Understanding Anarthas

Śrīla Bhakti Nirmal Āchārya Mahārāj requests devotees to understand the obstacles to the practice of devotion.

The following outline was compiled at Śrīla Bhakti Nirmal Āchārya Mahārāj’s request as an appendix to the most recent edition of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh’s panjika (almanac). Here it has been translated from the original Bengali texts, which were excerpted from the writing of Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur.

The Four Types of Anarthas (Obstacles to Devotion)

(Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s Bhajana-rahasya)

(1) Tattva-vibhrama: misconception of the Truth.

(a) Sva-tattva-bhrama: misconception of one’s true self.

(b) Para-tattva-bhrama: misconception of the Supreme.

(c) Sādhya-sādhana-bhrama: misconception of the goal of life and the means to attain it.

(d) Virodhī-viṣaya-bhrama: misconception of that which is antithetical.

(2) Asat-tṛṣṇā: desire for illusory ends.

(a) Bhukti: enjoyment.

-Worldly enjoyment in the form of family, wealth, luxury, and so on.

-Heavenly enjoyment in the form of a birth in a heavenly paradise after death.

(b) Siddhi: supernatural powers.

-Aṇimā: becoming smaller than the smallest;

-Mahimā: becoming greater than the greatest;

-Laghimā: becoming lighter than the lightest;

-Prāpti: acquiring whatever one desires;

-Prākāmya: experiencing any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next;

-Īśitva: capacity to manipulate Māyā’s sub-potencies;

-Vaśitva: becoming unimpeded by the three modes of material nature;

-Kāmāvasāyitā: the ability to acquire anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit.

(c) Mukti: liberation from birth and death.

(3) Aparādha: offences.

(a) Nāma-aparādha: offences against the Holy Name.

(b) Sevā-aparādha: offences made during service and worship.

c) Vaiṣṇava-aparādha: offences against Vaiṣṇavas.

(d) Dhāma-aparādha: offences against the Holy Dhām.

(e) Jīva-aparādha: offences against other souls.

(4) Hṛdaya-daurbalya: weakness of the heart.

(a) Tuchcha-āsakti: attachment to things unrelated to Kṛṣṇa and His service.

(b) Kuṭīnāṭī: duplicity.

c) Mātsarya: envy; coveting the good fortune of others.

(d) Pratiṣṭhāśā: desire for name and fame.

The Ten Offences to The Holy Name

(Śrī Padma-purāa)

(1) Criticising sādhus.

(2) Considering any of the gods to be lords independent of Kṛṣṇa.

(3) Disobeying Śrī Guru.

(4) Criticising the scriptures.

(5) Considering the Holy Name’s glory exaggerated praise.

(6) Considering the Holy Name imaginary.

(7) Considering that one can sin (and be absolved) because one chants the Holy Name.

(8) Considering chanting the Holy Name equivalent to pious worldly works.

(9) Giving the Holy Name to faithless persons on account of material attachment.

(10) Remaining devoid of love for the Holy Name and filled with egotism and possessiveness even after hearing the Holy Name’s glories.

The Four Forms of Criticising Sādhus

(Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s Hari-nāma-chintāmai)

(1) Jāti-doṣ: to criticise a sādhu for a fault in the circumstances of his birth.

(2) Kadāchikta-doṣ: to criticise a sādhu for an accidental, unintentional, or unknowing fault.

(3) Naṣṭa-prāya-doṣ: to criticise a sādhu for faults that are almost rectified.

(4) Pūrva-doṣ: to criticise a sādhu for faults that occurred prior to his surrendering.

The Thirty-Two Types of  Sevā-Aparādha

(1) Entering the Lord’s Temple in a vehicle or while wearing shoes.

(2) Not celebrating the Lord’s birthday and other Pastimes.

(3) Not offering obeisance when coming before the Deity.

(4) Worshipping the Deity with an unclean body or while in an impure state.

(5) Offering obeisance with one hand.

(6) Strolling or pacing before the Deity.

(7) Spreading one’s legs before the Deity.

(8) Sitting before the Deity while holding up one’s knees with one’s forearms.

(9) Lying down before the Deity.

(10) Eating before the Deity.

(11) Telling lies before the Deity.

(12) Speaking loudly before the Deity.

(13) Conversing privately before the Deity.

(14) Crying before the Deity.

(15) Quarrelling before the Deity.

(16) Chastising someone before the Deity.

(17) Being charitable to someone before the Deity.

(18) Behaving or speaking cruelly towards common people.

(19) Serving the Deity while covered with a wool, fur, or down blanket.

(20) Criticising others before the Deity.

(21) Praising others before the Deity.

(22) Using foul language before the Deity.

(23) Passing air before the Deity.

(24) Financial fraud, that is, organising a festival or offering worship at a lower cost or with fewer ingredients than one is able to provide.

(25) Taking items that have not been offered to the Deity for oneself.

(26) Not offering fruits and grains to the Deity when they are fresh.

(27) Giving the best part of collected ingredients to others and offering the remains to the Deity.

(28) Sitting with one’s back to the Deity.

(29) Offering obeisances to others before the Deity.

(30) Remaining quiet and not offering praise, obeisance, and so on before Śrī Gurudev.

(31) Praising oneself before Śrī Gurudev.

(32) Criticising the demigods.

The Ten Offences to the Holy Dhām

(1) Disrespecting Śrī Guru and the sādhus, who are the revealers of the Dhām.

(2) Considering the Dhām temporary.

(3) Harming the residents and visitors of the Dhām, or judging them by their birth.

(4) Residing in the Dhām and engaging in mundane activities.

(5) Earning money by, or making a business of, Deity worship on the pretext of serving the Dhām.

(6) Considering the Dhām equal to places of demigods or material land.

(7) Considering that one can sin (and be absolved) because one resides in the Dhām.

(8) Considering Nabadwīp different from Vṛndāvan.

(9) Criticising the scriptures that glorify the Dhām.

(10) Considering the glory of the Dhām exaggerated praise or imaginary.

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