Assignment 10

Babhru Das - February 14, 2006 9:06 pm

Exploring the Ocean of The Nectar of Devotion

Assignment 10


Read Chapter 8 of The Nectar of Devotion, “Offenses to be Avoided.” The chapter covers verses 118-120 of the second wave of Bhaktirasamrita-sindhu’s Eastern Division. Its sole subject is the nineteenth item of sadhana-bhakti discussed earlier: seva-namaparadha varjanam, carefully avoiding offenses in serving the Deity and in chanting the holy name. Here are the verses themselves:

118 (Lord Varaha addressing the goddess of the Earth, in the Varaha Purana):

mamarcanapradha ye kirtyante vasudhe maya

vaishnavena dasa te tu varjaniyah prayatnatah

“Oh Earth! All those offenses concerning My service (in arcana or Deity worship) that I have described must always be diligently avoided by all vaisnavas.”


119-120 (from Padma Purana):

sarvaparadha krid api mucyate hari samhrayah

harer apy aparadhan yah kuryad dvi-pada pamsanah

namasrayah kadacit syat taraty eva sa namatah

namno hi sarva suhrido hy aparadhat pataty adhah

Even someone who commits all these offenses (alluded to in the previous verse) may be freed by taking shelter of the Holy Name. But one who deliberately uses the Holy Name in this way offends the Name, thus neutralizing its effect. An offender to the Holy Name has no chance for deliverance.


As you read this chapter, please take any notes you find may be helpful, writing down any questions that may arise, any thoughts or memories the reading brings, anything that doesn’t seem clear or whose relevance may be hard to understand, especially for those of us who came to Krishna consciousness from Western culture. We could certainly spend a good deal of time discussing the offenses in Deity worship, and we could spend even more time discussing the offenses against the Holy Name. Some things you may want to write about could include which offenses in Deity worship seem more relevant to your life, or harder to avoid, than others, or which offenses against the Holy Name concern you more than others.

Babhru Das - February 14, 2006 9:57 pm

Exploring the Ocean of The Nectar of Devotion

Supplement to Assignment 10:

The Ten Offenses to be Avoided in Chanting the Holy Name


The ten offences against the Holy Name to be avoided are enumerated in the Padma Purana:

satam ninda-namnah param aparadham vitanute

yatah khyatim yatam katham u sahate tad vigarham

sivasya sri visnor ya iha

guna namadi sakalam

dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu


guror avajna sruti-sastra-nindanam

tatharthavado hari namni kalpanam

namno balad yasya hi papabuddhi

na vidyate yasya yamair hi suddhih


subha-kriya samyam api pramadah

asraddadhane vimukhe’py asrinvati

yas copadesah siva-namaparadhah

srute’pi nama-mahatmye yah priti rahito narah

aham mamadi paramo namni so’py aparadha-krit

"The ten offences against the Holy Name are: (1) To blaspheme saintly devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the glories of the Holy Name. (2) To consider demigods as being independent of the Supreme Lord’s control or equal to Him. (3) To disobey the orders of the spiritual master and other elevated Vaisnavas. (4) To disrespect the revealed scriptures. (5) To consider the glories of the Holy Name as exaggerated or imaginary. (6) To give some concocted interpretation on the meanings of the Holy Name. (7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of the Holy Name. (8) To think the chanting of the Holy Name is like other pious deeds. (9) To reveal the glories or give initiation into the chanting of the Holy Name to the faithless. And, (10), even after hearing the glories of the Holy Name, to not have faith in the chanting and maintain material attachments."

(From Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Dasa-mula Tattva)



There are ten offenses to avoid in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. The first offense is to blaspheme great personalities who are engaged in distributing the holy name of the Lord. It is said in the sastra (Cc. Antya 7.11), krishna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana: one cannot distribute the holy names of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra unless he is empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not criticize or blaspheme a devotee who is thus engaged.

Sri Padma Purana states:

satam ninda namnah paramam aparadham vitanute

yatah khyatim yatam katham u sahate tad-vigarham

To blaspheme the great saintly persons who are engaged in preaching the glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the worst offense at the lotus feet of the holy name. One should not criticize a preacher of the glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. If one does so, he is an offender. The Nama-prabhu, who is identical with Krishna, will never tolerate such blasphemous activities, even from one who passes as a great devotee.

The second namaparadha is described as follows:

sivasya sri-visnor ya iha guna-namadi-sakalam

dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu hari-namahita-karah

In this material world, the holy name of Visnu is all-auspicious. Visnu’s name, form, qualities and pastimes are all transcendental, absolute knowledge. Therefore, if one tries to separate the Absolute Personality of Godhead from His holy name or His transcendental form, qualities and pastimes, thinking them to be material, that is offensive. Similarly, to think that the names of demigods such as Lord Siva are as good as the name of Lord Vishnu—or, in other words, to think that Lord Siva and the other demigods are other forms of God and are therefore equal to Vishnu—is also blasphemous. This is the second offense at the lotus feet of the holy name of the Lord.

The third offense at the lotus feet of the holy name, which is called guror avajna, is to consider the spiritual master to be material and therefore to envy his exalted position. The fourth offense (sruti-sastra-nindanam) is to blaspheme Vedic literatures such as the four Vedas and the Puranas. The fifth offense (artha-vadah) is to consider the glories of the holy name to be exaggerations. Similarly, the sixth offense (hari-namni kalpanam) is to consider the holy name of the Lord to be imaginary.

The seventh offense is described as follows:

namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhir

na vidyate tasya yamair hi suddhih

To think that since the Hare Krishna mantra can counteract all sinful reactions one may therefore go on with his sinful activities and at the same time chant the Hare Krishna mantra to neutralize them is the greatest offense at the lotus feet of hari-nama.

The eighth offense is stated thus:


subha-kriya-samyam api pramadah

It is offensive to consider the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra to be a religious ritualistic ceremony. Performing religious ceremonies, following vows and practicing renunciation and sacrifice are all materialistic auspicious activities. The chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra must not be compared to such materialistic religiosity. This is an offense at the lotus feet of the holy name of the Lord.

The ninth offense is described as follows:

asraddadhane vimukhe ’py asrinvati

yas copadesah siva-namaparadhah

It is an offense to preach the glories of the holy name among persons who have no intelligence or no faith in the subject matter. Such people should be given the chance to hear the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, but in the beginning they should not be instructed about the glories or the spiritual significance of the holy name. By constant hearing of the holy name, their hearts will be purified, and then they will be able to understand the transcendental position of the holy name.

The tenth offense is as follows:

srute ’pi nama-mahatmye yah priti-rahito narah

aham-mamadi-paramo namni so ’py aparadha-krit

If one has heard the glories of the transcendental holy name of the Lord but nevertheless continues in a materialistic concept of life, thinking “I am this body and everything belonging to this body is mine [aham mameti SB 5.5.8],” and does not show respect and love for the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, that is an offense.

(From the purport to Cc. Adi 8.25)

Bhrigu - February 19, 2006 2:53 pm

I find the lists of seva-aparadhas to be quite interesting. The lists are taken from Sri Jiva Goswami's commentary, and comparing Prabhupada's translation with that of Bon Maharaja cleared up many things that I always found strange. Thank you Babhru for prompting me to check these things!


(7) One should not circumambulate in front of Sri Krishna.


Dancing around in a circle in front of the altar is a standard practice in ISKCON. Makes me wonder whether the new Audarya temple will have a "parikrama path" around the altar, like in Gaudiya Matha temples? Bon Maharaja translates this one as "loitering about before the Figure of the Lord". The sanskrit word used is parikrama, and while the dictionary does not give "loitering about" as a translation for it, I notice that Syamadasa understands it in the same way in his Hindi translation. Predictably, Haberman doesn't even give the whole list.


(29) One should not offer obeisances silently to the spiritual master, or in other words, one should recite aloud the prayers to the spiritual master while offering obeisances.


I often just mumble them through. But how loud is "aloud"? Reading them out loud and clear every time would feel kind of weird, I would think that Guru Maharaja would be annoyed. Bon Maharaja gives "showing respects to or saluting anybody in the presence of the Lord's figure in the temple", a rather long translation of pareSAm anuvAdanam, saluting others.


(30) One should not fail to offer some praise in the presence of the spiritual master.


Does this mean prayers, cries of "Jaya!" or general praise (you're so great, Gurudeva)? I couldn't imagine Guru Maharaja liking a whole roomful of people engaging in that every time he enters. Or perhaps one could mentally offer some praise? Here the sanskrit is simply gurau maunam -- silence in the presence of the guru (Bon Maharaja: "keeping mum before one's Spiritual Preceptor").


In the list from Varaha Purana, Srila Prabhupada skips the first: rAjAnna-bhakSaNam -- eating the food of the king, one that can be undestood as eating opulent food or living on the king's or government's support (Bon Maharaja's understanding). At any rate, it has interesting consequences.


(5) One should not break silence while worshiping.


I'm not sure that I understand what this means. One will be saying mantras all the time while doing worship. Perhaps speaking to others?


(7) One should not offer incense without offering some flower.


The sanskrit actually says "fragrant flower garlands", but I guess this is more about the order of offering items (flowers come just before incense, not the other way around) than a direct prohibition against offering just incense.


(8) Useless flowers without any fragrance should not be offered.


This is a difficult rule to follow up here in the winter. The sanskrit is anarhapuSpa, unsuitable flowers. Bon Maharaja gives "forbidden flowers", which I feel is a bit too strong. There is a whole list of suitable and unsuitable flowers in the HBV (Vilasa 8), but most of either are not available up here. I know that in India, they will not offer red flowers to Krishna (except roses) and some others considered belonging to other gods.


(13) One should not enter the temple wearing garments of red or blue color or garments which are unwashed.


No clues for this in the sanskrit or Bon Maharaja. I can understand the prohibition against the red colour of the mayavadins, but blue? Nila could mean black as well, the colour of tantrics.


(25) One should not offer a flower which was kept in an unclean pot.


Bon Maharaja translates eraNDapatrasthapuSpair arcaNam more accurately as "to worship the Figure of the Lord with flowers of castor-oil plants". Srila Prabhupada omits the next, AsurakAle pUjA, worship at a demoniac time (such as solar eclipse).


(27) One should not touch the Deity before one has completed taking bath.


Bon Maharaja has here, more accurately, "to touch the Figure of the Lord with the left hand at the time of bathing Him". Srila Prabhupada then skips "to worship with stale flowers or flowers which have already been asked for by others", "to spit at the time of worship", and "to gloat over one's act of worship of the Lord".


(28) One should not decorate his forehead with the three-lined tilaka.


Bon Maharaja has "to put on upward Vaisnava-mark curved on the forhead", but here Srila Prabhupada is more accurate. TiryaNc means horizontal, so what is implied here is the three-lined tilaka of the Smartas or Shaivas.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - February 21, 2006 10:58 pm

Can anybody explain what "one should not introduce any opposing scripture" means? Another quite interesting quote "One should begin the worship of the demigod Ganapati, who drives away all impediments in the execution of devotional service. In the Brahma-samhita it is stated that Ganapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva and in that way has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore, all devotees should worship Ganapati." I never seen murti of Ganapati in any ISKCON temple.


In this chapter it's clearly explained how easy it is to commit seva aparadha while following arcana-vidhi, especially for people who haven't been brought up in Vedic culture. Makes you think twice before establishing home temple, but then how do you do food offering? Hmmm, dilemma. This seems to help -- "In the Padma Purana it is stated that even a person whose life is completely sinful will be completely protected by the Lord if he simply surrenders unto Him. So it is accepted that one who surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes free from all sinful reactions. And even when a person becomes an offender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he can still be delivered simply by taking shelter of the holy names of the Lord." So taking shelter of the holy names seems to remedy seva aparadha. But then "if one becomes an offender to the holy names of the Lord, then he has no chance of being delivered." Seem like a bigger problem -- no chance of being delivered at all. Trnad api su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna, but then how can you be that tolerant? It's a problem for me and I daily fight with myself, but it's a very difficult battle. Most of the time I'm losing.

Bhrigu - February 22, 2006 9:11 am
Can anybody explain what "one should not introduce any opposing scripture" means?


The sanskrit here is anya-zAstra-pravartana, "introducing other scriptures". Bon Maharaja translates it as "introducing zAstra other than authentic sacred Scriptures for worship of Lord ViSNu", which I think is correct, as we are speaking of arcana all along. There are so many manuals and scriptures about deity worship. I think this speaks about the danger of introducing scriptures pertaining to other deities or sampradayas. The goswamis do quote e.g. the Sakta text ZAradA-tilaka, but only select parts: they never say "use this book for your puja".


Bon Maharaja gives the Ganesa rule like this: "to worship Lord ViSNu without worshipping Sri GaNeSa first". Traditionally, Ganesa is the god of all beginnings, and always worshipped before one worships anyone else. In the HBV, Ganesa is worshipped together with other parsadas of the Lord at the beginning of the main puja, but very briefly. This has been changed in modern Gaudiya Vaishnavism (at least in the groups following Srila Saraswati Thakura) so that worship of the guru takes the place of Ganesa worship. The idea is the same: we ask for permission for the main puja.

Igor - February 22, 2006 4:49 pm

In beginning of this chapter we can see how devotional service is science that is changing it’s external form according to time, place and circumstances. We can find glimpse in this dynamic spirit of bhakti.

For example


“Other rules are that one should not offer foodstuff which is cooked by a non-Vaiṣṇava”


We know this standard for for arcana, Deity worship, but in this modern, industrial time for most people that is not practical. Or “cooked” means directly prepared on fire, not industrial, raw or semi-raw products?


“one should not worship the Deity before a nondevotee”

Can anyone explain it why?


“One should begin the worship of the demigod Gaṇapati”

Also very interesting point, Bhrigu already explained it above. Question arise- if devotees are on this way told in NOD to worship Ganapati for further spiritual advancement, is it all right to worship others like Shiva? In Bhagavad Gita we can see that pure devotion service is mam eva ye prapadyate – surrender unto Me ( Krsna) exclusively, so this statement of worshiping Ganapati is interesting.

Bhrigu - February 22, 2006 7:17 pm
We know this standard for for arcana, Deity worship, but in this modern, industrial time for most people that is not practical. Or “cooked” means directly prepared on fire, not industrial, raw or semi-raw products?


I don't claim to by any means follow all the rules myself, but I never found this one that impractical. Still, come to think of it, there are some foodstuffs that have been "cooked", that is, prepared by nondevotees that I do use when cooking for the Lord, such as cheese and yoghurt. I'm not sure where to draw the line. I would never offer a store-bought pizza to the Lord, or a bar of chocolate -- but I do know that in India almost all temples buy the offering sweets from stores.


“one should not worship the Deity before a nondevotee”

Can anyone explain it why?


I think it has to do with the puja being an intimate thing between the devotee and the deity.


Question arise- if devotees are on this way told in NOD to worship Ganapati for further spiritual advancement, is it all right to worship others like Shiva?


The worship of Ganesa is not so much for further advancement, it is more a question of etiquette, to not just rush into the presence of the Lord but to first honour his attendants. But yes, when Durga asked Shiva about the highest object of worship, Siva said ...tadIyAnAM samarcanam, worship of those dear to Vishnu. For that reason, Gaudiya Vaishnavas worship the guru and sometimes Shiva (especially in his GopIzvara form) thinking that he is a great devotee.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - February 22, 2006 7:27 pm

Could "one should not worship the Deity before a nondevotee" be related to "instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name"? Or to disclosing secret/sacred mantras to non-qualified? Seems to be a closely related principle.

Igor - February 23, 2006 10:46 am

I think you are right Nanda-tanuja. Hm, it seems that acintya-bhedabheda principle is evident here! From one side we should not “instruct a faithless person” and from other side we can see in examples of previous acaryas that they preached to all classes of man and wrote books for everyone. From one side one should not worship Deity in front of faithless persons, and from other side we have example of Ratha-yatra and similar occasions where Lord is object of worship and large audience is present. :D

Bhrigu - February 23, 2006 11:35 am
and from other side we have example of Ratha-yatra and similar occasions where Lord is object of worship and large audience is present.


The exception that confirms the rule! :D

Bhrigu - February 26, 2006 3:47 pm

I just noticed that in his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu-bindu, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti mentions the sevaparadhas but instead of the "Ganesa"-rule, he writes [it is forbidden] "to worship the Lord after seeing a KapAlika [scull-carrying followers of Shiva] without first worshipping Lord NRsiMhadeva." I don't know how he gets that out of the Sanskrit, but at least it takes care of the question of demigod worship! :D


Babhruji, are you still there? We haven't heard anything from you in what seems ages.

Babhru Das - February 27, 2006 9:30 pm

Yes, I'm here. I've been enjoying the conversation. I've always had questions about many of the offenses in archana, but haven't been able to make much sense of some, and this study does help to a degree. At least it gets us thinking about them.


I have often wondered just where to draw the line in the matter of food cooked by non-vaishnavas. What about pasta? Maybe it's not cooked, but just dried. Tortillas? And, as you all point out, in our industrialized society the temptation for shortcuts is hard to avoid, such as canned tomato paste, etc. It's best, of course, to be able to do everything yourself, but those of us condemned to chasing a dollar sometimes find that difficult.


With regard to not worshiping the Deity before non-devotees, I think that the puja such as we perform in the morning is an intimate thing. I was surprised to find that my old friend Turiya das performs his morning puja for his Girirajas and Shalagram-shilas so anyone who comes to the temple may view him doing so. Of course, one could make a case that anyone who comes to his place, which is kind of off the beaten track, at 7:00 am must be a vaishnava of some sort.


What about those offenses against the holy names? Any comments or questions about them?

Babhru Das - February 27, 2006 9:44 pm

In this chapter it's clearly explained how easy it is to commit seva aparadha while following arcana-vidhi, especially for people who haven't been brought up in Vedic culture. Makes you think twice before establishing home temple, but then how do you do food offering? Hmmm, dilemma.


For those too busy, it's easy to have a simple altar with pictures of guru-varga (or just guru?) and Gaura-Nitai or Pancha-tattva. For several years, my personal Deities were a small Gaura-Nitai picture given to me by my friend Siddhasvarupa and a picture of Srila Prabhupada having his head massaged by Goursundar, our temple president and GBC, with one of my Tulasi plants in front. I had these together in a little double-framed thing. Some time later, in 1975, my friend Brishni, a scupltor who fashioned the first Pancha-tattva murtis, which Srila Prabhupada installed in Honolulu in 1972, gave me Gaura-Nitai as a birthday gift. They seemed like natural Deities for a guy from the old Honolulu temple, so we installed Them a couple of weeks later at a Janmastami festival we had at our house here on the Big Island, with many devotees and guests in attendance. Much more recently, a devotee gave me Sri Murali-monohara, our Shalagram-shila, and then our Girirajas. Since we've been here, we've been taking care of our Godbrother Niscintya's Jagannath Deities, and more recently, our Godsister Aditi's Radha-Madhava. So our worship has become quite a production. For myself, I was perfectly happy with simple worship of Sri Sri Nitai-Goursundar and our shilas. But Krishna seems to be taking over my life.

Vrindaranya Dasi - March 1, 2006 12:48 am

It is really striking in this chapter the plethora of rules for arcana compared to the succinct list of offenses for chanting the holy name. Also, in addition to a difference in the quantity of aparadhas mentioned for arcana and chanting, there is a difference in the quality or nature of the aparadhas. Whereas the aparadhas for arcana are specific almost to the point of being nit-picky, the aparadhas for chanting are transgressing fundamental principles of Vaisnavism. For example, one aparadha in the arcana section pertains to how to sit and in comparison, an aparadha in the chanting the holy name section is to consider the glories of chanting the holy name imagination. So for the devotee who has sraddha, there seems to be less potential to make aparadha in chanting than in arcana (other than that tricky tenth namaparadha!). It is no wonder that the yuga-dharma is nama-sankirtana!


I’ve been reading Encounters with Divinity by Srila Sridhara Maharaja, and he makes some nice points about nama-bhajana and arcana. He says that Mahaprabhu did not give much stress to arcana and asks why, then, the Goswamis installed Deities when the holy name would suffice. Srila Sridhara Maharaja relates that Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur once answered this by pointing out that the Goswamis’ worship of the Deities was actually bhajana and not just arcana, which, Srila Sridhara Maharaja says, is generally found in the Ramanuja section. He gives the famous example of Sanatana Goswami and his Madana Mohan Deity arguing over whether or not salt should be offered as proof that the Goswamis were engaged in direct service (bhajana) and not mere ritualistic worship. So, in summary, there are gradations of arcana, and the highest level actually transcends arcana and becomes bhajana.

Bhrigu - March 1, 2006 12:57 pm
(other than that tricky tenth namaparadha!).


That's why I feel the seva-aparadhas are easier to avoid! Yes, there are so many more seva-aparadhas than nama-aparadhas, but since they are so mechanical you can manage to (barely) avoid them. But the "to retain material attachments even after hearing so many instructions..."! I always felt that was kind of a "catch all" aparadha, especially since it comes at the end. On the other hand, I guess that's why the pure name is called the pure name -- there really is no shortcut available, you just have to be pure to chant it.

Igor - March 1, 2006 3:00 pm
You just have to be pure to chant it

Divine philosophy of acintya-bheda-abheda is on the stage again! Chanting of the Holy Name is highest purification activity, and on the same time we need to be pure to chant it!

Babhru Das - March 2, 2006 1:52 am

Ah, yes--that pesky business about maintaining material attachment. I thought I had something on that somewhere, but now I'm not sure where. In the meantime, because I tend to complicate things for discussion, here's something from Harinama-chintamani about inattentive chanting:


Harinama Cintamani: Chapter 12 - Inattention While Chanting


jaya jaya mahaprabhu jaya bhakta-gana

yaìhara prasade kari nama-saìkirtana

Haridasa spoke, "To Sanatana Gosvami in Puri and to Gopala Bhaööa when You travelled to South India, You taught the importance of performing one's chanting without inattention. Inattention is counted as one of the aparadhas. Even if one successfully overcomes all the other offenses in chanting, and one is chanting continuously, love of God may not come. One should know that the reason for this is that one is committing the offense known as pramada, or inattention. This offense will block progress to prema. "Pramada may mean madness, but here the meaning is inattention or carelessness. It is from this offense that all other offenses spring. The wise men recognize three types of inattention: indifference or no attention, laziness, and distraction (attraction to other objects).


"By good fortune, after getting faith, a jiva will take up the name. By chanting regularly, counting on a Tulasi mala carefully, he will develop attraction for the name. However, until that attraction has actually developed, one must be very careful about how one chants. Naturally, the common man, having attachment to material things, will be attracted to these things even while chanting. Though chanting japa daily, if his taste is elsewhere, he will show indifference to the name. His heart will not be absorbed in chanting the name but in some material object. How can that benefit him? He may chant 64 rounds counting strictly on his japa beads, but in his heart he has not received one drop of the taste of the name. This indifference or apathy towards the name is one type of inattention. In the heart of a materialist it is unavoidable.


"If indifference or lack of attraction for the name is present, one should take association of Vaiñëavas who are properly chanting in some place sheltered from the material influence. By chanting in that situation, his absorption in material things will be reduced; being inspired by the conduct of the Vaiñëavas, he will give up that fault. Gradually the heart will get attraction for the name and will be anxious for the nectar of the name. The advanced devotees have recommended that one live in a place where Krishna had His pastimes, near Tulasi, in the company of Vaiñëavas and gradually increase the period of chanting. Quickly the taste for material objects will go. Another remedy is to carefully chant in a room by oneself with the door locked, or concentrate on the name by covering the eyes, ears and nose with a cloth or the like to prevent stimuli from the exterior. Carefully chanting in this way, an attraction or taste for the name will develop and indifference will be suppressed.


"If one chants with a sluggish mind, or after chanting a little, one has to stop before finishing his round, it is called laziness. From this, one's taste for the name cannot develop. The remedy for this is to take association of Vaiñëavas who do not waste time in material activity, but constantly chant and remember the holy name, being absorbed only in the name. One should follow in their footsteps. When one sees how the true Vaiñëava or sadhu does not waste time in useless pursuits, he will develop a taste to do likewise. In his mind he will think, "very good." By this, enthusiasm will come to the lazy mind and he will overcome the offense of laziness or inertia. One will become determined to increase his chanting everyday. By this eagerness in his rounds and by the mercy of the devotees, the offense of inertia will quickly go away.

"One should be careful to eliminate the third type of inattention—distraction. From distraction all types of inattention are born. This fault resides in attraction for women (or men, in the case of women) and wealth, attraction for material success or victory, desire for position, and the cheating propensity. If one has attraction in any of these categories, one will naturally be inattentive to the holy name. One should be careful to eliminate these fixations by following the proper Vaisnava behavior. On ekadasis and appearance days one should stop thinking of eating and all day and night chant in the association of devotees. In this way one will joyfully engage in devotional activities, listening to scriptures of the Lord in association with the Lord's servants, in the Lord's dhama. Gradually the bhakti portion of one's mind will increase and the mind will rejoice in hearing topics about Krishna. The higher taste will come and the lower taste will go. Upon hearing songs about Krishna from the mouths of the pure devotees, one's mind and ears will taste the real nectar. In this way the desire for low material objects will disappear and the heart will be constantly fixed and attracted to singing the name. By avoiding the offense of distraction, one will be able to indulge in the nectar of name.


"One should thus never be inattentive to complete one's prescribed number of daily rounds. This should be noted day by day. When chanting these prescribed rounds, one should avoid the different types of inattentiveness. Giving up the desire to increase the number of rounds for show, one should attempt to first concentrate nicely on what one can manage. Therefore, the devotee starts by chanting with full concentration in a peaceful place for a short time. He will always be praying to the Lord that he will chant clear, attentive rounds with the mind fixed on Krishna; for on one's own one cannot accomplish anything. Krishna‘s grace is necessary to cross the ocean of material existence. Being anxious in heart, one should beg for mercy, and because Krishna is merciful, He will help. Whoever does not try for that mercy is very unfortunate."


That person who has attained the ornament of the touchstone of the holy name still aspires for the two feet of Haridasa Thakura.

Babhru Das - March 9, 2006 7:26 pm

Are we done with offenses? ( I wish I were!) If so, we can move on to the next chapter. Just let me know. I may not be able to get it up right away because we've had power outages today due to very heavy rain, and I want to get my first lecture summary in today.

Vrindaranya Dasi - March 12, 2006 11:08 pm

I'm sure we can churn more from the Inattentive Chanting excerpt, but I know that I for one am going to have a difficult time posting until after the festival next weekend...


If others want to move on though, it's OK with me.

Babhru Das - March 13, 2006 11:13 pm

I'll leave things as they are for now, assuming that the silence may largely be due to festival engagements. I would also like to see some discussion of nama-aparadhas, and of the discussion of inattention, but I will probably have to work a little harder to get the churning going. (No perspiration or loose hair ribbons here, anyway. :rolleyes: )

Nitai Joseph - February 28, 2007 12:34 pm

Sorry to reignite this topic, but this chapter is quite confusing to me. Specifically I am wondering if the 32 devotional offenses and the 29 that follow are all applicable to us in the present day? Ive heard that Srila Prabhupada said they are not all applicable, like not wearing red or blue in front of the deity...Don't know if it's true, theres a lot of "Prabhupada said" floating around out there.


Or for example, at the temple here in Baltimore, we only have maybe 8 little rugs, so if there are more than 8 people someone has to sit on the bare floor, are these people making an offense?


"One should not enter the temple after seeing a dead body."--So if I am on my way to the temple and I see a dead animal on the side of the road, should I turn around and go home?


"One should not worship the deity before a non-devotee"--Doesn't this go on everywhere? I know in Baltimore at the sunday feast we are just hoping a non-devotee might show up(rarely), since outreach is the intention of the sunday feast, and the whole Sankirtan movement.


Earlier on this topic someone mentioned that this last offense^ seems similar to "One should not instruct a faithless person about the glories of the Holy Name" Just wanted to mention I read somewhere(I think Srila Sridhar Maharaja, not sure) that this means initiation. That one should not give the Name to faithless in the sense of initiation. Just thought I'd throw that in the mix.


Again sorry to bring back the aparadhas, but what else is an aparadhi to do?! If people are tired of talking about it then thats fine.

Bhrigu - February 28, 2007 1:20 pm

Others may have different opinions, but I think these things are important. After all, they are concerned with the direct cultivation of sadhana-bhakti. As for your examples, sitting on an asana is mainly important when doing puja. "Dead body" obviously refers to human bodies, but otherwise you can purify yourself by looking at the sun, chanting mantras or something like that. "Worship of the deities" means the main puja, dressing the Murtis etc which is always done beyond closed curtains. Arati is another thing, expressly meant for outreach. And yes, that is how "instructing the faithless..." is often understood, but it may also mean revealing unnecessarily esoteric things to them, stuff that they can't fathom and that might make them make offences.

Swami - February 28, 2007 3:04 pm

Ive heard that Srila Prabhupada said they are not all applicable, like not wearing red or blue in front of the deity...Don't know if it's true, theres a lot of "Prabhupada said" floating around out there.


I believe that red an blue were considered the colors of royalty. The idea being that roaylty should come before Bhagavan as a servant, just as Raja Prataparudra did when sweeping the road before Jaganatha Swami.

Gaurangi-priya Devi - February 28, 2007 4:44 pm
Ive heard that Srila Prabhupada said they are not all applicable, like not wearing red or blue in front of the deity...Don't know if it's true, theres a lot of "Prabhupada said" floating around out there.



I've also heard it expressed that blue and red are bright, flashy colors and the idea is that one shouldn't dress wanting attention on oneself especially when taking darshan of the Lord.

Babhru Das - March 1, 2007 6:10 am

Nitai, I don't think there's anything for you to apologize for; I'm grateful--and encouraged--that you brought some life here. I'm really happy that you asked your questions about NoD the other day, and that I was bold enough to invite you here.


I agree with Bhrigu about the asanas and worshiping the Deity in front of others. Those items refer to things such as our daily seva-puja. And I think we should attend to as many of these as is practicable. This helps us change our mind from one of seeking convenience or expedience to seeking to please the Lord. At the same time, we need to be aware that much of this business was, as Swami has said, for the purpose of showing outsiders who were part of Vedic culture that we are a real sampradaya. The list of aparadhas is not directly given in Bhaktirasamrita-sindhu, but in Srila JIva Goswami's commentary, taken from Sanatana Goswami's Haribhakti-vilasa.


One question I've often wondered about is offering useless flowers with no scent. Does that necessarily mean that all scentless flowers are useless? Orchids grow wild where I live; they're very pretty, but they don't have much scent that I can discern. I wonder about this because the flowers I grow on our property aren't always in bloom. And I've also seen it given as worshiping the Deity with forbidden flowers. Any ideas?