The 10 Defenses
In his book, The Art of Chanting Hare Krishna, HH Mahanidhi Swami lists “ten actions… to protect one from the tendency to make offenses” that originally appear in Srila Sacidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s Harinama Cintamani. I typed them up, in a slightly paraphrased form, when I first read Mahanidhi Swami’s book and thought I would reproduce them here as well.
The 10 Defenses
1. Serve those who serve the Lord, don’t criticize them out of envy or false ego.
2. Worship Krishna as the “source of all spiritual and material worlds”, “the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities.” Show respect to demigods like Lord Siva or Ganesh and personalities like Hanuman as exalted devotees of Lord Krishna.
3. Show full respect to the spiritual master in thoughts, words and actions, considering him to be a representative of the Lord. Carry out the orders of the spiritual master with enthusiasm and attention to detail.
4. Honor (and study) the scriptures as the instructions of the Supreme Lord (dharmam tu saksad bhagavat pranitam) with the desire to understand how they are correct (not if they are correct).
5. Have faith that the Holy Name is not a mundane sound vibration, but is in fact transcendental sound, descending from the (pure) spiritual platform.
6. Have faith in the explanations and glorification of the Holy Name given by guru, sadhu and sastra. This knowledge is given by those who have experienced the glories of the Holy Name, and who have “seen the truth.”
7. Root out the desire to commit sins. A sin is an action that is not connected to the Supreme Lord; something done for the gratification of the senses. Acting only for the pleasure of the material body brings you further from practical realization of your factual identity as an eternal spirit soul (separate from the temporary material body).
8. Give up ritualistic pious activities. Transcend feelings of duty and obligation and perform all activities for the pleasure of Krishna.
9. Discuss the glories of the Holy Name with servants of the Lord who will relish hearing about it.
10. Chant attentively, absorbing your full consciousness in the transcendental vibration of the Holy Name.
Mahanidhi Swami also notes that one who cultivates the four qualities of humility, tolerance, pridelessness, and respect for others will be protected from committing the ten offenses.