01 The prime religious practice for the kali yuga is the chanting of the holy name

The Prime Religious Practice For The Kali Yuga Is The Chanting Of The Holy Name

The Hare Krsna mantra is specifically mentioned in many Upanisads, such as the Kali−santarana Upanisad, where it is said:

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

itisodasakam namnam kali −kalmasa−nasanam
natah parataropayah sarva−vedesu drsyate

"After searching through all the Vedic literature one cannot find a method of religion more sublime for this age than the chanting of Hare Krsna."

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 3.40


In Kali−yuga, simply by chanting the holy name one can attain the goal of life:

[Karabhajana Rsi to Maharaja Nimi]: " 'Those who are advanced and highly qualified and are interested in the essence of life know the good qualitles of Kali−yuga. Such people worship the age of Kali because in this age, simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha−mantra, one can advance in spiritual knowledge and attain life's goal.' "

This is a quotation from Srimad Bhagavatam (11.5.36) spoken by the great sage Karabhajana Rsi, one of the nine Yogendras. The sage was informing Maharaja Nimi about the people's duty to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to different processes in different yugas.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 20.347


In Kali−yuga, one can attain liberation and return to the spiritual kingdom by chanting the  holy name:

[Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit]: " 'My dear King, although Kali−yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age. It is that simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha−mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.' "

– Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.5
– [cited: Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 20.344]


Sankirtana is the present yuga−dharma:

[Lord Caitanya to Sanatana Gosvami]: "…In the Kali−yuga the occupational duty of the people is to chant congregationally the holy name of Krsna."

In Kali−yuga one worships Lord Krsna by chanting

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 20.339


The only religious principle in the age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name:

[Isvara Puri to Lord Caitanya]: " 'In this age of Kali there is no other religious principle than the chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This is the purport of all scriptures.' "

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.74


In Kali−yuga, chanting of the holy name is the most feasible means of salvation:

In great jubilation, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "My clear Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, know from Me that chanting of the holy names is the most feasible means of salvation in this age of Kali."

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 20.8


The universal religious practice for the Kali−yuga is the chanting of the holy name:

The religious practice for the age of Kali is to broadcast the glories of the holy name. Only for this purpose has the Lord, in a yellow color, descended as Lord Caitanya.

In this age of Kali the practical system of religion for everyone is the chanting of the name  of Godhead. This was introduced in this age by Lord Caitanya. Bhakti−yoga actually begins with the chanting of the holy name, as confirmed by Madhvacarya in his commentary on the Mundaka Upanisad. He quotes this verse from the Narayana−samhita:

dvapariyair janair visnuh pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama−matrena pujyate bhagavan harih


"In the Dvapara−yuga people should worship Lord Visnu only by the regulative principles of the Narada−pancaratra and other such authorized books. In the age of Kali, however, people should simply chant the holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 3.40


The Srimad Bhagavatam advocates nama−sankirtana as the essence of religion in the age of Kali:

In Srimad Bhagavatam it is repeatedly and clearly said that the essence of religion in the age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 3.50
 


Rather than inventing one's own religious process, one should accept the approved method of religion for this age−hari−nama−sankirtana:

[Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya to King Prataparudra]: Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya replied, "This sweet transcendental sound is a special creation of the Lord known as prema−sankirtana, congregational chanting in love of Godhead. In this age of Kali, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has descended to preach the religion of Krsna consciousness. Therefore the chanting of the holy names of Lord Krsna is the religious principle for this age. Anyone who worships Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu by congregational chanting should be understood to be very intelligent. One who does not do so must be considered a victim of this age and bereft of all intelligence."

Rascals propose that anyone can invent his own religious process, and this proposition is condemned herein. If one actually wants to become religious, he must take up the chanting of the Hare Krsna rnaha−mantra… Dharma, or religion, cannot be manufactured by a human being. Religion is the law or code of the Lord… Dharma refers to the science of bhakti−yoga, which begins by the novice's chanting the holy name of the Lord. (tan−nama−grahanadibhih).

In this age of Kali it is recommended in Caitanya caritamrta, kali−kale dharma−krsna−nama−sankirtana. In the age of Kali the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is the method of religion approved by all Vedic scriptures.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 11.97−99
 


Chanting the holy name is the sum and substance of sanatana−dharma:

In this age of Kali, there are no genuine religious principles. There are only the Vaisnava devotees and the Vaisnava devotional scriptures. This is the sum and substance of  everything. 

In this age a person should not envy Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement but should chant the holy names of Hari and Krsna, the maha−mantra. That is the sum and substance of eternal religion, known as sanatana−dharma.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 9.362


In Kali−yuga Krsna has incarnated as the holy name in order to deliver the sinful, who are suffering greatly:

As the Lord says in Bhagavad−gita (4.7):

yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham

 

"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion−at that time I descend Myself." In the present age, Kali−yuga, people are very much sinful and are consequently suffering greatly. Therefore Krsna has incarnated in the form of His name, as found in the maha mantra:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

– Teachings of Queen Kunti


Because Kali−yuga is such a degraded and miserable age, Lord Caitanya advises everyone simply to chant Hare Krsna:

According to the Vedic conception, there must be men in society who are factually brahmanas, capable of expounding the real truth. If everyone becomes a sudra, the Absolute Truth cannot be understood. It is said that at the present moment in Kali−yuga everyone is a sudra (kalau sudra−sambhavah), and it is very difficult in this age to find qualified brahmanas, for they are very rare. There is practically not a single qualified brahmana in this age.

prayenalpayusah sabhya kalav asmin yuge janah
mandah sumanda−matayo manda−bhagya hy upadrutah
(S.B. 1.1.10)

"O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed."

The people in this age are very short−lived and slow in understanding spiritual life. Actually, human life is meant for understanding spiritual values, but because everyone in this age is a sudra, no one is interested. People have forgotten life's real purpose. The word manda means both slow and bad, and everyone in this age is either bad or slow or a combination of both. People are unfortunate and disturbed by so many things. According to Srimad Bhagavatam there will eventually be no rain and consequently a scarcity of food. The governments will also levy very heavy taxes. The characteristics of this age predicted by Srimad Bhagavatam are already being experienced to some degree. Since Kali−yuga is a very miserable age, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Sri Krsna Himself, advises everyone simply to chant Hare Krsna.

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
[Adi 17.21]

"In this age of Kali there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative for spiritual progress than the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord." (Brhan−naradiya Purana)

This process is not Caitanya Mahaprabhu's invention, but is advised by the sastras, the Puranas. The process for this Kali−yuga is very simple. One need only chant the Hare Krsna maha−mantra.

– Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti

Although God has given us all facilities to live peacefully on this earth, cultivate Krsna consciousness, and finally to come to Him, in this age we're unfortunate. We are short−lived, and there are so many people without food, shelter, married life or defense from the onslaughts of nature. This is due to the influence of this age of Kali. Therefore Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, seeing the dreadful situation in this age, emphasized the  absolute necessity for cultivating spiritual life. And how should we do it? Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives the formula:

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
[Adi 17.21]

"Just always chant Hare Krsna." Never mind whether you are in a factory or in hell, in a shack or in a skyscraper−it doesn't matter. Just go on chanting

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare


There is no expense, there is no impediment, there is no caste, there is no creed, there is no color−anyone can do it. Just chant and hear.

– On the Way to Krsna


Everywhere in this age of iron everything is degraded, degraded in this sense: prayenalpayusah sabhya kalav asmin yuge janah [S.B. 1.1.10]. In this age of Kali the duration of life is diminished, and men are not moved to understand Self Realization, and if they are, they are invariably misled by so many deceitful leaders. The age is very corrupt. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu's process of chanting Hare Krsna is the best and the simplest method.

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

[Adi 17.21]
 

"In this age of Kali there is no other religion than glorifying the Lord by utterance of His holy name, and that is the injunction of all the revealed scriptures. There is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way."

This verse appears in the Brhan−naradiya Purana. Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam. Simply chant Hare Krsna. There is no other alternative. Kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. In this age of Kali, there is no other alternative for Self Realization. So we have to accept it.  There is another similar verse in the Srimad Bhagavatam. In the Twelfth Canto, Third Chapter (12.3.51), Pariksit Maharaja was informed by Sukadeva Gosvami of the faults of this age, and now all the symptoms of the age of Kali are apparent. In the conclusive portion, however, Sukadeva Gosvami said, kaler dosa−nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan gunah: "My dear king, this age, Kali, is full of faulty things, but there is one good opportunity." What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta−sangah param vrajet: "Simply by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra one can become liberated and go back to Godhead."

– The Science of Self Realization


The lack of religious principles in Kali−yuga is more than compensated by the process of chanting the holy name:

It is said that this age of Kali is three−fourths devoid of religious principles. Hardly one−fourth of the principles of religion are still observed in this age. But by the mercy of Lord Krsna, this vacancy of Kali−yuga has not only been completely filled, but the religious process has been made so easy that simply by rendering transcendental loving service unto Lord Krsna by chanting His holy names,

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

one can achieve the highest result of religion, namely, being transferred to the highest planet within the spiritual world, Goloka Vrndavana.

– Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead


Chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the common platform for the universal religion of mankind in the Kali−yuga:

In this present age quarrels take place even over trifles, and therefore the sastras have recommended for this age a common platform for realization, namely chanting the holy names of the Lord. People can hold meetings to glorify the Lord in their respective languages and with melodious songs, and if such perfommances are executed in an offenseless manner, it is certain that the participants will gradually attain spiritual perfection without having to undergo more rigorous methods. At such meetings everyone, the learned and the foolish, the rich and the poor, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Englishmen and the Indians, and the candalas and the brahmanas, can all hear the transcendental sounds and thus cleanse the dust of material association from the mirror of the heart. To confirm the Lord's mission, all the people of the world will accept the holy name of the Lord as the common platform for the universal religion of mankind.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 1, Intro.


In the age of logic, argument and disagreement, the chanting of Hare Krsna is the only means of Self Realization:

In three out of the four millenniums (namely Satya−yuga, Treta−yuga and Dvapara−yuga) people had the honor to be able to understand transcendence through the path of disciplic succession. However, in the present age, people have no interest in the disciplic succession. Instead, they have invented many paths of logic and argument. This individual attempt to understand the supreme transcendence (called the ascending process) is not approved by the Vedas. The Absolute Truth must descend from the absolute platform. He is not to be understood by the ascending process. The holy name of the Lord

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

is a transcendental vibration because it comes from the transcendental platform, the supreme abode of Krsna. Because there is no difference between Krsna and His name, the holy name of Krsna is as pure, perfect and liberated as Krsna Himself. Academic scholars have no entrance by means of logic and other argument into the understanding of the transcendental nature of the holy name of God. The single path in understanding the transcendental nature of

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

is the chanting of these names with faith and adherence. Such chanting will release one from designated conditions arising from the gross and subtle bodies. In this age of logic, argument and disagreement, the chanting of Hare Krsna is the only means for Self Realization.

– Teachings of Lord Caitanya


The Hare Krsna mantra is especially suited to deliver us from the dangers of the Kali−yuga:

Only the dvijas (the brahmanas) and the devas (the demigods) can be delivered from material existence by the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a mantra and is suitable for delivering the conditioned souls from mental speculation. The conditioned souls are engaged in a struggle for existence (manah sasthanindriyani prakrti−sthani karsati [Bg. 15.7]). Deliverance from this struggle constitutes the highest benefit, but unless one gets a mantra from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, deliverance is impossible. The beginning mantra is the Gayatri mantra. Therefore, after purification, when one is qualified to become a brahmana (dvija),  he is offered the Gayatri mantra. Simply by chanting the Gayatri mantra, one can be delivered. This mantra, however, is suitable only for the brahmanas and demigods. In Kali−yuga, we are all in a very difficult position, in which we need a suitable mantra that can deliver us from the dangers of this age. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His incarnation as Lord Caitanya, gives us the Hare Krsna mantra… In His Siksastaka, Lord Caitanya says, param vijayate sri−krsna−sankirtanam: "All glories to the chanting of sri−krsna−sankirtana!" The maha−mantra−

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

is directly chanted by the Lord Himself, who gives us this mantra for deliverance.

We cannot invent any means to be delivered from the dangers of material existence…Sparks are beautiful as long as they are in the fire. Similarly, we have to remain in the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always engage in devotional service, for then we shall always be brilliant and illuminating. As soon as we fall from the service of the Lord, our brilliance and illumination will immediately be extinguished, or at least stopped for some time. When we living entities, who are like sparks of the original fire, the Supreme Lord, fall into a material condition, we must take the mantra from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as it is offered by Sri  Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By chanting this Hare Krishna maha mantra, we shall be delivered from all the difficulties of this material world.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 8.6.15


Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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