The Science of Congregational Chanting of the Name of the Lord
BY: SUN STAFF
May 08, CANADA (SUN) By Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Published in "Back To Godhead" Volume One, 1944.
When Pralhad Moharaj, the celebrated devotee of the Personality of Godhead Vishnu and the son of Hiranyakashipu the well-known atheist-was a mere boy of five years old, was seen one day by his fellow playmates, chanting the transcendental name of Hari (The Lord). The boys, who were all born of atheist family and thereby known as the children of the Ashuras, asked Prolhad Moharaj a question which is now-a-days a common enquiry by all busy men.
The question was quite plain and simple and it was an enquiry by the children of the Ashuras as to why Prolhad was wasting his valuable time by chanting the name of Hari. They asked him to come out of his place and make an enjoyment of life by fulfilling the utilitarian theory of eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. This was quite a natural thing for the children of the Ashuras because the Ashuras are none but those who know nothing of transcendence but are always busy with the business of material enjoyment.
The symbol of material enjoyment is a combination of gold and cushion and Hiranya-Kashipu was made the King of Ashuras because his very name suggested that he was concerned with only gold and cushion. Gold is the medium of exchange for all material comforts and cushion or soft-padded bedding is the resting place for enjoying women and wine. Hiranya means gold and Kashipu means soft bedding. Hiranya-Kashipu was therefore the King of such materialists who simply cared for gold and cushion and as such he did care little for the Lord or his Name.
But fortunately or unfortunately in order to show to the people of the world that material enjoyment is not the ultimate end of life but the aim of this human form of life is a mission for going back to God and back to home, Prolhad Moharaj who was an empowered incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, as is stated in the Geeta, took his birth in the midst of the most stubborn materialists, as the son of Hiranyakashipu who was atheist and materialist to the bottom of his heart.
The laws of appearance and disappearance of the Almighty Lord or that of His bonafide servants are different from the laws of Nature and both of them are free to make their choice as to where and how they should appear and where and how they should not. Therefore it is not at all astonishing why Prolhad Moharaj should have appeared himself in the family of atheists; thus a struggle between the theist and the atheist began.
The clash between the theist and the atheist exists always since the time immemorial and for the reason of this the relation between a theist and an atheist remains always a strained circumstances even if the relation is so intimate as that of between a son and a father: The atheist father Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his only beloved child Prolhad more than once for the only fault of his son's faith in God. In such a struggle between the theist and the atheist, the theist of course always comes out victorious, that is the verdict of history.
Now to come to our original point, we may say that Prolhad Moharaj, thus being asked by his fellow brethren as to why he was wasting his valuable time in the chanting of the name of Hari generally known as Kirtan,-he replied to his friends in the following words:-
"Brother, we have got this valuable human form of life after crores and crores of evolutionary processes. Thus this life, although temporary and liable to death, is a very valuable asset and in this body of our life only we can attain to the Supreme goal. We should not therefore waste our time even for a moment and must immediately engage ourselves for the attainment of the Prime necessity of life, the object of our material enjoyment being the same in all other forms of life."
The contention of the friends of Prolhad Moharaj was that the chanting of the name of Hari, may be set aside as a business of old-age recreation. For a body of five years old who is faced with a very bright future of life in the material world, such unusual chanting of the name of Hari is sheer waste of time (?). As a matter of fact if chanting of the Name of Hari is a matter of business for old age recreation, that sort of recreation may not be indulged in even in the old age. But if it is a question of absolute necessity, every man is a born old man and the name of Hari must be taken shelter of as soon as he is able to pronounce the elementary vocabulary. Old age means nearer approach to death and for human life and that especially in the present age of quarrel, there is no certainty as to when a man will die. Despite all precautions of the state and society, the mortality of man both young and old is taking place at every moment and yet the living ones think that they are immortals (?). That is a fun of the Maya and Prolhad Moharaj wanted to dissipate the illusion of his friends who were all the children of the Ashuras. He said-
"My dear friends, do not be foolish. Material enjoyment you had had enough many a time in your past lives and as such material enjoyment you will have according to your rank and position. But you must try for the supreme goal which was not possible to be performed during your past many lives." The four principles of material enjoyment are known as eating, sleeping, fearing and sense gratification. The cats, dogs, tigers, ants, serpents, birds and beasts like the man, have all got to enjoy these principles of material enjoyment according to their respective positions. The dog eats something and after eating goes to sleep for sometime. He also fears from the attack of another dog like a man fears from the attack of his enemy. The dog also begets children in the womb of his bitch wife, exactly like the man, and the dog's family is maintained with equal care as that of a man. But the difference between the dog and the man is that the dog cannot know anything besides those four principles of animal life called material enjoyment, but the man, by dint of his superior consciousness can know, if he tries to know at all, as to what he is, what is this manifested creation, who is the Almighty and what are their inter-relation with one another. The dog cannot make any distinction between a dog and the God because apparently both are composed of the same ingredients namely G. D. & O. But a man in his pure state of consciousness can know that a dog is dog and God is God by the law of identity. God cannot be dog and the dog cannot be God. A man of developed consciousness can understand that God is great and all other things are His subordinate servitors. He can know that forgetfulness of God is the quality of the dog and therefore a man tries to distinguish himself from the position of a dog simply by trying to know what is God. This process of knowing God the Almighty, varies in different ways by different people according to different country and climate and the standard method by which one tries to approach God or the relation between Him and the man, is generally known as religion. A man who has no such religion may be classed with the dog as he is no better than the latter. It is stated in the scriptures.
"Dharmena heena pasuvi samana."
i.e., a man devoid of religion is just like an animal. As a matter of fact therefore, Prolhad Moharaj was not wasting his time by chanting the name of Hari as seemed to the atheist friends but he was rightly utilising the valuable time of human existence with a view to self-realisation.
When the chanting of the Name of the Lord is done individually or incompletely it is called 'kirtan'. But all the same Kirtan or Samkirtan is always meant for chanting of the Name of the Lord and never means a debating society of mundane words. Samkirtan is however the greatest common formula of universal religion acceptable in the present age of quarrel, called the 'Kali yooga'.
In the Puranas it is stated that the process of knowing God, in the Satya yooga or Golden Age, is by concentration and meditation. Men would live during that age for one lac of years and it is said that Mohamuni Valmiki attained siddhi or perfection after 60,000 sixty thousand years of meditation before he was able to compose Ramayana. (So Ramayana is not a mundane poets' speculation.) The process of knowing God in the Treta-yooga or silver-age, was the performances of big sacrifices such as Aswamedha yajna, that in the Dwapara yooga or Bronze-age, was by worshipment with all paraphernalia and that in the Kali yooga, i.e., in the present age of quarrel (iron-age) the process is by performances of congregational chanting of the names of the Lord. The injunction in the scripture is as follows:-
Kritejat dhyayate Vishnu tretayam yayata makhoin
Dwapare paricharyayam Kaloutat Hari samkirtanat
In the present age of quarrel therefore, when all conclusions are arrived at by an assembly of fighting men, the chance of realisation of the Absolute conclusion is very little by other processes such as, works, knowledge, re-union or meditation except by the process of congregational chanting of the Name of Hari.
About 450 years ago, Lord Chaitanya, the father of Samkirtan movement, appeared Himself in Bengal in the district of Nadia and inaugurated first the system of congregational chanting of the name of the Lord. He made a vigorous transcendental propaganda work for this purpose. As a result of that movement, the whole of Bengal, Orissa and Southern India, was over-flooded with His transcendental propaganda work and many eminent personalities like Rupa and Sanatan the then ministers of the Nawab of Bengal and Ramananda Roy the then governor of Madras and scholars like Vasudeva Sarbabhouma or Sanyasis like Prakashananda Saraswati all became His disciples amongst many other thousands of disciples at that time.
At Benares he converted Prakashananda Saraswati along with his 60,000 (sixty thousand) Mayavadi Sannyasin followers to His cult of Samkirtan. At Allahabad He favoured Ballavacharya at Arail on the other side of Allahabad and at Puri He did so by reclaiming the great scholar of the time namely Vasudeva Sarbabhouma an accredited logician and empiric philosopher of his time. All these combination made Lord Chaitanya's movement a great success and as a result of that movement the present city of Brindaban in U.P. was excavated by the two Goswamins namely Rupa and Sanatan who were empowered by Lord Chaitanya. Since that time in various parts of India the cult of Samkirtan has spread up like fire and has been accepted as the only process of transcendental realisation by many many saints such as Tukaram in Maharastra and others. It is said that Saint Tukaram got inspiration of the holy name Hare Krishna by Krishna Chaitanya (Avanga 3875) and since then he flooded the whole of Maharastra and Western India by the Samkirtan movement. In the 'Chaitanya Bhagwat' also we can see a foretelling of Lord Chaitanya-that the cult of the Lord will spread in every village and all towns that are on the surface of the Earth. From this foretelling we can hope that the cult of Samkirtan will take very shortly an universal form of religious movement and this universal religion, wherein there is no harm in chanting the Name of the Lord nor there is any question of quarrel,-will continue to years, as we can know from the pages of authoritative scriptures.
The cult of Sree Krishna Chaitanya is as follows:
Harernama Harernama Harernamoiba Kevalam
Kalou Nasteba, nasteba, nasteba gatiranyatha.
i.e., in the age of quarrel, the transcendental Name of Hari (Lord) is only to be chanted and there is no other alternative except this, for transcendental realisation. He has thrice emphasised on the Name of Hari as well as on the word alternative, in order to give on it very strong impression as we generally do by giving stress at least three time on a thing just to give good impression. It should be noted therefore that the process for transcendental realisations recommended for the three periods namely, Satya, Treta, Dwapara will not be feasible in the present age. The people of the present age are short lived and poor in knowledge and poor in material prosperity. They are also corrupted by the association of "Kalee" or the age of quarrel. The symbolic expression of the Age of Kali is represented by the four principles of vices as was observed by Parikshit Moharaj during the first advent of the Age of Kali about 5,000 years ago. The four principles of vices are as follows.
(1) Illegitimate association with woman and unrestricted sexuality.
(2) Unrestricted slaughtering of cows and other minor animals.
(3) Encouragement of drinking and other intoxicating habits.
(4) Mass movements of gambling adventures in all spheres of human activities namely, political, social, economic and religious, etc.
We may also very carefully note that the Age of Kali has passed only 5,000 years after the battle of Kurukshetra which was fought between the Kurus and the Pandavas and just after the disappearance of Lord Krishna from this mortal world. The major portion of the Age of Kali is still unfathomed as according to Hindu Shastras (Law books) the Age of Kali has to prolong more for 4,27,000 of years. The signs of the Age of Kali as mentioned above have already begun to be very prominent even in the very beginning of the age, and we do not know what will happen when the age will be at its full youthful time. Thus we can at least know that for the coming four lacs and twenty-seven thousands of years, no one can check the progressive current of the influence of the Age of Kali represented by the above four principles of vices as no one is able to check the seasonal changes in the duration of a year. The laws of Nature cannot be changed by anyone who is himself under the laws of Nature. The above four principles of the Age of Kali have spread from the West and as stated in the Scriptures it is spreading its influence on the Eastern horizon too. We may try our utmost by all our resources and inventive powers to check the above forces, by such imaginary actions as Hinduraj, Moslemraj, Non-violence, socialism, communalism, and so forth as the human brain can conceive of-but we are completely helpless in checking the onrush spread of the cult of the Age of Kali, by any conceivable method except by the counterblast, namely congregational chanting of the Name of Hari (The Lord). It is for this reason only that Lord Chaitanya has thrice emphasised the fact,
Kalou Nasteba, Nasteba Nasteba gatiranaath,
So from the onslaught and ravages of the age of Kali, no one will be able to concentrate his mind even for a moment. Even the preliminary processes of meditation (Yoga) will be impossible to perform by any man in the present age. Therefore the processes as was enjoined in the age of Satya, has to be replaced by the process of Harer Namoiba. In the same way no one can perform the great sacrifices which required so much wealth and so much knowledge. The men of the Treta Yooga used to live for 10,000 of years and therefore it was possible for them to accumulate the necessary funds as well as knowledge necessary for the performance of the great sacrifices such as the Aswamedha Yajna, etc. Even it is possible now to accumulate the necessary funds for such sacrifices, it is not possible to find out the required learned Brahmin who could take charge for the performance of such sacrifices, so that the desired result can be had of. Thus in the present age, we are poor both by funds and knowledge and as such the principles of sacrifices as recommended for the Treta Yooga must be replaced by the principles of Harer Namoiba. In the same way the processes of the Dwapara Yooga has also to be replaced by the principles of Harer Namoiba as ordered by Lord Chaitanya. He has thrice emphasised on the fact as there is no other alternative for the mass emancipation in the Kali Yooga, for the reason that all other methods for bringing peace in the world will always be frustrated by the contamination of the above four principles of the age of Kali.
Lord Chaitanya conducted His transcendental movement strictly according to the injunction of the Shastras (law-books) because that is the qualification of all bonafide Acharyas or authorities, and as such he has most reasonably and scientifically ordered us to chant the Name of the Lord as follows. In the scriptures the Taraka Brahman Names of the Lord in this age are composed of 32 letters and 16 words, symbolised as follows:-
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare.
The chanting of the above sixteen words composed of 32 Sanskrit letters combined together is called the "Mahamantram". (Moha=great, Man=mind, Tran=deliverance) that is, the great instrument for our deliverance from the clutches of the mental plane. At present we have no information of the transcendental plane or Self-realisation but are hovering over a plane created by the Mind called Manaratha. These sixteen words can alone deliver us from such mental activities.
If any one therefore takes shelter of the Mahamantram with unconditional surrender, he can very easily attain to all successes both material and Spiritual, that is the verdict of Lord Chaitanya. This Mahamantram when murmured within the mouth it is called "Japa" and when chanted loudly so that others also may take advantage of hearing the same, it is called SREE KRISHNA SAMKIRTAN. Both these processes of Japa and Samkirtan were perfectly demonstrated by Thakur Haridas an associate of Lord Chaitanya. This Thakur Haridasa is also known as the Namacharya, i.e., the authority from whom, the chanting of the transcendental Name of the Lord, must be learnt. It is needless however to say that this Thakur Haridas happened to appear himself in the family of a great Mohamedan showing thereby that the cult of Lord Chaitanya is acceptable universally without any distinction of caste, creed and colour.
According to Lord Chaitanya, this Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified for the following reasons:-
Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified because by His influence the darkness of Nescience cast over our pure consciousness is dissipated. The Nescience is our forgetfulness of the service of the Lord, the All-attractive Personality of Godhead. Before the advent of the Age of Kali-Sree Krishna the Supreme Lord appeared Himself as one of us (?) and conducted the sacred battle of Kurukshetra in order to teach us, through Arjuna, the essence of all knowledge in the form of Geeta. The supreme instruction of Geeta is most confidential and that is said by the Lord Himself as follows:-
Sarba Dharman paritayya Mam ekam saranam braja
i.e., "Give up thy all engagements created by the mind and take shelter of Me alone. I shall deliver thee from all possible sins, for which you may rest assured."
Aham tam sarba papevya moksaisyami ma sucha
In the same Geeta (Bg. 15.7) Sree Krishna says that the Jiva souls are eternal parts and parcels of Him but the 'Jivasoul' has now become conditioned by the modes of Nature attracted by the subtle mind and five subordinate senses, encaged in the gross material body. The fact that the Jiva soul is completely different from his body and the mind, has been elaborately explained in the very beginning of the Geeta and this misidentification of the spirit soul with material body or the mind-has been the root cause of all Nescience in the forgetfulness of our transcendental eternal relation with the Supreme Lord. The last instruction of Geeta is thus in the way of reinstallation of the Jiva soul unto the service of the Lord and that is the aim of clarifying the mirror of our pure consciousness.
But the mirror of our pure consciousness is now covered with a layer of dusts primarily called mundane desire for enjoyment and mundane renunciation or hatred for enjoyment. First of all we are attracted by the glare of material enjoyment and thereby we desire to lord it over the material forces of Nature and her regulated laws by becoming Iswara, Lord, Master, King, Proprietor, Leader, and so forth but when we are defeated in our such enjoying habit by the trident of Durga, the superintending goddess of the material world, we then try to become a pseudo renouncer or "Tyagi". Thus in the beginning of our association with the material enjoyment, we declare ourselves as "Bhogi" or enjoyer and when we are baffled in our such process of enjoyment we become "Tyagi" or renouncer of the world. Both these functions are performed on the mental plane only. And in this way Durga or the material Nature pulls us by the ear and the laws of Nature known as "Trigunas" or the three modes of Nature till we do away with such mental speculations of Bhoga and Tyaga detrimental to the path of self-realisation.
When we want to become an enjoyer we do not remember as to whose things we are going to enjoy. We forget at that time that everything is created by and property of the Lord. We are unable to manufacture even a pinch of earth and what to speak of the finer elements such as water, fire, air, ether etc. We forget that all these elements are the gifts of the Lord Himself through His External Potency of Nature and the Jiva soul is simply allowed to make a use of them for the service of the Lord or in order to satisfy his false position of an enjoyer (?). As soon as the objects of such false enjoyment are taken away by the sway of the laws of Nature, the Jiva soul looks blank and becomes a silly renouncer like the fabulous jackal in the orchard of grapes. The Jiva soul forgets to know that all the materials of his false enjoyment are supplied by the Nature in accordance with the orders of the Lord and the captivated conditioned soul falsely thinks that he is absolute enjoyer of the things. He forgets that he is a prisoner in the fortress (Duga) of the External Potency (Durga). When he renounces therefore under an awkward circumstances, he gives up only that gross enjoying habit but becomes a subtle enjoyer of his other resources namely the mind and the ego. Thus he hovers over the plane of mental concoction for becoming one with the Lord making a spiritual suicide of his own individual existence. This sort of illusion is the last snare of the Most Powerful Qualitative Nature and for this reason only Sree Krishna warns the Jiva soul as follows:-
"Daivijhesa gunamae Mama Maya duratyaya." Unsurmountable are the ways of the modes of Nature and the only way out from the tangle of such modes of Nature-is complete voluntary surrender unto Me (Sree Krishna). The last line completes as follows: "Mam eba je prapadyante Maya etan tarantee te." Thus the desire or hatred for enjoyment or renunciation both are creations of the false ego. They are therefore as if dusts on the mirror of our pure consciousness. When this is cleared off by Sree Krishna Samkirtan the Jiva soul then and there can see only his real face on the polished mirror of pure consciousness and then he can know only that he is neither the enjoyer nor the renouncer but an eternal entity as transcendental servitor of the Supreme Lord. The dust is Maya or illusion which can be compared with the shadow and the Lord as the beam light. When He appears Himself on the mirror of our pure consciousness, the Maya gives way and the shadow disappears. We cannot see the Lord nor hear His voices by our present imperfect senses but when with full voluntary surrender we chant the transcendental Name of the Lord with service and submission, He mercifully makes His own appearance in the transcendental state of our existence when freed from the contamination of the spirit of enjoyment and renouncement.
Secondly Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified because by His influence we can extinguish the perpetual fire of material tribulations that always burn in the midst of material existence. Forgetfulness of our transcendental relation with the Lord, has compelled the Nature to inflict her trident of threefold miseries pierced into the heart of us. The threefold miseries are:
(a) Miseries pertaining to "Atma" or the body and the mind such as heat, cold, diseases, sorrows, losses, invalidity, hunger, thirst, old age, death, etc.
(b) Miseries pertaining to the "Bhuta" or other entities such as troubles inflicted by enemies, animals, insects, etc., and
(c) Miseries pertaining to the disturbances by the "Devas" or the controlling gods such as famine, flood, war, pestilence, cyclone, earthquake etc.
The conditioned soul in his false position of an enjoyer or renouncer has to undergo the threefold miseries as above mentioned in spite of all his scientific efforts to overcome them. The scientific brain with which the conditioned Jiva soul tries to make a solution of the miserable problems-is also a gift of the modes of Nature and he is therefore befooled in his tiny efforts to conquer the laws of Nature by a tiny instrument called the brain, given by the Nature. The laws of Nature however can smash the products of such millions and billions of combined brains by her one stroke of the powerful trident.
The constant effort of the conditioned soul to give a fight with the laws of Nature makes the conditioned soul more and more embarrassed, as we can find in the picture of the "Mohishasur" in his fighting mode with the mother "Durga". The Mohishasur has a trident of the Mother pierced in his chest is the symbolic expression of the threefold miseries sickening our heart.
Such a huge fire of tribulation can only be checked by the Sree Krishna Samkirtan. By Sree Krishna Samkirtan only, the conditioned soul can gradually know that he is neither enjoyer nor renouncer but a transcendental servitor only. By the revival of such pure consciousness, he surrenders voluntarily all his manufactured processes of conquering the laws of Nature and then only can corroborate with the lessons of Geeta "Sarba Dharman paritayya" etc. When he does so, he easily transcends the laws of Nature. The laws of Nature cannot act on him by such revival of pure consciousness. At that time even within this material world he becomes freed from the action of the laws of Nature in his transcendental position. Such is the power of Sree Krishna Samkirtan.
Thirdly Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified because by His influence the darkness of our heart becomes whiter and whiter. Sree Krishna Samkirtan is compared with the moon rays that diffuses the whiteness of "Kumud" (Lotus) flowers.
Similarly the moon rays of Sree Krishna Samkirtan diffuses the whiteness of our pure consciousness.
Fourthly Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified because by His influence the life of knowledge becomes blessed. In the "Mundak Upanishad" we can get information of two kinds of knowledge. The one is pertaining to the matter (physical) and the other pertaining to the spirit (metaphysical). By Sree Krishna Samkirtan when one's heart is unfolded like the Kumud flower by the rays of moon, one realises his own self as distinct from the body and the mind. In the present conditioned state of our existence, we are more concerned with the knowledge of the body and the mind but as we realise, our real self by the process of Sree Krishna Samkirtan, that we are separate from the body and the mind, so a pure hankering after our real existence becomes evident. That is the life of real knowledge and is called generally the life of "Brahman Jijnasa" i.e., an enquiry into the life of spiritual existence as distinguished from spiritual suicide.
The Jiva Soul being constitutionally "Brahman" or Spirit, an enquiry of the knowledge of Spiritual existence is quite natural for him and by the culture of that knowledge of spiritual existence only the Jiva Soul again becomes reinstated to his constitutional position of transcendental relationship of neutrality, service, friendship, affection and love of God which is the ultimate goal of spiritual life. As for the mundane knowledge such as art, science, philosophy, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and so forth they become automatically acquired by the process of Sree Krishna Samkirtan. Sree Krishna Samkirtan includes such knowledges indirectly or as a matter of course as it is evident by the recitation of Bhagavat Geeta and Sreemad Bhagavat. There are perfect elucidation of such mundane knowledge in the readings of Geeta and Bhagavat.
Simple culture of the mundane knowledge makes the Jiva Soul bound up by the vanity of such mundane knowledge but by Sree Krishna Samkirtan, not only those knowledges are acquired without any separate effort but also the student becomes freed from the mundane vanity for the acquirement of such knowledges. Freedom from the vanity of such mundane knowledge, leads one to the path of real knowledge i.e., to the Lotus feet of the Absolute Personality of Godhead Who is the Fountain Head of All knowledge.
Fifthly, Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified because He enhances the ocean of enjoyments. By acquisition of mundane knowledge certainly we find out the ocean of material enjoyment but such enjoyments are partial, insignificant and temporary in as much as they are unable to give us perfect happiness.
But by Sree Krishna Samkirtan we do not only acquire the enjoyments of the material knowledge but we can extend the sphere to the enjoyment of spiritual existence. By the imperfect material knowledge, we are able to enjoy the material world for a limited time and within a limited space but by the extension of the spiritual knowledge, the ocean of enjoyment becomes extended to unlimited time and unlimited space. Unless therefore we can engage our resources acquired by the sacrifices of life, wealth, intelligence and words for propaganda of the service of Sree Krishna Samkirtan, we are sure to be disappointed in our attempt for material enjoyment and as a result of such limited attempt, we are sure to be dashed constantly like a pendulum of a clock, between the poles of material enjoyment and renouncement.
Sixthly Sree Krishna Samkirtan is glorified for He can give a taste of the nectorine of transcendental mellow. When everything is therefore conjoined with the performances of Sree Krishna Samkirtan everything in such transcendental relation becomes transcendental in nature by the transcendental touch and as such the mundane nature which is always imperfected by its inborn inebriety and unwholesomeness, cannot act on them. In the transcendence, the mundane imperfectness is always conspicuous by its absence, and therefore Sree Krishna Samkirtan can give us a taste of complete nectorine. The elevationists of the mundane world can surely taste the nectorine of the fruits of their respective works for some time, and the salvationists may undergo the dry regulations of renouncement negatively of the bitterness of material enjoyment without any scent of the transcendental variety, but the performer of Sree Krishna Samkirtan, by his process of engaging all for the service of Sree Krishna with full touch of the transcendence, does never become bound up by their such transcendental activities, like the elevationists nor has had the necessity of undergoing the dry process of renouncement. The performer of Sree Krishna Samkirtan always transcends the activities of the mundane elevationists and salvationists and remains an eternal servitor of the Lord and enjoys in every step of his transcendental existence a touch from the Lord. He is therefore reposed to a position of perfect peace enviable by the desirers of mundane enjoyment, renouncement or perfection.
Then again Sree Krishna Samkirtan being transcendental sound, we must distinguish Him from any of the mundane sounds. The mundane sound is always different from the object designated by the sound. For example we may cite that the mundane sound 'water' is always different from the object water designated by the sound water. When we are thirsty we may repeat the word 'water' and 'water' by sounds for one hundred and a thousand times, still we shall not be able to quench our thirst by such constant practices. That is the imperfectness or mundane inebriety of the mundane sounds. But Sree Krishna Samkirtan although descends from the transcendental kingdom apparently like the mundane sounds, just to favour us for His being audible by our present imperfect senses, He should never be concocted as one with the mundane sound. We must always remember that there is no distinction between Sree Krishna and His Name, Fame, Quality, and Paraphernalia. The Lord is Absolute Knowledge and there is no mundane relativity between Him and His Names etc. He is eternally complete or "Purnamadam." His Name is also therefore "Purnamadam" and therefore when His Name appears before us in His completeness-the Lord does not lose anything thereby but still remains in His fullness. That is the potentiality of the Almighty God. Completeness derived from completeness leaves out a balance of completeness. One minus one leaves out a balance of one again, as distinguished from the mundane calculation of one minus one equal to Zero. The Upanishads confirm the fact like this:-
"Purnashya Purnam adaya Purnam ebe abshishyate."
The Lord therefore can descend before us by His inconceivable mystic powers, in the form of Sound Transcendental, and if we like, we can receive Him properly by surrender and service by a submissive aural reception. If Sree Krishna comes Himself in our presence as He actually did during the battle of Kurukshetra or Sree Rama Chandra comes Himself in our presence as He did actually during the Ajodhya Leela, what we are expected to do to receive the Personality of Godhead? Surely we shall try to receive Him with all devotion and services, so that we may be favoured with His Grace. Similarly as His Name is non-different from Him, we must receive the Name with all humility and submissive aural reception with the same attitude as we have had done in the presence of the Lord Himself. "Sree Krishna Samkirtan" is not therefore a sense pleasure of music and songs as are conceived by some mundaners. We should always remember the following sloka in connection with Sree Krishna Samkirtan namely:-
Nama Chintamani Krishna Chaitanya Rasavigraha
Purna, Suddha, Nitya, Mukta, avinyatat Nama Namina.
i.e., the Name of Sree Krishna is equally powerful as Sree Krishna Himself for there is no distinction between Him and His Name. The Name is therefore All-perfect, All-pure, Eternal, and distinguished from the mundane sounds which are always different from the objects designated by these sounds.
Sree Krishna has said Himself while addressing Narada that He does not necessarily make Himself immobile by His situation in the transcendental world, neither He is so, being seated in the hearts of the Yogins as Paramatma and so forth, but He resides surely in His fullness, where His devotees chant the transcendental Name in right earnestness. Sree Krishna being the absolute enjoyer as stated in the Geeta,
"Aham eba saraba yajnanam bhokta cha Prabhur eba cha"
i.e., "I am the Absolute Enjoyer and Master of all Yajnas or sacrifices etc."-He cannot be the object of our sense-pleasure in combination with music and bands and called thereof "Samkirtan." He cannot be enjoyed by our irresponsible whims and feats. He says therefore that He lives only there where His devotees chant His Name.
"Mad bhakta jatra gayantee"
He declines to descend Himself where there is dearth of His devotees. Because His devotees never try to enjoy Him or His Paraphernalia in a pseudo-spiritualistic mode. His devotee knows it perfectly well that Sree Krishna being the Absolute Personality of Godhead i.e., "Purushottama" as stated in the Geeta, He cannot consent to reside at a place where His transcendental Name, Fame, Quality, etc., are considered as equal with mundane names, etc., and thereby treated with all undevotional manner. In the Geeta he has clearly declared that He does not reveal Himself to every one and any one.
"Na Aham sarbasha prakasha Yoga Maya samabrita"
The Absolute Godhead always reserves the right of not being exposed to those whose eyes are covered with the modes of Nature. His devotion however begins only when one has learnt the A.B.C. lessons of Geeta in perfectness. This perfect knowledge of Geeta is practically demonstrated by complete surrender unto Sree Krishna only, leaving aside all other things. The first stage of Sree Krishna devotion begins only when one is firmly convinced that by Sree Krishna devotion only one is able to perform all other duties. To abide by the dictations of Sree Krishna is the real discharging of all other duties. This sort of staunch devotion is called "Sraddha" and by the gradual development of the activities of "Sraddha" in the association of devotees, one can rise up to the stage of Prema Bhakti the highest plane of transcendental Pastimes of the Personality of Godhead.
Such being the Nature of the transcendental Name of the Lord, the Name must be received through the transcendental sources i.e., from the lips of the devotees only as above mentioned. The transcendental Names of the Lord in His various forms or manifestations such as Rama, Nrisingha, Narayana, Krishna, Gopalam, Vishnu, Govinda, Radharamana, Gopinatha, Seeta Pati, Raghubara, Baladeva and many others in the spiritual kingdom, are always complete with the transcendental potencies and by the mercy of the Lord, there is no hard and fast rules in respect to time and space for the transcendental chanter. The devotee who has received the Name from a transcendental source i.e., from the lips of a devotee as above mentioned, may repeat the Name at all times, without any restriction. By this the Lord has favoured us to allow His constant association, so that one can always live with Him, go with Him, eat with Him, sleep with Him, work with Him, without being disturbed by the laws of Nature or her threefold miseries.
Such is the unbounded mercy of the Lord on us but still we are so much wretched that we have no inclination for chanting His Name in spite of His being so easily available for the fallen souls of the Age of quarrel. There is nothing to lose or nothing to spend-but everything to gain by chanting the Name of the Lord but still we have no genuine desire for their chanting and we must see to the causes why we are so much disinclined although the Lord has become so merciful on us.
As a matter of fact our first misfortune commenced from the time immemorial when we forgot the transcendental service of the Lord and thus became conditioned by the modes of the material Nature. This misfortunate occurrence became manifested in trio under the following heading namely:-
(a) Material enjoyment without any responsibility.
(b) Good or bad works for the furtherance of the above propensity in the present life and in future births also.
(c) Culture of material knowledge in order to make a measurement of the Immeasurable.
All the above threefold activities with their various sub-headings are to be considered as our misfortunes by which we are always debarred from the chanting of the transcendental Names of the Lord. Spontaneous eternal love for the Lord is a birth right of the Jiva Soul, but in the realisation of his such pure consciousness, the above mentioned trio is the stumbling block. He is checked on his onward march by such refuses and as a matter of course the Jiva Soul is apt to be contaminated by ten kinds of disease-germs known as "Namaparadha" or offence at the feet of the transcendental Name of the Lord, as one can find out in the "Padmapuranam." The sincere devotee who wants to attain a perfection (Siddhi) for himself by the process of chanting the Name of the Lord must refrain from the ten kinds of offences which are quoted below from the "Padmapuranam."
1. The first and foremost offence is the act of defaming the great saints who have glorified the chanting of the Name of the Lord by example in their own life and precepts. According to ordinary moral principles no one must be defamed for serving any ulterior motive. But still according to the gravity of different offences, defamation of Saints who have done much for the propagation of the Name of God and His Fame must be considered the gravest of all offences. Those who are therefore accustomed to defame such saints, are spiritually great offenders and such persons can have no access to the transcendental Name of the Lord. We should therefore be guard against such offence.
2. The second offence is to place the Absolute Godhead or Vishnu Tattwa in the category of the demigods who derive their powers from the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is one without a second and all other gods are His servitors, having no separate existence as another Almighty Godhead. These subordinate gods are stated in the Geeta as "Anya devata" i.e., gods other than Myself (Sree Krishna)
Jepyanya devata bhakta jajante shradhyannita
This abidhipurbakam means unduly or with offensives. The Supreme Godhead is Sree Krishna undoubtedly and this is confirmed in all the scriptures and specially in the Brahma Samhita as follows:-
Teopi mam eba Kounteya jajantee avidi purbakam
Iswara parama Krishna sachchitananda vigraha
Anadiradi Govinda Sarbakarana karanam.
i.e., Sree Krishna is the primeval Lord and Origin of everything. He is the cause of all causes. He is the Summum Bonum Absolute Godhead. The Plenary Manifestations of Sree Krishna are manifold such as Rama, Nrisingha, Vishnu etc. But all such manifestations are Absolute knowledge. No one is therefore equal or greater than the Absolute Knowledge. This subject is itself a matter of studies by transcendentalists but without knowing the intricacy of the Absolute knowledge, those who simply imagine that the Absolute Godhead and subordinate demigods are one and the same commit great offence at the feet of the Supreme Lord. The subordinate gods such as Shiva, Brahma, Ganesh, Surya, Indra, Chandra, Varuna, Vaue etc., are either qualitative incarnations of the Absolute Godhead or in other cases Jiva souls with delegated powers from the Personality of Godhead. Neither existence of the demigods shall be misconceived nor they should be made one and the same with the Absolute Personality of Godhead. Those who want to attain perfection in the way of chanting the Names of the Lord must refrain from such conglomeration of facts in the spiritual science.
The third offence is disregard of the Spiritual Master. The devotee must receive the transcendental Name of the Lord from the transcendental lips of a bonafide spiritual master who is cent percent devotee of the Lord and nothing more or nothing less and then begin chanting the transcendental Name of the Lord by constant repetition. Such spiritual master as above mentioned is known as the Guru from whom either initiation is taken or the one from whom spiritual instruction is received. One should have unflinching faith in such self realised transcendental spiritual master. The bonafides of such spiritual master can however be known, by their activities only which are always evident in respect of everything being done for and on behalf of the Lord. The self-realised spiritual master never deviates from the rulings of Shastras (Law Books) and he always does in practice what he speaks in theory. Those who however manufacture spiritual lessons from their own fertile brain, without having undergone any spiritual training from a bonafide spiritual master, cannot be counted as a spiritual master. Disrespect for such bonafide spiritual master and respect for the pseudo-spiritual master both are offences of the third order.
The fourth offence is defamation of the standard scriptures such as the four Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Brahmasutras, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Geeta, or other literatures which conform to the principles of the above mentioned scriptures. In the Geeta Sree Krishna Himself accepts 'Brahmasutras' or 'Vedanta Darshan' as the standard of all spiritual knowledge.
In the spiritual society no sect or Sampradaya is considered as bonafide party who has no authorised interpretation of the Brahmasutras. (Interpretation of "Brahmasutra" by the party represented by Lord Chaitanya is known as "Govinda Vashya" of Acharya Baladeva Vidyabhusan). Those who therefore invent some spiritual party without knowing the Brahmasutra from an authorised spiritual master or do interpret without proper reason and philosophy, do simply create disturbances in the spiritual line without doing any benefit to himself or to his unfortunate followers. Sreela Rupa Goswami describes such unauthorised activities as follows:-
Sruti Smriti Puranadi Pancharatrabidhin bina
Aikantiki Harerbhakti utpataiba kalpate.
Pseudo-devotional activities without reference to the standard scriptures as above mentioned, are simply acts of disturbances in the name of spirituality. The performer of Samkirtan must refrain from such disturbing elements.
The fifth offence is to misunderstand the glorification of the transcendental Name of the Lord as exaggerated facts. Actually by the chanting of the transcendental Name of the Lord, all gains be it material or spiritual are automatically obtained. It is simply a question of time that takes for the fructification of the desired result. But those who think, without attaining to perfection, that such results are exaggeration of facts, do commit offence of the fifth order. The performer of Samkirtan must refrain from such misrepresentation of facts.
The sixth offence is to manufacture concocted or designed meanings of the Names of Hari (The Lord) or that of the scriptural truths. One can directly understand that the word 'Hari' means the Personality of Godhead Who is Eternal Bliss, Eternal Knowledge, and Eternal Form but without knowing the intricacy of the Lord's form etc., those who think 'Hari' means the Impersonal Brahman do commit offence of the sixth order. There are others who are still less intelligent and do manufacture meanings of the word "Sree Krishna" as the mind (?) Rama as satisfaction and similar other things. Such manufacturers of distorted meanings do not generally take what is direct and spontaneous interpretation but they always try to enforce indirect interpretations for their own temporary benefit only. They are also great offenders and the performer of Samkirtan must carefully take leave of them.
The seventh offence is to indulge in vices on the strength of chanting the Name of the Lord. Those who are really recipient of the transcendental Name of the Lord from the transcendental sources, and those who chant the Name of the Lord very carefully without any offence as above mentioned, cannot naturally indulge in vices as a matter of course. But for the reason of that those who intentionally commit vices knowing that they are always with the Lord (?),-are the greatest of all offenders and their counteracting endeavours for the vices committed during the day time, by the chanting of the Name of the Lord, in the evening, cannot be accepted as Samkirtan at any cost. One should always guard himself against such pseudo-spiritual devices for the well being of one's ownself as well as one's followers. This sort of offences can be compared with the act of pouring water on the fire while it is burning. Water pouring and burning of the fire cannot go together.
The eighth offence is to equalise the value of all good works with the chanting of the transcendental Name of the Lord. Penances, austerity, meditation, fasting, methodism, morality or such goodness that lead the performer to higher stations of life, cannot be equalised with Sree Krishna Samkirtan. Those who do like that, are also offenders at the feet of the transcendental Name. The results of all the above mentioned good works are after all material in nature because they can offer in return material prosperities only and are therefore limited within time and space. But the transcendental Name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are non-different. As such realisation of the Absolute Truth cannot be compared with relative goodness. The performer of Samkirtan must be on his guard against commitment of offence of the eighth order.
The ninth offence is to preach and advise of the transcendental nature of the Name of Lord to such a person who is atheistic in temperament, mundane moralists, and addicted to elevatory process only. Unless one has cleansed his heart from such contaminations, he can hardly be eligible for receiving the transcendental Name of the Lord.
There are many professional spiritual masters whose business is to sell the transcendental Name of the Lord (?) and these traders generally sell to persons who are altogether unfit. Such business transactions on considerations of L.S.D. exchanged between the spiritual master and the so-called disciple are undoubtedly great offences. The student of Samkirtan must refrain from the association of such pseudo-spiritualists in order to achieve perfection in the process of Samkirtan.
The tenth and the last but not the least offence to the lotus feet of the transcendental Name of the Lord is either to become inattentive to all the above offences or not to take to the chanting of the transcendental Name of the Lord in spite of hearing all the glories of the system.
A serious student of Samkirtan can get rid of all the above offences if he desires so, knowing well the different forms of offences and by refraining from them by all possible precautions. This can however be done without difficulty by continuous chanting of the Name of the Lord and for such constant reciter of the transcendental name of the Lord, there is no room for committing such offences.
In conclusion we may add that without culture nothing can be made to perfection. The culture of the science of Samkirtan is Sree Krishna Himself, both being non-different. In mundane matters only the means and the end are different from one another. But in the transcendence the means and the end are non-different. In preparatory stage only, for chanting the Name of the Lord, there is every chance for committing the above offences but for the reason of that we must not be disheartened at the least. We should always remember that both the preparatory stage and the perfection stage of Samkirtan is nothing but Samkirtan. The difference of these two stages are realisation and non-realisation only.
As a matter of fact therefore all people must be led to the Science of Samkirtan by all means and they shall be engaged in the culture of the science by Samkirtan only. The offences as described above if kept in view, the sincere culturists will be able to avoid them without difficulty. In the "Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu" of Sreela Rupa Goswami, it is said that the mind must be fixed up in the chanting of the Name and the regulations are to serve them as subordinate servants. The sowing of the seed of Samkirtan must be performed immediately unto the heart of every one and all and the watering process of the seed so sown must be done by constant hearing and chanting in the association of devotees. When the seed sprouts at the heart, the gardener must protect it from all sides by guarding against the above mentioned offences. In this process the seed of Samkirtan will grow up to a big tree when the nectorine fruit of Love of God shall automatically ripe and the gardener will be able to taste the same transcendentally, sell it and make a huge profit thereof. Om tat sat.
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