If one hears a person say even once the word 'Kṛṣṇa,' that person should be accepted as the best man out of the common group." (CC Madhya 15.106) Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued:
- "ataeva yāṅra mukhe eka kṛṣṇa-nāma
- sei ta 'vaiṣṇava, kariha tāṅhāra sammāna"
"One who is interested in chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa or who by practice likes to chant Kṛṣṇa's names should be accepted as a Vaiṣṇava and offered respects as such, at least within one's mind." (CC Madhya 15.111) One of our friends, a famous English musician, has become attracted to chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa, and even in his records he has several times mentioned the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. At his home he offers respect to pictures of Kṛṣṇa and also to the preachers of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In all regards, he has a very high estimation for Kṛṣṇa's name and Kṛṣṇa's activities; therefore we offer respects to him without reservation, for we are actually seeing that this gentleman is advancing gradually in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a person should always be shown respect. The conclusion is that anyone who is trying to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by regularly chanting the holy name should always be respected by Vaiṣṇavas. On the other hand, we have witnessed that some of our contemporaries who are supposed to be great preachers have gradually fallen into the material conception of life because they have failed to chant the holy name of the Lord.
While giving instructions to Sanātana Gosvāmī, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu divided devotional service into three categories.
- śāstra-yukti nāhi jāne dṛḍha, śraddhāvān
- 'madhyama-adhikārī' sei mahā-bhāgyavān
"A person whose conclusive knowledge of the śāstras is not very strong but who has developed firm faith in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and who is also undeterred in the execution of his prescribed devotional service should be considered a madhyama-adhikārī. Such a person is very fortunate." (CC Madhya 22.67) A madhyama-adhikārī is a śraddhāvān, a staunchly faithful person, and he is actually a candidate for further advancement in devotional service. Therefore in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 22.64) it is said:
- śraddhāvān jana haya bhakti-adhikārī
- 'uttama', 'madhyama', 'kaniṣṭha'—śraddhā-anusārī
"One becomes qualified as a devotee on the elementary platform, the intermediate platform and the highest platform of devotional service according to the development of his śraddhā [faith]." Again in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 22.62) it is said:
- 'śraddhā'-śabde—viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
- kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
" 'By rendering transcendental service to Kṛṣṇa, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities.' This confident, firm faith, favorable to the discharge of devotional service, is called śraddhā." Śraddhā, faith in Kṛṣṇa, is the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Faith means strong faith. The words of Bhagavad-gītā are authoritative instructions for faithful men, and whatever Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā is to be accepted as it is, without interpretation. This was the way Arjuna accepted Bhagavad-gītā. After hearing Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna told Kṛṣṇa: sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yan māṁ vadasi keśava. "O Kṛṣṇa, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me." (BG 10.14)