Archive for October, 2016

Monday Morning Greetings #44 – Lessons from the CC: Antya-līlā, Chapter 3, Part 2

October 31st, 2016

Lessons from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, Chapter 3, Part 2
 
Lesson 16: Even a sincere devotee who achieves success can expect opposition from envious people.
 
“A landholder named Rāmacandra Khān was the zamindar of that district. He was envious of Vaiṣṇavas and was therefore a great atheist. Unable to tolerate that such respect was being offered to Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra Khān planned in various ways to dishonor him. By no means could he find any fault in the character of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Therefore he called for local prostitutes and began to discredit His Holiness.” Antya-līlā 3.102-104
 
Lesson 17: A Vaiṣṇava always tries to find the ways and means to give one Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
 
When the prostitute sent by Rāmacandra Khān propositioned Haridāsa Ṭhākura he told her to just wait until he finished his prescribed number of rounds hoping that in the process of waiting she would hear the holy name and be spiritually elevated:
 
“Please sit down and hear the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra until my regular chanting is finished. Then your desire will surely be fulfilled.” Antya-līlā 3.121
 
Purport: “Haridāsa Ṭhākura never wanted to enjoy the prostitute, but he tricked her to deliver her by giving her a chance to hear the holy name of the Lord while he chanted.” Antya-līlā 3.126
 
Lesson 18: The most potent process of advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to associate with advanced devotees along with chanting the holy name.
 
“After offering her obeisances to the tulasī plant and Haridāsa Ṭhākura, she sat down at the door. Hearing Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, she also chanted, ‘O my Lord Hari, O my Lord Hari.’” Antya-līlā 3.122
 
Purport: “[…] The conclusion is that associating with a Vaiṣṇava, chanting the holy name of the Lord and offering obeisances to the tulasī plant or a Vaiṣṇava all lead one to become a transcendental devotee who is completely cleansed of material contamination.” Antya-līlā 3.122
 
Lesson 19: The best charity is charity given to those sincerely dedicated to spiritual life and completely dependent on God.
 
Purport: “[…] According to Vedic civilization, charity should be given only to the qualified brāhmaṇas […] Persons engaged in pursuing spiritual understand have no time to earn their livelihood. They depend completely on the mercy of the Lord.” Antya-līlā 3.136
 
Lesson 20: Even if one cannot surrender fully to Kṛṣṇa immediately, by taking up the process of chanting the holy name and rendering service to the tulasī plant one will quickly advance in devotional service.
 
“Chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra continuously and render service to the tulasī plant by watering her and offering prayers to her. In this way you will very soon get the opportunity to be sheltered at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.” Antya-līlā 3.137
 
Lesson 21: If one receives charity for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness he must be very vigilant that it is used only for service and never for sense gratification.
 
“Thereafter, the prostitute distributed to the brāhmaṇas whatever household possessions she had, following the order of her spiritual master.” Antya-līlā 1.139
 
Śrīla Prabhupāda uses the example of the prostitute to show that those gifted money, especially for devotional service, should never use it selfishly or be dependent on those who gave it.
 
Purport: “[…] A Vaiṣṇava guru accepts money or other contributions, but he does not employ such contributions for sense gratification. A pure Vaiṣṇava thinks himself unfit to help even one person from the reactions of sinful life, but he engages one’s hard earned money in the service of the Lord and this frees one from sinful reactions. […]” Antya-līlā 3.139
 
Lesson 22: A Vaiṣṇava Guru is never dependent on the contributions of his disciples.
 
Purport: “[…] A Vaiṣṇava guru is never dependent on the contributions of his disciples. Following the instructions of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, a pure Vaiṣṇava does not personally take even a single paisa from anyone, but he induces his followers to spend for the service of the Lord whatever possession they have.” Antya-līlā 3.139
 
Lesson 23: By eating frugally a devotee can control senses, focus on Kṛṣṇa, and attain love of Godhead.
 
“She worshiped the tulasī plant, following in the footsteps of her spiritual master. Instead of eating regularly, she chewed whatever food she received as alms, and if nothing was supplied she would fast. Thus by eating frugally and fasting she conquered her senses, and as soon as her sense were controlled, symptoms of love of Godhead appeared in her person.” Antya-līlā 3.141
 
Lesson 24: In judging a Vaiṣṇava one should consider only their adherence to Vaiṣṇava principles and not their ethnicity, social status, or place of birth.
 
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes how the prostitute became a revered devotee despite her fallen past.
 
“Thus the prostitute became a celebrated devotee. She became very advanced in spiritual life, and many stalwart Vasinavas would come to see her.” Antya-līlā 3.142
 
Purport: “[…] Therefore, it is one’s strict adherence to the principles that should be considered, not the country of one’s birth. Many devotees join our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement from Europe and America, but one should not therefore consider them European Vaiṣṇava or American Vaiṣṇava . A Vaiṣṇava is a Vaiṣṇava and should therefore be given all respects due a Vaiṣṇava.” Antya-līlā 3.142
 
Lesson 25: A Vaiṣṇava guru is judged and glorified by his ability to change the character of his disciples.
 
“Seeing the sublime character of the prostitute, everyone was astonished. Everyone glorified the influence of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and offered him obeisances.” Antya-līlā 3.143
 
Lesson 26: To disturb a great Vaiṣṇava is a great offense that will certainly wreak havoc in one’s life.
 
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes the result of Rāmacandra Khān’s offense:
 
“By inducing the prostitute to disturb Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra caused a seed of offense at the lotus feet to germinate. This seed later became a tree, and when it fructified, Rāmacandra Khān ate its fruits.” Antya-līlā 3.144
 
“Rāmacandra was naturally a non-devotee. Now having offended the lotus feet of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, he became like a demoniac atheist.” Antya-līlā 3.145
 
“Because of blaspheming the cult of Vaiṣṇavism and insulting the devotees for a long time, he now received the result of his offensive activities.” Antya-līlā 3.147
 
Lesson 27: Following in the footsteps of Lord Nityānanda, a devotee preacher should make it his or her mission to spread the cult of bhakti and to defeat prominent atheistic views that confuse people.
 
“For two purposes—to spread the cult of bhakti and to defeat and subdue the atheists—Lord Nityānanda, the most dedicated devotee of the Lord, moved throughout the country.” Antya-līlā 3.149
 
Lesson 28: When you insult a devotee you will not only receive the reaction yourself, but those around you will also suffer.
 
When Lord Nityānanda visited the home of Rāmacandra Khān, he was seriously insulted. Later not only was Rāmacandra Khān’s house plundered by the army of the Muslim minister, but the whole village was plundered. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja thus comments:
 
“Whenever an advanced devotee is insulted, for one man’s fault the entire town or place is afflicted.” Antya-līlā 3.164
 
Lesson 29: The single most powerful impetus for spiritual attainment is the blessings of a Vaiṣṇava.
 
Haridāsa Ṭhākura lived for some time in the village where Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī grew up and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī used to visit him daily. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes the result:
 
“Naturally Haridāsa Ṭhākura was merciful towards him, and because of the merciful benediction of this Vaiṣṇava, he later attained the shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet.” Antya-līlā 3.170
 
 

Monday Morning Greetings #43 – How a Bhaktivedanta Purport Saved Me from a Mental Hospital

October 24th, 2016

I am fortunate to have had very wonderful parents. In fact, my 96-year-old mother is still alive and when I am in the USA I try to stay with her for a couple of days every month. Why am I saying this? I am about to tell the story of when they had me kidnapped to save me from being a Hare Kṛṣṇa, which they were convinced at the time was a cult, and I would not want anyone to think bad of them in the least. They were very decent people. They kidnapped me over 40 years ago when us young, passionate, dedicated devotees couldn’t always communicate properly the profound truths that we were experiencing, especially to our parents, and when most people, such as my parents, had very little frame of reference to understand an exotic new religious movement in America. Anyway, out of love for me they tried to save me from something they thought was harmful, and unfortunately, not being properly informed, resorted to deprogramming. Looking back, I equally blame myself for that miscommunication. *
 
I am not going to tell the whole story here. I am just going to highlight the part of the story where the recollection and sharing of a specific Bhaktivedanta purport saved me from being committed to Kings County Mental Hospital. Here it goes.
 
After being kidnapped from the temple in Dallas, Texas by the famous deprogrammer Ted Patrick, I was eventually able to feign that he was successful in his attempt to deprogram me. I was thus sent home, but under the watch of his assistant, a thug named Goose**. When my father and Goose took me shopping to get new western clothes at Kings Plaza, the largest shopping mall in Brooklyn at the time, I made a run for it at a choice moment when Goose went into the bank to change money. Somehow as I was running out of the mall with my father chasing me, the police nearby apprehended me thinking I was a thief. But when they asked my age and understood that I was 24-years-old, they initially wanted to let me go free. On my father’s insistence that I was crazy, however, they finally agreed to take me to a mental hospital to determine if I should be committed. I was booked at the nearest police station, handcuffed, and taken to the mental hospital to be interviewed by the psychiatrist who would make the final decision on my mental status. My parents were interviewed first to register their complaint. I was left in the waiting hall outside his office. I paced back and forth chanting on my fingers among the other people there (my beads had been taken), many in the process of being committed. I specifically remembered one lady talking to the wall as if it were her boyfriend who jilted her and another man strapped to a wheel chair in a straight jacket screaming and kicking as violently and angry as anyone I have ever seen. The interview with my parents was soon finished and the psychiatrist called me in.
 
I sat down directly opposite the psychiatrist as he carefully examined me. Dr. Cohen then looked me in the eyes and asked in earnestness, “Are you hallucinating?”
 
“Why do you ask that?” I replied.
 
“I saw you pacing back and forth in the hallway talking to yourself.”
 
I must have looked crazy, I thought. When I returned home I had no western clothes after my parents confiscated my devotional attire. In fact that’s why my parents took me shopping. Temporarily all they could find around the house were extremely baggy jeans before they were in fashion, an old high school sports team jacket with vinyl like sleeves and a felt like front, and a strange fez that my father was gifted by a Pakistani insurance salesman. To make my appearance even more strange I was pacing back and forth rapidly shaking my head back and forth in ecstasy as I was chanting out loud “my rounds” of the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra and keeping track by counting on my fingers. I must have looked, well, crazy!
 
But somehow in response to the psychiatrist I had the gumption to look him right in the eye and in those good old early days of Hare Kṛṣṇa missionary zeal, enthusiasm, and confidence – “fired up” as we would say – repeat exactly what I had just read in a Bhaktivedanta purport from the third canto of the Bhāgavatam just the day before I was kidnapped:
 
“Although I am not hallucinating it can’t be said that I am seeing the same as you. Just like one who is not a theist sees a rose as separate from God and made only for his own enjoyment. A devotee, however, sees that flower as the energy of God and meant to be used in his service. And therefore although I am not hallucinating it cannot be said that I AM SEEING THE SAME THING AS YOU!”
 
As I was repeating those last words I slowed down my speech for emphasis simultaneously pointing my finger at the psychiatrist. The jaw of the psychiatrist dropped and he paused before gathering his words.
 
“That’s very intelligent. I think your parents are crazy!”
 
I could imagine the fervor in which my parents presented their case and the contrast between my lucid and clear explanation practically word-for-word from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books. He released me.
 
So that’s how Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books saved me from being committed to a mental hospital.
 
Rathi Kṛṣṇa recently found the exact purport that I had studied and repeated to the psychiatrist that one fateful morning forty-one years ago. I will share it verbatim from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s purport. I think the readership of Monday Morning Greetings will value the degree of its clarity and force that even a psychiatrist, who probably wasn’t even a theist, appreciated its profundity at a time when the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was still not even recognized as an established religion.
 
“[…] A conditioned soul sees a very beautiful rose, and he thinks that the nice aromatic flower should be used for his own sense gratification. This is one kind of vision. A liberated soul, however, sees the same flower as a reflection of the Supreme Lord. He thinks, ‘This beautiful flower is made possible by the superior energy of the Supreme Lord; therefore it belongs to the Supreme Lord and should be utilized in His service.’ […]” Bhag. 3.27.13, Purport
 
 
* Epilogue of sorts—after the kidnapping my parents visited a few years later in India. They became very appreciative of what I was doing as did all my family.
 
** “Goose is big, about six-foot-five, and strong as iron. He wears his hair long, with a sweatband around it. His arms are tattooed, and when he goes out on a mission he wears heavy boots, a leather vest, and a black leather gloves like a strangler. I think all that is part of psyching himself up. At heart he’s really a gentle young man, but when he gets riled, he has known to become aggressive. That night he got carried away.” – From Ted Patrick’s book, Let Our Children Go!
 
 

Monday Morning Greetings #42 – On Scholarship

October 17th, 2016

Scholarship is underrated. Scholarship is overrated.  I just can’t make up my mind. When I see conscious choices in behavior and policy based on whim rather than the rule of śāstra and witness the lack of depth in spiritual discourse in the general devotee community, I bemoan the lack of qualified Vaiṣṇava scholars to guide us and I become convinced we underrate the value of study. But when I see learned so-called scholars miss the most rudimentary truths of Vaiṣṇava behavior, I bemoan their learning as useless and I become convinced that scholarship is overrated. Just how important is the role of scholarship in the practice of devotional service?
 
Scholarship is underrated
 
Śrīla Prabhupāda was a Sanskrit scholar, at least enough of one to be prolific in quality translations of standard bhakti texts, such as the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, and the books of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. In many ways the basis of his mission was to distribute knowledge in the form of those books. He also implored his devotees to read his books from different angles and chastised his disciples that “we are not just an export business,” warning his disciples that they must not only distribute his books, but also vigorously study them. Although the conclusion of those books is simple, that Kṛṣṇa is God and that we must fully surrender to Him, it is a conclusion that is realized only after years of sincere study.  Otherwise why would the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu proclaim that the topmost devotee is one who has both strong faith and is well versed in śāstra (sacred texts). They are obviously not unrelated. We thus need learned devotees to give integrity to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement both by their spiritual attainment and their ability to enliven others and move them towards such attainment.  Our need for scholarship is thus definitely underrated.
 
Scholarship is overrated
 
What is the purpose of scholarship or knowledge on the path of bhakti? Like any path, you can’t begin to understand and have faith in what to do without knowledge. Knowledge is thus also the basis of moving forward with confidence and determination in bhakti.  Knowledge is also required not only to know what to do, but also how to do it, to know the exact method of our practice (bhakti sādhana). But knowledge also has its limits, especially when you consider the nature of the object to be known or attained, which is Kṛṣṇa.  God is personal and like any person is only superficially known by analysis. That Kṛṣṇa, like any person, reveals Himself fully only in love or relationship is affirmed by Kṛṣṇa Himself:
 
“That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science. (Bhagavad-gītā 4.3)
 
The limits of scholarship in gaining full knowledge is directly and powerfully espoused in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad:
 
“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23) *
 
The import of Vedic knowledge is to free oneself from false ego. Here it explains that unless one is actually attempting to do that by surrendering to guru and Kṛṣṇa, one will just not have the frame of reference to recognize that same core principle when studying the vast and complex Vedas, just like a woman who is a PhD in child pedagogy will not be gifted with a deep understanding of motherhood despite her study unless she is first a responsible mother. The above text also informs us that deep insight into the infinitely deep Vedas are only possible when gifted with such insight by the mercy of God who sees in one a sincere desire to be transformed by such knowledge, and not by one who is just interested in the ego gratification of being learned.
 
Scholarship is thus vastly overrated as a barometer of spiritual attainment because one who is not surrendered to guru and Kṛṣṇa and thus approaches the sacred texts only for mastery and influence misses its true import and simply becomes proud. Unfortunately, this has too often been the history of scholarship in modern day Vaiṣṇavism where people who study often lack the upbringing of service and humility to inoculate themselves from such motive and misconception.
 
Conclusion
 
In conclusion, I would like to offer my profound respect to the late Vaiṣṇava scholar Gopīparāṇadhana Prabhu who showed us the proper use of scholarship. He was vastly learned, and had a natural propensity and love for learning. In fact, I first met him in the early 1970s after he joined the Brooklyn temple as a graduate in linguistics from Colombia University, but history has shown that he took up the service of scholarship not to become a respected linguist, but only as service to his spiritual master Śrīla Prabhupāda. He was thus a devotee first and a scholar second, which is actually the message of Vedic knowledge. In that sense the result of his study gave him the greatest insight into its true meaning, which he not only imbibed personally as a humble Vaiṣṇava dedicated to service, but as teacher who effectively inspired others to become Vaiṣṇava scholars as well. His life thus teaches us not only the importance of scholarship, but it limits as well, that it shouldn’t overshadow the import of its message, to become a humble servant to guru and Kṛṣṇa.
 
* yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthā

prakāśante mahātmana

 
 

Monday Morning Greetings #41 – On Criticism

October 10th, 2016

“The poison of that which you criticize comes to you.”
 
“Criticism is worse that throwing a spear in someone’s body, because the spear can only pierce the body, but criticism can pierce the heart.”
 
“Criticism is worse than envy. Envy is when it is in the heart. Criticism is when it comes out.”
 
I have often repeated these statements. I am sure I read them someplace, although somehow I can’t find their reference. I have no difficulty, however, embracing their conclusion. And here is one strong clearly referenced statement about the necessity to avoid criticism.
 
“Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.” Cc Antya 4.71
 
It’s a good reference for the most serious of the ten offenses against the holy name is criticism. Of course, the word for criticism used here “nindā” is qualified by the word “sādhu” and there is also allowance for constructive criticism. We will get to that, but we need to realize that the stakes for an offender are high. You just won’t get “love of Godhead”. And for the devotee that is everything. Best err on the side of caution.
 
I struggle with that. So many people, devotees who are dedicated and senior, sometimes do things that disturb me. How can one not criticize? Be careful! If one’s criticism is not born of compassion, but even harbors a trace of ill will, that hate will certainly cover the soul, for the soul is simply consciousness meant for love and devotion.
 
And if I think about it honestly I also must do things that serve as fuel for the lower nature of others. We all struggle with our own impurities and conditioning and its bound to be just the thing that annoys another, especially one with a different nature. That is simply the way of the world. At all costs I just don’t want to be a self-righteous hypocrite that is always clamoring for justice for others and mercy for oneself.
 
But what about all the injustice? By all means speak up and speak up strongly, but first make sure there is no hate in your own heart, otherwise your kīrtan of others faults which merely embodies the impurities of your own heart will only spread hate of others and not love of God. We have seen too often that the modern champions of controversy mostly create threads that attract the bitter.
 
I remember reading in a history of the Gauḍīyā Math of a younger devotee who had a very critical intelligence. He would often see things that are wrong. He sought the counsel of a very senior and elevated Vaiṣṇava who gave him the very simple advice which he followed for the rest of his life, “Observe and don’t talk”. He followed that instruction and attained spiritual heights. Yes, it may be one’s service to point on mistakes. I just don’t envy that person and I pray they are fairly pure. Otherwise:
 
“We all become well-disguised mirror image of anything that we fight too long or too directly… Most frontal attacks on evil just produce another kind of evil in yourself, along with a very inflated self-image to boot.” – Richard Rohr, Falling Upward
 
My prayer is to be a Vaiṣṇava. So many places in śāstra that is defined as one who is free from the propensity to criticize others. Who else can a Vaiṣṇava be other than one who has no hate in his or her heart? I hanker for such saṅga. And by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s grace there are many such souls. I just have to be the bee that seeks the honey and not the fly that looks for the sores.
 
To conclude with another oft-repeated statement of mine that has no reference, but I embrace whole-heartedly:
 
Bhakti is simple. Even a child can do it. What is difficult is avoiding offense.”
 
 

Monday Morning Greetings #40 – Lessons from the CC: Antya-līlā, Chapter 3

October 3rd, 2016

Lessons from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Anyta-līlā, Chapter 3
 
Lesson 1: One should not instruct or criticize one’s teacher.
 
One young boy would regularly visit Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Dāmodara Paṇḍita, one of his disciples, was concerned that people may criticize Śrī Caitanya. The child was not only the son of a beautiful young widow, but Śrī Caitanya was still a young and handsome man and, more importantly, in the renounced order of life. He thus began to instruct him.
 
“Dāmodara Paṇḍita impudently said to the Lord, ‘Everyone says that You are a great teacher because of your instructions to others, but now we shall find out what kind of teacher you are.’” Antya-līlā 3.11
 
“You are known as Gosāñi (teacher or ācārya) but now talk about your attributes and reputation will spread throughout the city of Puruṣottama. How Your position will be impaired!” Antya-līlā 3.12
 
PURPORT
 
“Dāmodara Paṇḍita was a great devotee of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Sometimes, however, a person in such a position becomes impudent, being influenced by the eternal energy and material considerations. Thus a devotee mistakenly dares criticize the activities of the spiritual master or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Antya-līlā 3.11
 
Note: What to do if one is actually concerned that a teacher or senior is doing something wrong? Never criticize. Bring your concerns to a trusted peer of your teacher who can make a impartial decision on whether there is a problem and who is in the position to correct or instruct him.
 
Lesson 2: Although a student may violate etiquette in correcting a teacher and the teacher may rebuke the student, the teacher will forgive him if the student is simple-hearted and his motive pure.
 
“Having said this, Dāmodara Paṇḍita became silent. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu smiled, pleased within Himself, and considered the impudence of Dāmodara Paṇḍita.” Antya-līlā 3.18
 
[Śrī Caitanya thought:] “This impudence is also a sign of pure love for Me. I have no other intimate friend like Dāmodara Paṇḍita.” Antya-līlā 3.19
 
PURPORT

“[…] The Lord could understand that it was because of Dāmodara Paṇḍita’s simplicity that he impudently dared criticize him. Nevertheless such behavior by a devotee is not very good.” Antya-līlā 3:17
 
Lesson 3: A devotee should never neglect the welfare of their parent.
 
After chastising Dāmodara Paṇḍita Śrī Caitanya orders him to stay with his widowed mother to protect her:
 
“The Lord said, ‘My dear friend Dāmodara, you had better go to Nadia and stay with My mother.’” Antya-līlā 3.21
 
Lesson 4: A devotee who is neutral or detached can be objective and speak strongly about religious principles.
 
By sending Dāmodara Paṇḍita to stay and protect his mother, he is not only saving him from more offenses, but using his critical nature in service: He informs him:
 
“I can see no one but you to protect her, for you are so careful that you can caution even Me.” Antya-līlā 3.22
 
“You are most neutral among my associates. That is very good, for without being neutral one cannot protect religious principles.” Antya-līlā 3.23
 
Lesson 5: A devotee exchanges love with others, especially other devotees, by offering them prasādam.
 
After instructing Dāmodara Paṇḍita to go and look after his mother, he sent with him prasādam to offer to the various devotees in her town.
 
“After saying this, Śrī Cainatnya Mahāprabhu ordered that varieties of prasādam offered to Lord Jagannātha be brought. The Lord then gave him the prasādam, separately packed, to offer to various Vaiṣṇavas and His mother.” Antya-līlā 3.41
 
Lesson 6: One should carefully follow the order of one’s spiritual master.
 
After Dāmodara Paṇḍita received his instructions from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu he carefully carried them out.
 
“He delivered all the prasādam to such great Vaiṣṇavas as Advaita Ācārya. Thus he stayed there and behaved according to the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” Antya-līlā 3.43
 
Lesson 7: A devotee who desires to spread God-consciousness to others should be very emphatic even to those that are sinful and think of ways to deliver them.
 
In a discussion with Haridāsa Ṭhākura, the preeminent teacher of the holy name, Śrī Caitanya expressed his unhappiness that there is no way to rectify those that are most sinful, even those that slaughter animals.
 
“How will these yavanas be delivered? To great my unhappiness, I do not see any way.” Antya-līlā 3.51
 
PURPORT

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was always anxious to deliver the fallen souls because their fallen condition gave Him great unhappiness. That is the platform by which one can propagate the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” Antya-līlā 3.51
 
Lesson 8: It is the main service of those in line from Śrī Caitanya to try to relieve His anxiety by compassionately preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
 
To relieve Śrī Caitanya’s anxiety Haridāsa Ṭhākura addresses Him:
 
“Haridāsa Ṭhākura replied, ‘My dear Lord, do not be in anxiety. Do not be unhappy to see the condition of the yavanas in material existence.” Antya-līlā 3.52
 
PURPORT

“These words of Haridāsa Ṭhākura are just befitting a devotee who has dedicated his life and soul to the service of the Lord. When the Lord is unhappy because of the condition of the fallen souls, the devotee consoles Him, saying “My dear Lord do not be in anxiety.” This is service. Everyone should adopt the cause of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to try to relieve Him from the anxiety He feels. This is actual service to the Lord. One who tries to relieve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s anxiety for the fallen souls is certainly a most dear and confidential devotee of the Lord.” Antya-līlā 3.52
 
Lesson 9: As long as the holy name is chanted innocently, even if chanted improperly, its potency will not be diminished.
 
In answer to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s question of how the yavanas will be delivered, Haridāsa explains that even when the yavanas utter the word “Ha Rama”, which in their language means condemned, the potency of the holy name is not diminished.
 
“Namācārya Haridāsa Ṭhākura, the authority on chanting the holy name said, ‘The chanting of the Lord’s holy name to indicate something other than the Lord is an instance of nāmābhāsa. Even when the holy name is chanted in this way, its transcendental power is not destroyed.’” Antya-līlā 3.55
 
Lesson 10: Despite its potency, one should vigilantly avoid offenses to the holy name if one wants to receive the full benefit of chanting.
 
“If a devotee once utters the holy name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that holy name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts. O brāhmaṇa, the potency of the holy name is therefore certainly great. However, if one uses the vibration of the holy name for the benefit of the material body, for material wealth or followers, or under the influence of greed or atheism—in other words, if one utters the name with offenses—such chanting will not produce the desired result very soon. Therefore one should vigilantly avoid offenses in chanting the holy name of the Lord.” Antya-līlā 3.60
 
Lesson 11: Even one’s surrounding environment becomes purified when one chants loudly, especially when one’s chanting is accompanied by others.
 
After hearing how the yavanas can be delivered, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu raises the concern how the moving and non-moving living entities can be delivered from material bondage. Haridāsa responds:
 
“You have loudly chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and everyone, moving and not moving, has benefited by hearing it.” Anyta-līlā 3.69
 
“My Lord, the living entities who have heard Your loud saṅkīrtana have already been delivered by bondage to the material world, and after the non-moving living entities like trees hear it, there is an echo.” Antya-līlā 3.70
 
“Actually, however, it is not an echo: it is the kīrtana of the non-moving living entities. All this, although inconceivable, is possible by Your mercy.” Antya-līlā 3.71
 
“When loud chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is performed all over the world by those who follow in your footsteps, all living entities, moving and non-moving, dance in ecstatic devotional love.” Antya-līlā 3.72
 
Lesson 12: There is no limit in how far we can glorify the Lord’s pure devotee.
 
After Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard Haridāsa’s explanations on the power of the holy name He was so impressed that he went to His personal devotees and began glorifying Haridāsa as if “he had hundreds of mouths”. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja’s comments:
 
“The transcendental qualities of Haridāsa Ṭhākura are innumerable and unfathomable. One may describe a portion of them, but to count them all is impossible.” Antya-līlā 3.95
 
Lesson 13: The most important spiritual practice is to chant a prescribed number of the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra.
 
“Haridāsa Ṭhākura constructed a cottage in a solitary forest. There he planted a tulasī plant, and in front of tulasī he would chant the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily. He chanted throughout the day and night.” Antya-līlā 3.100
 
PURPORT

“[…] the process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra with a vow before the tulasī plant has such great spiritual potency that simply by doing this one can become spiritually strong. Therefore we request the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to follow Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s example rigidly.” Antya-līlā 3.100
 
Lesson 14: One should only take food in the house of a brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava where food is offered to Kṛṣṇa with love.
 
Lesson 15: Whether one is a renunciate or a householder, if one is serious about spiritual life one should not live an unnecessarily luxurious life.
 
Haridāsa Ṭhākura would only eat what he could beg from a brāhmaṇa’s house.
 
“For his bodily maintenance he would go to a brāhmaṇa’s house and beg some food […]“ Antya-līlā 3.101
 
PURPORT

“If we take food from the house of others, such as karmīs, we shall have to share the qualities of those from whom we take alms. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took prasādam in the house of Vaiṣṇavas. This is the general process. The members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are advised not to take food from anywhere but a Vaiṣṇava or brāhmaṇa’s house where the Deity worship is performed […] We must always remember that a devotee’s life is one of vairāgya-vidyā, or renunciation and knowledge. Therefore all devotees are warned not to live unnecessarily luxurious lives at the cost of others.” Antya-līlā 3.101
 
 

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