16 Chanting of the holy name is the easiest means for spiritual advancement
Chanting Hare Krsna is the easiest means of self realization:
Krsna says that out of many thousands of people, one may try to make perfection of this life; and out of many millions of such persons on the path of perfection, only one may understand Krsna. So understanding Krsna is not very easy. But it is also the easiest. It is not easy, but at the same time it is the easiest. It is the easiest if you follow the prescribed forms.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has introduced this chanting of Hare Krsna. He has not exactly introduced it; it is in the scriptures. But He has especially propagated this formula. In this age this is the easiest method of self realization. Simply chant Hare Krsna. It can be done by everyone. In my classroom, I am perhaps the only Indian. My students are all Americans, and they are taking part in the chanting very nicely, chanting and dancing. That means that, in any country, in any place, this can be performed. Therefore it is the easiest. You may not understand the philosophy of the Bhagavad−gita. That is also not very difficult; but still, if you think that you cannot understand, you can still chant very easily: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.
If we want to understand God, Krsna, this is the beginning. The easiest beginning−simply chanting. Now, there are many students of my ISKCON institution. This institution is open a little over a year; but some of the students, by simply chanting, by the grace of Krsna, have advanced in such a way that they can talk about the science of God, and they will very easily answer those human questions. So, this is the easiest method of transcendental meditation.
Krsna says that out of many millions of people, one may understand Him. But, by chanting of this Hare Krsna, as introduced by Lord Caitanya−chanting and dancing−you can understand Krsna within a very short time.
– The Path of Perfection
In Kali yuga, chanting of Hare Krsna is the simplest means to perfection:
In Satya−yuga meditation was the main process, and great munis meditated for periods extending upward of 60,000 years. In this age, however, perfection by that means of meditation is not possible because we are so short−lived. Consequently in this age it is especially recommended that we all sit down together and chant Hare Krsna. It is very easy, and everyone can take part in it. There is no necessity of education, nor are any previous qualifications required. In this age people are also very slow and unfortunate, and they are contaminated with bad association. Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the chanting of
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
as a great means of propaganda for spreading love of God.
– Elevation to Krsna Consciousness
Spiritual perfection is very easily attained through the process of chanting Hare Krsna:
The bhakti−yoga process should be completed in this life, because in this life we have all the instruments necessary to become fully Krsna conscious. We have mrdangas and cymbals and tongues with which to chant Hare Krsna. Even if we don't have mrdangas and cymbals, we have a tongue. No one has to purchase a tongue. We also have ears with which to hear the sound that the tongue vibrates. Therefore we have all the instruments we need with us−a tongue and ears. We have only to chant Hare Krsna and use our ears to hear this vibration, and all perfection will be there. We don't have to become highly educated scientists or philosophers. We have only to chant and hear.
– The Path of Perfection
The easiest means of achieving spiritual success is to chant the holy names of the Lord:
[Sukadeva Gosvami to King Pariksit]: What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by years in this world? Better a moment of full consciousness, because that gives one a start in searching after his supreme interest. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami instructed Maharaja Pariksit about the importance of the chanting of the holy name of the Lord by every progressive gentleman. In order to encourage the King, who had only seven remaining days of life, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami asserted that there is no use in living hundreds of years without any knowledge of the problems of life−better to live for a moment with full consciousness of the supreme interest to be fulfilled. The supreme interest of life is eternal, with full knowledge and bliss. Those who are bewildered by the external features of the material world and are engaged in the animal propensities of the eat−drink−and−be−merry type of life are simply wasting their lives by the unseen passing away of valuable years. We should know in perfect consciousness that human life is bestowed upon the conditioned soul to achieve spiritual success, and the easiest possible procedure to attain this end is to chant the holy name of the Lord… One should, therefore, utilize one's life in glorifying the Lord by all means, without any offense. Such activity of life, even for a moment, is never to be compared to a prolonged life of ignorance, like the lives of the tree and other living entities who may live for thousands of years without prosecuting spiritual advancement.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.12
Krsna consciousness is a simple process, based upon chanting the holy name:
Krsna consciousness is … a very simple process. It is not necessary to become a great philosopher, scientist, or whatever. We need only chant the holy name of the Lord, understanding that His personality, His name, and His qualities are all absolute.
– The Science of Self Realization
If one chants even for one week, he will make solid progress in spiritual life:
If one takes to Caitanya Mahaprabhu's method, chanting Hare Krsna, the first installment of gain will be ceto−darpana−marjanam: [Cc. Antya 20.12] all the dirty things will be cleansed from the heart simply by chanting. Chant. There is no expenditure, and there is no loss. If one simply chants for one week, he will see how much he will progress in spiritual knowledge.
– The Science of Self Realization
Chanting produces immediate effects:
"'… Simply by touching the holy name with one's tongue, immediate effects are produced…'"
¯Padyavali (24), by Rupa Gosvami
¯ [cited: Sri Caitanya−caritamrta Madhya−lila 15.110]
Simply by keeping a picture of Lord Caitanya and chanting Hare Krsna, one can worship God and realize Him:
In the Srimad−Bhagavatam it is said that [Lord Caitanya] is the incarnation of God in this age. And who worships Him? The process is very simple. Just keep a picture of Lord Caitanya with His associates. Lord Caitanya is in the middle, accompanied by His principal associates−Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa. One simply has to keep this picture. One can keep it anywhere. It is not that one has to come to us to see this picture. Anyone can have this picture in his home, chant this Hare Krsna mantra, and thus worship Lord Caitanya. That is the simple method. But who will capture this simple method? Those who have good brains. Without much bother, if one simply keeps a picture of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at home and chants Hare Krsna, then one will realize God. Anyone can adopt this simple method. There is no expenditure, there is no tax, nor is there any need to build a very big church or temple. Anyone, anywhere, can sit down on the road or beneath a tree and chant the Hare Krsna mantra and worship God. Therefore it is a great opportunity.
– The Science of Self Realization
From Haridasa thakura's personal example we can understand that becoming highly elevated in Krsna consciousness by chanting the holy name is very simple:
Haridasa thakura constructed a cottage in a solitary forest. There he planted a tulasi plant, and in front of the tulasi he would chant the holy name of the Lord 300,000 times daily. He chanted throughout the entire day and night.
The village of Benapola is situated in the district of Yasohara, which is now in Bangladesh. Benapola is near the Banagano station, which is at the border of Bangladesh and may be reached by the eastern railway from Sealdah Station in Calcutta. Haridasa thakura, being the acarya of chanting the Hare Krsna maha−mantra, is called Namacarya Haridasa thakura. From his personal example we can understand that chanting the Hare Krsna mantra and becoming highly elevated in Krsna consciousness is very simple. Without difficulty one can sit down anywhere, especially on the bank of the Ganges, Yamuna or any sacred river, devise a sitting place or cottage, plant a tulasi, and before the tulasi chant the Hare Krsna maha−mantra undisturbed. Haridasa thakura used to chant the holy name on his beads 300,000 times daily. Throughout the entire day and night, he would chant the sixteen names of the Hare Krsna maha−mantra. One should not, however, imitate
Haridasa thakura, for no one else can chant the Hare Krsna maha−mantra 300,000 times a day. Such chanting is for the mukta−purusa, or liberated soul. We can follow his example, however, by chanting sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna maha−mantra on beads every day and offering respect to the tulasi plant. This is not at all difficult for anyone, and the process of chanting the Hare Krsna maha−mantra with a vow before the tulasi plant has such great spiritual potency that simply by doing this one can become spiritually strong. Therefore we request the members of the Hare Krsna movement to follow Haridasa thakura's example rigidly. Chanting sixteen rounds does not take much time, nor is offering respects to the tulasi plant difficult. The process has immense spiritual potency. One should not miss this opportunity.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 3.100