Ten Offenses to be Avoided While Chanting Hare Krishna

There are ten main offenses that must be avoided by those who wish to quickly achieve the desired success of chanting. These are mentioned in the Padma Purana, Brahma-khanda, and are recited by devotees all over the world each morning before they begin chanting. These offenses are mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3.15.25, Purport:

“It may be noted that there are ten offenses we should avoid.

  1. The first offense is to decry persons who try in their lives to broadcast the glories of the Lord. People must be educated in understanding the glories of the Supreme; therefore the devotees who engage in preaching the glories of the Lord are never to be decried. It is the greatest offense.
  2. Furthermore, the holy name of Vishnu is the most auspicious name, and His pastimes are also nondifferent from the holy name of the Lord. There are many foolish persons who say that one can chant Hare Krishna or chant the name of Kali or Durga or Shiva because they are all the same. If one thinks that the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the names and activities of the demigods are on the same level, or if one accepts the holy name of Vishnu to be a material sound vibration; that is also an offense.
  3. The third offense is to think of the spiritual master who spreads the glories of the Lord as an ordinary human being.
  4. The fourth offense is to consider the Vedic literatures, such as the Puranas or other transcendentally revealed scriptures, to be ordinary books of knowledge.
  5. The fifth offense is to think that devotees have given artificial importance to the holy name of God. The actual fact is that the Lord is nondifferent from His name. The highest realization of spiritual value is to chant the holy name of God, as prescribed for the age—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
  6. The sixth offense is to give some interpretation on the holy name of God.
  7. The seventh offense is to act sinfully on the strength of chanting the holy name of God. It is understood that one can be freed from all sinful reaction simply by chanting the holy name of God, but if one thinks that he is therefore at liberty to commit all kinds of sinful acts, that is a symptom of offense.
  8. The eighth offense is to equate the chanting of Hare Krishna with other spiritual activities, such as meditation, austerity, penance or sacrifice. They cannot be equated at any level.
  9. The ninth offense is to specifically glorify the importance of the holy name before persons who have no interest.
  10. The tenth offense is to be attached to the misconception of possessing something, or to accept the body as one’s self, while executing the process of spiritual cultivation.”

The Padma Purana goes on to say that it is also an offense to be inattentive while chanting. Chanting while doing anything else is not recommended. When the mind wanders from hearing the mantra, we should bring it back. This takes patience because it is the nature of the mind to wander.

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