“How can I Recognize a Vaiṣṇava?

The Param-guru
By Sriman Rupanuga Prabhu (ACBSP)
Jan 20, 2012 (SUN)

Those sincere souls who have been submitting for decades to disciples of Srila Prabhupada as spiritual masters, only to be disappointed, need not leave the proven path of Bhakti as revealed by Srila Prabhupada (who is not at all at fault). Because of such disappointments, one may have doubts about success in Krsna consciousness. But the path is not to be abandoned. Instead, under the complete shelter of Srila Prabhupada one will be saved for sure from material existence.

There is no need to get initiated again and again. One can take complete shelter of Srila Prabhupada and the Holy Name, Nama Prabhu. Nama Rupe is independent, as confirmed in Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila, Chapter 15, verses 105 through 111 with purports, a must read carefully. These verses and purports below, clearly indicate that a sincere soul, initiated or not, can take shelter of Srila Prabhupada-vani and Lord Krsna, the Holy Name, directly.

The disappointed disciples of our Godbrothers remain on duty to give Srila Prabhupada’s mercy to the suffering masses of conditioned souls on this planet, which is known as Martyaloka or the planet of death. Krsna consciousness is a matter of life and death for everyone. Srila Prabhupada wanted millions, he said “a hundred million” devotees.

Respectful obeisances must go out to all the recently disappointed 1,500+ disciples, with the prayer to please take care to remain disciples under the direct protection of their Param-guru, Srila Prabhupada, who said that the grandfather is more kind to the sons than the father. So be it.

Pasted from; http://www.harekrsna.com/sun/editorials/01-12/editorials8173.htm

Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila, Chapter 15, text 105-111 with purports

Caitanya-caritamrta
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Madhya lila, Chapter 15, text 105-111 with purports 1975 Edition

Text 105
Upon hearing this, Satyarāja said, “How can I recognize a Vaiṣṇava? Please let me know what a Vaiṣṇava is. What are his common symptoms?”

Text 106
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “Whoever chants the holy name of Kṛṣṇa just once is worshipable and is the topmost human being.

Purport
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa once, a person becomes perfect. Such a person is understood to be a Vaiṣṇava. With such faith and belief, one may begin a life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but an ordinary person cannot chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa with such faith. This is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Upadeśāmṛta: kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta. One should accept the holy name of Kṛṣṇa to be identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Transcendence Himself. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is also identical with Kṛṣṇa and is also cintāmaṇi. The name Kṛṣṇa is the personification of sound perfectly transcendental and eternally liberated from material contamination. One should understand that the name Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa are identical. Having such faith, one must continue to chant the holy name. When one is situated on the neophyte platform, one cannot understand the devotional ingredients of a pure, unalloyed devotee. However, when the novice engages in devotional service-especially in Deity worship-and follows the order of a bona fide spiritual master, he becomes a pure devotee. Anyone can take advantage of hearing about Kṛṣṇa consciousness from a pure devotee and thus gradually become purified.

A devotee who believes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord is a pure devotee, even though he may be in the neophyte stage. By his association, others may also become Vaiṣṇavas.

One is known as a materialistic devotee if he simply worships the Deity of Hari with faith but does not show proper respect to the devotees and to others. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.47):

arcāyām eva haraye
pūjāṁ yaḥ śraddhayehate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu
sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ

“Anyone who engages with faith in the worship of the Deity of Hari but does not show proper respect to the devotees and to others is known as a materialistic devotee.” However, by associating with a neophyte devotee who believes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Lord, one can become a devotee also. When Lord Caitanya was teaching Sanātana Gosvāmī, He said:

śraddhāvān jana haya bhakti-adhikārī
‘uttama’, ‘madhyama;’, ‘kaniṣṭha’–śraddhā-anusārī

yāhāra komala-śraddhā, se ‘kaniṣṭha’ jana
krame krame teṅho bhakta ha-ibe ‘uttama’

rati-prema-tāratamye bhakta-taratama

“A person who has attained firm faith is a real candidate for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. According to the faith, there are first-class, second-class and neophyte devotees. One who has preliminary faith is called kaniṣṭha, or a neophyte. The neophyte, however, can become an advanced devotee if he strictly follows the regulative principles set down by the spiritual master. The pure devotee whose faith advances becomes a madhyama-adhikārī and uttama-adhikārī.” (Cc. Madhya 22.64,69-70)

It is thus concluded that even a neophyte devotee is superior to the karmīs and jñānīs because he has full faith in chanting the holy name of the Lord. A karmī or a jñānī, regardless of his greatness, has no faith in Lord Viṣṇu, His holy name or His devotional service. One may be advanced religiously, but if he is not trained in devotional service, he has very little credit on the transcendental platform. Even a neophyte devotee engaged in Deity worship in accordance with the regulations set forth by the spiritual master is in a position superior to that of the fruitive worker and speculative philosopher.

Text 107
“Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, one is relieved from all the reactions of a sinful life. One can complete the nine processes of devotional service simply by chanting the holy name.

Purport
The nine types of devotional service are mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.23):

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam

iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau
bhaktiś cen nava-lakṣaṇā
kriyeta bhagavaty addhā
tan manye ‘dhītam uttamam

These are the activities of hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping, praying, obeying, maintaining friendship and surrendering everything. As far as chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is concerned, one can be freed from all sinful reactions by chanting the holy name without committing offenses. If one chants offenselessly, he may be saved from all sinful reactions. It is very important in devotional service to chant the holy name of the Lord without committing offenses. The nine devotional processes such as śravaṇa and kīrtana can all be attained at once if one simply chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly.

In this regard, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states in his book Bhakti-sandarbha (173): yadyapi anyā bhaktiḥ kalau kartavyā, tada kīrtanākhya-bhakti-saṁyogenaiva. Out of the nine processes of devotional service, kīrtana is very important. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī therefore instructs that the other processes, such as arcana, vandana, dāsya and sakhya, should be executed, but they must be preceded and followed by kīrtana, the chanting of the holy name. We have therefore introduced this system in all of our centers. Arcana, ārati, bhoga offering, Deity dressing and decoration are all preceded and followed by the chanting of the holy name of the Lord-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

Text 108
“One does not have to undergo initiation or execute the activities required before initiation. One simply has to vibrate the holy name with his lips. Thus even a man in the lowest class [caṇḍāla] can be delivered.

Purport
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī explains dīkṣā in his Bhakti-sandarbha (283):

divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt
kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam
tasmād dīkṣeti sā proktā
deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ

“Dīkṣā is the process by which one can awaken his transcendental knowledge and vanquish all reactions caused by sinful activity. A person expert in the study of the revealed scriptures knows this process as dīkṣā.” The regulative principles of dīkṣā are explained in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.3,4) and in Bhakti-sandarbha (283). As stated:

dvijānām anupetānāṁ svakarmādhyayanādiṣu
yathādhikāro nāstīha syāc copanayanād anu
tathātrādīkṣitānāṁ tu mantra-devārcanādiṣu
nādhikāro ‘sty ataḥ kuryād ātmānaṁ śiva-saṁstutam

“Even though born in a brāhmaṇa family, one cannot engage in Vedic rituals without being initiated and having a sacred thread. Although born in a brāhmaṇa family, one becomes a brāhmaṇa after initiation and the sacred thread ceremony. Unless one is initiated as a brāhmaṇa, he cannot worship the holy name properly.”

According to the Vaiṣṇava regulative principles, one must be initiated as a brāhmaṇa. The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.6) quotes the following injunction from the Viṣṇu-yāmala:

adīkṣitasya vāmoru
kṛtaṁ sarvaṁ nirarthakam
paśu-yonim avāpnoti
dīkṣā-virahito janaḥ

“Unless one is initiated by a bona fide spiritual master, all his devotional activities are useless. A person who is not properly initiated can descend again into the animal species.”

Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.10) further quotes:

ato guruṁ praṇamyaivaṁ
sarva-svaṁ vinivedya ca
gṛhṇīyād vaiṣṇavaṁ mantraṁ
dīkṣā-pūrvaṁ vidhānataḥ

“It is the duty of every human being to surrender to a bona fide spiritual master. Giving him everything-body, mind and intelligence-one must take a Vaiṣṇava initiation from him.”

The Bhakti-sandarbha (298) gives the following quotation from the Tattva-sāgara:

yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti
kāsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena
dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām

“By chemical manipulation, bell metal is turned into gold when touched by mercury; similarly, when a person is properly initiated, he can acquire the qualities of a brāhmaṇa.”

The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (17.11,12) in discussing the puraścaryā process, quotes the following verses from Agastya-saṁhitā:

pūjā traikālikī nityaṁ
japas tarpaṇam eva ca
homo brāhmaṇa-bhuktiś ca
puraścaraṇam ucyate

guror labdhasya mantrasya
prasādena yathā-vidhi
pañcāṅgopāsanā-siddhyai
puraś caitad vidhīyate

“In the morning, afternoon and evening, one should worship the Deity, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, offer oblations, perform a fire sacrifice, and feed the brāhmaṇas. These five activities constitute puraścaryā. To attain full success when taking initiation from the spiritual master, one should first perform these puraścaryā processes.”

The word puraḥ means “before” and caryā means “activities.” Due to the necessity of these activities, we do not immediately initiate disciples in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. For six months, a candidate for initiation must first attend ārati and classes in the śāstras, practice the regulative principles and associate with other devotees. When one is actually advanced in the puraścaryā-vidhi, he is recommended by the local temple president for initiation. It is not that anyone can be suddenly initiated without meeting the requirements. When one is further advanced by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra sixteen rounds daily, following the regulative principles and attending classes, he receives the sacred thread (brahminical recognition) after the second six months.

In the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (17.4,5,7) it is stated:

vinā yena na siddhaḥ syān
mantro varṣa-śatair api
kṛtena yena labhate
sādhako vāñchitaṁ phalam

puraścaraṇa-sampanno
mantro hi phala-dhāyakaḥ
ataḥ puraṣkriyāṁ kuryāt
mantravit siddhi-kaṅksayā

puraṣkriyā hi mantrāṇāṁ
pradhānaṁ vīryam ucyate
vīrya-hīno yathā dehī
sarva-karmasu na kṣamaḥ
puraścaraṇa-hīno hi
tathā mantraḥ prakīrtitaḥ

“Without performing the puraścaryā activities, one cannot become perfect even by chanting this mantra for hundreds of years. However, one who has undergone the puraścaryā-vidhi process can attain success very easily. If one wishes to perfect his initiation, he must first undergo the puraścaryā activities. The puraścaryā process is the life-force by which one is successful in chanting the mantra. Without the life-force, one cannot do anything; similarly, without the life force of puraścaryā-vidhi, no mantra can be perfected.”

In his Bhakti-sandarbha (283), Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states:

yadyapi śrī-bhāgavata-mate pañcarātrādi-vat arcana-mārgasya āvaśyakatvaṁ nāsti, tad vināpi śaraṇāpattyādīnām ekatareṇāpi puruṣārtha-siddher abhihitatvāt, tathāpi śrī-nāradādi-vartmānusaradbhiḥ śrī-bhagavatā saha sambandha-viśeṣaṁ dīkṣā-vidhānena śrī-guru-caraṇa-sampāditaṁ cikīrṣadbhiḥ kṛtāyāṁ dīkṣāyām arcanam avaśyaṁ kriyetaiva.

Of similar importance is dīkṣā, which is explained as follows in Bhakti-sandarbha (284):

yadyapi svarūpato nāsti, tathāpi prāyaḥ svabhāvato dehādi-sambandhena kardaya-śīlānāṁ vikṣipta-cittānāṁ janānāṁ tat-tat-saṅkocī-karaṇāya śrīmad-ṛṣi-prabhṛtibhir atrārcana-mārge kvacit kvacit kācit kācin maryādā sthāpitāsti.

Similarly in the Rāmārcana-candrikā it is stated:

vinaiva dīkṣāṁ viprendra
puraścaryāṁ vinaiva hi
vinaiva nyāsa-vidhinā
japa-mātreṇa siddhidā

In other words, the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is so powerful that it does not depend on official initiation, but if one is initiated and engages in pañcarātra-vidhi (Deity worship), his Kṛṣṇa consciousness will awaken very soon, and his identification with the material world will be vanquished. The more one is freed from material identification, the more one can realize that the spirit soul is qualitatively as good as the Supreme Soul. At such a time, when one is situated on the absolute platform, he can understand that the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical. At that stage of realization, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, cannot be identified with any material sound. If one accepts the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra as a material vibration, he falls down. One should worship and chant the holy name of the Lord by accepting it as the Lord Himself. One should therefore be initiated properly according to revealed scriptures under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. Although chanting the holy name is good for both the conditioned and liberated soul, it is especially beneficial to the conditioned soul because by chanting it one is liberated. When a person who chants the holy name is liberated, he attains the ultimate perfection by returning home, back to Godhead. In the words of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 7.73):

kṛṣṇa-mantra haite habe saṁsāra-mocana
kṛṣṇa-nāma haite pābe kṛṣṇera caraṇa

“Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.”

The offenseless chanting of the holy name does not depend on the initiation process. Although initiation may depend on puraścaryā or puraścaraṇa, the actual chanting of the holy name does not depend on puraścaryā-vidhi, or the regulative principles. If one chants the holy name once without committing an offense, he attains all success. During the chanting of the holy name, the tongue must work. Simply by chanting the holy name, one is immediately delivered. The tongue is sevonmukha-jihvā-it is controlled by service. One whose tongue is engaged in tasting material things and also talking about them cannot use the tongue for absolute realization.

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

According to Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 17.134):

ataeva kṛṣṇera ‘nāma’, ‘deha’, ‘vilāsa’
prākṛtendriya-grāhya nahe, haya sva-prakāśa

“With these material senses, one cannot understand the transcendental holy name of the Lord or His form, activities and pastimes. However, when one actually engages in devotional service, utilizing the tongue, the Lord is revealed.”

Text 109
“By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one dissolves his entanglement in material activities. After this, one becomes very attracted to Kṛṣṇa, and thus dormant love for Kṛṣṇa is awakened.

Text 110
” ‘The holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa is an attractive feature for many saintly, liberal people. It is the annihilator of all sinful reactions and is so powerful that save for the dumb who cannot chant it, it is readily available to everyone, including the lowest type of man, the caṇḍāla. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is the controller of the opulence of liberation, and it is identical with Kṛṣṇa. Simply by touching the holy name with one’s tongue, immediate effects are produced. Chanting the holy name does not depend on initiation, pious activities or the puraścaryā regulative principles generally observed before initiation. The holy name does not wait for all these activities. It is self-sufficient.’ “

Purport
This verse is found in the Padyāvalī (29) by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.

Text 111
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then finally advised, “One who is chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is understood to be a Vaiṣṇava; therefore you should offer all respects to him.”

Purport
In his Upadeśāmṛta, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states: kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta dīkṣāsti cet. An advanced devotee should respect a person who has been initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and who is situated on the transcendental platform, chanting the holy name with faith and obeisances and following the instructions of the spiritual master. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura comments that serving Vaiṣṇavas is most important for householders. Whether a Vaiṣṇava is properly initiated or not is not a subject for consideration. One may be initiated and yet contaminated by the Māyāvāda philosophy, but a person who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly will not be so contaminated. A properly initiated Vaiṣṇava may be imperfect, but one who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly is all-perfect. Although he may apparently be a neophyte, he still has to be considered a pure unalloyed Vaiṣṇava. It is the duty of the householder to offer respects to such an unalloyed Vaiṣṇava. This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s instruction.

Text and Purports pasted from; Prabhupada Books

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