The Ultimate Weapon

“As far as possible, the chanting should be heard from the lips of the pure devotee…” — Srila Prabhupada

Excerpt taken from an article entitled “Shree Krishna and Shree Gaursundar”, published in the The Harmonist (Shree Sajjanatoshani ), Vol. XXIX No. 7, January, 1932

A number of the followers of Shree Gaursundar were celebates and sannyasins, while many others were married persons with children and occupations. They form a congregation of worshippers and meet together for chanting the sankirtan of Krishna and discoursing to one another regarding Krishna. Their conduct is, however, by no means popular, although the personal influence of Shree Gaursundar and His associates is nevertheless marvelous. But the Pastimes remain practically confined to those persons who are subsequently identified with the corresponding characters in Krishna Leela. What influence, if any at all, did this performance so strictly confined to His own produce on the people generally?

Many individuals were converted to the spiritual life, but almost wholly by personal influence. Arguments were used in a number of cases, but even in those cases the conversion, when it took place, was wrought in an inexplicable way. How then was any person really converted? Those who were converted have always said that their conversion was entirely due to the causeless mercy of Shree Gaursundar and of His associates. This must mean that no merit on their part was necessary. Can this also be described as salvation wrought on the terms of the persons saved? If this was so, why were not all persons saved? Why did Shree Chaitanya meet with a growing popular opposition even after He had renounced the world in order to placate His opponents?

The ideal of the service of Shree Krishna that was put before the people by the conduct and precept of Shree Krishna Chaitanya and His associates was too high for any person of this world. But this aspect also failed to win anything like general recognition. Krishna was made to appear in the Form of His Kirtan within the scope of the hearing of all persons. The chant of the Name of Krishna was the weapon used for the conversion of the masses. Were they actually converted? The books answer in the affirmative. But History, specially empiric History, looking only to the surface of things does not record that the external forms of the religious practices of the people underwent any general and decisive change.

The Kirtan itself was popularized, but only at a subsequent period. It is of course no proof of the real success of any religious movement that it has been enabled to secure the allegiance of a large number of professed followers. The actual teachings of no prophet are followed by more than a very small minority of his professed followers.

Shree Gaursundar teaches the all-sufficiency of the Kirtan of the Name of Krishna. The ritual is the simplest possible. The only condition that has to be fulfilled is that the Name has to be chanted in the company of a saint. If there is no saint there is no Name, Who only makes His appearance on the lips of His bonafide devotee. No person is likely to object to listening to a saint if he is really such. But there are those who may object to the whole process as being too simple and puerile. But Krishna-talk may attract those who object to the chanting of the Name. The talk should be universally acceptable in a speculative Age like the present. But no talk on the part of the conditioned soul will be effective unless it is held with a person who really serves Krishna.

The method of Shree Gaursundar accordingly is that as soon as a person has found his spiritual nature due to the causeless mercy of the bonafide devotee, he should forthwith give up all other occupation and engage in the wholetime chant of the Name of Krishna. He should go from door to door chanting the Holy Name with a loud voice so that He may be heard by everybody. Krishna is to be hawked as a free gift at the door of all the slumberers of this world, that Krishna may have a chance of being heard by the most graceless of egotists if He goes down on His Knees, as it were, to obtain the most casual form of mere recognition of His very existence.

But there will still be those who may behave like Shukracharya. When Shree Vamana Deva begged King Bali for the gift of no more than space of the measure of three strides of Himself Who appeared to all superficial observers to be no bigger than a very short-statured dwarf, the magnanimous King was advised by Shukracharya, who was the King’s preceptor, not to agree to the proposal as the Dwarf was no less a Personage than Vishnu Himself, Who was asking for the gift in order to deprive the King of his sovereignty of Heaven, Earth and the Nether worlds.

The papers report that the Viceroy has been pleased to propose to hear the Kirtan of the Name of Krishna chanted by the devotees of the Gaudiya Math. This will be taken in all quarters in the spirit of genuine good humor as portending nothing very serious. But if Shree Gaursundar is to be believed, the chant of the Name of Krishna by the sadhus is no less an event than the Form of the Appearance of the Absolute Person Himself to the eclipsed consciousness of the conditioned soul by the unobjectionable process of begging to be heard.

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