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Chanting Hare Krishna in Purity — The Ten Offenses.

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By His Holiness Acyutananda Svami

[His Holiness Acyutananda Svami is one of the first American students initiated into Krishna consciousness by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. When Srila Prabhupada initiates a new devotee, he requests the devotee to chant the Hare Krishna mantra and, while chanting, to avoid ten offenses. At a recent initiation ceremony for new disciples in Vrndavana, India, Srila Prabhupada requested Acyutananda Svami to instruct the new initiates about these ten offenses. By Srila Prabhupada’s request, Acyutananda Svami’s remarks are reproduced here.]

The name of Sri Krishna, as found in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—is a transcendental sound vibration. Rupa Gosvami says: nama cintamanih Krishnas caitanya-rasa-vigrahah/ purnah suddho nitya-mukto ‘bhinnatvan nama-naminoh. Krishna and His name are non-different. Krishna Himself is transcendental, and so are Krishna’s form, Krishna’s name and Krishna’s paraphernalia, as well as Krishna Himself. They are all made of transcendental energy.

As stated in Bhagavad-gita, janma karma ca me divyam: Krishna’s birth and activities are eternal and transcendental. When an ordinary person is born due to karma, the laws of material action and reaction, his body is all wrinkled up and covered with blood and mucus. But Krishna is born smiling. In Mathura He is born holding a conchshell, disc, club and lotus and decorated with a crown, jewels, a beautiful garland and all of His transcendental ornaments. None of us are born like that here; we are all born because of karma. But not Krishna. And simply by knowing that Krishna’s birth and activities are divine, one also becomes divine. Then one need not take birth again in the material world.

Spiritual nature has form (caitanya-rasa-vigraha); it is not formless. Krishna’s nature has form, but that form is divine, transcendental, cintamani. Cintamani also implies consciousness (cinta means “consciousness” or “divine substance”). And Krishna’s form is not different from His name. A transcendental sound, however, cannot be uttered by material lips. A transcendental sound must be uttered by transcendental senses. The transcendental form of Krishna can be seen only by transcendental eyes, and the transcendental name of Krishna can be spoken only with transcendental lips. Therefore we have to purify our senses, purify our eyes, purify our tongue, purify our lips, purify our hands—everything must become purified. Then we can understand Krishna.

Acyutananda SvamiThis is natural, because spirit is adhoksaja; it cannot be perceived by material senses. Scientists want to see everything with their mundane eyes, but so many things cannot be seen that way. To see tiny microbes or distant planets, you have to make your vision finer with a microscope or telescope. So, to see spirit you also have to purify your vision, make it finer. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena: you have to smear the ointment of love upon your eyes. Ordinary yogis and mental speculators cannot see Krishna. Only devotees, or bhaktas, can see Him (bhaktya mam abhijanati; bhaktya tv ananyaya sakyah).

There are ten offenses (nama-aparadhas) to be avoided while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. These are given in The Nectar of Devotion, and in the Padma Purana as well. Only devotees can see Krishna in His personal form, because they are the ones who avoid these ten offenses. When we chant Hare Krishna, we must therefore be very careful to avoid these offenses.

Is someone chanting Hare Krishna offensively or without offenses? You may not know. Suppose I showed you two white pills—one arsenic and the other aspirin. You might not know which is which. You would have to go to an authority—a doctor, for example—who could give you the right thing. You wouldn’t go to a quack; he might give you the arsenic. After all, it’s a white pill, and you don’t know the difference. Therefore you have to go to a genuine doctor. In the same way, we must hear the chanting of Hare Krishna only from devotees who are avoiding these ten offenses. Otherwise, the chanting will be like milk touched by the lips of a serpent. Milk is very pure and healthful, but milk touched by the lips of a serpent will turn to poison. We may see a nice sadhu, or saintly person, chanting Hare Krishna, but if he is not avoiding these offenses, hearing from him is dangerous.

The first offense is sadhu-ninda: to blaspheme devotees who have dedicated their lives to propagating the holy name of the Lord. The devotees who surrender their lives to the Lord and who fully engage in preaching must be spotless in their character. Still, Bhagavad-gita says that if someone fully engages in preaching Krishna consciousness and chanting the holy name, he should be regarded as saintly even if by chance he commits some abominable activity. We should not magnify the faults of a devotee. The moon is shining, spreading its sweet, cool light, and although the moon also has some black spots, the moonlight shines so brightly that we should not consider them. In the same way, even if a preacher accidentally commits a serious mistake, that should be excused. Krishna says, ksipram bhavati dharmatma: very quickly he will be purified. Temporarily there may be some spot on his character, but very soon it will be washed away by the potency of chanting the holy name. Then he will be pure, like the clear sky. If there was a cloud over a patch of sky a few moments ago but now the sky is clear, what is the difference between that sky and the sky that was never covered? There is no difference; both are pure.

If we speak ill of devotees, people will lose faith in their words. Such a loss of confidence merely hinders the spiritual progress of humanity. Bees look for honey, whereas flies look for open sores. Some people are like flies. If they see the slightest fault, they magnify it out of proportion. But we should not be like flies; we should be like buzzing bees and see all the good qualities of a devotee. If there are any bad qualities, they will soon be washed away. We should never speak ill or gossip about devotees who have surrendered their lives to the holy name.

The second offense ‘is to consider demigods, like Lord Siva or Lord Brahma, to be equal to or independent of the name of Lord Visnu, or Krishna. In the material world there are many super-powerful living beings who control the workings of nature. They are called demigods. Just as some human beings are more powerful than others, the demigods are even more powerful than any human being. But the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Sri Krishna. He is complete and full because He has full opulences—all wealth, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation. No other personality, no other deity or demigod, has these qualities in full. Krishna is therefore purna-avatara. Purna means that He is complete—completely complete. All the demigods, like Siva, Candra and Indra, are partial aspects of this purna. For example, the moon tonight is amavasya, the dark moon. The moon is there, but you cannot see any light. Then tomorrow there will be a thin light coming from the moon. The whole moon is there, but you can sec only partial aspects of it, until the full moon appears. In the same way, Krishna has many forms, but the Lord manifests His full potency only as Sri Krishna, Syamasundara, with two arms holding the flute (venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam). He is the original, full Personality of Godhead.

There are many people who worship many deities, even Krishna, but do not believe that Krishna is supreme. They think that although God has no form or name, some portion of God has slipped into maya and taken the form of Krishna, Siva, Durga or the other demigods. “I shall worship this deity and concentrate on his form,” such a worshiper thinks, “and then one day the form will dissolve and I will dissolve, and I’ll become as good as him. I’ll become equal to Krishna” That is an offense. That is not bhakti but prostitution. It is what I have called vesya-vada, a prostitute’s philosophy. What is a prostitute’s proposal? A prostitute does not love anyone. Any man on the street is as good as any other. But the prostitute thinks, “If this man gives me something, then I’ll pretend to love him. If I can get something from this man—or any man, it doesn’t matter who—then I’ll pretend to love him.” In the same way, people think, “Oh, any god, it’s all the same. If I can get something, then it’s worth the pretense of bhakti. I’ll go worship in the temple.” But that is not bhakti—that’s cheating. You’re not worshiping what you think is the Supreme. You think the Supreme is formless. Then why are you performing arcana, sadhana, puja and other kinds of worship?

The demigods are only partial parts of a part of Krishna. They are very far from the Supreme Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth has nothing to do with matter. Therefore even Lord Siva, who is almost as good as Krishna, is not the Supreme because his activity pertains only to material destruction. Lord Krishna is compared to milk, and Lord Siva is compared to yogurt. Yogurt is milk, but if you eat yogurt the reaction in the stomach is cold, and if you drink milk the reaction in the stomach is hot—just the opposite. So if you worship Lord Siva, or any demigod, the reaction will be material, but if you worship Krishna, the reaction will be eternal spiritual development. Therefore we should not equate the names of Siva, Durga, Candra and other demigods with the name of Krishna. Krishna’s name has full spiritual potency.

The devotees in the disciplic line from Lord Caitanya understand that the names of the demigods all come from Krishna’s name. Let’s take Indra for an example. “Indra” means “king.” Krishna is paramesvara, the supreme king, so really the name “Indra” belongs to Krishna. Krishna is Indra. And the demigod Indra, who is the king of the heavenly planets, is named after Krishna. Another demigod: Siva. “Siva” means auspicious. Krishna is mangalo mangalanam: nothing is more auspicious than Krishna. Therefore Krishna is Siva, and the Siva who is the deity of destruction is named after Him. My name is Acyutananda. I am not acyuta. Acyuta means Krishna. I am the servant of Acyuta. Dasa means “servant.” So I am named after Krishna as His servant, dasa. Similarly, all the demigods are Krishna dasa. Indra means Krishna dasa. Siva means Krishna dasa. Candra means Krishna dasa. Everyone is Krishna dasa. Ekala isvara Krishna ara saba bhrtya: the one supreme enjoyer, the supreme personality, is Krishna; everyone else is His servant. Therefore we must concentrate on the name of Krishna.

The third offense is to disobey the orders of the guru, or spiritual master. The guru is the only connection we have between ourselves and God. If an ant crawls on your body, the ant cannot even understand that you are a human being and that he is walking on a man. He thinks he is walking on a forest of trees. Nor can you explain, “Mr. Ant, you are walking on me.” You don’t have the power to explain yourself to him, and he doesn’t have the power to understand where he is. You are both helpless. But even farther apart are the living entity (jiva) and Krishna. We are tiny; the jiva is one ten-thousandth the size of the tip of a hair. And Krishna is so great that from the pores of Maha-Visnu, who is but one partial aspect of Krishna, innumerable universes are coming, like dust particles coming through a window.

We should realize our position as tiny living beings and not try to imitate God. The universe we live in has many different galaxies and an infinite number of planets, and they are all enclosed in one bubble that has come from a pore of Maha-Visnu. Millions and millions of bubblelike universes are coming from each pore of Maha-Visnu, and we are living in one of those universes. Our universe has millions of planets, and one tiny planet is earth. On that planet earth there is so much water and land, and the land, which is only about one third of the planet, is divided into so many countries, with so many states in each. One insignificant country among all these countries is India, which is divided into twenty-one states. One state is Bengal, and in Bengal there are many cities. One city is Calcutta, which is further divided into so many areas—Ballygunge, Tallygunge, Burra Bazaar, and so on. One place there is Camac Street, and on Camac Street there is one house in which many devotees are living, and one of those devotees is thinking, “I am God.” You are so tiny, so insignificant! The only connection you, as an insignificant being, have with the Supreme Significant Being is the guru.

The guru, the spiritual master, is the transparent via medium between the infinite God and the finite soul. The Infinite can make Himself known to the finite. He is not weak. We cannot explain ourselves to an ant, but Krishna can explain Himself to a jiva. Therefore, to offend or disobey the order of Krishna’s representative, the guru, is suicide.

If one has guru-sraddha, faith in the guru, if it is nighttime but the guru says it’s day you will see the sun shining. Beyond our material sense perception, we must accept the order of the bona fide guru. Our senses are fallible, limited, imperfect, but the words of the bona fide guru are pure and perfect. Guru-mukha-padma-vakya, cittete kariya aikya, ara na kariha mane asa: our only wish is to hear and understand the orders of the spiritual master. Disobeying the orders of the spiritual master will stop any progress in spiritual life. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi: if Krishna is pleased with you but the guru is displeased, there is no hope; and if the guru is pleased and Krishna is displeased, you have nothing to worry about.

We are preaching slavery, divine slavery. Every country of the world has a scheme for enjoyment—communism, socialism, democracy or whatever—but they are all trying to have enjoyment independent of the Supreme Lord. We are preaching that slavery is far more blissful than a false sense of independence. What the guru says, we do. But he is perfect. To be a slave of perfection—that is ecstatic life.

Fourth offense: to blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance to the Vedic version. The Vedic literatures are in harmony with the words of the spiritual master, for the spiritual master will not say anything that is not upheld in the scriptures. Therefore the words of the scriptures and the spiritual master are our guidelines.

The Vedic scriptures are spoken by God Himself, and by those who have perfect understanding. Unlike philosophies concocted by imperfect human intelligence, the Vedic scriptures were written by perfect intelligence, by devotees, by great sages who sacrificed their lives, not by leaders who lived in luxury and wanted to write some constitution or put forward some policy to further their sense gratification. Such leaders live in luxury at the expense of everyone else. As much as they can, they try to bluff people with altruistic talk, but their real goal is to live in luxury at your expense. You starve and they live in luxury, no matter what they preach. The great sages who saw the Supreme Absolute Truth sacrificed their lives for the Supreme; they lived in such hardship—for us—because they were our well-wishers. Devotees are all oceans of mercy who come to save us.

vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo
vaisnavebhyo namo namah

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Krishna conscious devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls.”

The great sages and devotees do not come to cheat; they come to give us the Vedic literatures. Therefore these scriptures are scientifically pure. We find so much scientific evidence to support the statements of the Vedas. For example, the Vedas declare that cow dung is so pure that you can even put it in the temple, and now science is finding out that in fact cow dung has many antiseptic qualities. But for thousands of years we knew that cow dung is pure; we didn’t have to do scientific research. So why not just accept Vedic literature as it is, pure and perfect, without having to doubt it?

Some people interpret the words in the Vedic scriptures, assuming them all to be allegorical or symbolic. But such interpretations cannot influence the devotees who have been serving in India, for we have seen the places where Krishna’s incarnations have stood. If someone obstinately insists that Krishna’s pastimes are all mythology, I can take him by the ear to Hastinapura and the Indraprastha fort where the Pandavas lived, then pull him by the other ear to Kuruksetra, 100 miles from there, where Krishna spoke Bhagavad-gita, then by the nose to Vrndavana, where Krishna performed His pastimes, and dunk his thick head into the holy River Yamuna. Were these places fashioned merely to justify some poems? Certainly not. Here in Vrndavana and Mayapur we develop faith, the seed of bhakti, when we see the places where Lord Krishna and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu had Their pastimes.

Fifth offense: to consider the glories of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra imaginary. It is said in the Vedic literature that by once chanting the holy name of Krishna one can eradicate more sins than he can possibly commit in all the fourteen worlds. So we should not doubt this. We should not consider this an exaggeration. But that statement is a big pill to swallow. Therefore although we may say that chanting Hare Krishna is an easy process for spiritual perfection, people will doubt that it’s true. If I stood on the street and said, “diamonds, free diamonds,” no one would believe me. But here the scriptures are saying more than that. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam: you can get complete liberation from all sins by purely chanting Hare Krishna once. People will doubt that this is true. To have full faith in the holy name is not easy; still we must. We must never think that the Vedic scriptures are just bluffing, trying to woo us into chanting by exaggerating the potency of the chanting. No, we must have complete faith.

Sixth offense: to interpret the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Some people like to twist the statements of the Vedas or the meaning of the holy name of Krishna. For example, we chant the names Hare Krishna. Hari means thief, hari means lion, and hari also means snake. So does Hare Krishna mean snake Krishna, thief Krishna, lion Krishna? No. Harir om tat sat: Hari is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Does this mean that a thief is the Supreme Absolute Truth? Should we build a temple to a thief? Should we build a temple to a snake?

With a dictionary you can interpret, bend and twist words unlimitedly. For instance, I may speak of President Kennedy. But “ken” can mean “mental position,” and “eddy” means a swirling pool, so a word juggler may say that Kennedy was someone whose mind was mixed up and who became the president. One can twist words like chat in so many ways. “The teacher,” said the boy, “is a fool.” The teacher said the boy is a fool. If we change the punctuation, the whole sentence has a completely different meaning. In the same way, some’ people try to twist out false, completely deceptive meanings from the Vedas, But we don’t want that.

We don’t want some twisted interpretation. We want the truth, as it is. Srila Prabhupada is giving Bhagavad-gita as it is. One should not try to twist out some other meaning. We should not be like the foolish man whose wife told him to purchase some ghee, clarified butter. He went out to buy the ghee, but when he went to the man who sold ghee, that man said, “My ghee is so fine, it’s like oil.” So the man said, “Oh, oil. Oil must be better than ghee.” So he went to the man who sold oil. But the oil man said, “My oil is so clear, it’s as clear as water.” So the fellow thought that water must be better than oil. So instead of ghee, he bought some water. Step by step he came to something useless. You can’t fry anything in water, but he thought that water is better than ghee. In that way, a mental speculator can twist and turn everything. Krishna means black, black means dark, dark is unknown, So Krishna means unknown. It’s a very dangerous kind of philosophy. So we cannot interpret the meanings of these words; rather, we should accept them according to the understanding of the acaryas, the pure devotees in the disciplic line.

Seventh offense: to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name of the Lord. Chanting the holy name rids us of so many sins, but we should not think, “I will commit sinful activities and then chant to become pure. Then I’ll commit more sins and then chant again.” That is nonsense. That is cheating. You cannot cheat Krishna, nor can you cheat the holy name. The holy name is Krishna. Therefore Krishna will know what you are doing. In some religions it is a policy that on Saturday one may confess all his sins and thus become pure so that on Sunday he may come into the church. Then, starting from Monday, he can resume his sinful nonsense. But if one has confessed that his sins are wrong, why should he commit them again? He will be forgiven once or twice, if he commits them unknowingly, but the third or fourth time he will have to suffer. One cannot go on using the Lord to justify one’s sin. That is nonsense. To try to use the strength of the holy name to justify one’s evil propensities is considered the worst offense.

Eighth offense: to consider the chanting of Hare Krishna one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas for fruitive gains (karma-kanda). We are chanting Hare Krishna to get Krishna-prema, love of Krishna—not for the sake of religiosity (dharma), economic development (artha), sense gratification (kama) or even liberation (moksa). When someone is imbued with love of Krishna, liberation seems wholly miserable because in impersonal liberation there is no love. Krishna is manifested in His spiritual abodes, such as Goloka and Vaikuntha, and He appears in the material world as an avatara, or incarnation. In the form of the Varaha avatara, Krishna went to the darkest region of hell to rescue the planet earth. Therefore, Krishna appears to His devotees in hell, on earth, in heaven and in Goloka Vrndavana, but in the impersonal Absolute, the brahmajyoti, Krishna does not manifest Himself. Therefore, kaivalyam narakayate; impersonal liberation (kaivalyamukti) is worse than hell for a devotee.

We are not chanting Hare Krishna for any personal gain. No dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye: we don’t want money, we don’t want followers, we don’t want beautiful women, nor do we want popularity, education or an important position. Mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: we want causeless devotion, bhakti, at the feet of Krishna. Nothing else. Therefore we are chanting Hare Krishna—for that and that alone.

Ninth offense: to instruct a faithless person about the glories of chanting the holy name. Anyone can take part in chanting the holy name, but we should not give deeper instruction or initiation to one who is faithless. This lack of faith may be due to his ignorance, and therefore we may be able to give him knowledge and purify him. But before he is purified, if he has made up his mind to be averse to Krishna (bahir-mukha, vimukha), the more we instruct him about Krishna, the more he will hate Krishna. Then we will be causing that person to commit more offenses, and this is an offense on our part. Therefore, one should not give deeper instruction on chanting the holy name to someone who has no faith; rather, we must first develop his faith by giving him knowledge.

People have no faith in Krishna only because they are ignorant. They have not been exposed to real knowledge of Krishna, but have absorbed only false notions. For example, in Japan during World War II, the Japanese air force took young boys, thirteen or fourteen years old, and taught them how to fly planes. They didn’t teach them how to land the planes, but only how to take off and fly. They told these innocent boys that for the sake of their country they could crash the plane into an enemy boat and them climb out alive. They didn’t tell them that explosives had been loaded into the plane and that they would be killed. The pilots were given only a small amount of fuel, so they couldn’t turn back if they became afraid. Finally, their commanders charged them with some false notions about love of country and love of their forefathers and then sent them off on their mission. They were simply a suicide squad. All they had was partial knowledge, partial fuel and partial education, and so, charged up with some false sentiments, they were deluded into committing suicide. In the same way, modern education is giving us only partial education, so that we will work like dogs.

According to popular belief, the Indian people do not have any capacity to work. This is a misconception. I have seen extremely old people walking eight or nine miles around Govardhana Hill in the hot sun. They climb the seven hills to Tirupati temple, take cold baths in the month of Magh (January), or walk all the way to Badarikasrama. They are so willing to perform these activities for spiritual realization, so why aren’t they eager to work in a factory? Because they know they are not getting spiritual benefit by working in a factory. They want spiritual benefit, because people in India are basically religious. They know that mukti (liberation) cannot be achieved by working in a factory, but the government is trying to propound the philosophy that work is worship. The government leaders know that people are basically religious, so they’re saying, “If you work hard in the hot factory, you’ll get mukti.” They are trying to screw out a false meaning of Bhagavad-gita—work hard and forget anything else. No religion, no temple, just work in the factory. They are trying to impose this philosophy on the public to get people to work in the factory and think that factory work or hard labor is auspicious, pious activity.

But it doesn’t work. Go into any office building and you’ll find everyone sitting around smoking, trying to do the least work possible. But if you go to Jagannatha Puri, you’ll see a huge temple there built thousands of years ago. How did the people get the energy to build such a temple? They knew, “I’m doing it for Jagannatha, for Krishna.” That brought out the best in them. If the people know they’re working for some cheating minister, they will also be cheaters. They’ll do the least amount of work possible. However, if they work for God, they know that He sees everything they do and that by pleasing Him they can see Him and live with Him. That is an inspiration. But modern leaders don’t like that. They want people to work for them, not for Krishna. They are envious of Krishna. They think, “Oh, if you work for me, that is worship.” This is bogus. We are accepting the mahatma-panthah, the path of the previous acaryas, the great spiritual masters. Does modern society know more than the great acaryas?

The last offense is to not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy name and to maintain material attachment even after understanding so many instructions in this matter. Krishna declares in Bhagavad-gita, rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya param drstva nivartate: “One who is attached to sensual enjoyment becomes freed from that attachment when he experiences a higher taste.” We devotees in India are apparently living very difficult lives. Although we are Americans, we are sleeping on the floor, eating only one or two meals a day, living in this hot country and dressing and living humbly. So people may think that we’re suffering, but actually we are not—we are blissful. We’re happy because we have the holy name, because we’re getting a higher taste. But if after having this higher taste we again want the lower taste, that is a great mistake. A person in that position is called vantasi. Vantasi means one who eats his own vomit. When one rejects one’s low attachments, that is compared to vomiting. However, after one has gotten a higher taste, indulging again in a lower taste is as good as eating vomit. Therefore, to maintain material attachment after hearing the glories of the holy name of the Lord is an offense.

If we avoid these ten offenses to the holy name of the Lord we will certainly make progress, by the grace of the spiritual master, Lord Caitanya and Lord Sri Krishna. The result will be, ceto-darpana-marjanam; our consciousness will be purified. That is a necessity. How can we have peace or make any progress when our consciousness is cloudy and agitated?

There was a meeting between some mideastern leaders concerned with making peace in Israel. They had assembled in a room and were about to take seats at different tables. Jordan was assigned to one table, Syria to another, Iran to another and Israel to another. The Israelis, however, didn’t want to take their assigned seats. They wanted to sit at a table on the other side of the room. But the Syrians said, “No, we want this table.” So a raging argument ensued, in which the members of the peace talk threatened to close the talks and go to war. Because their minds were agitated, they couldn’t make peace even in a ten-foot room. Therefore the first need in society is for purity of consciousness.

With impure consciousness within, how can we externally have peace or purity? First we must become pure internally. For example, here in India the merchants now adulterate the ghee (clarified butter) by mixing in many impure things to save money. Why? Because they no longer believe in God. If they believed in God, they would think, “This ghee may be offered in a temple somewhere. To make it impure would be a great offense.” But because they are not God conscious, they think, “Who cares? No one will see me. The government won’t know.” But although one may escape the vision of the government, one cannot escape the vision of God. The Supreme Lord sees everything. However, if we eliminate the idea of God as the saksi, the witness, then hell will prevail. Therefore we must purify the consciousness. Bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam: when our consciousness is purified, automatically the fire of our material existence will be extinguished.

The chanting of Hare Krishna disseminates transcendental knowledge into the heart like moonlight (sreyah-kairava-candrika-vitaranam vidya-vadhu-jivanam) and increases our ecstasy at every moment (anandambudhi-vardhanam). In material ecstasy, pleasure gradually decreases. If you get pleasure from eating one piece of candy, before long you’ll need two pieces to get the same pleasure. Then you’ll need three, then five, and soon you won’t want to look at candy any more. That is material pleasure; it decreases. But in Krishna consciousness, anandambudhi-vardhanam pratipadam purnamrta svadanam: at every step you’ll get a fuller taste of nectar. Sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-Krishna-sankirtanam: everyone can become cleansed by chanting this Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Atma means the body, the mind, the intelligence, endeavor, the soul and Krishna. Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave all these different meanings for the word atma when He explained the atmarama Verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore, ceto-darpana-marjanam . . . sarvatma-snapanam. when we chant Hare Krishna, all the atmas become purified—the mind, the intelligence, the soul. By chanting Hare Krishna, all living entities can become happy. And Krishna also becomes happy when we chant.

We may offer Krishna a flower (patram puspam phalam toyam), but the name of Krishna is Krishna Himself (abhinnatvan nama-naminoh). So by chanting the holy names of the Lord Krishna, we are giving Him the best offering. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated, yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah: those who are intelligent in this Age of Quarrel will worship the Supreme Lord by nama-sankirtana-yajna, the sacrifice of chanting the holy name of the Lord. Yajna (sacrifice) must be performed, for without yajna, even material prosperity is impossible. In this Age of Kali the recommended sacrifice is sankirtana-yajna, and those who are intelligent will perform this chanting of the holy names of the Lord and therefore follow the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu is our goal, our object of meditation and worship. He is Krishna Himself with a golden complexion, surrounded by His associates. Lord Caitanya, however, carries no weapons, Lord Ramacandra carries a bow and arrow, Parasurama has His axe, Krishna has His disc, and Visnu carries a conch, disc, club and lotus. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu is empty-handed. His only weapons are His associates, like Lord Nityananda and Haridasa, because His weapon is love. Instead of killing the demons and giving them liberation, He made them into devotees and conquered them by love. Lord Nityananda used to go from house to house, knock on their doors and beg the people to please chant Hare Krishna. He would open the door, fall prostrate on the floor and roll on the ground, begging them to chant the holy name of the Lord. How can you deny His request? The Supreme Personality o Godhead is at your feet, begging you rolling in the dust of your house. Will you deny Him? Can you refuse? No intelligent person can refuse Him Therefore, chant Hare Krishna and avoid these offenses. That is the perfection of human life.

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