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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The tenth offence for bhajanānandīs and goṣṭhyānandīs.

Though the subdivision among Vaiṣṇavas in bhajanānandīs and goṣṭhyānandīs is a recent invention and is not mentioned in any of the Goswāmīs books, Sanātana Goswāmī's ṭīkā to the 10th offence to the holy name gives an interesting description of how false pride about the chanting of the holy name is manifest among different types of devotees. The offence is mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa 11.524 -


ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha kṛt ||524||
kiṁ ca, nāmny eva viṣaye yo’haṁ-mamādi-paramaḥ. ahaṁ bahutara-nāma-kīrtaka itas tato nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca mat-pravartitam eva, mayā samo nāma-kīrtana-paro’nyaḥ kaḥ. madīya-jihvādhīnam eva nāmety-ādikam eva paramaṁ pradhānam. nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca kadācit sidhyati na vā yasya tathā-bhūto yaḥ, so’pīti. ata evādiṣṭaṁ bhagavatā— tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ ||524||

"To think 'I' and 'mine' to be the greatest in connection with the holy name is the 10th offence to the holy name" - aham bahutara nāma kīrtaka 'I am chanting more' (than you). You may hear this while associating with 'bhajanānandīs'. They will approach you and ask you 'How many rounds are you chanting?' 
Not that it is any of their business anyway, and it is not out of personal interest that they ask, but to establish themselves as greater devotees. One "bhajanānandī" approached Sādhu Bābā and asked him: 'āpni koto lākho nām koren' ('How many times 64 rounds you chant each day?'). Sādhu Bābā replied: 'bābā āmi kichu bhajan-tajan korinā, āmi śudhu ghumāi o khāi' - "Bābā I am not doing any bhajan at all - I am just eating and sleeping".

Among 'bhajanānandīs' the hallmark is how many rounds you do, though the biggest chanters often have a pretty appalling track record of misconduct, showing that quality, and not quantity of chanting is needed. They also tend to show off their great quantity of sādhana by walking around on the market with their bead-bags, showing an impressive row of counting beads on the outside, indicating how many rounds they have already completed. 

If we read on, we recognize the ego of some 'gosthyānandīs' next - itas tato nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca mat-pravartitam eva, mayā samo nāma-kīrtana-paro’nyaḥ kaḥ "Only I am spreading the chanting of the holy name all over the world, who is equal to me in dedication to nāma kīrtan?" Sounds familiar? Often more unpleasant ego is added to that, like "You are just doing bhajan, and thinking only of your own liberation", which is a false accusation because bhajan is done for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure only - Vaiṣṇavas reject liberation outright, but even if it were true, it is not humble to claim to be soooo selfless to  be preaching instead of doing bhajan.

Next Sanātana Goswāmī writes madīya-jihvādhīnam eva nāmety-ādikam eva paramaṁ pradhānam. "My tongue is the greatest chanter of the holy name  ("Chanting is under the control of my tongue. I am chanting the holy name myself"). Though Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda said ataḥ śrī kṛṣṇa nāmādi na bhavet grāhyam indriyaiḥ; sevonmukhe he jihvādau svayam eva sphuratyadaḥ "Thus the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not manifest through the material senses, it is only manifest in the tongue and other senses of those who have a service attitude." (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234).

Sanātan Goswāmī concludes: nāma-kīrtanaṁ ca kadācit sidhyati na vā yasya tathā-bhūto yaḥ, so’pīti. ata evādiṣṭaṁ bhagavatā— tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā. amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ ||524||
"For such a person it even rarely happens that he does kīrtan. The Lord has instructed 'Lower than a blade of grass, tolerant as a tree, not wanting honour, giving all honour to others - this is how the holy name of Lord Hari should always be glorified."

Otherwise the holy name will not bestow its desired fruit.