or jnana are not the pre-eminent means to achieve that highest goal, because although they bring one close to the destination, in the end they suddenly reach a dead end and disappear.

The prime process: chanting the holy name

"The process of chanting the holy name is not like that. The Lord's holy name is always present, therefore it is the most efficient process. When the means becomes the end, the process becomes identical to the objective, and thus it is easy for the jivas to attain liberation by Your mercy. In my case, O Lord, it is different: I am extremely fallen and am much engrossed in material life. Being the rascal I am, I never chanted Your holy name."

Saying this, Srila Haridasa, the incarnation of Lord Brahma, fell at the Lord's feet with tears cascading from his eyes and his body heaving with sighs. Only persons who appreciate Lord Hari, His devotees, and devotional service can take this Harinama Cintamani to heart.