Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi - Bhaktivinoda ThakuraHari-nāma Cintāmaṇi - Chapter 1

Śrī Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi – Introduction

Prabodhinī Kathā
(Words of Enlightenment)

This book is not an ordinary text. Only those in whom firm faith in Śrī Caitanya has appeared, who have taken shelter of the Holy Name and have faith in bhakti are qualified to understand this book. Amongst various types of sādhana-bhakti, all perfection is attained by taking shelter of the Name and those who believe this are the best of sādhakas. These instructions of Śrīman Mahāprabhu are found in His Śikṣāṣṭaka. Śrī Mahāprabhu appointed Hari Dāsa Ṭhākura as the ācārya of these teachings.

Authoritative books affirm that Śrīla Hari Dāsa Ṭhākura took birth in a yavana household, and we know this for certain. Hari Dāsa accepted his birth in a rural village named Buḍhana. After some time, due to his previous saṁskāra (deeds performed in a previous life), he eventually became attracted to hari-bhajana. Leaving home, he built a small kuṭīra (cottage) in the forest of Benāpula, and lived there, constantly engaged in nāma-saṅkīrtana and smaraṇa. Because some inimical people were opposed to him, he left that place and came to live on the banks of the Gaṅgā.

Some evil men sent a prostitute in order to corrupt him, yet by hearing hari-nāma from the mouth of Hari Dāsa, that prostitute eventually attained some sukṛti and became a devotee. Offering his kuṭīra in Benāpula to this new devotee, Hari Dāsa left that province. Continuously singing hari-nāma, he crossed the Gaṅgā and came to Saptagrāma where he stayed in the house of Śrīla Yadunandana Ācārya. In that village, and in the association of the Ācārya, he attended meetings hosted by Śrī Hiraṇya and Govardhana who were landowners with the title Majumdar. He had many debates on the glories of Śrī Nāma with a brahma-bandhu (so-called brāhmaṇa) named Gopāla Cakravartī. Hiraṇya and Govardhana dismissed that brāhmaṇa from their employment and later, due to vaiṣṇava-aparādha, he developed leprosy. At that time, Govardhana’s son, Raghunātha Dāsa, who was very young, became attracted to the path of Vaiṣṇavism by the mercy of Hari Dāsa. Hearing of Gopāla Cakravartī’s suffering, Hari Dāsa felt sad and left that place, took shelter of Śrīmad Advaita Prabhu in Phuliyāgrāma, and performed nirjana-hari-bhajana (solitary worship of Hari) in a cave on the bank of the Gaṅgā. Although a devotee may dislike fame and give up the association of worldly people, the glories of a devotee can never be hidden. As the light of his bhakti spread, the jealousy of the Muslims arose and he was seized by them and especially tortured by the muluk-pati (leader of the Muslims). Hari Dāsa was filled with mercy for all living beings. Without considering their faults, he gave blessings to everyone, left that place and returned to his cave. A few days later Mahāprabhu came to that holy place. In the company of Śrī Advaita, Hari Dāsa met Śrīman Mahāprabhu and sought refuge at His feet. From that time on, he was appointed by Mahāprabhu as the ācārya of nāma-pracāra (propagating the Holy Name). Later on, Mahāprabhu relocated to Śrī Puruṣottama (Jagannātha Purī) and at that time Hari Dāsa stayed at Siddha Bakula. When Hari Dāsa left this world, the Lord Himself placed him in samādhi at the seashore and during the ceremony performed saṅkīrtana and ended it with a viraha-mahotsava (observance of separation).

This is Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s līlā, and those devotees who became elevated in bhakti preached His teachings to the world. After asking Hari Dāsa some questions, the Lord revealed nāma-tattva (the intrinsic truth about the Holy Name) from his mouth. All these things are described in many places in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, and in many other books describing bhakti. Being encouraged by devotees at various times, I have compiled an anthology from all the books describing Śrī Hari Dāsa’s preaching about nāma-tattva. I also received some books about our Hari Dāsa from devotees living far away. Seeing amongst them writings of the sahajiyās, bāulas, and other incoherent statements, I carefully discarded these. One or two books agreed with pure Vaiṣṇava philosophy. In one of the texts, a rasika meaning of the sixteen Holy Names of thirty-two syllables was found. I was very happy to find this. It seems that Śrī Hari Dāsa instructed a pure devotee about the Holy Name, and he wrote this book in the name of his Gurudeva. After seeing these books, I would like to profusely thank the devotee community of the Śrīhaṭṭa province. In all these books I found Hari Dāsa’s instructions in relation to hari-nāma and they are all compiled in this book, Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi. To increase the happiness of the niṣkiñcana-bhaktas (those devotees who have renounced everything for Kṛṣṇa), we have published this book. We think that those who are not niṣkiñcanas who are exclusively devoted to the Holy Name should not read this book, and we do not wish to hear their arguments about this topic.

There are many methods of sādhana-bhajana, but the method of bhajana where exclusive shelter of the Name is taken is of one type only. From the time of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the great devotees have followed this bhajana-praṇālī (method of worship), as spoken by Śrī Hari Dāsa. Since ancient times, the Vaiṣṇavas residing in the forests of Vraja have all followed this process of bhajana, and sometime later, we saw with our own eyes how all the bhajanānandī Vaiṣṇavas of Śrī Puruṣottama-kṣetra also followed it. At the end of Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, Śrī Sanātana and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmīs have clearly written about this exclusive bhajana-praṇālī, consisting of living in a solitary place and engaging in constant śravaṇa, kīrtana and smaraṇa of śrī-hari-nāma without offence.

This Śrī Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi is a book written in the payāra metre, and women, children and those inexperienced in Sanskrit can all grasp Mahāprabhu’s teachings from reading it. It is for this reason that I have not included any Sanskrit quotes, which might trouble them. There is another anthology called Pramāṇa-mālā which contains śāstrika evidence for every sentence of this Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi. If Śrī Kṛṣṇa desires, this book will also be published for the devotees very soon.*

A servant of the akiñcanas

Śrī Bhaktivinoda

*Translator’s Note: The Pramāṇa-māla was later published by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura under the name Bhajana Rahasya.

Hari-nāma Cintāmaṇi - Bhaktivinoda ThakuraHari-nāma Cintāmaṇi - Chapter 1

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