The Rare Human Form of Life
nr-deham adyam sulabham sudurlabham
plavam sukalpam guru-karnadharam
puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha
“The human body which can award all benefits in life is automatically obtained by the laws of nature although it is a very rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat, having the spiritual master as the captain and instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human being who doesn’t utilise his human life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.”
The Srimad Bhagavatam, says that this human body is rarely attained. It is a very good boat to cross over this material ocean of existence. Therefore an expert navigator, karandhar, should be placed on this boat. The bona fide vaisnava guru is that expert navigator. Furthermore the favorable wind is the mercy of Krsna that will help this boat to cross over this ocean of material existence. Therefore, when you get this human body, all of these facilities have been offered to you, still if someone does not make any effort to cross over this material ocean of existence, he commits self-suicide. So one should accept a bona fide spiritual master, sad-guru and accept mantra-diksa from that sad-guru.
In Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Sri Sanatan Goswami has said,
avaisnavopadistena mantrena nirayam vrajet
punas ca vidhina samyag grahayed vaisnavad guroh
One should not take mantra from avaisnava. Who is an avaisnava? One who is a stri-sangi, attached to women, and one who is not a devotee of Krishna, they are avaisnava. If someone takes mantra from an avaisnava, he goes to hell. Therefore according to sadhu-sastra-guru principle, one should take mantra from a bona fide vaisnava guru.
When guru gives mantra diksa he speaks about nama-aparadha, the offences committed against chanting the Holy Name and one should know what these nama-aparadha's are.
satam ninda namnah paramam aparadham vitanute
yatah khyatim yatam kathamu sahate tad-vigaraham
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.15]
To blaspheme the dear devotee of the Lord
1) First nama-aparadha: sadhu-ninda. Who is a sadhu? One who is completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of Krishna is a sadhu. One who has dedicated his life to preach this message of Bhagavan Krishna and His holy name throughout the world. He is a vaisnava, he is a sadhu. One should not blasphemy such a sadhu. It is a very serious offence. Those who especially have taking shelter of this holy name or receiving this holy name from a bona fide guru should be very, very careful not to commit this offence. This is the first nama-aparadha.
sivasya sri-visnor ya iha guna-namadi sakalam
dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu harinama-hita-karah
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.15]
To consider the names of demigods like Lord Siva and Lord Brahma
to be equal to or independent of the Lord
2) Second nama-aparadha: To think the other demigods as Bhagavan. Also to think the name, form, qualities and pastimes of Krishna are different from Krishna. If someone thinks Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma are also Bhagavan, this is an offence.
If someone thinks names of Lord Shiva and the name of Lord Brahma are also equal to the name of Lord Vishnu or Krishna, or by chanting of the name of Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma are as good as chanting ‘Hare Krishna,’ this is an offence. A bhakta, devotee, vaisnava should not think like this. Therefore it is said:
anya-deva saha sama visnuke ye mane
se bada ajnana isa-tattva nahi jane
e jada jagate visnu parama isvara
girisadi yata deva tanra vidhikara
vasudeva chadi yei anya-deve bhaje
isvara chadiya sei samsarete maje
[Hari-nama-cintamani, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 5.14, 5.15, 5.18]
In sastra it is said Lord Vishnu or Krishna is paramesvara. Other demigods even Lord Shiva and Brahma are all his servants. If Lord Krishna, Vishnu is worshipped then automatically all demigods are worshipped; no separate worship is necessary.
Then the question arises, how should we deal with or behave with other demigods? Should we disrespect them? No.
yatha yatha anya deve karena darsana
krsna-dasa bali tanre karena vandana
[Hari-nama-cintamani, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 5.74]
Vaisnavas should not disrespect any demigod. They are all servants of Vishnu or Krishna. They are all carrying out the orders of Lord Krishna. In that way they are all vaisnavas. Though not pure vaisnavas, still they are vaisnavas. So a vaisnava devotee should not disrespect any demigod, rather pay respect.
Guru Vakya Avajna
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.16]
To disobey the order of the nama tattva-vit sad-guru
3) Third nama-aparadha: To disobey the order of the nama-tattva-vit sad-guru is a very great offence. Other offences may be excused, there are some means, some ways to be excused, but there is no excuse to disobey the order, the instruction of sad-guru. So this is most important and a very severe offence, a very great offence. One should take it seriously and understand it seriously. Therefore one should not consider such a guru as an ordinary human being.
acaryam mam vijaniyan navanmanyeta karhicit
One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 11th Canto. One should know acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in anyway. One should not envy him thinking of him as an ordinary human being for he is the representative of all the demigods. This is the lesson of Lord Krishna. One should not think that acarya, that guru is an ordinary human being, mat-svarupa, he is the manifestation of Lord Krishna and all demigods are there in the person of guru.
gurute avajna yara tara aparadha
sei aparadhe tara haya bhakti badha
gurute achala sraddha kare jei jana
suddha nama bale pai se premadhan
sad-guru prati jei abagya achare
se papista aparadhi sarbatra samsare
sad-guru aparadh ati bhayankara
ehi aparadhe nasta hoya deva nara
[Hari-nama-cintamani, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 6.36, 6.38, 6.45, 6.49]
It is said in sastra one should develop unalloyed bhakti, devotion for Krishna and similar unalloyed bhakti towards guru. Those who have developed such unalloyed devotion towards guru and Krishna should very easily cultivate pure devotion, suddha-bhakti. Very easily they will go back home, back to Godhead, but one should be very, very careful to accept a sad-guru, bona fide guru, pure devotee of Krishna.
suddha bhakte la-ibena guru-rupe vari
It is said one should accept a suddha-bhakta, pure devotee of Krishna as guru. Before one accepts such a guru one should be careful, otherwise you will be cheated. You will accept a cheater or a hypocrite instead. One should not disobey the order, instruction, direction of such a guru. That is a very serious offence.
Sruti Sastra Ninda
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.16]
To blaspheme the vedic literature
4) Fourth nama-aparadha: Sruti-sastra-ninda, the blasphemy of sastra, Vedic scriptures.
maya baddha jive Krishna bahu kripa kari
veda puranadi dila arya jnana dhari
[Hari-nama-cintamani, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 7.8]
maya-mugdha jivera nahi svatah krsna-jnana
jivere krpaya kaila krsna veda-purana
[Cc. Mad. 20.122]
The conditioned soul cannot revive his Krsna consciousness by his own effort. But out of causeless mercy, Lord Krsna compiled the Vedic literature and its supplements, the Puranas.
It is said that conditioned soul has forgotten Krishna, so out of mercy, causeless mercy, Krishna has given Vedic literature. One should not blasphemy such literature, sastra.
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.16]
To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord
5) Fifth nama-aparadha: To give some interpretation to the holy name of the Lord, krsna-nama, harinama. For example one who is an offender he may say Krishna means black. In the abhidhana, dictionary, this meaning is there. This is an offence.
Krishna is Supreme Personality of Godhead, Absolute Truth. One should not interpret it in different ways, or give different meanings to it. That is an offence.
Some also say in sastra the glories of harinama are given but this is only an exaggeration. Only to develop some attraction, some taste toward harinama this has been given in sastras, but it is not really true. It is exaggeration only. So this is an offence.
Those who have developed any doubt, samsayatma in the holy name, automatically they commit offence.
One should not cherish any doubt in the holy name. The name of Krishna and Krishna are non-different, abhinnatvan-nama-naminoh, [Cc. Mad. 17.133]. And especially in this age of Kali, there is no other incarnation of Krishna. There is only one incarnation, the name incarnation of Krishna,
kali-kale nama-rupe krsna-avatara
[Cc. Adi 17.22]
In this Age of Kali, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, is the incarnation of Lord Krsna. Simply by chanting the holy name, one associates with the Lord directly. Anyone who does this is certainly delivered.
This sastric injunction, the siddhanta, the conclusion is given in our Vedic scriptures. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Who is Krishna Himself, Who came as a devotee, an acarya, has especially given these conclusions. If someone commits this offence it means one has doubt in holy name of Krishna. Those who also give a different interpretation to holy name are all great offenders. And if by chance you meet such a person and talk to such a person then you also make this offence.
To counteract this offence one should immediately take a bath in river Ganges. If there is no Ganges, one should take bath in any holy water. We should invoke the Ganges and immediately take bath, otherwise this offence will not be counteracted.
namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhir
na vidyate tasya yamair hi suddhih
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.16]
To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name
6) Sixth nama-aparadha: to commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord. The sixth offence means committing sin by strength of chanting holy name.
eka krsna-name kare sarva-papa ksaya
[Cc. Mad. 15.107]
Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna once, a person is relieved from all the reactions of a sinful life. One can complete the nine processes of devotional service simply by chanting the holy name.
It is said in sastra, just one name of Krishna is so potential that it can destroy innumerable sins accumulated from lakhs of lives. It is so potential! One name of Krishna, eka krsna-name kare sarva-papa ksaya. If someone says or thinks, “This nama is a very good weapon I have. I’ll chant Hare Krishna to destroy all my sinful reactions, then I will commit some new sins, then again I will chant Hare Krishna and destroy it.” This mentality is nama-bale papa-buddhih, which means committing sins on the strength of chanting harinama. This is an offence. One should not develop such mentality.
Those who are now accepting a bona fide guru and are being initiated by him, taking harinama, even in their minds they should not think of any sin. One should be very, very careful. Though in Kali-yuga there is a concession, that by thinking of sinful activity or sinful engagements in the mind one will not receive the sinful reaction. Sinful reaction will only be there if one executes that sin. However for those taking harinama from a bona fide guru, they must be very careful to not think of anything sinful, as reaction will be there.
In the Kali-yuga if someone in the mind just thinks that ‘I must accept a bona fide spiritual master, guru and take harinama from him’, just by thinking like this he gets good results.
Krishna is seated as paramatma, the Supersoul in the heart, immediately he starts to shower mercy upon him. Such good results are there. Only by merely thinking, what to speak of performing or executing! But those who are initiated, or taking initiation, they should be very, very careful not to think of anything sinful in the mind.
Of course the mind is very wicked, very wicked; unconsciously it also likes to thinks of things, but one should take it seriously that henceforth, from this moment, I shall not allow the wicked mind to think of anything sinful. Should not allow the mind to do this.
How serious is he? How has he really developed faith in the holy name? Krishna Who is there in the heart as the paramatma, he knows! He knows the heart. This is most important thing. If there is nothing in the heart but by chance unconsciously it enters into the mind then immediately he becomes conscious, “O, this wicked mind thinks such nonsense!” Immediately he chants, ‘Hare Krishna’ and prays from the core of his heart to Krishna, the holy name, to excuse him, he will be excused! But it should not be repeatedly done. You understand what I have said?
Let me say one thing more in this respect. There are persons who are not devotees or sadhus but chant Hare Krsna. They are hypocrites, outwardly posing as devotees or vaisnavas or bhaktas chanting Hare Krsna but inside they are not so, they are hypocrites and cheaters. By the association of such persons, this offence will take place, sinful thoughts will enter the mind. You understand? If the thought of sinful activity enters into the mind, one should be careful in this regard not to associate with such persons who may enable one to commit such an offence, one must avoid such an offence, otherwise it is very difficult.
Sraddha Hina Jane Namopadesa
asraddadhane vimukhe Ďpy asrnvati
yas copadesah siva-namaparadhah
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.17]
To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name
7) Seventh nama-aparadha: To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name is the
seventh nama-aparadha. That means one must not speak the glories of holy name to a person who has not developed full faith in nama, full faith in Krishna or full faith in His holy name. One should not speak the glories of holy name to such a person as it will be an offence, sraddha-hina-jane namopadesa. One can speak the glories of the holy name only to that person who is qualified or eligible to accept the holy name and who has developed full faith in the holy name. Therefore it is the duty of the one who will instruct or teach about the holy name to speak. It is for him.
So first he should chant the holy name loudly.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
By chanting loudly one can inculcate sraddha or faith unto faithless persons. For such a person who has not developed sraddha, this is the first thing, hear the holy name being chanted. Donít speak about the glories of holy name, donít speak - only chant loudly. Do loud kirtana. Let that person hear this transcendental sound vibration. This is most important thing. If it touches the ear of such a person or persons, they will gradually develop sraddha.
When Srila Prabhupada went to the West, this is what he did. He only took a pair of kartalas and would go to some park; hippies are rolling there intoxicated. Srila Prabhupada sat down and started to chant:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Srila Prabhupada would only chant. He filled the whole atmosphere with this transcendental sound vibration. It had an immediate natural attraction. Krishna is all-attractive and His holy name is also all attractive. This is because the name of Krishna is non-different from Krishna, it has a natural attraction. So those hippies were automatically attracted to hear, you see. In this way he inculcated sraddha unto them, then later he instructed them Ė this is the way. Otherwise if you are speaking to such a faithless person about the glories of holy name, you will commit offence.
Anya-Subha-Karma Saha Harinama Saman
subha-kriya-samyam api pramadah
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.17]
To consider chanting of Hare Krsna one of the auspicious ritualistic
activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities (Karma-kanda)
8) Eighth nama-aparadha: To consider the chanting of Hare Krishna as one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities.
To think this chanting of ‘Hare Krishna’ is as good as other auspicious activities, that is offence. I told you and we repeatedly tell you – the name of Krishna and Krishna are non-non-different. As Krishna is absolute His name is also absolute. Nobody will be equal with Krishna. Krishna is Supreme, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. Nobody will be equal with Krishna, similarly nothing will be equal with His holy name. So if someone thinks that chanting ‘Hare Krishna’ is as good as performing any auspicious activity, he commits this offence. Generally mayavadis, impersonalists think like this or say like this. So if someone associates with such mayavadis he will naturally commit this offence.
Nama Grahana Samaye Asavadhanata Anavadhanta
To be inattentive while chanting
9) Ninth nama-aparadha: to be inattentive while chanting.
While chanting this name, the maha-mantra, with your beads given by guru at the time of initiation, one should not be inattentive. One should fix his mind on Krishna, you understand? That means, when we instruct you to chant sixteen rounds minimum daily, this means that chanting should be done very, very carefully, with much attention, putting your full attention on Krishna. The mind is naturally fluctuating, fickle, oscillating; it is natural. So, in order to complete our rounds we sometimes become inattentive and chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Ram Ram Ram Ram Ram... like this. The mind is fluctuating, going here and there. Chanting is going on one side, mind is going on the other side; this is an offence. One should not do this.
So one who has this nature, fickle mind, fluctuating mind, he should be very, very careful to finish his rounds as far as possible in the early morning, brahma-muhurta period, that is from 4 am to 6 am. That is a very suitable time. At that time the mind will not fluctuate so much and will very easily concentrate on chanting. During the other times of the day it will fluctuate. During brahma-muhurta period most people have not gotten up from the bed, so no other vibration has come into the atmosphere and the atmosphere is very calm. So one can very easily concentrate his mind at that time of brahma-muhurta – between 4 am and 6 am; a very congenial period.
During the brahma-muhurta period try to complete as many rounds as possible then you will not commit such offence. The rest of the rounds you may complete when all have gone to bed. When it is a calm atmosphere, no other thoughts will enter into the mind. So complete it and then go to bed. This is an easy way to avoid this offence and complete our rounds. This noon time, mid-day, 10 am, 11 am, 2 pm, is very difficult. So this is a very easy way to complete your rounds as far as possible during the period: 4 am to 6 am and you will feel very nice the whole day. If you can chant nicely then that day you feel very nice and you can very easily face maya and counteract it. Otherwise you’ll feel very uneasy. Maya will overcome you, that’s a fact. One should not commit this offence.
Another thing is there I would like to add. If at first, while chanting ‘Hare Krishna’ one cannot concentrate on the form of Krishna, it is better to chant before the Deities in the temple, look at the Deities and chant so that you can very easily concentrate. If this is not possible then chant before a photograph of Radha-Krishna and chant in the association of vaisnavas-sadhus. These are the processes so that the mind will not fluctuate. This should be done and when by this practice the mind will become fixed, then no harm, you are safe now. Such a person can chant in any place because the mind is fixed. He is never disturbed by outward noise or anything. But as long as you have not achieved this stage, you should do like this.
Aham-Mama Buddhi Tyaga Nakariba
srute ‘pi nama-mahatmye yah priti-rahito 'dhamah
aham-mamadi-paramo namni so ‘py aparadha-krt
[Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda 25.18]
To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter. [I and mine mentality]
10) Tenth nama-aparadha: to not have complete faith in chanting of the holy name and to maintain material attachments even after understanding so many instructions on this matter. The ‘I and Mine’ mentality.
The spiritual master is giving so many instructions, devotees are everyday listening to guru, speaking Srimad-Bhagavatam. Many instructions are there and they repeatedly say, ‘Everything belongs to Krishna.’
amara’ bolite prabhu! are kichu nai
[Atma-Nivedana Song 5, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Saranagati]
Nothing which I can say is mine or 'I and mine.' I am the eternal servant of Krishna, I belong to Krishna. I don't belong to me. I belong to Krishna. My body, my mind, my speech, everything that I can say 'mine' belongs to Krishna, amara' bolite prabhu! are kichu nai. There is nothing which I can say 'mine'. Gurudeva, the spiritual master says this repeatedly. All the sastras, all the acaryas, all the mahajanas, all have said like this and repeatedly say like this. So in spite of repeatedly listening to these things and being initiated by guru, if someone still says 'I and mine', he commits this offense.
This is the last offense, the tenth offense. So be careful and keep all these ten offenses in your mind. Every day just read it and/or remember it and try to avoid committing these offences, one after another.
So try to take the utmost care to avoid these offenses, one after another: number one, number two, number three, like that. In this way be offenseless and chant the offenseless nama. Chant the pure nama, so you’ll get krsna-prema, you'll get Krishna, otherwise you cannot get.
Guru is giving you Krishna, giving Krsna-nama. Giving the name of Krishna means giving you Krishna. ‘Take Krishna.’ If you are very eager to get Krishna, always praying to Gurudeva, 'please give me Krishna, please give me Krishna, please shower your mercy on me, I want Krishna,’ then it will be possible.
krsna se tomara, krsna dite paro,
tomara sakati ache
ami to’ kangala, 'krsna' 'krsna' boli’,
dhai tava pache pache
[Ohe Vaisnava Thakura, Saranagati, vs.4, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura]
You should understand, we sing this song very often, “O Gurudeva, Vaisnava Thakura, Krishna belongs to you. Krishna belongs to you!" Do you understand? "You have bound up Krishna in your heart. Krsna cannot leave your heart, he is unable to leave... so Krishna belongs to you. I want Krishna, I am very eager, I am very serious. How can I get Krishna.”
So you are running after such a Guru, “Oh please Gurudeva, O Vaisnava Thakura, please shower your mercy on me, please give me Krishna, give me!”
Like a beggar, a penniless person, follows a wealthy person, “Please give me one penny! Please give me one penny!" Similarly, you are running behind Guru saying, "Please give me Krishna, please give me Krishna. I am poor, I am devoid of Krishna.” Do you understand?
Then the Vaisnava Thakura is merciful, he showers his mercy on you, “Alright I’ll give you Krishna, take Krishna, now I am giving you Krishna, take Krishna!" His name is non-different from Krishna. So take care of Him. The slightest negligence, carelessness will cause you to loose Krishna. Mind it very carefully. Krishna will go away from you, then you will cry, "Alas, Oh, I lost Krishna, where is Krishna?" Then what shall be done?
So guru is so kind, he showers his mercy and gives you Krishna, “Take Krishna but take care of Him very nicely, very carefully, otherwise the slightest negligence will cause you to loose Krishna.” Be very careful!
Thank you very much!