Chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra

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    Jishnu Puthumana

    Hare krishna,
    Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of SB 2.2.30 as follows
    “……..There are three stages in chanting the holy name of the Lord. The first stage is the offensive chanting of the holy name, and the second is the reflective stage of chanting the holy name. The third stage is the offenseless chanting of the holy name of the Lord. In the second stage only, the stage of reflection, between the offensive and offenseless stages, one automatically attains the stage of emancipation. And in the offenseless stage, one actually enters into the kingdom of God, although physically he may apparently be within the material world….”
    I have some doubts regarding these three stages of chanting the holy name of the lord.

    1. Is it necessary to get initiated to reach the stage of i)reflective stage of chanting? ii) offenseless stage of chanting?
    2. If someone is doing offensive chanting, is it sinful?? Will it take him to hell?
    3. How do we know our current stage?
    Ashish Dalela

    You can search for the previous questions before you post new questions. Regarding initiation, you can read this previous answer. In India, there is an Upanayana Samskara. Upanayana means “second eye” (Upa is second, and Nayan is eyes). This upanayana was done when the child went to the guru. It was because the child was going to acquire a “second eye”. The first eye is given by the mother and the father. It is for the mundane vision. But the “second eye” is for perceiving reality as it is. This is the eye of knowledge, sometimes called the sixth sense of the mind.

    If we have the first eye and not the second eye, then we don’t understand reality. We think that sense perception is itself reality, and reality that lies behind the sense perception is unknown. So, there was a system of giving the second eye by the guru. By that second eye, we can see thousands of realities behind sense perception. As one advances into deeper realities, ultimately one can see Krsna as the background of everything. The guru helped the disciple develop this second eye to see beyond sense perception. Therefore, he was called the second mother and father of the child.

    This upanayana is called “initiation”. It was welcome into the guru’s ashram, and after that, education was initiated. It was an education to develop the second eye. But how many people are developing the second eye? If we tell them about the second eye, they laugh. They trust their first eye alone because they don’t have the second eye. And they think that getting the second eye is fiction. Even if they meet a person with a second eye, they think that he is making it all up. Of course, they can’t even make it up in a coherent way. But they cannot accept the existence of a second eye. Thereby, nobody talks about the sixth sense. Mental perception is never discussed by the so-called “initiated disciples”. Thus, the entire purpose of Upananaya is wasted on such an initiated disciple.

    Upanayana ceremony is a formality. The real thing is developing the second eye. Religion is not ritual, but some rituals were done as formality. Just like if a guest comes to your home, you welcome them with warm words. But after they come into the house, you don’t abandon them, or tell them: Now that you are in the house, go figure out yourself where the food is. You also feed them. But if the door is already open, then the guest can come in because they already consider it their home. Then the welcome may not be given, but it is not an insult. There is no formality with the guest but everything after that is still done. Giving good food to the guest is equivalent to a welcome.

    Likewise, the main thing is food for the mind and the soul. This means studying the books, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, and developing the second eye by which we can see the reality behind sense perception. The “reflective” stage of chanting is when the consciousness has been purified and the reality is reflected just as it is. This is why the soul is called a mirror which has to be cleaned. Then there is a “spontaneous” stage of chanting in which the mantra springs out of the soul like water from a fountain. At this stage, consciousness is not just a mirror. It is also a spontaneous creator.

    If you follow all the instructions then that is real initiation. You can take Upanayana or not, it doesn’t matter. Regarding offenses, it depends on what kind of offence one is involved in. The holy name of Krsna is kinder than Krsna, because Krsna doesn’t appear before everyone but the holy name has appeared before everyone. But we have to welcome the holy name just like Krsna. Anything less than that is an offence, because we have invited a guest and then abandoned Him. Still, the guest is very kind, and He comes again and again to purify us. So, we have to really prove that we are unworthy before He will stop coming. Still, many guidelines are given to avoid offenses against the guest. The primary and greatest offence is arrogance. Every other offence comes from arrogance. Arrogance comes easily to neophyte devotees. They do a little thing and they think: “I have become great”. Then they have closed the door to the greater thing because if they are so puffed-up with a little thing imagine what will happen if they did a bigger thing. Hence, to protect them, the bigger thing is not given. Out of arrogance, they start doing all kinds of nonsense and everything stops. The pretentious display of progress goes on, but the “reflective” and “spontaneous” stages will not be attained.

    So, you can read about the offenses and try to avoid them. But the main thing is ego control. If you can do that, then any offense committed involuntarily or out of ignorance is not a serious flaw. But under the control of ego, one can do serious damage that can take a person to hell. That is due to an ego out of control. Just control the ego, and analyze your faults, and then there is no danger.

    Regarding knowing one’s stage, you will know when you are progressing. When you eat ginger then you know what ginger really is. We don’t have to tell you that ginger is astringent, hot, bitter, and so on. You will know what it is. Words are used only to encourage someone to taste ginger, but if they taste it, then words are not required. The fact is that even if we give you a description, you cannot know what it is without tasting it. It is all speculation and imagination, but not reality. Words don’t mean anything unless you taste ginger. When you taste, then all the words will be true.

    So, chant with humility and sincerity, and don’t worry about your present state or going to hell. Love is not due to threats. Krishna Consciousness is not about threatening a person into subordination. It is about spontaneous loving. Threat is given only to control the ego. We have to scare a person to control their ego. Otherwise, there is no threat. Thus, in our books, there are thousands of things, and one of those is hell. One of out thousands. That is the level of importance it is ascribed.

    The rest of the focus is on developing eagerness, which determines the outcome of everything. This is the only thing in the universe where desire is itself the qualification. Everywhere else, desire is not itself a qualification. But in Krishna Consciousness, a strong desire is itself the full qualification. So, just try to develop eagerness and everything will come automatically. This assurance is given by Krsna many times in the Bhagavad-Gita. “Those who are constantly worshipping Me, I give them the intelligence by which they can come to Me”. “O son of Kunti, know for sure that my devotee is never vanquished”. “Just surrender to Me, and I will free you from all sinful reactions”. When there are so many assurances, then there is no need for anxiety about the current state or going to hell.

    Jishnu Puthumana

    Hare Krishna,

    Thank you very much for your encouragement to move forward.

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