I just saw a blog by Vineet Chander called ‘OmSweetOm’. It was all about a new Halloween costume based on the Hare Krishna look: http://blog.beliefnet.com/omsweetom/2009/11/a-hare-krishna-halloween.html#preview

Hallowing the Holy Name

Hallowing the Holy Name

Inevitably there are calls to protest this ‘insult’ to Krishna consciousness and Hinduism. Vineet gives a reasonable perspective on why he thinks we should not, but he misses the real point.

According to the Caitanya Caritamrta if a person somehow chants the holy names, even in joking, they get transcendental benefit:

Adi 17.200

sei haite jihva mora bale ‘hari’ ‘hari’

iccha nahi, tabu bale, — ki upaya kari

TRANSLATION

“‘Since that time, my tongue also always vibrates the sound “Hari, Hari.” I have no desire to say it, but still my tongue says it. I do not know what to do.’

PURPORT

Sometimes demoniac nonbelievers, not understanding the potency of the holy name, make fun of the Vaisnavas when the Vaisnavas chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. This joking is also beneficial for such persons. Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sixth Canto, Second Chapter, verse 14, indicates that the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, even in joking, in the course of ordinary discussion, in indicating something extraneous, or in negligence, is called namabhasa, which is chanting that is almost on the transcendental stage. This namabhasa stage is better than namaparadha. Namabhasa awakens the supreme remembrance of Lord Visnu. When one remembers Lord Visnu, he becomes free from material enjoyment. Thus he gradually comes forward toward the transcendental service of the Lord and becomes eligible to chant the holy name of the Lord in the transcendental position.”

Vineet’s article got it right, although he didn’t fully explain why the ‘halloween Haris” is Ok. Srila Prabhupada gives the explanation above. To chant Hare Krishna is better than to not chant Hare Krishna, even if it is done in jest, which the Halloweeners most certainly do. They are chanting Hare Krishna throughout the Halloween festival which they may never have done otherwise.

Think about it–they spend at least a few hours imitating a Hare Krishna devotee. Now think about another great imitator and the result she got…

putana_suckles_krishna

Srila Prabhupada was always pleased to see Krishna’s names chanted, even in apparently adverse circumstances. It reminds me of when I was with him in Calcutta on February 5th 1977. An article had come out in a Boston newspaper asking whether the Hare Krishna devotees were good or bad:

[Note: excerpted directly from my original diary. This has not yet edited or been published]

“During massage, which is done in the bathroom because there is a small patch of sunlight which comes through the window and the sun on his [Prabhupada’s] back with the mustard oil is very health giving, Satsvarupa Maharaj came in with some of the mail.

“Sitting on the floor of the bathroom while I massaged he began to read an article from a Boston newspaper entitled `The Hare Krsna Puzzle’. It was a big two page spread and appeared slightly favourable to us simply because it tried to present an objective view without any editorial slant. There were two columns for ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ with comments from parents and various other persons.

“Prabhupada asked what were some of the objections.

“One parent said we were parasites who did nothing productive for the community.

“Prabhupada got very annoyed and began to speak, as he often does in this kind of situation, as if the person were present. “We are not parasites. We are giving the best literature. Does that come from the illiterate, the hippies? We are accepted by the scholars and we are parasites? Then the high court judge is also parasite.” And then– “They do not know what is parasite. Intelligent persons are not meant for working like dogs and asses. They work with the brain. The rascal sees the high court judge sitting and simply talking a little and getting big, big salary and he thinks ‘Oh who is this parasite?’ They do not know the value of using the brain.”

“Another point: We are simply beggars in the streets.

“Prabhupada: “It is not begging, it is humbleness. They are puffed up so we approach in all humility to get them to take a book. If we give a book is that begging?”

“SDG: “But sometimes we simply give a flower and take donations.”

“Prabhupada: “That is also humility. In India even very learned scholars beg. They are called ‘bhiksu tridandi swami‘ which means begging. The sannysis beg in order to learn pridelessness and humility. In Vedic culture sannyasi, brahmacari, brahmana, they can beg. Brahmacari begs to learn humility even when he is from big rich family. He does so to become meek and Jesus said ‘to the meek God is available’. You do not know what this culture is. You have culture how to kill child by abortion so how will you understand this culture. Is this higher culture? (meaning the western one).”

“He told us we should defend like this. Another point mentioned was that it is not a question of religion, the issue is that of mind control. They say we control people’s minds.

“Prabhupada rebutted this by saying, “They are the ones who guilty of mind control because those whose minds are surrendered to us, they want to kidnap and change by force.”

“So he went on one by one until finally he asked if the article mentioned Krsna’s name so Satsvarup said, “Yes many times,”  and he showed him the large heading ‘Hare Krsna Puzzle‘ and Prabhupada smiled. “Yes. At least now they are considering is it good or bad? Now at least they have come to the marginal position. Formerly Hare Krsna was bad; then they will finally come to the point ‘Oh it is good'”.

During masage which is done in the bathroom because there is a small patch of sunlight which comes through the window, and the sun on his back with the mustard oil is very health giving, Satsvarup Maharaj came in with some of the mail. Sitting on the floor of the bathroom while I massaged he began to read anÜj______Ü article from the a Boston newspaper entitled `The Hare Krsna Puzzle’. It was a big two page spread and appeared slightly favourable to us simply because it tried to present an objective view without any editorial slant. There were two columns for `pros’ and `cons’ with comments from parents and various other persons.
Prabhupad asked what were some of the objections. One parent said we were parasites who did nothing productive for the community. PRabhupada got very annoyed and began to speak, as he often does in this kind of situation, retorically as if the person were present. “We are not parasites. We are giving the best literature. Does that come from the illiterate, the hippies? We are accepted by the scholars and we are parasites? Then the high court judge is also parasite”. And then “They do not know what is parasite. Intelligent persons are not meant for working like dogs and asses. They work with the brain. The rascal sees teh high court judge sitting and simply talking a littles and getting big big salary and he thinks `Oh who is this parasite?’ They do not know the value of using the brain”.
Another point: We are simply beggars in the streets.
Prabhupad: “It is not begging it is humblness. They are puffed up so we approach in all humility to get them to take a book. If we give a book is that begging?”
SDG: “But sometimes we simply give a flower and take donations”
Prabhupad: “That is also humility. In India even very learned scholars beg. They are called `bhiksu tridandi swami’ which means begging. The sannysis beg in order to learn pridelessness and humility. In vedic culture sannyasi, brahmacari, brahmana, tehy can beg. Brhmacari begs to learn humility even when he is from big rich family. He does so to become meek and Jesus said to the meek God is available. You do not know what this culture is. You have culture how to kill child by abortion so how will you understand this culture. Is this higher culture? (meaning the western one)”.
He told us we should defend like this. Another point mentioned was that it is not a question of religion, the issue is that of mind control. They say we control people’s minds.
Prabhupad rebutted this by saying ” They ar the ones who guilty of mind control because those whose minds are surrenered to us, they want to kidnap and change by force”.
So he went on one by one until finally he asked if the article mentioned Krsna’s name so Satsvarup said “Yes many times”  and he showed him the large heading `Hare Krsna Puzzle’ and Prabhupad smiled. “Yes at least now they are considering   is it good or bad? Now at least they have come to the marginal position. Formerly Hare Krsna was bad then they will finally come to the point `Oh it is good”.
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