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By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)

If you are forgetful about rendering your service to Shri Krishna you will be denied the entire benefit and you will be compelled to walk the stage of this conditioned life. So the true duty of the mind is to associate itself with the Divine through the senses. We are now involved in our passionate senses and these senses are flying in different directions and are not concentrated on One. So there is deviation from the Absolute. By that deviation, we find hundreds of things appearing before us. They tempt us and we engage ourselves in rendering our services to them. When we are assured that the only duty of the soul is to render service to the Over-Soul and that the other incorporations are but temporal, we then decide that we should emerge clearly from out of these different engagements of the world that are placed before us. We come to understand that we are part and parcel of the Fountainhead, the Over-Soul, and though we are not the Substance itself we are fractional parts of one of the potencies. We are given to understand that in the transcendental region no foreign thing should be included and in this world we do not find the unalloyed position of transcendence. We get a mistaken idea when we consider ourselves to be part and parcel of this universe just adjuncts of this phenomenon in which we are now experiencing our conditioned life. We are now, rather enwrapped by the two wrappers; and these two wrappers are made up of matter and obstructing subtlety. So we run the risk of subscribing to the view of identifying ourselves with material phenomena, or, if we are more keen we find that we have got an astral body. We can be drawn to the Absolute from the limited concrete world and we can build up on these purified ideas of matter. So our duty should not be confined to the foreign wrappers associated with the foreign things only - I mean the material body which has got sense and these other equipments - and consider these equipments as meant to move towards abstract ideas from the concrete. But these ideas vary according to our fitness in empirical activity. These changes in phenomena apply to the external and internal bodies but not to the soul.

But we have got our own position in the intermediate land, that is, the land between 'Chit' and 'Achit'; and we call that plane 'Tatastha.' Some human souls are conditioned and some are liberated. Liberation is nothing but going back to the original position, that is offering our services to the Eternal Being, as we are eternal objects. If we want that we should come under the temporal clutch we may do so by enjoying this world which gives us happiness; but the normal condition of this world is full of miseries as all experienced men have observed. That very thing itself is puzzling. Why have we come to this place? It is so because we have exercised our free will to play on a particular level and we have been abusing our free will to turn 'Kartas.' In other words, we have taken an initiative to enjoy this world and we have thereby submitted to the trap, or rather to the laws, of Karma. We should think that we have had everything at our own risk, and only when we come to know from good counsel that the external body is misused by the association of this world and our internal body is misused by mental speculation or by meddling with these external phenomena, do we realise that our own entity is lying in a dormant condition inside that, and that if the interest of the soul is once generated in us, we will find that service of the Absolute is the eternal function of the soul and the only duty.

In our conditioned life we see here that we have got five different relationships. We trace these five relationships usually among our worldly associates, but some of us think we should extend them to the Divine, and so approach the Over-soul with a definite purpose of our own to please Him, to serve for Him, to render service to Him, that is, to place ourselves before Him, to attend to His eternal necessity and not to attend to our temporal seeming necessity. As elevationists, as Karmis, we require that happiness should come to us. As salvationists we think we should merge into the Absolute so that the fruit is to come to us personally, whereas we always deprive the Over-soul of having our services for Him. We do not give Him any opportunity to love us by our Karmakanda or Jnanakanda. We do not endow the Absolute with any privileges since we have a strong inclination only to acquire for ourselves something which we think will give us happiness for our sensuous purposes. All these phenomena come to us, and as soon as we come in contact with a real sage who can give us a true idea, a thorough idea of the position, we will at once adopt that process and thereby relieve ourselves of all notions of this conditioned life. When we are in need of having the counsel of an entity who is conversant with the thought of transcendence we seek his protection. Shri Krishna Chaitanya, as Jagadguru, has preached what we require and offered us the protection we require against the frivolity of the senses. "A man who is desirous of having the greatest boon should always utter the Name of the Transcendental Absolute, the Eternal Absolute, the Eternal Knowledge, the Eternal Bliss, the Ecstatic Bliss, the Complete, Who is called Hari." The very word Hari is the Transcendental Sound and this should never be confused with the ordinary conception of Allah, God, Brahman, Paramatma, etc., of different religions persuasions. The dictionaries have given us the connotation of these words and we are conversant with the objects for which the words stand.

They limit the same to a brief compass, instead of revealing the fullest aspect of the all-embracing Object of love. So Shri Krishna Chaitanya declared that if we wish to liberate, ourselves from these puzzling questions we should first hear from the lips of one who is conversant with transcendentalism the exposition of the Name of Hari. He will be quite eligible to chant the Name of Hari all the twenty-four hours of the day. He can have the privilege of uttering the Name of Hari for all time, if he can claim that he has the lowest and most humble position, instead of proudly proclaiming himself as Brahman, -- 'Aham Brahman' - and identifying himself with the All-Pervasive. If it is found that he can endure any amount of trouble that may be offered by some inimical agencies, that he can have the patience to cross all sorts of obstales [sic] placed by everybody, and if he is at the same time found to be in the mood of uttering the Name (the Name being identical with Hari Himself), that uttering of the Name would lead him to consider himself as the humblest of all; and in this predicament he will see clearly the way to bliss, being set free from all earthly bonds. He will then surely find his way to ignore all non-Absolute things that seem to enrich but really impoverish him.

He should always be considering himself as the lowliest and most infinitesimal, and desist from participating in material activities or in some other mental processes that may be induced by Nature's productions. He should consider himself a non-entity in this mundane world. If he considers that he has something to do with this world and is in need of this world's acquisitions in the shape of intelligence or in the shape of some material objects such as land etc., he would be a failure in his transcendental march. But if a devotee knows his position well, he should not aspire to be great in the estimation of all the people in this world. He should simply ignore the opinion, good or bad of other people. He should patiently receive all that comes to him. He might be called a fool or he might be called an incompetent man. Still he should not show any aggressiveness to resist such insinuations. In this manner the soul is called upon to utter the Name of Krishna first. He should hear the Name of Krishna first. He should hear the Name of Krishna from an unconditioned soul who has no attachment whatsoever to the world. His model would be sufficient to follow and he will then come to know that chanting is possible for the soul all the twenty-four hours of the day without utilizing a single second for any other purpose. If he is found to be impatient, if he is found to be hankering after a position in this mundane world, he would become a defaulter in chanting the Name of Hari, the Transcendental Being.

Krishna or Hari has got no mortal coil to come under worldly assessment as we have. He does not require any labour on our part, for chanting His Name with devotion involves no effort. So we should accept the views of Shri Krishna Chaitanya in our transcendental march, in preference to any other advice. The unalloyed soul should adopt a non-interfering policy both of the mind and of the body; and if we can thus isolate our position, we will find that we are relieved of all mundane anxieties in the shape of matter or in the subtle form of intelligence. Leaving aside these, the function of the soul is to take the Name of Krishna, as Krishna is the fullest representation of the Transcendence of the Absolute, of the ever-existing Divine Manifestation, and is All-Knowledge and All-Bliss.

He is Satchidananda, and that Satchidananda will prevail in us on our so welcoming the transcendental Word. If we are sincere He would come into our vision and we would easily discover Him. We must not be thinking that this material world is the full aspect of His manifestation, as our various senses cannot approach Him: our eyes cannot see Him, our nose cannot get the fragrance of His Body, the flowers that we offer cannot reach Him. We cannot relish Mahaprasadam if it has not been accepted by Him. In all that we do we must rely on Him as the Sole Enjoyer of everything and we are His subservients in every way. In the Gita Shri Krishna tells Arjuna this truth in the shloka beginning Yatkaroshi, Yadashnasi etc." [1]

As the Transcendental Name of Hari is identical with His Person in every respect, that Name Himself has all the attributes and every-thing connected with Hari; and as all are to be found in the Transcendental Name, we can safely follow in the footsteps of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. Whatever we desire we get from His Name. No ignorance can be ascribed to Him. He is enriched with all sorts of Rasa. Krishna Himself is full of all senses. He is embellished with all the Rasas required by His associates.

In the manifested world we find a thing which passes by the name of Rasa, which implies a relishing quality an object of taste. It is a perishable thing. But Rasa in Krishna is the emporium of all Rasas, in which all the five are included. We must not be under the impression that Rasa in Krishna's service is identical with the mundane Rasas which are inadequate and full of deformities. The Scriptures describe that Rasa of Krishna. In the beginning of the Bhagavatam this is what we find: Rasas are drinks which are relished by the soul's eternal senses and these have denominations different from those that are presented to us for a few hours or a few days. This worldly Rasa is not everlasting, But the eternal Rasa, which is not allied to any ignorance, presents no miserable face, no vanishing signs, like the Rasa of this mundane world, which have limitations imposed on them in order to give us to understand that even if we should amply rely on this spark here, we can go back to the higher Rasa if we are anxious to be eternal 'Rasikas'. Shri Krishna is 'Rasamaya' and we are to submit our loving service for the purpose of His tasting. We are to approach him not for our own enjoyment. These senses are really means for such enjoyment as should go to Him. We see all sorts of manifestations in Him, and the direction of perverted Rasas should be corrected so as to go back to Him and not merely end with us. We should always place ourselves in a serving mood, we should always welcome the Name of Krishna and bend our speech, thoughts and actions towards His services. On the other hand, if we desire to enjoy the Rasa ourselves through the medium of Krishna, that would simply degrade us to the lowest ditch of selfishness in which we assume the part of enjoyers of something worldly, but we are surely deprived of perfect Rasa. This Rasa in which we usually indulge is never expected to continue, as the components are of a trival [sic] nature. Whereas Krishna is 'Rasamritamoorti,' and if we depend upon that Ocean of eternal Rasa, we can look forward to give Him all facilities to enjoy our spiritual eternal activities. Enjoying Rasa from an appetite of the senses would only lead us to dealings with inanimate or transitory things. When we extract some Rasa from dependent objects then that Rasa can never be our continued companion. That Rasa would simply desert us, and we will have no satisfaction as we will only be tantalising our poor senses. But Shri Krishna is not likely to delude us by allowing us to keep our affinity for something else.

He is a Spiritual Being and not an Achit, insentient. He has not only to enjoy Rasa but He is full of Rasa. And if we want to be in touch with eternal Rasa, we have to become transcendental Rasikas. In case we seek for temporary Rasa we would receive Vi-rasa, perverted Rasa. Krishna has monopolised all real Rasas. He is the Fountainhead of all the Rasas. The Name is a very storehouse of all the Rasas which we should seek without making any difference between the name and the Object pointed out by the Name, unlike the differentiation we find in this temporal world. Krishna is identical with the word Hari, His Colour, His Size and the Attributes and Activities. Krishna is Himself Eternal. The Name of Krishna is Eternal, and does not mean any object of Nature's. Nature's phenomena have nothing to do with Krishna Who is not a transitory manifested view of this world. These are all temporary things and we must not be confusing the leela of Krishna with them. If we do so, such a conception would be erroneous, for we should refrain from mistaking the mundane thought for that of transcendence. We should make our position clear here. He is full in Himself. All sorts of activities are manifested in Him. He is the store of all. If we want to exercise our senses we resort to others' help. But in the case of Krishna it is quite different. He does not require any assistance from anybody. He is Nitya, Suddha, Poorna and Mukta in Himself; He is unconditioned. Nothing can wrap Him. This talk of Krishna, His Name, the Transcendental Name, is identical with Krishna but that is not the case with other things than Krishna. When we name something of this world we necessarily give the opportunity of examining its validity by different senses. The taste, smell, sign and perceptions offer to examine the personalities of things. But Krishna does not require such examination as He is not an Object of sensual jurisdiction. He is the Autocrat. He does not care to be helped by us.

So the ordinary name, that is a name which does not mean Krishna, has got a different significance. We must not bring all names of different gods, men, lower creation and insentient objects which are under the deluding influence of Maya in the same category as that of the Absolute Krishna. We would be very foolish if we considered that the Name Krishna is but a word in our vocabulary and that Name was given to a hero only whose deeds were recorded in history. This is not the case with the Transcendental Name which history and other mundane subjects cannot possibly comprehend. The Name is completely identical with Krishna, the Divine Personality. So His Name is not different from Krishna Himself, as such difference can stick to temporal and limited objects only.

In the iron age of materialism people are very fond of speaking of the relativity of knowledge, and by their empiric argumentative powers they hasten to classify everything under motion and matter. If only we utter the Name of Krishna every contending phase would be transformed into harmony and we would get perfect concord. But we do not chant the Name of Krishna leaving aside all that is detrimental to the chanting. So, being in an atmosphere surcharged with erroneous impressions, we cannot expect at the very outset to utter the Name properly without difficulty. We never welcome Krishna properly by uttering His Name; in the course of the chanting hundreds of irrelevant things intervene owing to our uncontrolled desires.

We are full of many mundane impressions; so we have to guard ourselves against those ten offences that should not be committed during the chanting of the Name of Hari. Without getting rid of the ten offences we cannot make any actual progress. Let us consider these offences in detail:

(1) If we show our affinity towards men who have thought that only the process of uttering the Name of Krishna will not do us any good; the preceptor or bonafide Sadhus being faulty, we would be committing the first offence. (2) The second offence will occur when we think that Krishna is not the only aspect of Hari and place some other name of delegated gods from our experience of this mundane world in the position of Krishna so that their names are installed instead of Krishna's Transcendental Name; this will be no doubt an offence. As the Word Krishna alone has the full denomination of the Divinity we seek, no other word can replace the word Krishna. All other words are shadowy and incomplete expressions of Krishna, whereas the Word Krishna can give us all Bliss in case we do not cripple our vision to witness the actual sight of Krishna. If we denounce this we would be committing the second offence. So we should be careful not to consider the Name of Krishna as on a level with the names of others. As the Word Krishna is enriched with all sorts of equipment, all sorts of attributes that are possible here, so in tracing the Fountainhead of everything, we are to resort to the Word Krishna and to no other word. The other words have got crippled meanings. The full significance of the Name Krishna cannot be obtained in our vision, if we neglect Him. The word Brahman cannot claim the full representation nor can the word 'Paramatman' or Oversoul, not to speak of some other concepts of men.

If we consider that curd is the same as milk it would be sheer folly. Milk has got quite another individuality. When the Word Krishna is substituted with some other we find some other conception of Godhead. The word 'Krishna' can give us the full impression of the Object of our love and worship but the word 'Rama' cannot give us the full aspects of Vishnu in all Rasas. All the different aspects of the Personalities of Krishna should not be considered to have all Rasas in them. He is void of all Gunas or qualities. So Satchidananda is the ever-existing, the All-Blissful and All-Knowledge. He accepts all who show a particular aptitude to serve Him. Leaving aside the Name of Krishna for the sake of other names of gods known as Brahma, Shankara etc. we find that we cannot get in them the same relation as we expect in Krishna, the Avatari. So this is an offence to the Name of Krishna.

I do not mean that the Name of Rama should be placed in the same category with other minor gods, and He too is Vishnu. In other words, Rama is Krishna, Rama is an Avatara of the Fountainhead of all Avataras whereas Krishna is Avatari the very Fountainhead. Only four partially obscured aspects are to be found in Rama Who does not possess all the different aspects which encourage different kinds of Rasikas. But that is a partial aspect of Krishna Who is the fully manifest Rasa. We should resort to Krishna for the full aspect. We cannot conceive that Rudra and other gods are full, when Hara (Rudra) is perceived only as the destroying agency assuming a disfigured vision of the Object. He is not the full object of our worship. Brahma and Rudra are evolutionary and dissolutionary agencies of the eternal Sustainer Vishnu Who has three potencies. Rudra, the energy of destruction, cannot be placed in the position of the Sustainer Vishnu. We should, therefore, dispel such erroneous impressions. He possesses only delegated power of Vishnu; but Vishnu is the Absolute entity. We must not be misled into committing this second offense.

(3) The Third offence is to show an apathetic mood towards the Guru. We must not neglect him. A man who thinks that he would lift himself up to the Absolute by his own attempts can never do so unless he accepts His favourite Counter-part, the Guru. The integrity of the entity should not be lost sight of when we get just a glimpse of the same through the Guru even as the existence of the Sun is only proved by the rays, but the rays themselves are not the sun complete. If a ray is asked 'Who are you?' then the ray will declare that he is the Sun. But if you ask again - 'Are you the whole of the Sun?' he will say in reply that he is only a part or pencil merely. So, infinitestimal that we are, the full knowledge has to come to us from the Fountainhead of Knowledge and is never secured here by our empirical activities. We must not be guided or induced by the knowledge of finitude of the phenomenal world. If we do so the result will be confined to the mundane horizon only and we would have no opportunity to go beyond this sphere. So we should always rely on the Scriptures and Guru whenever we seek for the transcendental message.

(4) Scriptures tell us many things of the transcendence to which we are debarred from having any access. We see all the horizon round us and we see half the sky when the bottom half is covered by the opaque earth. One quarter of the space is kept in front of us as we are not provided with eyes in our back, so three quarters are not visible to us at one time. So our arguments and our impressions, bearing on one quadrant only, are all necessarily partial. We must rely on the transcendental Sound of Scriptures which do not submit to our senses. We should not disregard the Scriptures as they are the only source of knowledge of the Absolute left for us.

(5) We know that we can get rid of all sorts of sins if we utter but once the Name. Having been assured of this fact, that one transcendental Name can relieve us of all sorts of sins done in this life and even those we have done in our past lives, we should not be encouraged to commit all kinds of wrongs in the hope that uttering the Name will efface them. The assurance that we can go on committing all sorts of wrongs will be the fifth offence and this offence would never be pardoned, inasmuch as it amounts to purposeful and deliberate meanness of intention. There are five other Offences left.

(6) If we think that other acts like ablution in sacred water, virtuous deeds like Yajna (Sacrificing rituals), may lead us to the same result as the chanting of the Name, then this becomes the sixth offence.

(7) If we allow mind wandering during the chanting of the Name we would be committing the seventh offence.

(8) The eighth offence is committed when we associate worldly affairs of our perverted ego or mentality with the uttering of the Name.

(9) The ninth offence would be committed when we consider the unique power attached to the utterance of the name as an exaggeration to induce us to submit to the process of singing.

(10) The tenth offence is to instruct Nama Bhajan to men who have no regard for Him.

These are the processes involved in our progress in devotional development. Eight different stages of a devotee are specified to make him acquainted with his progress. They are: -- (1) 'Sraddha' or confidence in the words of the Guru and the Shastras; (2) this reliance will encourage us to seek the company of the real Sadhus; (3) 'Sadhu-Sanga' or company of sadhus will lead to devotional activities; (4) such activities will have the effect of eliminating all evils associated with our wrong mentality. These four qualifications form the first division of the progrogressive [sic] stages of true devotion. Having gone through those we can earnestly and piously engage ourselves in Nama-sankirtana. Then follow the later four stages: the first stage is Nishthaa which is followed by Ruchi, and then by Aashakti and then our constant devotion is finally developed into Bhaava. Nishthaa is undeviating temper, Ruchi is predilection, Asakti denotes firm attachment and Bhaava is the blossomed state of Love whose distinguishing marks are Kshaanti, Abyarthakaalatva, Virakti, Maanashunyataa, Aashaabandha, Samutkaanthaa, Naamagaane-sadaa-ruchi, Aasaktistad-gunaakhyaane, Pritistad Vasati-sthale. In Bhava-bhakti we mark a composition of four ingredients with Rati. This mixture is known as Rasa or palatable drink. In this state we can set ourselves free from all mental speculations and we reach a plane where all sorts of good comes to us, to be relished in every way; and this can only be had, when we have a purified mind, free from any disturbance and absolutely peaceful. It is in this state that we are in full possession of Rasa. This state should not be confused with the worldly Rasa of sensuous enjoyment, as the enjoyment we are given in this world is temporal and inadequate. In the attainment of all this we should not, however, consider ourselves as identical with Him, but should surrender ourselves as His eternal servants. All the services that we are going to render to Him should be in His favour and interest and not in our favour or interest. When we chant His Name in this manner He will be on the look-out to regulate us and will automatically teach us the principle of Bhakti. The higher stage of Bhaava-Bhakti is known as Prema-Bhakti, or full Love of Krishna.

This love is the only thing to be sought from Krishna and He gives us all sorts of facilities by which we can offer our services to Him in any one of the five different stages. He has assured us firmly that He would accept us if we tend to submit to any one of the five. The only crucial point is that we should offer our services unconditionally so as to give something to our Lord and not to get something from the Lord. We should not have any desire ushering the devotional attempts and should not compel Him to give us something in return. If we have any the least touch of a selfish motive we will surely fail to prove ourselves genuine devotees. We should regulate ourselves in such a manner as to be always serviceable to Him and never desirous of getting from Him any boon or comfort in return. To get service from Him is to claim a part of the Enjoyer Krishna which is the greatest offence in a true devotee. So we should have a devotional temperament to Kamadeva (Madhava) and not the temperament of an enjoyer of this world. This is the true service to Him, which all unalloyed souls can do but which the mind cannot do properly when directed by wrong speculations. In fine I may say that we have many things to supplement these devotional topics by way of elucidating different ideas which are no doubt puzzling. The only thing that we should have is an unalloyed and unconditional devotional spirit which is quite different from the mentality of an elevationist or a salvationist. An unconditional devotional mood is the only function of the unalloyed soul. We should underline this cardinal point many times, and a full understanding of it will bring Prema for us from the Supreme Lord.

If you are not engaged in the service of Hari, you will be either a jnaani (follower of absolute monism), or a karmi (performer of scriptural rites for securing pleasures in this life or the next), or an unabashed servant of worldly desires without restraint.

Therefore, it is necessary that you should call on Him, loudly uttering the mahaamantra [sic] (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna etc). When you loudly recite Shri Krishna's Names, keeping count of the number of times they are uttered, all the evils are steadily got over; and lethargy vanishes with all its concomitant defects; and even people of an antagonistic nature, apathetic to Hari, will be forced to give up their mockery. "Those who come to scoff will remain to pray" with you.


[1] Gita, IX.27