Initiation And Previous Sins by Srila Jagadananda Pandita
“When jiva receives formal initiation from a bona fide guru into the chanting of the holy name of Hari, Krishna, he is pardoned from all his sins of previous births. Then, when he guilelessly surrenders himself to Krishna’s lotus feet, Lord Krishna nullifies all his offenses accumulated over innumerable lifetimes.
One does not have to separately perform prāyaścitta (atonement), for his sins, for simply by receiving initiation he becomes freed from all sinful reactions. This is the scriptural verdict. From the moment of sincere surrender, he no longer delights in sinful, sensual pleasures. The desire to sin slowly becomes further weakened, and gradually he conquers over Maya (illusion)”
“Thereafter, the jiva may accidentally commit mistakes and offenses in the execution of devotional service, known as sevāparadha. These offenses prevent the supremely purifying process of devotional service from taking full effect. To counteract this ill effect, one must take shelter of chanting the holy name in the association of elevated Vaishnavas. Only then will the holy name give one protection against committing sevāparadha, as well as nullifying any previous offenses.
The holy name purifies everyone from all sins and elevates them to the highest state where they are able to render pure devotional service to Lord Krishna.” “And if inadvertently one commits nāmāparādha, he certainly falls down from grace and loses his spiritual direction. The holy name is jiva’s greatest well-wishing friend so any offense against the holy name can almost never be exonerated. Hence, one should be extremely cautious and avoid committing nāmāparādha, and in this way perfect one’s human life by attaining the lotus feet of Lord Hari.”
evam nārada sankarena
krpaya mahyam muninam param
proktam nāma sukhavaham
bhagavato varjyam sada yatnataḥ
ye jñātvapi na varjayanti
khidyanti te balavat
“Long ago I placed this same question on nāmāparādha before Lord Shankara in his residence in Shivaloka. In the presence of many sages Lord Shiva, seated on Mount Kailasa, mercifully instructed me. “The Lord’s holy name is the source of supreme bliss for the jiva. Offense against the holy name augurs untold despair and suffering. One who wants the utmost benefit for himself will carefully shun nāmāparādha.”
“He will humbly approach his guru and other elevated Vaishnavas to learn from them how to avoid the ten nāmāparādhas. He should carefully understand all of the imports of nāmāparādha and avoid these offenses. Then, very soon the holy name will crown him with the success of achieving kṛṣṇa-prema. Even after being instructed about the chanting of the holy name, if one remains unconcerned and does not avoid nāmāparādha, he at once comes under the ominous shadow of all ten offenses, and foolishly he drowns in the whirlpool of distress.
A child who refuses to eat because he is angry with his mother will naturally always be weak and susceptible to disease, in the same way, without abrogating the ten offenses, the idiotic may chant the holy name but their offenses hinder their progress to salvation and perfect happiness.”
namni japtam sadacara
namnaiva tava devarse
sarvam setsyati nanyataḥ
“Sanatkumara said, ‘O Devarṣi Narada: The proper way to chant the holy name is to always avoid the ten offenses. There is no need for any other process of spiritual elevation other than chanting the holy name, for the holy name alone can award one the highest perfection.’
sanatkumāra priya sahasanam
ukta aparadha prabhavanti no katham
“Sri Narada Muni replied, “O Sanatkumara! You are perfect and a highly elevated devotee of the Supreme Lord Hari, and thus it is possible for you to unambiguously elucidate the esoteric truth about the holy name. We are all simply practitioners and are always fearful of committing mistakes, so please explain to us how we can scrupulously avoid the offenses to the holy name. Material nature is presently acting as our friend and empowering us with strength and courage to fulfill our desires, but all such activities are illusory.
We are considering the body our dearest kinsman and have become callous to the voice of conscience. Too lazy to accept voluntary renunciation, we are greedy to earn money and accumulate material holdings. Under the circumstances, please reveal to us how a sādhaka (practitioner), can root out the slightest possibility of committing the ten offenses.”
Sri Sanatkumara replied,
jate nāmāparādhe tu
pramade vai kathancana
sada saṅkīrtayen nāma
tad ekasarano bhavet
nāmanyeva haranty agham
tany evartha-karani hi
As soon as a person humbly surrenders himself to the holy name of Krishna which is non-different from Him, all the offenses he has previously committed are immediately nullified. Yet, if due to some negligence, he once again commits nāmāparādha, it will jeopardize his progress in bhakti. The only antidote to such an accident is to intensify chanting. By continuous chanting, one should solidly reaffirm his faith and the mood of surrender to the holy name, and on the strength of such sincere chanting nāmāparādha will once again be extirpated.”
— Prema-Vivarta -Śrīla Jagadananda Pandita, Translated by Sarvabhāvana dāsa