|Ādi-līlā||Chapter 17: The Pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Youth|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 17.212
hindu-śāstre 'īśvara' nāma — mahā-mantra jāni
sarva-loka śunile mantrera vīrya haya hāni
hindu-śāstre — in the scriptures of the Hindus; īśvara — God; nāma — the holy name; mahā-mantra — topmost hymn; jāni — we know; sarva-loka — everyone; śunile — if they hear; mantrera — of the mantra; vīrya — potency; haya — becomes; hāni — finished.
"'According to Hindu scripture, God's name is the most powerful hymn. If everyone hears the chanting of the name, the potency of the hymn will be lost.
In the list of offenses in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, it is said, dharma-vrata-tyāga-hutādi-sarva-śubha-kriyā-sāmyam api pramādaḥ: to consider the chanting of the holy name of the Lord equal to the execution of some auspicious religious ceremony is an offense. According to the materialistic point of view, observing a religious ceremony invokes an auspicious atmosphere for the material benefit of the entire world. Materialists therefore manufacture religious principles to live comfortably and without disturbance in executing their material activities. Since they do not believe in the existence of God, they have manufactured the idea that God is impersonal and that to have some conception of God one may imagine any form. Thus they respect the many forms of the demigods as different representations or manifestations of the Lord. They are called bahv-īśvara-vādīs, or followers of thousands and thousands of gods. They consider the chanting of the names of the demigods an auspicious activity. Great so-called svāmīs have written books saying that one may chant any name — Durgā, Kālī, Śiva, Kṛṣṇa, Rāma, and so on — because any name is all right for invoking an auspicious atmosphere in society. Thus they are called pāṣaṇḍīs — unbelievers or faithless demons.
Such pāṣaṇḍīs do not know the actual value of the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Foolishly proud of their material birth as brāhmaṇas and their consequently higher position in the social order, they think of the other classes — namely the kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras — as lower classes. According to them, no one but the brāhmaṇas can chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, for if others chanted the holy name, its potency would be reduced. They are unaware of the potency of Lord Kṛṣṇa's name. The Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa recommends:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
"For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, no alternative, no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord." The pāṣaṇḍīs do not accept that the potency of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is so great that one can be delivered simply by chanting the holy name, although this is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.51): kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-sańgaḥ paraḿ vrajet. Any man from any part of the world who practices chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa can be liberated and after death go back home, back to Godhead. The rascal pāṣaṇḍīs think that if anyone but a brāhmaṇa chants the holy name, the potency of the holy name is vanquished. According to their judgment, instead of delivering the fallen souls, the potency of the holy name is reduced. Believing in the existence of many gods and considering the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa no better than other hymns, these pāṣaṇḍīs do not believe in the words of the śāstra (harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam). But Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms in His Śikṣāṣṭaka, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ: [Cc. adi 17.31] one must chant the holy name of the Lord always, twenty-four hours a day. The pāṣaṇḍīs, however, are so fallen and falsely proud of having taken birth in brāhmaṇa families that they think that instead of delivering all the fallen souls, the holy name becomes impotent when constantly chanted by lower-class men.
Significant in verse 211 are the words kṛṣṇera kīrtana kare nīca bāḍa bāḍa, indicating that anyone can join in the sańkīrtana movement. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.18): kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ. This is a list of the names of caṇḍālas. The pāṣaṇḍīs say that when these lower-class men are allowed to chant, their influence is enhanced. They do not like the idea that others should also develop spiritual qualities, because this would curb their false pride in having taken birth in families of the elevated brāhmaṇa caste, with a monopoly on spiritual activities. But despite all protests from so-called Hindus and members of the brāhmaṇa caste, we are propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world, according to the injunctions of the śāstras and the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Thus we are sure that we are delivering many fallen souls, making them bona fide candidates for going back home, back to Godhead.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness