~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

The Holy Name Part II

November 1927

The offense against the holy Name according to the Padma purana is tenfold,viz. - (1) Scandalizing sadhus augments one's offence against the Name, because the Lord's Name (Sri Krishna) cannot brook the slander of those sadhus who always take the holy Name and preach the glory of the Name to the world. So calumny of sadhus is a grave offense against the holy Name; (2) those who think that Vishnu is quite different from His Name, Form, Qualities and Actions; or those who consider the gods such as Shiva etc. as rivals, that is independent of, or identical with, the Supreme Lord Vishnu, commit an offence against the holy Name; (3) those who consider that, Sri Gurudeva who possesses the true knowledge of the Name is a being of this world and find fault with him in the belief that he is an erring mortal thereby commit offense against the holy Name; (4) denouncing the Vedas and the Vaishnava Puranas is an offence against the holy Name; (5) to think that the glorification of the Name of Hari is exaggeration of praise is an offence against the holy Name; (6) it is an offense against the Name to think that the Names of Godhead Himself are fictitious unreal and imaginary; (7) it is an offence against the holy Name to commit sinful acts fortified by the belief that the taking of the Name will destroy those sins and such offence cannot certainly be expiated by such practices as abstinence, strict observance of rituals, meditation, contemplation, penance and austerities, artificial yogic processes etc. etc; (8) out of ignorance or perversity to consider the taking of the Name which is spiritual as equal or similar to non spiritual good works such as performance of moral duties, vowed observances, renunciation or sacrifices etc., is an offense against the holy Name; (9) imparting religious instruction to persons who are atheistic - or are opposed to listening to the Name is an offense against the holy Name; (10) finally he who after having listened to the marvelous power and glory of the holy Name, being engrossed in selfish worldly enjoyments and identifying the soul with the physical or mental body does not evince regard or liking for hearing or taking the holy Name, also commits offence against the holy Name of Krishna.

It has already been stated that Sriman Mahaprabhu instructs the fallen jivas to follow the method of trinad api sunichena taror api sahishnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih, etc. for attaining the eligibility of chanting the holy Name of Krishna. Those who have taken shelter at the holy feet of Sri Chaitanya and Nityananda (Sri Chaitanya's Associated Counterpart) and have accepted them as their Lords, shed tears out of love for Krishna on sincerely taking the pure Name in accordance with the above mentioned sloka (trinad api sunichena) etc. We have stated just now that those who commit offence against the only Name, fail to obtain the favour of Sri Krishna. But Sri Gauranga and Nityananda favour even offenders. An offender by taking the holy Name never obtains the love of Krishna, his final object. Those who follow Sri Gauranga and Nityananda as their Lords by constantly taking Their Names during the period of offence, attain the fruit of the holy Name after being thereby liberated from the sinful state. The truth underlying the above is that the offending novice betakes himself to the holy feet of Sri Gauranga and Nityananda for becoming eligible to serve Krishna by getting rid of his ignorance viz. forgetfulness of his real nature; also the holy Name of Krishna, which can only be taken by those who have realized their true self, are free from all offence and are ever engaged in serving Krishna, being chanted by a novice full of offence never yields its fruit viz. the love of Krishna. For this reason the worship of Sri Gauranga and Nityananda is more important and essential for the jiva in the fallen state than the worship of Krishna which is possible only in the free state. The novice is sure to commit offence due to want of spiritual training if he takes the holy Name like one liberated.

But in worshipping Sri Gauranga and Nityananda, the two world teachers, if one betakes himself to Their holy feet even in the sinful state but without the pretence of being free, him Sri Gauranga and Nityananda enable to realize Their own Form (Krishna) and His Manifestation (Baladeva) by freeing him from Ignorance whereby the jiva attains the knowledge of his own self and of the relation that subsists between Sri Gauranga Nityananda and himself.

To sum up, the knowledge of the relationship between Krishna and the jiva constitutes the first stage in spiritual endeavor on Sri Krishna is the Supreme Lord, ever existent, spiritual and full of all transcendental bliss. All jivas are His eternal servants. They are also, in their real nature beings that are ever existent, spiritual and full of transcendental bliss. But fallen jivas are ignorant of their real nature and are given to selfish enjoyment of material pleasures. For their deliverance from the clutches of the illusory power, the holy Name has appeared in this world. The holy Name of Sri Krishna being spiritual, is identical with Sri Krishna Himself. The chanting of the holy Name with the knowledge of relationship is the only form of the service of Krishna that is available to fallen jivas and by its means they are enabled to attain the only object of their existence viz. the love of Krishna. It will thus appear that relationship with Krishna enabling us to serve Krishna by chanting His holy Name leading to love of Krishna, constitutes the basis of the whole field of our spiritual endeavour. The jiva is the eternal servant of Sri Krishna. The fallen jiva who is ignorant of this relationship, after being delivered from ignorance, takes the Name of Sri Krishna whereby he is enabled to attain the only object of his existence viz. the love of Sri Krishna. Therefore, self knowledge is relationship, taking the holy Name is the means, and love of Krishna is the object of our endeavors.

The holy Name appearing in the heart dances on the lips of one who listens constantly and with undivided attention to the glories of the holy Name embodying the above mentioned relationship, method and object of endeavour from the lips of a spiritual preceptor. The object of the Vedanta is to acquaint us with the knowledge of the only Reality, or, in other words, the Source, the One containing and pervading all decimal parts. Inside this Unit are disposed in their due proportion and respective positions the positive or negative relations of the component decimal parts. The devotee is related to the object of worship by means of the quality of his devotion. In cases where devotion is lax there is proportional substitution of the worship of part for the worship of the whole. The severance of relationship with the enveloping object of worship of the dependent decimal power due to laxity of the devotional instinct, is forgetfulness of self or aversion to the service of Hari. Hence the ineligibility of those for the study of the Brahmasutra who, proud of their knowledge of the Scriptures, refuse to betake themselves to the holy feet of the spiritual preceptor. Those who are devoid of the quality of devotion to God and engrossed in non-spiritual objects in their endeavour to find out the object of worship do not follow the spiritual preceptor who has dedicated himself to the service of God. Discipleship is necessary because the fallen jivas are ignorant of God Whose holy feet the Vedas are ever engaged in serving. The possessor of merely phenomenal knowledge is, indeed, ignorant of the Being to know Whom is the object of the Vedanta. The so-called truth which presents itself to those who are deluded by empiricism, is dependent on external perception and belongs to the sphere of nescience.

Those that are not eligible for taking the holy Name, being devoid of the conviction that the holy Name is identical with the Bearer of the Name, tend to become illusionist-Vedantists. They are really very foolish from the spiritual point of view. This foolishness or neutralizationism is due to the study of the Vedanta by the inductive method.

Ignorant psilanthropists, vain of their pseudo-Vaishnavism, affect to regard the Vedanta as the hunting ground of the pure monists who are worshippers of the Ego; but the Vedanta is really the exclusive sphere of the transcendental devotees of Hari. The Vedantist dissertations from the pens of the Vaishnava Acharyyas of the four schools in conformity with the Srimad Bhagabat, the commentary of the Brahmasutra, are not to be discarded as evil company. This simple proposition is not grasped by the psilanthropists. As the result of this they are doomed to perdition by imagining the unalloyed devotion of really pure Vaishnavas and Vaishnava Acharyyas to be perverted or in other words, adulterated with pantheistic knowledge or fruitive and remunerative actions, with the result that they themselves degenerate into illusionists misusing the worship of Vishnu. By the empiric knowledge of the Vedanta the significance of repeating Krishna-mantra is not realised. Those who happen to be bewitched by empiric knowledge are also inextricably bound to the phenomenal world. The cross threads of enjoyer and object of enjoyment being enabled to bind them to this world prevent them from restraining their thoughts of external objects.

When the jiva attains transcendental knowledge then only being freed from every nonspiritual pre-occupation he employs himself in serving transcendental God. The service of God is the only method as well as the object of the renunciation of the activities of the external world. Being freed from the knowledge of the external, enjoyable, material world by the gradual realization of the transcendental, due to constant repetition of the mantra to oneself, the object of worship is realised in the spiritually enlightened heart of the devotee by dint of the latter’s loving service under the lead of any one of the five kinds of attachment to Krishna in conjunction with excitants. Such activity is not mere enjoyment of the twin external cases. As soon as the person chanting holy Name is really established in the realised state of transcendental knowledge viz that the holy Name and its Possessor are identical, he attains the direct service of Krishna. There is no strict necessity of using the grammatical dative in his prayers. The Absolute Reality itself which is the object of his address then becomes directly manifest in the spiritually enlightened heart. Then the eligibility of serving God unhampered by means of the vocative is attained. All the Shastras and all the mantras embodying the transcendental knowledge by freeing the jiva in every way, employ him in this direct service of Krishna. The study, teaching and discussion of Srimad Bhagabat etc., as steps leading to the worship of the holy Name according to the statement of Sri Vyasadeva end in the realization of the significance of the service of the holy Name. The transcendental knowledge obtained from Sri Gurudeva is nothing but this - that the holy Name and its Possessor are identical and capable of being known only by those who are free from worldly endeavours. I am ignorant of my relationship with God before I have betaken myself to the holy feet of Sri Gurudeva; but since when I decide to serve him I am increasingly enabled to realize the difference between the free and the fallen states. Krishna’s Name has not been used in this connection to signify either the dim perception of the Name or offence against the holy Name.

In the three Yugas of Satya, Treta and Dvapara, the scriptural method was held in due estimation; but with the advent of Kali un-canonical or the rationalistic method has come to prevail. The rise of the rationalistic mode is due to the predominance of empiric, inductive or purely ascending knowledge breeding doubt regarding the descent of the Absolute Reality. This ascending method is opposed to that of the scriptures. Krishna’s Names being unlimited and spiritual is absolutely identical with the spiritual Reality viz. Sri Krishna Himself. The holy Name and its Possessor being identical, the Absolute Holy Name, like the Absolute Reality Krishna Himself, is also the eternal, pure, indivisible, free embodiment of spiritual bliss and the transcendental philosopher’s stone. As distinct from these worldly names that are other than Krishna, the holy Name is Sri Krishna Himself. The rationalistic thinker is thus barred from all access to it. It is only by serving the holy Name that the functions of the twin gross and subtle cases are ended. For this reason, during the prevalence of the rationalistic method all limited methods find themselves thwarted by rationalism. But the holy Name is the Absolute Reality that lies beyond the scope of rationalism. The Name of the unlimited Reality being alone capable of freeing the jiva from the clutches of the mental function which is given to speculations of material enjoyment, is the essence of all the mantras. The name, form, quality, existence and function of material objects are the subject of rationalistic thought, but the unlimited Reality is not so. The Name, Form, Quality, the Characteristic traits of Servitors and Activities of the Absolute Name are sphered in the religion of absolute, indivisible knowledge. The Illusionists fall into the error of dualism by postulating difference between the Name, Form and Quality of the Absolute Reality. It is for this reason that their Acharyya has sought to rescue them from empiricism by such basic assertions as - ‘the spirit alone existed in the beginning’, ‘everything in this world is Brahman’ etc.

Without taking Refuge at the feet of the holy Name and by offending against the Name it is never possible to be freed from materialistic rationalism wedded to selfish worldly enjoyment.

The position set forth above is thus expressed in the Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita -

“By Krishna-mantra freedom from worldly affinities will be gained - by Krishna’s Name the holy feet of Sri Krishna will be attained.”

The process is thus explained by Sri Jiva Goswami in his Kramasandarbha

“For the purification of the heart it is necessary first of all to listen to the chanting of the holy Name. After the heart has been purified by listening to the holy Name the fitness for the manifestation of the holy Form is attained on hearing recital of Scriptural accounts of the holy Form. After the full appearance of the holy Form the holy Qualities manifest themselves. After the appearance of the holy Qualities, due to the characteristic traits of Servitors, the knowledge of the distinctive and perfect identification of the devotee arises. Subsequent to this, after the full manifestation of the Name, Form, Quality, Servitor has taken place the transcendental activity of God manifests itself. For this purpose this account of the successive stages in spiritual endeavour is written. In the matter of kirtana and smarana (recollection) also this sequence holds good. This hearing of the holy Name, if it is obtained from the holy lips of a spiritual preceptor, gives the highest happiness to devotees; if it be otherwise it is sure to be productive of evil.”

When Sri Gurudeva chants the holy Name, the Name chanted by him enters the ear of the disciple. In obedience to Sri Gurudeva, and placing the holy Name with reverence in the heart, the disciple adores it by the method of repetition. The holy Name being thus worshipped, manifesting its activity of self-exercised power, confers on the worshipper the capacity of chanting the Name. On the attainment of this stage the devotee is able to convert the world to discipleship by chanting the holy Name. The world ruled by the power of the kirtan of the Name, begins to repeat Krishna’s Name. By such repetition the methods of adoration of the holy Name manifest themselves in one who thus repeats the Name in the forms of laughter, crying, dancing and singing. The holy Name and Sri Krishna being identical, by the power of repetition of the Name, the instinct of the service of the Absolute Reality, Sri Krishna is, aroused - this being known as ‘bhava’. Those in whom ‘bhava’ has been aroused are no longer enthralled by the bonds of ignorance and are not sinful. They are imbued with attachment for Krishna, and therefore, taste the elixir of bliss that is produced in conjunction with the fourfold ingredients. The concentrated state of ‘bhava’ is love of Krishna.