Srila Prabhupada on the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra
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In this article, we will extensively discuss the most important quotes of Srila Prabhupada and the scriptures about how the ten offenses affect our chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
Table of Contents
1] Misconceptions about offensive chanting of Hare Krishna 2] Guru can’t save you from the 10 offenses to Harinama 3] Why are you not feeling pure love by chanting? 4] The ten offenses to Hare Krishna are not skin deep 5] The ten offenses are infinite and insurmountable 6] The disease of the ten offenses has become chronic 7] Srila Prabhupada on the 10 offenses to Hare Krishna 8] Srila Bhaktisiddhanta on the 10 offenses to Hare Krishna
1) Misconceptions of some devotees about offensive chanting
Some devotees take the offenses they are committing in their daily chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra very lightly. They don’t even want to talk about these offenses as it is a very bitter and unpalatable pill for them.
They think it is a very negative topic to even think about.
They may think like how the ostrich thinks. The ostrich thinks that the leopard, who has come to eat him or her, can be made to go away simply by dunking the head in the sand and imagining that it is gone.
Some devotees think that to chant in whatever way they can; even while continuing to profusely commit the ten offenses to Harinama in thought, word, and deed; is just fine.
They think there will be no reactions because the Hare Krishna mantra or Srila Prabhupada will wave some magic wand and miraculously take care of these offenses.
They think that if they just keep forcing themselves to chant mechanically, trying to simply hear the sound of their chanting, their offenses will magically go away.
They think that simply by implementing some mechanical tips and tricks shared in so many articles online on how to improve chanting will magically fix the problem of their ten offenses against the Hare Krishna mantra.
If these mechanical tips could remove their 10 offenses, then Srila Haridasa Thakura would not have spoken the detailed philosophical treatise deeply analysing each of the ten offenses towards Harinama.
They think that uttering the Pancha Tattva mantra three or sixteen times before chanting Hare Krishna japa will fully eradicate their ten offenses in chanting.
If this is so, then why are they not chanting Harinama with pure love now since they are chanting the Pancha Tattva mantra a few times already?
2) Guru can’t save you from the 10 offenses
They think that their Guru will personally remove these ten offenses in Harinama for them. Unfortunately, the Guru just can’t do that.
However exalted he or she may be, the Guru is still not God and even God normally does not interfere with our free will.
What is the sense of our soul having the free will in the first place if the Guru or even the Lord Himself would force us to not commit any offenses?
If that were the case, why don’t God and Guru forcibly make us pure devotees in the first place?
Guru can’t save you from the ten offenses to the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. He may just be barely able to save himself but only if he is very advanced.
Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata 2.22.128-130 shockingly warns us that a Guru may not be able to protect even oneself if the Guru can’t stop the disciples from committing the ten offenses to Harinama.
vaishnavera ninda, karibeka jara gana; tara raksha samarthya, nahika kona.
vaishnava-nindaka-gana jahara ashraya; apanei edaite tahara samsaya.
bada adhikari haya, apane edaya; kshudra haile, gana-saha adhahpate yaya.
“No one has the power to save a Guru whose disciple enviously criticizes the devotees or deliberately commits the other nine offenses to Harinama.” (CB 2.2.128)
“In such a case, it is highly doubtful if a Guru, who has given shelter to those who criticize devotees, can save his or her own soul from falling down into the lower regions.” (CB 2.22.129)
“Only if such a Guru is highly advanced (bada adhikari), then the Guru just might be able to save one’s soul from the reactions to the offenses of such envious disciples”
“But in case the Guru is not advanced enough (kshudra haile) to nullify these reactions, he or she will be thrown into the hellish regions along with those critical-minded disciples.” (CB 2.22.130)
When the Lord Himself did not remove even the first of the ten offenses of Srila Durvasa Muni against Srila Ambarish Maharaja, how can these devotees have their heads in the sky thinking that they can nonchalantly keep on committing these ten offenses against Harinama?
But still they think that Sri Guru, Guru Parampara, Harinama, or the Lord Himself will somehow patiently keep on removing them on Their own magically.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta clearly refutes this in his purport to the verses of Lord Gaura’s proclamation in Sri Chaitanya Bhagavata 2.10.29-30:
“If a person knowingly or unknowingly blasphemes a devotee constantly engaged in the service of the Lord like Srila Murari Gupta and becomes envious of the devotees by claiming to have taken shelter of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and the Ganges, then Harinama and the Ganga actually destroy such a person rather than award him or her any benefit.”
3) Why are you not feeling love by chanting?
If mechanical tricks are removing the 10 offenses, then my humble question to every single devotee is this:
Why are you still not experiencing the stirrings of pure love for Krishna in your body even a little bit yet while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra then?
What is still stopping you from attaining this pure love or even some divine visions in Harinama, even though you “think” that your offenses are now over due to following the some mechanical tips to chant Harinama?
All the scriptures state that if one chants without offenses, then one instantly attains pure love of Krishna without a single moment’s delay. So if one is not feeling pure love, it is pretty clear that one is full with the 10 offenses to Harinama.
4) The ten offenses are not skin deep, lip deep, or superficial
To truly address this burning question, please consider the following scriptural quotes which make it clear that this problem of the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is not just superficially skin deep as we are assuming it to be.
Therefore, it cannot be removed by any mechanical means. It is actually much more complicated that that.
If the ten offenses against the Hare Krishna maha-mantra could be removed so easily, then why would the Supreme Lord Gaura Himself hear in such extreme detail about these ten offenses, in the form of one whole chapter for each offense, directly from the lotus mouth of Namacharya Srila Haridasa Thakura in Sri Harinama Chintamani?
Was it not too negative for the Lord to hear such topics like you may think it is for you? How could the Lord consider it so important when He Himself is totally aloof from these offenses as He is the Nami Himself?
The Lord is trying to instruct us by His own example about how we normal devotees should seriously learn about these ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra from every single angle of vision possible and how much do-or-die effort we should put in to avoid and destroy them at all costs.
It must be pretty obvious to you by now that these these ten offenses against the Hare Krishna mantra are much more serious, deep-rooted, chronic, and formidable than we think.
In fact, they are the very root causes of our continued and prolonged existence in this material world from time immemorial, with infinite suffering at every step.
5) The ten offenses to Hare Krishna are infinite and insurmountable in Kaliyuga
Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya
Sri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya 1.51 and 1.48 bluntly speak this same truth to open our eyes to this looming danger of these offenses in Kaliyuga:
kali jivera aparadha asankhya durvara (ndm 1.51)
“The offenses of the souls in Kaliyuga are endless (asankhya) and can’t be overcome by any kind of means (durvara).”
6) The disease of our offenses has gone viral and so deep-rooted in these degraded times
Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya
ebe kali ghora haila, roga haila bhari; kathina aushadha bina nivarite nari. (ndm 1.48)
“As Kaliyuga has become unbelievably more ghastly (ghora), the material disease (of our offenses) has also become more and more chronically incurable. Thus it can no longer be cured (nivarite) by the normal means which may have otherwise have worked before.”
“In this ill-fated Kaliyuga, it now requires the most powerful, topmost, extreme, liberal, all-forgiving, merciful, and incisive medicine (kathina) there is in the treasure-house and arsenal of Krishna in the spiritual world to truly obliterate this disease of the ten offenses from the very root.”
7) Srila Prabhupada on the 10 offenses to Hare Krishna
It is very difficult to achieve pure love of Krishna by offensively chanting the Hare Krishna mantra
The following open purport by Srila Prabhupada to Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 1.8.31 makes this fact crystal clear without leaving any ambiguity at all. But still we conveniently refuse to see it as it is, read it, understand it, contemplate on it, or do anything about it.
“There are offenses to be considered in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra… If one chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra but his life is still full of sinful activities, it will be 🔥 very difficult for him to achieve the platform of loving service to the Lord.”
“Unless one is very fortunate, he should not be induced to worship Radha Krishna directly. A neophyte student who is not sufficiently educated or enlightened 🔥 should not indulge in the worship of Śrī Radha and Krishna or the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. Even if he does so, he cannot get the desired result.”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta on the 10 offenses to Hare Krishna
The Hare Krishna maha-mantra awards love for Krishna to only the eternally pure, offenseless, and liberated souls but never to the offensive souls
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura elucidates this subject very clearly in his Anubhashya commentary to the same Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 1.8.31 verse:
krishna-nama aparadhera vichara karena. aparadhi krishna-nama grahana karilei kakhanei nama-phala labha karena na. krishnaunmukera uccharya krishna-nama anarthayukta avasthaya kakhanei phala pradana kare na.
“The Hare Krishna mantra considers our offenses. Due to this fact, an offensive chanter of the Hare Krishna mantra will never ever (kakhanei) be able to attain the fruit of chanting, which is pure love for Krishna.”
“The Hare Krishna mantra, which is purely utterable only by the rarest souls who are offenselessly surrendered to Krishna, will never ever (kakhanei) award Krishna’s love to a soul offensive to Harinama.”
krishnera udarta kevala mukta, siddha ashritajana ganera upara. sadhaka shikshara apraptite siddhabhimane krishna-namera seva karite udyata haile tahara anarthaei asiya upasthita haya.
“The Hare Krishna maha-mantra shows magnanimity only and exclusively (kevala) on the fully liberated (mukta) and perfectly (siddha) surrendered souls who are totally free from these ten offenses to Harinama.”
“But, due to not receiving pure spiritual guidance, a foolish Hare Krishna chanter, under the influence of false ego and pride, directly jumps into the indulgence (udyata) of the offensive chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra without thinking.”
“What he or she finds is that due to this foolishness, the harmful inclinations (anarthas) have actually increased rapidly instead of decreasing, because of the offensive chanting.”
“And eventually, these ten offenses quickly end up totally destroying even the little relish which was there initially in the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.”
To help you attain Hari Nama Prema in this very lifetime, I am your aspiring humble servant working day and night tirelessly in your menial service to help brighten your offenseless and love-laden remembrance of our all-forgiving Lord Nitai’s form in all your Bhakti Yoga practices,