In almost all villages of the land, the custom of patrolling in the months of Kārttika, Māgha and Vaiśākha is prevalent, in other words, one Vaiṣṇava goes door to door of the people of every village and performs hari-nāma kīrtana by playing the karatālas every morning. This ancient tradition is most excellent, but this activity is not done purely. The Vaiṣnava chanting the Name goes to every householder’s residence, begs for some rice, and when the month is over, he makes his living by going to every house once again.
There are many ways to make a living; it is one’s duty to engage in some activity to do that. If villagers voluntarily give some alms after hearing the Name of Hari, it is not wrong to accept that. But it is very unjust and opposed to bhakti to collect money by selling hari-nāma, considering it to be a livelihood. By doing this, both the giver of the Name and the listener will never have the possibility of obtaining the result of prema, and only pāpa will be accumulated. Hari-nāma cannot be bought with money, the only price is śraddhā. Thus, it is advised that everyone should hear and chant with śraddhā.
This issue has been discussed many times in the Sajjana Toṣaṇī magazine, but so far I have not been able to see any good results and thus I am writing about it again.
If the honourable Vaiṣṇava village devotees who have śraddhā give the Holy Name according to their respective qualifications, and try to correct this evil practice of collecting money with hari-nāma, then by patrolling according to Śrī Śrī Mahāprabhu’s instruction and trying to preach door to door, the purpose of hearing and chanting hari-nāma, and the ultimate welfare of the jīvas, will be achieved. The instruction to patrol is this:
prabhura ājñāya, bhāi, māgi ei bhikṣā
bala `kṛṣṇa,’ bhajo kṛṣṇa, kara kṛṣṇa-śikṣā
aparādha-śūnya ha’ye laha kṛṣṇa-nāma
kṛṣṇa mātā, kṛṣṇa pitā, kṛṣṇa dhana-prāṇa
kṛṣṇera saṁsāra kara chāḍi’ anācārā
jīve dayā, kṛṣṇa-nāma sarva-dharma-sāra
(“O brothers, by the order of the Lord, I beg this favour – Chant “Kṛṣṇa,” worship Kṛṣṇa, and follow Kṛṣṇa’s teachings. Being free of offences, take up the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is your mother, Kṛṣṇa is your father, and Kṛṣṇa is the wealth of your life. Abandon unrighteous activities and perform your worldly duties in relation to Kṛṣṇa. Show compassion to other jīvas and chant kṛṣṇa-nāma – that is the essence of all dharma.”)