~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

— 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.