Srimad Bhagavatam 01.18.19 - Back to Basics (download mp3)
by Pradyumna Mishra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
kutaḥ punar gṛṇato nāma tasya
yo ’nanta-śaktir bhagavān ananto
mahad-guṇatvād yam anantam āhuḥ
And what to speak of those who are under the direction of the great devotees, chanting the holy name of the Unlimited, who has unlimited potency? The Personality of Godhead, unlimited in potency and transcendental by attributes, is called Ananta [Unlimited].
The dvija-bandhu, or the less intelligent, uncultured men born of higher castes, put forward many arguments against the lower-caste men becoming brāhmaṇas in this life. They argue that birth in a family of śūdras or less than śūdras is made possible by one’s previous sinful acts and that one therefore has to complete the terms of disadvantages due to lower birth. And to answer these false logicians, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam asserts that one who chants the holy name of the Lord under the direction of a pure devotee can at once get free from the disadvantages due to a lower-caste birth. A pure devotee of the Lord does not commit any offense while chanting the holy name of the Lord. There are ten different offenses in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. To chant the holy name under the direction of a pure devotee is offenseless chanting. Offenseless chanting of the holy name of the Lord is transcendental, and therefore such chanting can at once purify one from the effects of all kinds of previous sins. This offenseless chanting indicates that one has fully understood the transcendental nature of the holy name and has thus surrendered unto the Lord. Transcendentally the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical, being absolute. The holy name of the Lord is as powerful as the Lord. The Lord is the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, and He has innumerable names, which are all nondifferent from Him and are equally powerful also. In the last word of the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord asserts that one who surrenders fully unto Him is protected from all sins by the grace of the Lord. Since His name and He Himself are identical, the holy name of the Lord can protect the devotee from all effects of sins. The chanting of the holy name of the Lord can undoubtedly deliver one from the disadvantages of a lower-caste birth. The Lord’s unlimited power is extended on and on by the unlimited expansion of the devotees and incarnations, and thus every devotee of the Lord and incarnations also can be equally surcharged with the potency of the Lord. Since the devotee is surcharged with the potency of the Lord, even fractionally, the disqualification due to lower birth cannot stand in the way.