(Kindly transcribed by Mataji Swetha Ganeshan)
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From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir!
Date: March 4th, 2014
Speaker: HH Niranjana Swami Maharaja
Subject: C.C. Adi Lila 8.16
HH Niranjana Swami Maharaja:
jaya jaya śri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jaya advaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
(Call and response)
Reading today from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi Lila chapter 8, verse 16.
bahu janma kare yadi śravaṇa, kirtana
tabu ta’ na paya kṛṣṇa-pade prema-dhana
(Call and response + word to word meaning)
If one is infested with the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, despite his endeavor to chant the Holy Name for many births, he will not get the love of Godhead that is the ultimate goal of this chanting.
Srila Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvati Ṭhakur says in this connection, that although one may go on chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra for many, many years, there is no possibility of attaining the platform of devotional service unless one accepts Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. One must follow strictly the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu given in the Śikṣaṣṭaka (3):
tṛṇad api su-nacena taror iva sahiṣṇuna
amanina mana-dena kirtaniyaḥ sada hariḥ
[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.” One who follows this direction, being freed from the ten kinds of offenses, becomes successful in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and ultimately reaches the platform of loving service to the Personality of Godhead.
One must come to the understanding that the Holy Name of the Lord and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself are identical. One cannot reach this conclusion unless one is offenseless in chanting the Holy Name. By our material calculation we see a difference between the name and the substance, but in the spiritual world the Absolute is always absolute: the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Absolute are all as good as the Absolute Himself. Thus one is understood to be an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead if he considers himself an eternal servant of the Holy Name and in this spirit distributes the Holy Name to the world. One who chants in that spirit, without offenses, is certainly elevated to the platform of understanding that the Holy Name and the Personality of Godhead are identical. To associate with the Holy Name and chant the Holy Name is to associate with the Personality of Godhead directly. In the Bhakti-rasamṛta-sindhu it is clearly said, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. The Holy Name becomes manifest when one engages in the service of the Holy Name. This service in a submissive attitude begins with one’s tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: One must engage his tongue in the service of the Holy Name. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on this principle. We try to engage all the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the service of the Holy Name. Since the Holy Name and Kṛṣṇa are nondifferent, the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement not only chant the Holy Name of the Lord offenselessly, but also do not allow their tongues to eat anything that is not first offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord declares:
patram puṣpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahṛtam asnami prayatatmanaḥ
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.” (Bg. 9.26) Therefore the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has many temples all over the world, and in each and every temple the Lord is offered these foods. On the basis of His demands, the devotees chant the Holy Name of the Lord offenselessly and never eat anything that is not first offered to the Lord. The functions of the tongue in devotional service are to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and eat prasādam that is offered to the Lord.
HH Niranjana Swami Maharaja:
jaya sri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu nityananda
sri-adwaita gadadhara shrivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda
Hare Krsna Hare Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma
Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
Before I begin, I’d like to say that it is a great honor for me to be given this opportunity to render some service to all the assembled Vaishnavas today. I pray, that you’ll give me your blessings so that I may say something relevant especially since I have been asked to speak about the Holy Name, since today is the last day of our kirtan mela. The devotees have assembled here to dive deeply into the chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord. I need your blessings to say something relevant to such a deep topic. Therefore, I offer my obeisances to all my godbrothers
kripa-sindhubhya eva cha
vaishnavebhyo namo namaha
who have assembled here. Thank you very much.
In this verse, importance is stressed about chanting the Holy Name so that one can achieve the ultimate goal of this chanting. I wanted to read something also in connection to this. It is short but very relevant to this verse. In the words of our param guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, in answer to the question, ‘how should we chant the Lord’s Holy Names’. I find this very relevant to myself and therefore I’ve been sharing it with many devotees and I would like to read it first and then in some way try to be able to explain the meaning behind it.
(Maharaja begins reading)
“Pure devotees do not chant the Lords Names to counteract sinful reactions, accumulate piety, attain heavenly pleasures, to mitigate famine, devastating epidemics, social unrest, disease, civil strife or to obtain wealth or an earthly kingdom. Since the Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to ask Him to fulfill our wishes is to treat Him as our servant. This is an offense. Therefore calling the Lords Names for any reason other than to attain His devotional service is useless. Jesus Christ told us not to take the Lords name in vain. However this does not mean that we do not need to always chant the Lords Names, while sleeping, awake, eating or enjoying happiness, to chant the Lords Names, begging for His service is not a useless activity, it is our only duty. But to make a show of chanting for some other purpose in other words to fulfill our own desire is useless. We should not take to the chanting of the Lords Names uselessly. We should not chant to attain religiosity, economic development, sense gratification or liberation instead we should always chant to attain the Lords service.”
(Maharaja ends reading)
I thought this was very relevant. Many times when we are sitting engaged in kirtan, engaged in japa, we try to hold on to something that we should be praying for and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur here explains, that unless one is actually chanting for service, any other purpose, any other purpose and he gives a long list, not for social unrest, not for epidemics, not for material prosperity, any chanting to relieve distress, whether individually or collectively is materially motivated. And therefore, he uses a strong word, he says it’s useless which we may question, because sometimes we hear so many verses which explain that even once chanting the Holy Names of the Lord will eradicate all kinds of sinful reactions for millions of births. And here somebody may be chanting, collectively with a large group, for a particular purpose, yet he defines it as useless chanting. It makes me think of a verse in the Srimad Bhagavatam, in the 3rd Canto, spoken by Devahuti. She says that anyone whose work does not lead to religious life and any one whose religious, ritualistic performances do not elevate one to renunciation and anyone who is situated in renunciation that doesn’t lead to devotional service to the Supreme Lord, is to be considered to be a dead body, although breathing.
Here, in this verse, emphasis is given on the ultimate goal. Unless the ultimate goal is reached, which is the essence of today’s verse, if we want to actually achieve the ultimate goal of chanting, we have to become free from offenses. And unless the ultimate goal is achieved, which is devotional service to the Supreme Lord, any other achievement is useless. Because the only full achievement of chanting the Holy Name of the Lord, is to achieve love for the Supreme Lord. Love which is freed from all material desires.
as Srila Rupa Goswami explains, that such devotional service should be freed from the influence of karma and jnana. And Srila Rupa Goswami also states that
pisaci hṛdi vartate
He says as long as the desire for bhukti, the desire for material enjoyment, mukti, the desire for relief from suffering, liberation, as long as these two desires that are within the heart, which are considered to be like two witches, which haunt one like a ghost, then one will never be able to taste the bliss of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. And therefore it is stated in Caitanya Caritamrita that the goal of chanting is to achieve this love. And Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur here also states that to approach the Lord for something for ourselves, he says it’s an offense. We should not ask anything for ourselves. He says, therefore all these other purposes for which one chants are considered to be useless, unless we actually, purposely, with intent sit and intensely very much pray for service to the Lord. That service, that opportunity to engage in devotional service, is bestowed by the mercy of the Lord and also bestowed by the mercy of the devotee of the Lord. Therefore, in examining these statements, both here in this commentary by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and here in Srila Prabhupadas commentary, he gives the siddha pranali, which is, that if one wants to be successful in chanting, he quotes the verse that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur emphasizes is the siddha pranali for Gaudiya Vaishnavas which is
tṛṇad api su-nacena taror iva sahiṣṇuna
amanina mana-dena kirtaniyaḥ sada hariḥ
and Lord Caitanya Himself, has stated when explaining this verse. He says that a devotee who is engaged in the chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord, he does not retaliate, even if he is rebuked or chastised. He never retaliates or says anything to anyone else about such activity. He says, and he gives an example that, even if a tree is cut, the tree will not complain and even if the tree is drying up, it will not ask anyone for water. And He says that such forbearance must be practiced by the devotee. Thus a Vaishnava should engage in the chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord and he should never ask anyone for anything for himself. If someone offers, He will accept, but if someone doesn’t offer, he is satisfied to accept whatever comes by its own means. But then He says something very very important. He says, this type of devotional service solidly maintains, this type of behavior solidly maintains a devotees devotional service. This type of behavior. He doesn’t ask, he tolerates. So forbearing! There is a verse in the Srimad Bhagavatam,
saptaḥ kṣipta hata api
nasya tat pratikurvanti
tad-bhaktaḥ prabhavo ‘pi hi
This verse is spoken about Parikshit Maharaja. It was spoken by Samika rishi, when he learnt that his son had garlanded a snake around Parikshit Maharajas neck. He was extremely disturbed, because he understood that Parikshit Maharaja, is such a saintly Vaishnava. In his heart he was thinking, if only Parikshit Maharaja would counteract what has happened to him by cursing my son, then that will be proper just punishment for him. But then he realised, wait a minute:
saptaḥ kṣipta hata api
How will it be possible? Parikshit Maharaja wouldn’t do that. Because, devotees of the Lord are so forbearing, that even if they are cheated, cursed, neglected, disturbed, insulted or even killed, they are never inclined to avenge themselves. What can I do? Parikshit Maharaja will never counter curse. I can only simply pray to the Lord, that somehow He sees the situation and He understands what needs to be done to correct the situation, because Parikshit Maharaja will never counteract or counter curse my son. Such is the characteristic of a devotee. A devotee is so forbearing. Cheated, cursed, neglected, insulted, insulted, disturbed or even killed! But will never avenge himself. Why? Why? Because he is so forbearing, he is so tolerant! This type of devotional service, this type of mood in the chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord as Lord Caitanya Himself states, this behavior solidly maintains devotional service for the devotee. It gives him the means by which he can actually be situated in devotional service, because he is so tolerant that the Lord cannot neglect! Others may neglect, but the Lord will not neglect. How can the Lord neglect such a devotee? He cannot neglect. He cannot turn away. Look what happened to Ambarish Maharaja?
When Ambarish Maharaja was cursed, he didn’t even pray to the Lord for protection but the Lord protected him. And when Durvasa Muni came to the Lord, first he went to Lord Brahma, he went to Lord Shiva, then he went to Lord Vishnu. Of course Brahma and Shiva they were not able to provide him relief, because that’s what he wanted, he wanted relief. Please relieve me. Brahma says I can’t, Lord Shiva says I can’t and then he came to Lord Vishnu, he says, “Please look at me I am suffering”. Then Lord Vishnu says, “Sorry, I can’t do anything to help you”.
And Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur in his commentaries to these verses, he explains the mood the Lord has in His conversation with Durvasa Muni. When Durvasa Muni, he approaches the Lord for protection and he says, “Please can you mitigate my distress? You have invoked this chakra, certainly you can remove it”. The Lord says, “I am sorry, I am not independent. I am completely under the control of my devotee. The devotee is always in My heart and I am always in the heart of My devotee. The devotee doesn’t think of anyone but Me and I don’t think of anyone but him”. And then what does Durvasa Muni say? He says: “Certainly, when You see somebody suffering and they are coming to You for protection, certainly you must be inclined to feel for his suffering”. He’s begging, “Please have a heart and the Lord says, “Sorry! Actually I can’t even think of your suffering. I don’t have a heart and I can’t even think of your suffering”. Durvasa Muni says, “How is it possible?” And then the Lord explains, He says: “My devotee is so dear to Me. He is my devotee because He always takes me into the core of his heart and he is always praying to Me please let me engage in Your service. He doesn’t want anything else. He’s always thinking how he can serve Me. So therefore I approach My devotee and I say, please let Me give you something. But My devotee says, ‘I don’t want anything”. And the Lord says, “I want to give you something, anything”.
Just like He told Kulavechar Sridhar, he was always chanting the Holy Name of the Lord. People would complain. He said, “Kulavechar, I’ll make you a king. I’ll give you a kingdom”. Kulavechar says: “No! You simply be my Lord and master and let me be Your servant birth after birth”. So the Lord explains, He says, “My devotee only asks for one thing, let me serve You! So therefore, how can I give him anything, he doesn’t want? But still I must give him something. I must give him something which is valuable. Something which he’ll appreciate or value. Something that will mean something for him. He doesn’t want wealth. He doesn’t want follower. He doesn’t want beautiful women. He doesn’t want anything from me. But let me give him something that he’ll accept. So what do I give him. I give him My heart. My devotee has my heart. And you are asking me have a heart! And I am saying, I am sorry. I don’t have one. I can’t even think. My devotee has My mind, he has My heart. You want My heart, You have to go to him”.
The Lord is so much inclined, He can’t neglect a devotee who is always fully depending upon Him. And therefore, when a devotee chants the Holy Name of the Lord in this mentality. It nourishes, it sustains, solidly maintains a devotees devotional service, so much so, that the Lord gives him the greatest benediction. Not only gives His heart, gives Himself, but He gives His devotee His devotional service, which is the means for perfection.
If one sits and meditates and chants the Holy Names of the Lord, yes, we may want to go back home back to godhead, we want to actually take shelter in the spiritual world, but actually that place can be obtained only by those who think first and foremost, service. It’s not achieved by anything else. Only if one actually has this attitude, this complete helpless dependence, ‘Oh Lord please engage me in Your service’. Therefore we must understand that this devotional service to enter into the spiritual world can only be achieved when one actually gets the mercy of the Lords devotee. And therefore, it is stated by Srila Narattoma Das Thakur, he says that “When will Lord Nityanandas mercy be fully manifest to me, so that material desires will become so completely insignificant, when will that time come?” And he says “When my mind is completely purified, completely purified, being freed from material anxieties and desires, then and only then, will I be able to understand Sri Vrindavan dham and the conjugal love of Sri Radha and Krishna and only then will my spiritual life be successful”.
He explains that, “Yes, I have to get the mercy of the greatest servant of Lord Caitanya who is Lord Nityananda. It is Lord Nityananda who actually cleanses the heart. Gives one spiritual strength. Gives one the strength to actually become free from all these material obstacles, the desire for wealth, the desire for relief from suffering, the desire for material enjoyment”. In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated by Narada Muni, that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very dear to those devotees who have no material possessions and who are fully satisfied in possessing only devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Indeed the Lord relishes the activities of such devotees. Those who are puffed up by respectable parentage, by great opulence, by bodily beauty, they’re generally proud of possessing such things. And even if they offer the Lord worship, he says the Lord is not inclined to accept it. Why? Because they deride the devotee of the Lord. When they see the devotee, who is so fully dependent upon the mercy of the Lord, they deride the devotee. Just like Kulavechar Sridhar, the worshipers of goddess Chandi, they saw how Kulavechar Sridhar was so absorbed in chanting, but they would deride him. ‘Why don’t you worship goddess Chandi? Look at us we are wealthy, and look at you, you live in a hut, your roof, there are so many holes in it. You are crying at night, all night long with hunger pains, disturbing all your neighbors. Why don’t you take shelter?’ But what was Kulavechar Sridhar’s mood? His mood was completely calling out the Names of the Lord. Only for one purpose, only for one purpose, to glorify the Lord, to be engaged in the service of the Lord. Such devotional service, such behavior, solidly maintains a devotees devotional service.
Lord Nityananda is very merciful and therefore as we understand, if we want to enter into the dancing party of Radha and Krsna we have to catch hold of the feet of Lord Nityananda and only then will we be qualified to enter into the spiritual world. It is Lord Nityananda who showed by His example, how to take the order of the Supreme Lord and to tolerate all kinds of inconveniences. It was Lord Nityananda who took the order of Lord Caitanya, who told Him go out every day into the streets, and then induce others to chant Krsnas names, to tell others about Krsna, make Krsna your life and then you come back in the evening and you tell me how many people have been chanting?
What is Lord Nityananda begging for? He was begging to give others the opportunity to understand what is the real meaning of the Holy Name of the Lord and therefore His method of distribution was so glorious, so glorious that by His method of distribution He will awaken faith in others. This is what He was looking for; He was not looking for anything else.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says that when patrolman Haridas Thakur and Lord Nityananda went into the streets, They did not go out for any selfish purpose, begging for milk and rice. They simply went out for one reason, carrying the order of the Lord on their heads and begging everyone, even in the face of all kinds of adversities. Being struck in the head with a pot by Madhai, still He was so merciful. So merciful.
He was thinking that “Yes, if I can make these two personalities understand Lord Caitanya, then I will be recognized as Lord Caitanyas servant”. So it is Lord Nityananda, and the servant of Lord Nityananda who gives us the opportunity to engage in service and not only in chanting the Holy Names of the Lord, but to cleanse the heart, to purify the heart from all material anxieties and desires, so that one can be qualified to enter into Sri Vrindavan Dham. Then we’ll be able to enter into the dancing party of Radha and Krishna. Then we’ll actually be able to approach Radha and Krishna by catching tightly, firmly holding the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. This way we understand that we have gathered here to chant, collectively, we are chanting, praying for the opportunity to serve. That is our shelter! That is our means for perfection. That is our means for actually pleasing the Lord and becoming qualified to enter into the spiritual world and to enter that transcendental abode and thereby become qualified.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta actually explains in the harmonist magazine, he explains something very important. He says that Lord Nityananda, when He favors a devotee and when He deems His devotee fit for rendering service to Srimati Radhika, he says, then when He recognizes that person, He offers, he says, Srimati Radhika, She is the Guru of the inner circle and Lord Nityananda, He is the Guru for the masses. It is Lord Nityananda who actually goes out to the masses and by His method of distribution awakens faith in devotional service, pure devotional service. Not by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord for relief of distress, not by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord to become free from epidemics, not by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord for elevation to the heavenly planets. By chanting the Holy Names of the Lord, His meditation was only one thing only, His meditation was service to Lord Caitanya. He did not even go out and distribute until He received the order from Lord Caitanya although He traveled on pilgrimage for 20 years, He waited until He came here, to the house of Nandan Acharya and then when He came here and received the order, then He took it up. It is the order! That is our method of service to the Holy Name. And Srila Prabhupada explains that in today’s purport, very important.
I’ll end with this because I see a sign here that says very important, class must end by 8:45am.
Prabhupada says, he says that, “thus one is understood to be an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead if he considers himself an eternal servant of the Holy Name and in this spirit distributes the Holy Name to the world. One who chants in that spirit, without offenses”. Without offenses, as we said today, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur said any other purpose for chanting, other than for service is offensive, because it is asking something for myself. So he says, “One who chants in that spirit, without offenses, is certainly elevated to the platform of understanding that the Holy Name and the Personality of Godhead are identical. To associate with the Holy Name and chant the Holy Name is to associate with the Personality of Godhead directly”.
kali-kale naam-rupe krishna-avatara
nama haite haya sarva-jagat-nistara
It is stated in the Caitanya Caritamrita that in the age of the kali the Supreme Lord appears in the form of His Holy Name. Anyone who associates with the Holy Name is as good as associating with the Lord directly and certainly he is delivered.
I have to end here. Thank you very much for your kind attention.