02 Offensive chanting of the holy name
The ten offenses against the holy name:
There are offenses to be considered while chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Therefore simply by chanting Hare Krsna one does not become ecstatic.
There are ten offenses to avoid in chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra. The first offense is to blaspheme great personalities who are engaged in distributing the holy name of the Lord. It is said in the sastra (Sri Caitanya−caritamrta Antya lila 7.11), krsna−sakti vina nahe tara pravartana:
1. one cannot distribute the holy names of the Hare Krsna maha mantra unless he is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not criticize or blaspheme a devotee who is thus engaged.
2. The second namaparadha is described as follows:
sivasya sri−visnor ya iha guna−namadi−sakalam
dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu hari−namahita−karah
In this material world, the holy name of Visnu is all−auspicious. Visnu’s name, form, qualities and pastimes are all transcendental absolute knowledge. Therefore, if one tries to separate the Absolute Personality of Godhead from His holy name or His transcendental form, qualities and pastimes, thinking them to be material, that is offensive. Similarly, to think the names of demigods such as Lord give to be as good as the name of Lord Visnu or in other words, to think Lord Siva and the other demigods to be other forms of God and therefore equal to Visnu is also blasphemous. This is the second offense at the lotus feet of the Lord.
3. The third offense at the lotus feet of the holy name, which is called guror avajna, is to consider the spiritual master to be material and therefore envy his exalted position.
4. The fourth offense (sruti−sastra−nindanam) is to blaspheme Vedic literatures such as the four Vedas and the Puranas.
5. The fifth offense (tathartha−vadah) is to consider the glories of the holy name to be exaggerations.
6. Similarly, the sixth offense (hari−namni kalpanam) is to consider the holy name of the Lord to be imaginary.
7. The seventh offense is described as follows:
namno balad yasya hi papa−buddhir
na vidyate tasya yamair hi suddhih
To think that since the Hare Krsna mantra can counteract all sinful reactions one may therefore go on with his sinful activities and at the same time chant the Hare Krsna mantra to neutralize them is the greatest offense at the lotus feet of hari−nama.
8. The eighth offense is stated thus:
sarva−subha−kriya−samyam api pramadah.
It is offensive to consider the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra to be a religious ritualistic ceremony. Performing religious ceremonies, following vows and practicing renunciation and sacrifice are all materialistic auspicious activities. The chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra must not be compared to such materialistic religiosity. This is an offense at the lotus feet of the Lord.
9. The ninth offense is described as follows:
asraddadhane vimukhe ‘py asrnvati
yas copadesah siva−namaparadhah
It is an offense to preach the glories of the holy name among persons who have no intelligence or no faith in the subject matter. Such people should be given the chance to hear the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, but in the beginning they should not be instructed about the glories of the spiritual significance of the holy name. By constant hearing of the holy name, their hearts will be purified, and then they will be able to understand the transcendental position of the holy name.
10. The tenth offense is as follows:
rutvapi nama−mahatmyam yah priti−rahito narah
aham−mamadi−paramo namni so ‘py aparadha−krt
If one has heard the glories of the transcendental holy name of the Lord but nevertheless continues in a materialistic concept of life, thinking, “I am this body and everything belonging to this body is mine [aham mameti SB 5.5.8],” and does not show respect and love for the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra, that is an offense.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 8.25
Srila Jiva Gosvami instructs that chanting of the holy name of the Lord should be loudly done, and it should be performed offenselessly as well, as recommended in the Padma Purana. One can deliver himself from the effects of all sins by surrendering himself unto the Lord. One can deliver himself from all offenses at the feet of the Lord by taking shelter of His holy name. But one cannot protect himself if one commits an offense at the feet of the holy name of the Lord. Such offenses are mentioned in the Padma Purana as being ten in number.
1. The first offense is to vilify the great devotees who have preached about the glories of the Lord.
2. The second offense is to see the holy names of the Lord in terms of worldly distinction. The Lord is the proprietor of all the universes, and therefore He may be known in different places by different names, but that does not in any way qualify the fullness of the Lord. Any nomenclature which is meant for the Supreme Lord is as holy as the others because they are all meant for the Lord. Such holy names are as powerful as the Lord, and there is no bar for anyone in any part of the creation to chant and glorify the Lord by the particular name of the Lord as it is locally understood. They are all auspicious, and one should not distinguish such names of the Lord as material commodities.
3. The third offense is to neglect the orders of the authorized acaryas or spiritual masters.
4. The fourth offense is to vilify scriptures or Vedic knowledge.
5. The fifth offense is to define the holy name of the Lord in terms of one’s mundane calculation. The holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord Himself, and one should understand the holy name of the Lord to be nondifferent from Him.
6. The sixth offense is to interpret the holy name. The Lord is not imaginary, nor is His holy name. There are persons with a poor fund of knowledge who think the Lord to be an imagination of the worshiper and therefore think His holy name to be imaginary. Such a chanter of the name of the Lord cannot achieve the desired success in the matter of chanting the holy name.
7. The seventh offense is to commit sins intentionally on the strength of the holy name. In the scriptures it is said that one can be liberated from the effects of all sinful actions simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord. One who takes advantage of this transcendental method and continues to commit sins on the expectation of neutralizing the effects of sins by chanting the holy name of the Lord is the greatest offender at the feet of the holy name. Such an offender cannot purify himself by any recommended method of purification. In other words, one may be a sinful man before chanting the holy name of the Lord, but after taking shelter in the holy name of the Lord and becoming immune, one should strictly restrain oneself from committing sinful acts with a hope that his method of chanting the holy name will give him protection.
8. The eighth offense is to consider the holy name of the Lord and His chanting method to be equal to some material auspicious activity. There are various kinds of good works for material benefits, but the holy name and His chanting are not mere auspicious holy services. Undoubtedly the holy name is holy service, but He should never be utilized for such purposes. Since the holy name and the Lord are of one and the same identity, one should not try to bring the holy name into the service of mankind. The idea is that the Supreme Lord is the supreme enjoyer. He is no one’s servant or order supplier. Similarly, since the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord, one should not try to utilize the holy name for one’s personal service.
9. The ninth offense is to instruct those who are not interested in chanting the holy name of the Lord about the transcendental nature of the holy name. If such instruction is imparted to an unwilling audience, the act is considered to be an offense at the feet of the holy name.
10. The tenth offense is to become uninterested in the holy name of the Lord even after hearing of the transcendental nature of the holy name.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.11
There are ten principal offenses which can be committed against the holy name.
1 The first is to blaspheme the great devotees who have tried to spread the glories of the holy name throughout the world. The holy name of Krsna is nondifferent from Krsna, and one who attempts to spread the holy names throughout the world is beloved of Him. Krsna Himself does not tolerate offenses against His pure devotees.
2 The second offense is to deny that Lord Visnu is the Absolute Truth. There is no difference between His name, quality, form, pastimes and activities, and one who sees a difference is considered an offender. The Lord is Supreme, and no one is equal to or greater than Him. Consequently if one thinks that the Lord’s names are nondifferent from the names of demigods, he offends. The Supreme Lord and the demigods should never be considered on the same level.
3 The third offense is to consider the bona fide spiritual master to be a common man.
4 The fourth offense is to blaspheme Vedic literature and authorized scriptures like the Puranas.
5 The fifth offense is to consider the glories attributed to the holy names to be exaggerations.
6 The sixth offense is to concoct perverted theories about the holy name.
7 The seventh offense is to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name. It is understood that by chanting the holy names one is free from sinful reactions, but this does not mean that one should act sinfully on the strength of chanting. That is the greatest offense.
8 The eighth offense is to consider that religious rituals, austerity, sacrifices or other forms of renunciation are equal to chanting the holy name. Chanting the holy name is as good as associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pious activities are only means to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they can even be performed for some material reason.
9 The ninth offense is to preach the glories of the holy name of God to a faithless person who is not interested in hearing them.
10 The tenth and last offense is to maintain material attachment even after hearing and chanting the holy names of God. The idea is that by chanting the holy name without offense, one can obtain elevation to the liberated platform. On the liberated platform one is freed from all material attachments. Thus if one chants the holy names and still has material attachments, he must be committing some offense.
– Teachings of Lord Caitanya
The offenses against the chanting of the holy name are as follows:
(1) To blaspheme the devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the holy name of the Lord.
(2) To consider the names of demigods like Lord Siva or Lord Brahma to be equal to, or independent of, the name of Lord Visnu. (Sometimes the atheistic class of men take it that any demigod is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. But one who is a devotee knows that no demigod, however great he may be, is independently as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, if someone thinks that he can chant “Kali, Kali!” or “Durga, Durga!” and it is the same as Hare Krsna, that is the greatest offense.)
(3) To disobey the orders of the spiritual master.
(4) To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of the Vedic version.
(5) To consider the glories of chanting Hare Krsna to be imagination.
(6) To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord.
(7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord. (It should not be taken that because by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can be freed from all kinds of sinful reaction, one may continue to act sinfully and after that chant Hare Krsna to neutralize his sins. Such a dangerous mentality is very offensive and should be avoided.)
(8) To consider the chanting of Hare Krsna one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities (karma−kanda).
(9) To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name. (Anyone can take part in chanting the holy name of the Lord, but in the beginning one should not be instructed about the transcendental potency of the Lord. Those who are too sinful cannot appreciate the transcendental glories of the Lord, and therefore it is better not to instruct them in this matter.)
(10) To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter. Every devotee who claims to be a Vaisnava must guard against these offenses in order to quickly achieve the desired success.
– The Nectar of Devotion
Comments on individual offenses against the holy name
One should neither engage in, nor hear, blasphemy of devotees:
Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhu has quoted many passages from authentic scriptures and has ably supported the statements in the matter of offenses at the feet of the holy name… Quoting from the Markandeya Purana, Sri Gosvamiji says that one should neither blaspheme the devotee of the Lord nor indulge in hearing others who are engaged in belittling a devotee of the Lord.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.12
One should not equate the name of the Lord with those of the demigods:
As far as distinguishing the Lord’s holy name from the names of the demigods, the revealed scriptures disclose (Bg. 10.41) that all extraordinarily powerful beings are but parts and parcels of the supreme energetic, Lord Krsna. Except for the Lord Himself, everyone is subordinate; no one is independent of the Lord. Since no one is more powerful than or equal to the energy of the Supreme Lord, no one’s name can be as powerful as that of the Lord. By chanting the Lord’s holy name, one can derive all the stipulated energy synchronized from all sources. Therefore, one should not equalize the supreme holy name of the Lord with any other name. Brahma, Siva or any other powerful god can never be equal to the Supreme Lord Visnu.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.12
[Devahuti to Lord Kapila]: Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name!
It is specifically said here, tubhyam: “unto You only.” One must chant God’s name, not, as the Mayavadi philosophers say, any name, such as a demigod’s name or the names of God’s energies. Only the holy name of the Supreme Lord will be effective. Anyone who compares the holy name of the Supreme Lord to the names of the demigods is called pasandi or an offender.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.33.7
Guru−aparadha is the most grievous offense against the holy name:
While describing the system of protection for the creeper of devotional service, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has especially stressed protection from offenses unto the lotus feet of Vaisnavas. Such offenses are called vaisnava−aparadha. Aparadha means “offense.” If one commits vaisnava−aparadhas, all of his progress in devotional service will be checked. Even though one is very much advanced in devotional service, if he commits offenses at the feet of a Vaisnava, his advancement is all spoiled… Therefore one should be very careful about committing offenses at the feet of a Vaisnava. The most grievous type of vaisnava−aparadha is called guru−aparadha, which refers to offenses at the lotus feet of the spiritual master. In the chanting of the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this guru−aparadha is considered the most grievous offense.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.21.37
A disciple who lacks faith in his spiritual master or who acts independently from him cannot attain success in chanting Hare Krsna:
It appears from the talks of Lord Caitanya that a person who cannot keep his faith in the words of the spiritual master and who acts independently cannot attain the desired success in chanting Hare Krsna. In the Vedic literatures it is stated that the import of all transcendental literature is revealed to one who has unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord and his spiritual master. Lord Caitanya firmly believed in the statements of His spiritual master, and He never neglected the instructions of His spiritual master by stopping His sankirtana movement. Thus the transcendental potency of the holy name encouraged Him more and more in chanting Hare Krsna, the maha mantra.
– Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Worshipers of impersonalists are guilty of the offense of blaspheming the Vedic literature:
While describing one of the offenses against chanting the holy names, an offense called sruti−sastra−nindana (blaspheming the Vedic literature), Jiva Gosvami states in his Bhakti−sandarbha: yatha pasanda−margena dattatreyarsabha−devopasakanam pasandinam. Worshipers of impersonalists like Dattatreya are also pasandis.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 18.115
Mayavadis offend the holy name by differentiating it from the Lord Himself:
A name which represents an object of this material world may be subjected to arguments and experimental knowledge, but in the absolute world a name and its owner, fame and the famous, are identical, and similarly the qualities, pastimes and everything else pertaining to the Absolute are also absolute. Although Mayavads profess monism, they differentiate between the holy name of the Supreme Lord and the Lord Himself. For this offense of namaparadha they gradually glide down from their exalted position of brahma−jnana, as confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.2.32):
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty
Although by severe austerities they rise to the exalted position of brahma−jnana, they nevertheless fall down due to imperfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth. Although they profess to understand the Vedic mantra, sarvam khalv idam brahma (“everything is Brahman”), they are unable to understand that the holy name is also Brahman. If they regularly chant the maha mantra, however, they can be relieved from this misconception. Unless one properly takes shelter of the holy name, he cannot be relieved from the offensive stage in chanting the holy name.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.74
To think that glorification of the holy name is an exaggeration or to interpret the glories of the holy name are offenses against the holy name:
Once the Lord explained the glories of the holy name to the devotees, but some ordinary students who heard Him fashioned their own interpretation. When a student interpreted the glories of the holy name as a prayer of exaggeration, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, greatly unhappy, immediately warned everyone not to see the student’s face henceforward.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained the glories of the transcendental potency of the Lord’s holy name, the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one unfortunate student said that such glorification of the holy name was an exaggeration in the sastras to induce people to take to it. In this way the student interpreted the glories of the holy name. This is called artha−vada, and it is one of the ten offenses at the lotus feet of the holy name of the Lord… The holy name is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one who distinguishes between the Lord and His name is called a pasandi, or nonbeliever, an atheistic demon. Glorification of the holy name is glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should never attempt to distinguish between the Lord and His name or interpret the glories of the holy name as mere exaggerations.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 17.72−73
One must not sin with the intention of chanting Hare Krsna to neutralize the reactions:
The chanting of the holy name is so auspicious that it can free everyone from the reactions of sinful activities. One should not conclude that one may continue to sin with the intention of chanting Hare Krsna to neutralize the reactions. Rather, one should be very careful to be free from all sins and never think of counteracting sinful activities by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, for this is another offense. If by chance a devotee accidentally performs some sinful activity, the Lord will excuse him, but one should not intentionally perform sinful acts.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.31
Along with the devotees from Bengal came a gentleman named Kalidasa. He never uttered anything but the holy name of Krsna. Kalidasa was a very advanced devotee, yet he was simple and liberal. He would chant the holy name of Krsna while performing all his ordinary dealings. When he used to throw dice in jest, he would throw the dice while chanting Hare Krsna. In this connection Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati thakura warns the men of this age not to imitate the jesting of a maha−bhagavata like Kalidasa. If someone imitates him by playing with dice or gambling while chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, he will certainly become a victim of offenses unto the holy name. As it is said, hari−nama−bale pape pravrtti: one must not commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Playing with dice is certainly gambling, but it is clearly said here that Kalidasa did this only in jest. A maha−bhagavata can do anything, but he never forgets the basic principles. Therefore it is said, vaisnavera kriya−mudra vijneha na bujhaya: “No one can understand the activities of a pure devotee.” We should not imitate Kalidasa.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 16.5−7
The holy name is so spiritually potent that simply by chanting the holy name one can be freed from the reactions to all sinful activities. What, then, is to be said of those who chant the holy name regularly or worship the Deity regularly? For such purified devotees, freedom from sinful reaction is certainly assured. This does not mean, however, that one should intentionally commit sinful acts and think himself free from the reactions because he is chanting the holy name. Such a mentality is a most abominable offense at the lotus feet of the holy name. Namno balad yasya hi papa−buddhih: the Lord’s holy name certainly has the potency to neutralize all sinful activities, but if one repeatedly and intentionally commits sins while chanting the holy name, he is most condemned.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.13.8−9
In the Skanda Purana there is a statement about submission and humbleness. It is stated there: “My dear Lord, there is no sinful living entity who is more of a sinner than myself. Nor is there a greater offender than myself. I am so greatly sinful and offensive that when I come to confess my sinful activities before You, I am ashamed.” This is a natural position for a devotee. As far as the conditioned soul is concerned, there is no wonder that he has some sinful activities in his past life, and this should be admitted and confessed before the Lord. As soon as this is done the Lord excuses the sincere devotee. But that does not mean that one should take advantage of the Lord’s causeless mercy and expect to be excused over and over again, while he commits the same sinful activities. Such a mentality is only for the shameless persons. Here it is clearly said, “When I come to confess my sinful activities I become ashamed.” So if a person is not ashamed of his sinful activities and continues to commit the same sinful activities with the knowledge that the Lord will excuse him, that is a most nonsensical proposition. Such an idea is not accepted in any part of the Vedic literature. It is a fact that by chanting the holy name of the Lord one becomes washed clean of all sinful activities from his past life. But that does not mean that after being washed off, one should again begin sinful activities and expect to be washed again. These are nonsensical propositions and are not admitted in the devotional service. Someone may think: “For a whole week I may commit sinful activities, and for one day I will go to the temple or church and admit my sinful activities so that I can become washed off and again begin my sinning.” This is most nonsensical and offensive and is not acceptable to the author of Bhakti−rasamrta−sindhu.
– The Nectar of Devotion
The powerful holy name of the Lord can certainly deliver one from sinful effects, but one who desires to utilize this transcendental potency of the holy name of the Lord in one’s sinister activities is the most degraded person in the world. Such persons are never excused by the Lord or by any agent of the Lord.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.12
[Maharaja Pariksit] compared atonement to an elephant’s bathing. The elephant may take a very nice bath in the river, but as soon as it comes onto the bank, it throws dirt all over its body. What, then, is the value of its bathing? Similarly, many spiritual practitioners chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra and at the same time commit many forbidden things, thinking that their chanting will counteract their offenses. Of the ten types of offenses one can commit while chanting the holy name of the Lord, this offense is called namno balad yasya hi papa−buddhih, committing sinful activities on the strength of chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra.
– The Nectar of Instruction Text 1
One should not think that because the holy name of Krsna can nullify sinful activities, one may commit a little sinful activity and chant Hare Krsna to nullify it. This is the greatest offense (namno balad yasya hi papa−buddhih). The members of some religious orders go to church and confess their sins, but then they again commit the same sinful activities. What then is the value of their confession? One may confess, “My Lord, out of my ignorance I committed this sin,” but one should not plan, “I shall commit sinful activities and then go to church and confess them, and then the sins will be nullified, and I can begin a new chapter of sinful life.” Similarly, one should not knowingly take advantage of the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra to nullify sinful activities so that one may then begin sinful acts again. We should be very careful. Before taking initiation, one promises to have no illicit sex, no intoxicants, no gambling, and no meat−eating, and this vow one should strictly follow. Then one will be clean. If one keeps oneself clean in this way and always engages in devotional service, his life will be a success.
– Teachings of Queen Kunti
For those who want to be initiated in this Society for Krsna consciousness, there are four principles: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat−eating, and no gambling. We don’t say, “No sex.” But we do say, “No illicit sex.” If you want sex, get married and have Krsna conscious children. “No intoxication” means not even taking tea or coffee−to say nothing of other intoxicants. And there is no gambling and no meat−eating (including fish and eggs). Simply by following these four basic rules and regulations, one becomes immediately uncontaminated. No further endeavor is necessary. As soon as one joins this Krsna consciousness movement and follows these rules and regulations, material contamination is immediately removed, but one must be careful not to be contaminated again. Therefore these rules and regulations should be followed carefully.
Material contamination begins with these four bad habits, and if we manage to check them, there is no question of contamination. Therefore, as soon as we take to Krsna consciousness, we become free. However, we should not think that because Krsna consciousness makes us free, we can again indulge in these four bad habits and get free by chanting. That is cheating, and that will not be allowed. Once we are freed, we should not allow ourselves to become contaminated again. One should not think, “I shall drink or have illicit sex and then chant and make myself free.”
– The Path of Perfection
It is an offense to consider the holy name to be an ordinary pious activity:
One who says that ten million asvamedha sacrifices are equal to the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krsna is undoubtedly an atheist. He is sure to be punished by Yamaraja.
In the list of the ten kinds of offenses in chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hare Krsna, the eighth offense is dharma−vrata−tyaga−hutadi−sarva−subha−kriya−samyam api pramadah. One should never consider the chanting of the holy name of Godhead equal to pious activities like giving charity to brahmanas or saintly persons, opening charitable educational institutions, distributing free foodstuffs and so on. The results of pious activities do not equal the results of chanting the holy name of Krsna. The Vedic scriptures say:
go−koti−danam grahane khagasya
govinda−kirter na samam satamsaih
“Even if one distributes ten million cows in charity during an eclipse of the sun, lives at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna for millions of years, or gives a mountain of gold in sacrifice to the brahmanas, he does not earn one hundredth part of the merit derived from chanting Hare Krsna.”
In other words, one who accepts the chanting of Hare Krsna to be some kind of pious activity is completely misled. Of course, it is pious; but the real fact is that Krsna and His name, being transcendental, are far above all mundane pious activity. Pious activity is on the material platform, but chanting of the holy name of Krsna is completely on the spiritual plane. Therefore, although pasandis do not understand this, pious activity can never compare to the chanting of the holy name.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 3.79
To consider the chanting of the holy name to be an auspicious religious ceremony is an offense:
In the list of offenses in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, it is said,
−subha−kriya−samyam api pramadah
to consider the chanting of the holy name of the Lord equal to the execution of some auspicious religious ceremony is an offense. According to the materialistic point of view, observing a religious ceremony invokes an auspicious atmosphere for the material benefit of the entire world. Materialists therefore manufacture religious principles to live comfortably and without disturbance in executing their material activities. Since they do not believe in the existence of God, they have manufactured the idea that God is impersonal and that to have some conception of God one may imagine any form. Thus they respect the many forms of the demigods as different representations or manifestations of the Lord. They are called bahv−isvara−vadis, or followers of thousands and thousands of gods. They consider the chanting of the names of the demigods an auspicious activity. Great so−called svamis have written books saying that one may chant any name−Durga, Kali, Siva, Krsna, Rama, and so on−because any name is all right to invoke an auspicious atmosphere in society. Thus they are called pasandis−unbelievers.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 17.212
While chanting the holy name, one should not desire material advancement:
[isvara Puri to Lord Caitanya]: “‘Religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation are known as the four goals of life, but before love of Godhead, the fifth and highest goal, these appear as insignificant as straw in the street.'”
While chanting the holy name of the Lord, one should not desire the material advancements represented by economic development, religiosity, sense gratification and ultimately liberation from the material world. As stated by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the highest perfection in life is to develop one’s love for Krsna (prema pumartho mahan sri−caitanya−mahaprabhor matam idam). When we compare love of Godhead with religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, we can understand that these achievements may be desirable objectives for bubhuksus, or those who desire to enjoy this material world, and mumuksus, or those who desire liberation from it, but they are very insignificant in the eyes of a pure devotee who has developed bhava, the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.84
Effects of Offensive Chanting
The holy name eradicates sins, but if one offends the holy name, he will not be delivered:
In the Padma Purana it is stated that even a person whose life is completely sinful will be completely protected by the Lord if he simply surrenders unto Him. So it is accepted that one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes freed from all sinful reactions. And even when a person becomes an offender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he can still be delivered simply by taking shelter of the holy names of the Lord:
In other words, the chanting of Hare Krsna is beneficial for eradicating all sins; but if one becomes an offender to the holy names of the Lord, then he has no chance of being delivered.
– The Nectar of Devotion
An offense at the lotus feet of the holy name is extremely dangerous:
Once the Lord explained the glories of the holy name to the devotees, but some ordinary students who heard Him fashioned their own interpretation. When a student interpreted the glories of the holy name as a prayer of exaggeration, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, greatly unhappy, immediately warned everyone not to see the student’s face henceforward. Without even changing His garments, Lord Caitanya, with His companions, took bath in the Ganges. There He explained the glories of devotional service.
There are many kinds of offenses, but the offense known as namaparadha, an offense at the lotus feet of the holy name, is extremely dangerous. The Lord therefore warned everyone not to see the face of the offender. He immediately took a bath in the Ganges with all His clothes to teach everyone to avoid such a namaparadha. The holy name is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 17.72−74
Without chanting offenselessly, one cannot properly advance in Krsna consciousness:
One should know for certain that without chanting the holy name of the Lord offenselessly, one cannot be a proper candidate for advancement in Krsna consciousness.
– The Nectar of Instruction Text 5
If one commits offenses against the holy name, he will not achieve attachment for chanting:
[Lord Caitanya to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya]: “My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting.”
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 20.16
If one chants the holy name offensively, one does not achieve love for the Supreme Lord:
If one chants the exalted holy name of the Lord again and again and yet his love for the Supreme Lord does not develop and tears do not appear in his eyes, it is evident that because of his offenses in chanting, the seed of the holy name of Krsna does not sprout.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 8.29−3
If one chants with offenses, even many lifetimes of chanting will not bring him love of Godhead:
If one is infested with the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra, despite his endeavor to chant the holy name for many births, he will not get the love of Godhead which is the ultimate goal of this chanting.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati thakura says in this connection that unless one accepts Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although one goes on chanting the Hare Krsna mantra for many, many years, there is no possibility of his attaining the platform of devotional service. One must follow strictly the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu given in the Siksastaka:
trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
[Cc. adi 17.31]
“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)
One who follows this direction, being freed from the ten kinds of offenses, becomes successful in Krsna consciousness and ultimately reaches the platform of loving service to the Personality of Godhead.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi 8.16
If one chants without trying to give up offenses, the real creeper of bhakti will be stunted by the unwanted creepers of sense gratification, etc.:
[Lord Caitanya to Rupa Gosvami]: “When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtana [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout…The gardener must defend the creeper by fencing it all around so that the powerful elephant of offenses may not enter. Sometimes unwanted creepers, such as the creepers of desires for material enjoyment and liberation from the material world, grow along with the creeper of devotional service. The varieties of such unwanted creepers are unlimited. Some unnecessary creepers growing with the bhakti creeper are the creepers of behavior unacceptable for those trying to attain perfection, diplomatic behavior, animal killing, mundane profiteering, mundane adoration and mundane importance. All these are unwanted creepers. If one does not distinguish between the bhakti−lata creeper and the other creepers, the sprinkling of water is misused because the other creepers are nourished while the bhakti−lata creeper is curtailed.”
If one chants the Hare Krsna mantra while committing offenses, these unwanted creepers will grow. One should not take advantage of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra for some material profit. As mentioned in verse 159:
‘nisiddhacara’, ‘kutinati’, jiva−himsana’
‘labha’, ‘puja’, ‘pratisthadi’ yata upasakha−gana
The unwanted creepers have been described by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati thakura. He states that if one hears and chants without trying to give up offenses, one becomes materially attached to sense gratification. One may also desire freedom from material bondage like the Mayavadis, or one may become attached to the yoga−siddhis and desire wonderful yogic powers. If one is attached to wonderful material activities, one is called siddhi−lobhi, greedy for material perfection. One may also be victimized by diplomatic or crooked behavior, or one may associate with women for illicit sex. Others may make a show of devotional service like the prakrta−sahajiyas, or one may try to support his philosophy by joining some caste or identifying himself with a certain dynasty, claiming a monopoly on spiritual advancement. Thus with the support of family tradition, one may become a pseudo guru or so−called spiritual master. One may become attached to the four sinful activities−illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat−eating, or one may consider a Vaisnava to belong to a mundane caste or creed. One may think, “This is a Hindu Vaisnava, and this is a European Vaisnava. A European Vaisnava is not allowed to enter the temples.” In other words, one may consider Vaisnavas in terms of birth, thinking one a brahrnana Vaisnava, a sudra Vaisnava, a mleccha Vaisnava and so on. One may also try to carry out a professional business while chanting the Hare Krsna mantra or reading Srimad Bhagavatam, or one may try to increase his monetary strength by illegal means. One may also try to be a cheap Vaisnava by chanting in a secluded place for material adoration, or one may desire mundane reputation by making compromises with nondevotees, compromising one’s philosophy or spiritual life, or one may become a supporter of a hereditary caste system. All these are pitfalls of personal sense gratification. Just to cheat some innocent people, one makes a show of advanced spiritual life and becomes known as a sadhu, mahatma or religious person. All this means that the so−called devotee has become victimized by all these unwanted creepers and that the real creeper of bhakti−lata−bija has been stunted.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 19.152, 157−60
If one chants the holy name without proper understanding, just to make a show, he will never attain perfection in chanting:
[Lord Caitanya to Prakasananda Sarasvati]: “I firmly believe in these words of My spiritual master, and therefore I always chant the holy name of the Lord, alone and in the association of devotees. That holy name of Lord Krsna sometimes causes Me to chant and dance, and therefore I chant and dance. Please do not think that I intentionally do it. I do it automatically.” It is to be understood that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted and danced, He did so by the influence of the pleasure potency of the spiritual world. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu never considered the holy name of the Lord to be a material vibration, nor does any pure devotee mistake the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra to be a material musical manifestation. Lord Caitanya never tried to be the master of the holy name; rather He taught us how to be servants of the holy name. If one chants the holy name of the Lord just to make a show, not knowing the secret of success, he may increase his bile secretion, but he will never attain perfection in chanting the holy name.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.95−96
One should avoid those who offend the chanting of the holy name:
One should avoid those who offend the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 22.131
Other instructions concerning offensive chanting
Due to not being freed from material contamination, a non−Vaisnava brahmana cannot chant the holy name offenselessly:
[Lord Caitanya to Amogha]: “…When a person’s heart is cleansed of all contamination, he is able to chant the maha mantra, Hare Krsna. Therefore, Amogha, get up and chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra! If you do so, Krsna will unfailingly bestow mercy upon you.”
Whoever understands Brahman is called a brahmana, and when a brahmana engages in the Lord’s devotional service, he is called a Vaisnava. Unless one comes to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his realization of impersonal Brahman is imperfect. A brahmana can chant the Hare Krsna mantra on the platform of namabhasa, but not on the platform of pure vibration. When a brahmana engages in the Lord’s service, fully understanding his eternal relationship, his devotional service is called abhidheya. When one attains that stage, he is called a bhagavata or a Vaisnava. This indicates that he is free from contamination and material attachment…A brahmana may be a very learned scholar, but this does not mean that he is free from material contamination. A brahmana’s contamination, however, is in the mode of goodness. In the material world, the three modes are goodness, passion and ignorance, and all of these are simply different gradations of contamination. Unless a brahmana transcends such contamination and approaches the platform of unalloyed devotional service, he cannot be accepted as a Vaisnava.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 15.276−77