Babaji Maharaj (Shri Ramdas Baba) is chanting jap in a silent, meditative mood. Many disciples are gathered around him, also chanting jap. After some time, the conversation turns to Shri Harinaam Sankirtan. Babaji Maharaj is delighted by this, and his voice trembles as he murmurs a few quiet words to himself. Then he says to the assembled devotees, who have taken shelter of him:
"Look; Shri Harinaam Sankirtan destroys all sins. It cleanses the heart and mind, and it grants us Krishna prem and Krishna’s seva. All these things come automatically when one chants the Holy Name. Thus Shri Krishnadas Kaviraj has said:
sankirtan hoite paap sansaar naashan
chitta shuddhi sarva bhakti saadhan udgam
krishna premodgam premaamrita aaswaadan
krishna-praapti sevaamrita samudre majjan
"Through sankirtan, all sins and worldliness are destroyed. The mind and heart are cleansed, and devotion is attained, with its different limbs of sadhan. Even Krishna prem itself is attained through sankirtan, and the chanter savours the immortal nectar of that true love. At last, he or she attains Krishna himself, and drowns in the ocean of his blissful seva." (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila 20.13-14)
But it is also said that no matter how much we chant the Holy Name, if we also commit offences (aparadh), then we will not attain Krishna prem.
heno krishna-naam jadi loy bahu baar
tathaapi naa hoy prem naa bahe ashrudhaar
tabe jaani aparaadh aachaye prachur
krishna naam beej taahe naa hoy ankur
"If you chant Krishna’s Name many times and you still do not attain prem – if tears of love do not flow from your eyes – then know for sure you have committed a lot of offences. Thus the seed of Krishna’s Name has not even sprouted in you."(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi-lila 8.29-30)
"We are Kali jeevs [ie. we live in such a degraded age]. Offences are bound to happen. Is there no hope for us then? There is no need to worry like this. In this age, our Shri Nitai-Gauranga have come. They do not see faults, nor do they count offences. By their grace ... just by taking their Name ... prem is attained.
chaitanya-nityanande nahi e sab vichaar
naam loite prem hoy bahe ashrudhaar
"But with Shri Chaitanya and Nityananda, such things are not considered. By taking their Name, you will surely attain prem and flow with tears of love." (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi-lila 8.31)
Speaking thus, Babaji Maharaj let out a deep roar of ecstasy. All the others fell silent. It was as if the discussion had been completely fulfilled by Shri Nitai-Gauranga's grace.
(Translated by Vishakha Dasi from the Hindi book "Shri Baba Ramdas Kathamrit" by Dr. OBL Kapoor)