~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

— Chapter Four —

Criticizing Saintly Persons

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

The ten offenses against the holy name

LORD CAITANYA SAID, "Haridasa, now describe in detail the offenses against the holy name." Srila Haridasa replied, "O Lord, whatever I say will be on Your prompting alone. I am a mere puppet.

"The scriptures enumerate ten offenses against the holy name, and I am very fearful of these of these offenses. I will list them one by one; please give me strength to avoid these offenses, my Lord.

  1. To criticize saintly persons.
  2. To consider the demigods to be independent of the Supreme Lord, or that Lord Krsna's name, form, qualities and pastimes are separate from the Lord.
  3. To disobey the spiritual master who reveals the truth about the holy name.
  4. To criticize the scriptures that describe the glories of the holy name.
  5. To consider the excellences and divine qualities of the holy name, as delineated in the scriptures, to be imaginary.
  6. To commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name.
  7. To instruct faithless persons on the glories of the holy name.
  8. To equate chanting of the holy name with the materially auspicious activities recommended in the karma-kanda sections of the Vedas.
  9. To be inattentive while chanting the holy name.
  10. To not develop love for the holy name after knowing His glories because of maintaining attachments to the body and things related to the body.

To criticize a saintly person is offensive

"Criticizing a saintly person is the first offense against the holy name; it completely disrupts one's spiritual life. You have personally described the qualities of a sadhu in Your incarnation as Lord Krsna, when you spoke to Uddhava as recorded in the Eleventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

"The sadhu's qualities are as follows: he is merciful, tolerant, equal to all, performing penances without excessively inflicting injury to the body, truthful, pure-hearted, compassionate, free from lusty intelligence; master of the senses; voluntarily accepting material impoverishment; gentle; clean; regulated in eating; peaceful; apathetic to materialism; patient; steady; taking Lord Krsna as his only shelter; free from illusion; grave; a conqueror over hunger, thirst, lamentation, envy and old age; not expecting honor from others; offering respect to others; expert; not a cheater; and knowledgeable.

Qualities are of two kinds: svarupa and tathasta

"These qualities can be divided into two categories: svarupa, or the direct and indigenous qualities of any substance, and tathasta, qualities that are ornamental and which are visible when the substance comes in contact with something else. The sadhu's acceptance of Lord Krsna as his only shelter is his svarupa-laksana, and all the other qualities are tathasta. If by some good fortune one associates with a Vaisnava, he develops a taste for the holy name, and takes complete shelter of Krsna's lotus feet. Thus he develops svarupa-laksana, and then through continued chanting he gradually develops all the other laksanas or symptoms. These other laksanas are tathasta but nevertheless are essentially present in a Vaisnava.