This is a recent debate on Facebook with an opponent of public harinama [slightly edited for discretion and diplomatic correctness]
Advaita Das - Met a two-man harinam party in Utrecht so I put a dhoti on and joined them. Broke the place down the three of us.
RPD - Harinam is not ment for the publik
Advaita Das - RPD - Śrīmad Bhāgavat, Śrīman Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas would beg to disagree with that.
RPD - We should follow what the Lord says,and not what he does.If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his eternal associates dance on the street, this is their lila and should not be imitated. It was all started by the Gaudya Math headed by Bhaktisiddhanta who screwed up the real culture about was Bhakti is all about. Bevor that nobody danced artificially without bhava in front of the publik. Yes dancing is there in front of your personal deity but only if you have love for the Lord. This Harinam in publik which we have seen from Isckon and Gaudya Math is all about to make advertisment to make more followers and to use them for making money. This is there main motive, it has nothing to do with Bhakti.
Advaita Das - RP, Harinām Sankīrtan is prescribed in Sanātan Goswāmī's Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.3.167-8) and in the ṭīkā of verse 168 the assurance is given that public saṅkīrtan will be fully protected). It was done by Narottam Dās Thākur, by Rādhā-raman caran Dās, Vijaya Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī, and the bābājīs too. Any devotional aṅga can be performed for lābh pūjā pratiṣṭhā (profit, adoration and distinction), including solitary bhajan, go seva, printing books etc. I have done harināma saṅkīrtan for 32 years and never got paid for it, nor did any of my friends. You show a very negative attitude towards innocent Vaiṣṇavas, I am sorry for you.
RPD It has nothing to to with a negative attitude, its all about education in scriptures, for the gaudyas the ulimate authority are the scriptures,from the 6 Gosvamis from Vrindavan. There is nothing mentioned in there writings about dancing in front materialistic people.How to you know about Narottama dasa Th. dancing have you seen it? Anybody can say anyhting, the guidance are the scriptures and not some uneducated babajis. And even if sombody dances in front of the publik, than only because out of pure Love (Prema) and he has no control over it, its spontaneous, you are on this level??? If you are on this level you have my blessings, otherwise just be humble and serve your Guru.
Advaita Das -"There is nothing mentioned in there writings about dancing in front materialistic people."
Advaitadas: kṛṣṇotkīrtana gāna nartana parau - the 6 Goswāmīs loudly chanted, sang and danced - in front of their own deities? How will you redeem 'materialistic people' unless you chant to them?
"otherwise just be humble and serve your Guru."
Advaitadas: It is a serious allegation that anyone who does harināma on the street is not humble. I admit that there is a challenge to the ego about posturing on the street with a musical instrument, but what if Guru orders one to do harināma? You said serve your Guru, what should I do then?
RPD - The way how to perform bhakti is mentioned in the bhakti sandharba by jiva gosvami, and other śāstras don't qoute prayers to establish siddhanta. Unless you know sanskritt you have no acsess to gaudia literature. If you want the Truth ...educate yourself.
Advaita Das - Allright then RP, how about this one then? This is from the Bhagavat (10.34.17), topmost śāstra according to Jīva Goswāmī - yan nāma gṛhṇann akhilān śrotṛn ātmānam eva ca sadyaḥ punāti - 'Whose name, when uttered, instantly purifies those who hear it as well as oneself." Those who hear it are only people in your living room perhaps?
"Unless you know sanskritt you have no acsess to gaudia literature"
Advaitadas: Which means that all translations, including that of your Guru, are useless? Why then all the book translations?
"If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his eternall associates dances on the street,this is there lila and should not be immitated."
Advaitadas: Any evidence for that in śāstra?
RPD I am not quoting the books of my Guru. Unless you have not studied Sanskritt you cant't speak on Siddhanta,you can only qoute from this baba or that baba or this book and that book, but in reality you have no acess to the Gosvami Literature because you are not qualified, be humble and admitt it. Have you studiet Sanskritt , Chandan Vyakaran etc properly, I don't think so otherwise you would not talk like this.
re your qoute from bhagavad sandharba : it doesen't mean you go on the street and dance artifically and make a show and immitate a perfect siddha. Find out from your Guru, if I tell you the evidence you will not accept it anyway.This is the end of the topic.Conclusion: Ask your Guru about this discussion if you have on and accept his advice.
Advaita Das: And more from śāstra - yāre dekhe tāre koho kṛṣṇa upadeśa - 'Whoever you see tell him about Kṛṣṇa'
and : pṛthivīte āche yoto nagarādi grām sarvatra pracāra hobe more nāma - 'IN ALL TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE WORLD MY NAME WILL BE PREACHED" ...How's that done ? cupi cupi you think?
RPD Right, but it doesen't mean you go on the road and jump like monkey and artifically chant the holy name without Bhava.you just quote without understanding the inner meaning. You have not even answered my questions??? HAVE YOU ATTAINED PURE LOVE OF THE LORD???ARE YOU KNOW SANSKRITT??
Advaita Das “Unless you have not studied Sanskritt you cant't speak on Siddhanta,you can only qoute from this baba or that baba or this book and that book"
Any śāstra says that enlightenment requires Sanskrit knowledge? Quote it then. It would mean the spiritual world would be a lonely place because only a handful know Sanskrit.
"but in reality you have no acsess to the Gosvami Literature because you are not qualified"
Which means you sit in my heart and gauge my realizations.
"be humble "
Ask any reader of this debate about YOUR attitude here....
"dance artifically and make a show and immitate a perfect siddha.
Why is the dancing artificial and why only siddhas are allowed to dance? Where is this in the Goswāmīs' books?
"If I tell you the evidence you will not accept it anyway"
So far you have been very short of evidence, just very rich in beliefs.
"Ask your Guru about this discussion if you have on and accept his advice."
A bit hard if he entered samādhi 24 years ago. But he told me indeed there is a great risk of ego-tripping while preaching. He never forbade me harinām sankīrtan in public,
"HAVE YOU ATTAINED PURE LOVE OF THE LORD???ARE YOU KNOW SANSKRITT??"
Are the two linked in any way? If I had these accomplishments - prema and sanskrit - would I be modest by saying 'yes'?
RPD I guess not,otherwise your statments are just Parrot talk .You teach a parrot... one.. two.. three.. and only this he will repeat.I have to repeat it again and again study properly. You have to know for yourself.You have to be honest. Well follow your Guru and everything will be allwright, go on with dancing,chanting and be happy
Advaita Das RPD, you come crashing in here with a bold claim that public harināma is wrong, then you claim Kṛṣṇa is only available through Sanskrit but despite all intellectual boasting you provide not even one syllable of evidence, though you had plenty of opportunity to provide it.
RPD: Jiva Goswami has given a definition of sankirtana, bahubhir militva yat kirtanam tad eva sankirtanam: "When pure devotees coming together to chant the holy name. Well if your interpretation of this statement is going on the street, than do it and chant do it if it makes you happy.
RPD: The reason why pure Bhakti is so rare, not because its not available...because nobody wants it.
Advaitadas - Now here I finally agree with you. manuṣyānām sahasreṣu....
RPD: Why you put a Dhoti on,to chant the Name ??? ,what your Dhoti has to do with the Name ??? you think if you remain in your city cloth and than chant ,the name has no effect??? What kind of understanding you have? Its a Show of Devotion. And then.... Broke the place down the three of us,...what does this means maybe your chanting was so fanatic that bystanders run way ,looks like and than you wonder whats wrong with this guys. Anyway i don't blame you, because if you want to get knowledge get out of your comfort zone and study properly, what Bhakti is all about.
Advaitadas: RP, a dhoti is a sacred garment which incites sacred sentiments. Garments do make a difference. A chastely covered lady incites other feelings than a half naked prostitute, huh? In Caitanya Caritāmṛta it is mentioned that Mahārāja Pratāparudra took a Vaiṣṇava dress to serve Śrīman Mahāprabhu in Aitota Garden. Furthermore, Vaiṣṇavas need to be recognized by appearance too. I know your Guru does not wear pants either. I acknowledge that there is a risk of posturing in a show of devotion in this way but that risk has to be taken. As far as what Bhakti is all about, yuga dharma is Harināma and it is the only way - harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam.
Last exchange added October 5, 2010 at Radhakund Dham. text added to 2nd refutation 30 january 2013