by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
Those who are not eligible to take the Holy Name on account of being devoid of the conviction that the Holy Name is identical with the bearer of the name, tend to become illusionist-Vedāntists (māyāvādī-vedāntists). From the spiritual point of view, they are really very foolish. This foolishness, which can be called “neutralisationism”, is due to studying Vedānta via the inductive method.
And those who ignorantly mistake worldly philanthropy as devotion vainly display their pseudo-Vaiṣṇavism and feign a noble aversion to Vedānta by claiming that it is the hunting-ground of the pure monists, who actually worship their own ego. But in truth, Vedānta is exclusively the sphere of the transcendental devotees of Hari.
The dissertations on Vedānta penned by the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas of the four bona fide Vaiṣṇava schools, are not to be mistaken as nefarious influences and thus discarded, for these dissertations were written in conformity with the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata – the natural commentary on the Brahma-sūtra (Vedānta-sūtra).
This simple proposition is not grasped by the philanthropists, so they are doomed to perdition due to imagining that the unalloyed devotion of Vaiṣṇavas and Vaiṣṇava ācāryas is perverted, even though it is actually pure. In other words, they mistake pure devotion as something adulterated by pantheistic knowledge (jñāna) or fruitive and remunerative actions (karma). As a result, they themselves degenerate into illusionists, missing the worship of Viṣṇu.
Gaining knowledge of Vedānta via the empiric method does not bestow realization of the significance of repeating the kṛṣṇa-mantra. Those who happen to be bewitched by empiric knowledge are also inextricably bound to the phenomenal world. The cross-threads of the enjoyer and the object of enjoyment are able to bind them to this world and prevent them from ceasing their constant thoughts of external objects.
Only when the jīva attains transcendental knowledge, and is therefore freed from every non-spiritual pre-occupation, does he employ himself in serving the transcendent Supreme Godhead. Loving service to the Supreme Godhead is the only means and the only end of renouncing the activities of the external world. As the devotee constantly repeats the mantra to himself, realization of transcendence gradually arises, freeing him from knowledge of the external, transiently enjoyable material world. By virtue of loving service heralded by one of the five kinds of attachment to Kṛṣṇa (sthāyi-bhāva) in conjunction with spiritual excitants (uddīpana), the devotee realizes his object of worship within his spiritually enlightened heart.
Such activity is not mere enjoyment of the two outward encasements (the gross and subtle bodies). As soon as the person chanting the Holy Name is actually established in the realized state of transcendental knowledge – that is, realization that the Holy Name and its possessor are identical – he attains direct service to Kṛṣṇa. Thereafter, there is no strict necessity of using the grammatical dative case in his prayers [as in Kṛṣṇāya]. The Absolute Reality itself, who is the object of his address, then becomes directly manifest in his spiritually enlightened heart.
The eligibility to serve God unhampered, by means of the vocative case is thus attained. All śāstras and all mantras embodying transcendental knowledge, by freeing the jīva in every way, engage him in this direct service to Kṛṣṇa. According to the statement of Śrī Vyāsadeva, “lokasyājānato vidvāṁścakre saṁhitāṁ,” the study, teaching and discussion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavata and so on, which are steps leading to the worship of the Holy Name, end in realization of the significance of service to the Holy Name.
Transcendental knowledge, which is obtained from Śrī Gurudeva, is nothing but this: the Holy Name and its possessor are identical and capable of being known only by those who are free from worldly endeavours. I am ignorant of my relationship with God until I have betaken myself to the holy feet of śrī gurudeva, but when I decide to serve him, I am increasingly enabled to realize the difference between the free and the fallen states.
Herein, Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name neither signifies nāmābhāsa (the dim perception of the name) nor nāma-aparādha (chanting the Holy Name offensively).
Adapted from The Gaudiya Volume 47
by the Rays of The Harmonist team