Q. I was reading the Jan./Feb. issue of BTG, and I have two questions about the offenses in chanting God’s name, listed on page 28.
Offense 7: Teaching the glories of the Lord’s names to the faithless.
I thought that was something that we should do: By teaching and preaching about the Lord, we can try to bring faith to those who don’t have it.
Offense 9: Being inattentive while chanting the holy name.
When I tell devotees that I’m struggling while chanting my rounds because I can’t concentrate, some devotees say, “Don’t think! Just chant and be happy. Chant any place, anytime.”
These two offenses confuse me. Can you clarify them?
A. Our predecessor guru Srila Rupa Gosvami teaches that devotees should teach the innocent and avoid the demoniac. So we take “faithless” here to mean those who are clearly antagonistic toward Krishna consciousness. We avoid trying to teach such persons, because they will offend Krishna Innocent persons, on the other hand, can hear without offense, even if their faith has not yet been awakened.
We should try to concentrate on the sound vibration of the mantra when we chant Hare Krishna. It seems devotees are just trying to encourage you by saying, “Don’t worry about it too much. We all have a hard time concentrating. Just do your best.”