Chanting Sri Krishna’s Name

We have already learnt that Sri Bhagavan’s name is eternal, conscious and blissful just like Sri Bhagavan. From this point of view all His names are equal. Yet if we analyze the glory of the Holy Name we can understand the glory of Sri Krishna-nam. Since the Holy Name is non-different from Sri Bhagavan, the glory of the names is in proportion to the greatness of the divine manifestations. Therefore since Sri Krishna is Swayam Bhagavan, His name too is special – naturally.

Chanting Sri Vishnu’s name is more glorious than taking the names of devatas, while a single name of Lord Ramchandra is equal to a thousand names of Sri Vishnu. Sriman-Mahadev told the same to the Mother Goddess –

“ramo rameti rameti rame rame manorame,
sahasra-nambhistulyam ramanama varanane.”

Sri Ramchandra is superior to Matsya, Kurma and other incarnations – this we learn from the scriptures. Therefore Padma Puran says that the name ‘Ram’ is more glorious than the names of other incarnations. Shata-nam Stotra also corroborates this fact –

“A single name of Sri Vishnu can yield more result than reciting all the Vedas. Yet one thousand names of Sri Vishnu is equal to a single name of Lord Ram.”

Brahmanda Puran says –

“We get the same result by uttering Sri Krishna’s name once as chanting three times the one thousand names of Lord Vishnu.”

This shows that if we chant Sri Krishna’s name once it is equal to saying the name of Lord Ram thrice.

Sri Chaitanya-Charitamrita says –
“The name of Sri Ramchandra grants liberation – hence it is ‘tarak’ (the liberator), however the name of Sri Krishna gives prem, therefore it is ‘parak’ (the One Who gives love).” – (C.C.antya.3.244)

Thus from the scriptures and preceptors tell us that the name of Sri Krishna is the most glorious of all divine names. Sri Krishna himself has declared –

“namnam mukhyatamam nama krishnakhyam me parantapa”

Meaning – “Dear Arjun, ‘Krishna’ is the greatest of all my names.”

Also from the point of view relish, Sri Krishna’s name is incomparable. We see in Prabhas-Khanda –

“O Shounak, Sri Krishna’s name is sweeter than sweet, is the goodness amongst all that is good, the most delicious fruit of the Vedas that are like a wish-fulfilling creeper and it is transcendental – if anyone says this name even once – be it out of respect or disrespect – it redeems that man.”

Srila Rupa Goswamipad has written a very sweet verse in his drama Vidagdha- Madhav –

“They dance on my tongue and arouse the desire to possess innumerable tongues! They slightly brush against my ears and make me crave for millions of ears! They lodge in my heart and stupefy all my senses! Ohh! I do not know what immense nectar these two syllables – ‘Kri’ and ‘shna’ possess!!”

Srila Jadunandan Thakur has rendered an extraordinarily superb translation of this verse –
“As soon as I utter Krishna-nam, my tongue dances incessantly and immensely increases my longing; the Holy Name is so sweet that I cannot control my heart and I desire innumerable tongues! Oh! How can I express the sweetness of the Holy Name? Who has made these two syllables “Kri’ and ‘shna’ and with which nectar? They are so sweet that they enhance so much bliss in the ears which start sprouting and I crave for millions of ears so that I may relish the Holy Name to my heart’s content! When I see the two syllables ‘Kri’ and ‘shna’ my scorched eyes are soothed and they long to see Krishna in person. Oh! Only if I could have countless eyes then I could behold Krishna’s beauty for His Name is non-different from His body. When the Holy Name enters the heart, I want to spread wings, all my senses dance in delight – the Holy Name maddens me with prem! When the Holy Name enters an ear, it forsakes all other activities and the Holy Name arouses all the bhavs. Sri Krishna-nam is the repository of all sweetness and is the casket of entire ras – thus says Jadunandan das.”

Sriman-Mahaprabhu has said –

“anandambudhi-vardhanam pratipadam purnamritaswadanam,
sarvatma-snaoanam param vijayate srikrishna-sankirtanam.”

Meaning – “It enhances the ocean of bliss, each moment gives the relish of complete nectar, supremely delights all senses, mind, intellect and even the soul – That Sri Krishna-nam-sankirtan is reigning supreme.” – (Shikshashtakam)

Srila Sanatan Goswamipad has written –
“When the nectarine ras of Sri Krishna-nam arises in a single organ – that is – the tongue – it over floods all other senses in its own sweet rasa.”

Sriman-Mahaprabhu has advised all humankind in Kaliyug to chant the Mahamantra composed of 32 syllables, for it is the only way to get deliverance. Sri Chaitanya- Bhagabat says –

“apone sobare prabhu kore upadeshe,
krishna-nam mahamantra shunoho harishe.
‘hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare,
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare.’
prabhu kohe kohilam ei mahamantra,
iha jopo giya shobe koria nirbandha.
iha hoite sarba-siddhi hoibe shobar,
sarbakkhan bolo ithe bidhi nahi ar.”

Meaning – “The Lord Himself advised everyone – Listen joyously Sri Krishna-nam – the Mahamantra. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. The Lord said – I have told you this Mahamantra; now go home and chant it with determination. By chanting this mantra you will accomplish everything, keep on chanting it all the time – there is no other rule.”

In this poyar, ‘iha jopo giya shobe koria nirbandha’ indicates that the Lord instructed us to chant the Mahamantra by keeping a count (certain number of rounds.Japa). On the other hand ‘sarbakkhan bolo ithe bidhi nahi ar’ means He told us to chant it loudly without keeping count.(Kirtan). Sriman-Mahaprabhu instruction shows that we can chant the Mahamantra of 32 syllables silently (as japa) and also pronounce it loudly as in ‘kirtan’.

Various objection with chanting mahamantra  :

Some say – “You cannot chant a mantra loudly. It is outside the scriptural law. Since the ‘hare-krishneti’- nam is Mahamantra, we should only do jap by keeping count; we cannot sing it loudly.”
Answer:
In this context we would like to state that – only when it contains a ‘beej’ (seed-word) and words such as ‘swaha’ and when it contains the Chaturthi-Vibhakti (the 4th case or the dative case) we can call it a ‘mantra’. The Hare Krishna Mahamantra is an address (calling out to someone) and does not contain any of these. Hence any intelligent person should not doubt that we can chant it as ‘jap’ and also say it loudly. Especially when we get proof for such activity in the scriptures, Mahajan-statements and more so from the instruction and conduct of Sriman-Mahaprabhu Who is none other than Swayam Bhagavan (God Himself).

We are mentioning here in brief. Sri Padma Puran states –

“harer-nama-mahamantrair-nashyet papa-pishachakam,
harer-agre-swanair-uchchair-nrityam stan-nam-krin-narah,
punati bhuvanam vipra ! gangadi salilam yatha,
hare pradakshinam kurvann-uchchais-tan-nama-krin-narah,
karataladi sandhanam suswaram kala-shabditam.”

Meaning – “If anyone dances in front of Sri Hari, chanting the Harinam Mahamantra loudly, his sins that are like ghosts are destroyed. Just as the holy waters such as the Ganga purify the world, similarly those who loudly sing the Mahamantra in a sweet voice with the accompaniment of cymbals – and circumambulate Sri Hari – they purify the world.”

Those who say that although we may chant the Mahamantra loudly, it is compulsory to keep a count and that there is no evidence of chanting the Mahamantra without keeping a count – they should read this verse from Sri Padma Puran. Then they will easily understand that when we do kirtan while dancing along with playing the kartals (cymbals), we cannot possibly keep count; so the countless chanting of the Mahamantra is also corroborated.

Srila Kavi Karnapur has described Sriman-Mahaprabhu’s renunciation-ceremony in his great drama Sri Chaitanya-Charit Mahakavya in the following manner.

“tatah sri gourangah samavadadateeva-pramudito,
hare krishnetiuchchyairvada muhuriti shrimayatanuh,
tato’soutat prochya prativalitaromancha-lalito
rudanstattat karmarabhata bahu-duhkhair-vidalitah.”

Meaning – “When Lord Gouranga was taking sanyas, the barber was extremely sad; he held on to the shaving blade and simply could not bring himself to shave off the Lord’s long and thick curls. Then Lord Gouranga told him to repeat the Hare Krishna Mahamantra loudly. The barber obeyed Him. He loudly cried out the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and weeping all the while, he shaved the Lord’s head. While doing so, he displayed gooseflesh – the sign of ecstasy.”

Certainly this is chanting Mahamantra without keeping count, since how could the barber keep count while shaving? The question does not arise at all. Not only have Sriman-Mahaprabhu instructed us to chant[kirtan] the Mahamantra without keeping count, He has done it Himself.

Srila Lochan das Thakur has stated in his text Sri Chaitanya- Mangal –
“hare krishna nam seho bole nirantar”.

Here ‘bole’ means ‘tells’ and ‘nirantar’ means ‘constantly’. It clearly indicates that the Lord chanted the Mahamantra loudly and constantly, which naturally shows ‘without keeping count’.

Sri Vrindavan das Thakur, who is the incarnation of Vyasdev too says –
“prasanna sri-mukhe ‘hare krishna krishna’ boli,
bijoy hoila gourchandra kutuhali.
‘hare krishna hare krishna’ boli prem-sukhe,
pratyaksha hoila ashi adwaita sammukhe.”

Meaning – “Lord Gourachandra strode in eagerly with a beaming face, chanting ‘Hare Krishna Krishna’. He said ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna’ in blissful love and appeared before Lord Advaita.”

Sriman-Mahaprabhu instructed countless chanting of Mahamantra and did it Himself too; however He also instructed us to chant the Mahamantra by keeping count as well.

Srila Rupa Goswamipad has stated –
“hare krishnetyuchchaih sphuritarasano nama-gananakrita-granthi-shrenih subhagakati- sutrojjwalakarah”.

Srila Raghunath das Goswami has written –

“nijatve goudiyan jagati parigrihya prabhuriman hare krishnety- evam keeping count. Thus we have proved beyond doubt that we can chant the Mahamantra gananavidhina kirtayata bhoh”

Both these statements prove that Sriman-Mahaprabhu chanted the Mahamantra mentally as well as loudly, and by keeping count and not keeping count.

Srila Sarvabhouma Bhattacharya Mahashay has written in Sri Chaitanya-Shatak –
“vishanna-chittan kalipapa-bheetan
samvikshya gouro harinama-mantram
swayam dadou bhakta-janan samadishat
kurushva sankirtanam nritya-vadyaih.”

Meaning – “When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the people getting afraid of the sinful Kaliyug and depressed, He gave them the Harinam-mantra and had issued a blanket order to chant in congregation this Mahamantra with dancing and music.”

‘samadishat’ indicates that Sriman-Mahaprabhu had ascended with the firm determination to immerse humankind in the rasa of eternal love and that was possible only through loud congregational chanting of the Mahamantra. ‘Japa’ redeems a single soul, whereas loud kirtan delivers the animate and the inanimate objects, since they too hear it.

Srimat Jiva Goswamipad has written –
“nama-kirtananchedam-uchchaireva prashastam.”
Meaning – “The loud chanting of the Holy Name is more popular.”

Along with the above statement Srimat Jiva Goswamipad has also cited the reason for this –

“Those who chant the Holy Name loudly deliver not only themselves, but others also. They cause welfare to every living being. Prahlad Mahashay has thus glorified Lord Nrisimha in Sri Nrisimha Puran in the following manner – ‘O my Lord, the great devotees who loudly chant You the Holy Name with extreme joy – they are the selfless friends of all living beings’.” – (B.S.269)

Namacharya Srila Haridas Thakur has vociferously praised loud chanting of the Mahamantra with his holy lips –

“jopile se krishna-nam aponi se tore,
uchcha sankirtane para-upakar kore.
ataeb uchcha kori kirtan korile,
shatagun phal hoy sarba-shastra bole.
jihba paiao nara bine sarba prani,
na pare bolite krishna nam heno dhwani.
byartho janma ihara nistar jaha hoite,
bolo dekhi kon dosh se karma korite.
keho aponare matra koroye poshan,
keho ba poshan kore sahasreko jon.
duite ke boro, bhabi bujhoho apone,
ei abhipray gun uchcha sankirtane.”

Meaning – “When we chant Sri Krishna-nam silently we only deliver ourselves, however when we chant loudly, we are helping others too. Therefore all the scriptures hail loud sankirtan and say that it is hundred times more fruitful than silent chanting (jap). All living beings, with the exception of man, cannot utter Sri Krishna-nam, even though they may have tongues. In that case, their birth is useless, since the only way to deliver ourselves is to chant Sri Krishna-nam. Tell me then, what is the problem if we do this? Someone feeds only himself, while another person feeds one thousand – decide and tell me who is greater of the two? That is why loud sankirtan is more praiseworthy than silent jap.”

– (Sri Chaitanya-Bhagabat)

Sriman-Mahaprabhu drowned the universe in prem-rasa merely by the loud chanting of the Hare Krishna-Mahamantra. His confidential associate Srila Rupa Goswamipad has written –

“sri-chaitanya-mukhodgirna hare-krishneti-varnakah,
majjayanto jagat premni vijayantam tad-ahvayah.”

Meaning – “The countless chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra that has 32 syllables and has sprung from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s holy lips are submerging the entire universe in the ocean of prem – all victory to such Mahamantra!” – (Lagu- Bhagavatamritam)

Sripad Baladev Vidyahbushan has explained ’tad-ahvayah’ (in the verse) as ‘krishnanamani’ – meaning – all the sixteen names belong to Sri Krishna. This name alone can deliver any man and is so powerful that it can immerse anybody in prem-rasa.


Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj

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