Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī states in Manaḥ-śikṣā (7) that one should give up the desire for prestige and the wickedness of deceit and hypocrisy:
pratiṣṭhāśā dhṛṣṭā śvapaca-ramaṇī me hṛdi naṭet
kathaṁ sādhu-premā spṛśati śucir etan nanu manaḥ
sadā tvaṁ sevasva prabhu-dayita-sāmantam atulaṁ
yathā tāṁ niṣkāśya tvaritam iha taṁ veśayati saḥ
[Why does deceit not go away even after one has given up all material sense enjoyment? This verse has been composed in order to remove this doubt.] O mind, tell me, how can pure divine love appear in my heart (you, O mind, are my heart) as long as the shameless outcaste woman of the desire for prestige is audaciously dancing there? Therefore without delay remember and serve the immeasurably powerful commanders of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s army, the very dear devotees of Bhagavān. They will quickly chase away this outcaste woman and initiate the flow of pure vraja-prema in my heart.
The desire (āśā) for prestige (pratiṣṭhā) is called pratiṣṭhāśā. Although all other anarthas may be dispelled, the desire for pratiṣṭhā is not easily removed. The desire for prestige is the root of all anarthas; all kinds of deceit and hypocrisy arise from it and are gradually nourished by it. The svaniṣṭha-sādhaka1 yearns to be recognised as a virtuous, benevolent and sinless devotee of Bhagavān, who is detached from the world, scholarly and so on. Therefore as long as the desire for prestige remains in the heart, one is unable to drive away deceit. And until one becomes free from deceit, one cannot obtain immaculate divine love. In other words, if deceit remains, one does not attain prema for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, which is endowed with a sense of great possessiveness (mamatā) and which makes the heart melt.
Service to pure Vaiṣṇavas is the only means to dispel anarthas like wickedness, deceit and hypocrisy. The rays of the hlādinī-śakti are to be seen in the hearts of pure Vaiṣṇavas. These rays are transmitted into the heart of a faithful sādhaka, where they dispel these anarthas and manifest vraja-prema. Always serve the immeasurably merciful and powerful commanders of Śrī Nanda-nandana’s army, His beloved devotees! The embrace of pure Vaiṣṇavas, the dust from their lotus feet, the remnants of their prasāda, the water that has washed their feet, their instructions, and so forth are all fully competent to transmit hlādinī-śakti into the heart. This is confirmed in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 6.60–1):
bhakta-pada-dhūli āra bhakta-pada-jala
bhakta-bhukta-avaśeṣa – tīna mahā-bala
ei tina-sevā haite kṛṣṇa-premā haya
punaḥ punaḥ sarva-śāstre phukāriyā kaya
Manaḥ-śikṣa (6) states:
are cetaḥ prodyat-kapaṭa-kuṭināṭī-bhara-khara-
kṣaran mūtre snātvā dahasi katham ātmānam api mām
sadā tvaṁ gāndharvā-giridhara-pada-prema-vilasat
sudhāmbhodhau snātvā svam api nitarāṁ māṁ ca sukhaya
[In spite of having subdued the enemies of lust and anger, one may not have conquered the great enemy of deceit. This verse instructs how to gain victory over this powerful enemy.] O wicked mind, although you have adopted the path of sādhana, still you imagine yourself purified by bathing in the trickling donkey urine of an obvious abundance of deceit and hypocrisy. By doing so you are burning yourself and at the same time scorching me, a tiny jīva. Stop this! Eternally delight yourself and me by bathing in the nectarean ocean of prema for the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala.
pratiṣṭhāśā kuṭīnāṭī yatne kara dūra
tāhā haile nāme rati pāibe pracura
The abundance of deceit and hypocrisy that are clearly evident in a sādhaka, even though he has adopted the path of sādhana, are compared to the urine of a donkey. Considering oneself intently engaged in bhajana while remaining devious and hypocritical is like considering oneself pure after bathing in the filthy, burning urine of a donkey. The duty of a sādhaka is to carefully abandon these bad qualities.
There are three kinds of bhakti-sādhakas: svaniṣṭha, pariniṣṭhita and nirapekṣa. The hypocrisy that can be demonstrated by each is described below.
The svaniṣṭha-sādhaka is a householder devotee who serves Śrī Hari and completely abandons the rules and prohibitions prescribed within varṇāśrama. The deceits of such sādhakas are to indulge in sense enjoyment on the pretext of sādhana-bhakti; to serve wealthy and influential materialists instead of unpretentious devotees; to accumulate more wealth than necessary; to be enthusiastic for futile, temporary enterprises; to indulge in false doctrines; and to adopt the dress of a renunciant in order to obtain material prestige.
The pariniṣṭhita-sādhaka is a householder devotee who serves and attends Bhagavān according to rules and regulations. His deceit is that externally he makes a show of strict adherence to rules and regulations (pariniṣṭhita), but inwardly he remains attached to material objects. He also prefers the association of jñānīs, yogīs, philanthropists and materialists to that of resolute, loving devotees.
The deceit of the nirapekṣa-sādhaka (the renunciant) is that he maintains pride by thinking himself to be the topmost Vaiṣṇava; he adopts the dress of a renunciant and due to false ego regards other sādhakas as inferior; he collects wealth and other material assets; he associates with women and materialistic people; he collects wealth in the name of bhajana; he weakens his affection towards Kṛṣṇa by being overly attached to the external dress and rules of the renounced order; and so forth.
A person should give up all this deceit and immerse himself in the nectarean ocean of pure transcendental pastimes that is born of prema for the lotus feet of the Divine Couple. The prayers expressed in the writings of Rūpa Gosvāmipāda and others in our disciplic succession (guru-varga) point the sādhaka in the proper direction. One should take guidance from these prayers and perform sādhana while remembering within the heart Śrī Yugala’s eternal eightfold daily pastimes (aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā).
The ten kinds of offence to the holy name, which should be given up without fail, are described in the Padma Purāṇa:
(1–2) satāṁ nindā nāmnaḥ paramam aparādhaṁ vitanute
yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tad vigarhām
śivasya śrī-viṣṇor ya iha guṇa-nāmādi-sakalaṁ
dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhita-karaḥ
(3–7) guror avajñā śruti-śāstra-nindanaṁ
tathārtha-vādo hari-nāmni kalpanam
nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhir
na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ
śubha-kriyā-sāmyam api pramādaḥ
aśraddadhāne vimukhe ’py aśṛṇvati
yaś copadeśaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ
(10) śrute ’pi nāma-māhātmye
yaḥ prīti-rahito naraḥ
nāmni so ’py aparādha-kṛt
- 1. To criticise the devotees of Bhagavān is a grievous offence to the holy name. How can Śrī Nāma Prabhu tolerate criticism of those great souls who are deeply devoted to Him and who spread His glories throughout the world? Therefore the first offence is criticism of sādhus and devotees.
- 2. In this world a person who by mundane intelligence distinguishes between the all-auspicious, transcendental holy name, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Viṣṇu and the possessor of the holy name (nāmi-viṣṇu), considering them to be independent of or different from Him as is the case with material objects, commits an offence against the holy name. Furthermore, one who thinks that Lord Śiva and other demigods are independent of Viṣṇu, or similar to Viṣṇu, certainly commits nāma-aparādha.
- 3. Guror avajñā – To disregard the guru who is established in all the truths regarding the holy name, considering him to be an ordinary man possessing a perishable body composed of material elements.
- 4. Śruti-śāstra-nindanam – To find fault with the Vedas, the eternal Purāṇas and other scriptures. All the Vedas and Upaniṣads illuminate the glories of the holy name. To find fault with the mantras in which the holy name is glorified is nāma-aparādha. Due to misfortune, some persons neglect the śruti-mantras in which the glories of nāma are indicated and give more honour to other instructions of the Śrutis. This is also nāma-aparādha.
- 5. Tathārtha-vādaḥ – To consider the glories of harināma to be exaggerated. The scriptures state that all of Bhagavān’s potencies are contained within His name, and that the holy name is completely transcendental and therefore capable of destroying one’s bondage to the material world. All these glories of the holy name are the supreme truth. One should never associate with those who have no faith in them and who say that śāstra exaggerates the glories of the holy name. If such an unfaithful person appears before one’s eyes, one should take bath still wearing the clothes he has on. This is the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
- 6. Hari-nāmni kalpanam – To consider Bhagavān’s name to be imaginary. Māyāvādīs and materialistic karmavādīs consider Brahman, which is without name and form, to be the supreme truth, and they say that the ṛṣis manufactured names like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa thinking such names would perfect their activities. These people are nāma-aparādhīs. The name of Hari is not imaginary; it is eternal and transcendental. It only manifests upon the transcendental senses, and only through bhakti. This is the teaching given by the bona fide guru and śāstra. Therefore one should acknowledge that the glories of harināma are the supreme truth. One who considers these glories to be imaginary will never be able to receive the mercy of the holy name.
- 7. One who has a tendency to commit sinful and material activities on the strength of the holy name cannot be purified even if he performs superficial yoga processes such as yama, niyama, dhyāna or dhāraṇā. This is certain.
- 8. To consider religiosity, vows, renunciation, fire sacrifices and other ordinary pious activities to be equal with or comparable to the transcendental name of Bhagavān is a sign of inattentiveness and carelessness, and is thus an offence.
- 9. To instruct the glories of the holy name to faithless persons who are averse to hearing and chanting is also nāma-aparādha.
- 10. Those who, in spite of hearing the astonishing glories of the holy name, maintain the conception that “I am this material body” and that “wordly objects of sense gratification are mine”, and who show no persistence in or love for the utterance of śrī nāma, are also nāma-aparādhīs.
sādhu-anādara āra anye īśa-jñāna
guruke avajñā, nāma-śāstre apamāna
nāme arthavāda, nāma-bale pāpāndhatā
anya śubha-karma saha nāmera samatā
śraddhā-hīne nāma dāna, jaḍāsakti-krame
māhātmya jāniyā nāme śraddhā nahe bhrame
ei daśa aparādha yatne parihari’
harināme kara bhāi bhajana cāturī
Skilfulness in nāma-bhajana is to perform bhajana in association of devotees while carefully avoiding these ten offences.
False renunciation (phalgu-vairāgya) is prohibited. Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.126) states:
vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate
When sādhakas who desire liberation renounce that which is related to Hari, such as the scriptures, the deity, the holy name, mahā-prasāda, the spiritual master and Vaiṣṇavas, considering them material, their renunciation is called futile renunciation, phalgu-vairāgya. This is unfavourable to bhakti.
prāpañcika jñāne bhakti sambandha viṣaya
mumukṣu-janera tyāga phalgu nāma haya
One who is qualified to chant the holy name gives up all fruitive activities. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.41) says:
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
One who has taken complete shelter of Bhagavān Mukunda, who is affectionate towards the surrendered, is not indebted to the demigods, to his forefathers, to ordinary living entities, or to relatives and guests. He is not subordinate to anyone other than Mukunda, nor is he their servant.
ekānta haiyā nāme ye laya śaraṇa
devādira ṛṇā tāra nahe kadācana
The performance of the śrāddha ceremony and other material activities meant to absolve one’s debts to the forefathers, as presented in the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas, is not for devotees surrendered to Bhagavān. The only injunction for these devotees is to worship Bhagavān, offer bhagavat-prasāda to the forefathers and accept bhagavat-prasāda with friends and relatives. The ultimate purport of the entire Bhagavad-gītā is that Bhagavān will liberate from all sins those who have surrendered unto Him and given up their reliance on all other dharmas. When a person acquires the qualification for exclusive devotion, he is not obliged to follow the rules of the jñāna- and karma-śāstras, for he will attain all perfection simply by cultivating bhakti. Therefore one should understand that Bhagavān’s promise in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), “na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati – My devotee never perishes”, is placed above all.