22 The holy name benefits even lower species of life
All living entities, moving and nonmoving, were liberated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's loud chanting of the holy name:
[Lord Caitanya to Haridasa thakura]: "On this earth there are many living entities," the Lord said, "some moving and some not moving. What will happen to the trees, plants, insects and other living entities? How will they be delivered from material bondage?" Haridasa thakura replied, "My dear Lord, the deliverance of all moving and nonmoving living entities takes place only by Your mercy. You have already granted this mercy and delivered them. You have loudly chanted the Hare Krsna mantra, and everyone, moving or not moving, has benefited by hearing it. My Lord, the moving entities who have heard Your loud sankirtana have already been delivered from bondage to the material world, and after the nonmoving living entities like trees hear it, there is an echo. Actually, however, it is not an echo; it is the kirtana of the nonmoving living entities. All this, although inconceivable, is possible by Your mercy. When loud chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is performed all over the world by those who follow in Your footsteps, all living entities, moving and nonmoving, dance in ecstatic devotional love. My dear Lord, all the incidents that took place while You were going to Vrndavana through the forest known as Jharikhanda have been related to me by Your servant Balabhadra Bhattacarya. When Your devotee Vasudeva Datta submitted his plea at Your lotus feet for the deliverance of all living entities, You accepted that request. My dear Lord, You have accepted the form of a devotee just to deliver all the fallen souls of this world. You have preached the loud chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra and in this way freed all moving and nonmoving living entities from material bondage… By descending as an incarnation at Navadvipa, You, just like Krsna, have already delivered all the living entities of the universe."
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 3.67−76, 86
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastime of causing the animals of Jharikhanda forest to chant and dance:
When the Lord passed through the solitary forest chanting the holy name of Krsna, the tigers and elephants, seeing Him, gave way. When the Lord passed through the jungle in great ecstasy, packs of tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and boars came, and the Lord passed right through them. Balabhadra Bhattacarya was very much afraid to see them, but by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's influence, all the animals stood to one side. One day a tiger was Iying on the path, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, walking along the path in ecstatic love, touched the tiger with His feet. The Lord said, "Chant the holy name of Krsna!" The tiger immediately got up and began to dance and chant, "Krsna! Krsna!" Another day, while Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was bathing in a river, a herd of maddened elephants came there to drink water. While the Lord was bathing and murmuring the Gayatri mantra, the elephants came before Him. The Lord immediately splashed some water on the elephants and asked them to chant the name of Krsna. The elephants whose bodies were touched by the water splashed by the Lord began to chant, "Krsna! Krsna!" and dance and sing in ecstasy. Some of the elephants fell to the ground, and some screamed in ecstasy. Seeing this, Balabhadra Bhattacarya was completely astonished. Sometimes Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted very loudly while passing through the jungle. Hearing His sweet voice, all the does came near Him. Hearing the Lord's great vibration, all the does followed Him left and right. While reciting a verse with great curiosity, the Lord patted them. "Blessed are all these foolish deer because they have approached the son of Maharaja Nanda, who is gorgeously dressed and is playing on His flute. Indeed, both the does and the bucks worship the Lord with looks of love and affection." While Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was passing through the jungle, five or seven tigers came. Joining the deer, the tigers began to follow the Lord. Seeing the tigers and deer following Him, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately remembered the land of Vrndavana. He then began to recite a verse describing the transcendental quality of Vrndavana. "Vrndavana is the transcendental abode of the Lord. There is no hunger, anger or thirst there. Though naturally inimical, both human beings and fierce animals live together there in transcendental friendship." When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Chant Krsna! Krsna!" the tigers and deer began to dance and chant, "Krsna!" When all the tigers and does danced and jumped, Balabhadra Bhattacarya saw them and was struck with wonder. Indeed, the tigers and deer began to embrace one another, and, touching mouths, they began to kiss. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw all this fun, He began to smile. Finally He left the animals and continued on His way. Various birds, including the peacock, saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and began to follow Him, chanting and dancing. They were all maddened by the holy name of Krsna. When the Lord loudly chanted "Hari bol!" the trees and creepers became jubilant to hear Him. Thus all living entities−some moving and some standing still in the forest of Jharikhanda−became maddened by hearing the holy name of Lord Krsna vibrated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 17.25−46
The loud chanting of the holy name benefits even plants, creepers, and insects:
When the Lord loudly chanted "Hari bol!" the trees and creepers became jubilant to hear Him.
The loud chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is so powerful that it can even penetrate the ears of trees and creepers−what to speak of animals and human beings. Sri Caitanya once asked Haridasa thakura how trees and plants could be delivered, and Haridasa thakura replied that the loud chanting of the Hare Krsna maha−mantra would benefit not only trees and plants but insects and all other living beings. One should therefore not be disturbed by the loud chanting of Hare Krsna, for it is beneficial not only to the chanter but to everyone who gets an opportunity to hear.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 17.45
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu caused all moving and nonmoving creatures of Vrndavana to vibrate the holy name:
The Lord's body was restless, and tears, trembling and jubilation were manifest. He said very loudly, "Chant Krsna! Chant Krsna!" All moving and nonmoving creatures then began to vibrate the transcendental sound of Hare Krsna, as if they were echoing the deep sound of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 17.205−6
Not only is the chanter of the holy name purified but all hearers as well, even animals:
Not only is the chanter of the maha−mantra purified, but the heart of anyone who happens to hear the transcendental vibration of
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
is also cleansed. Even the souls embodied in lower animals, insects, trees and other species of life also become purified and prepared to become fully Krsna conscious simply by hearing the transcendental vibration. This was explained by thakura Haridasa when Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired from him how living entities lower than human beings can be delivered from material bondage. Haridasa thakura said that the chanting of the holy names is so powerful that even if one chants in the remotest parts ofthe jungle, the trees and animals will advance in Krsna consciousness simply by hearing the vibration.
– The Nectar of Instruction Text 4
The loud chanting of the holy name benefits even lower species of life:
Those who are actually servants of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must seriously distribute this movement all over the world to render the greatest benefit to human society. Of course, animals and other lower species are not capable of understanding this movement, but if even a small number of living beings take it seriously, by their chanting loudly, all living entities, including even trees, animals and other lower species, will be benefited. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired from Haridasa thakura how he was to benefit living entities other than humans, Srila Haridasa thakura replied that the Hare Krsna maha−mantra is so potent that if it is chanted loudly, everyone will benefit, including the lower species of life.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi 9.39
One can show mercy to all living entities (even animals and plants) by loudly chanting the maha−mantra:
[Narada Muni to the Pracetas]: By showing mercy to all living entities, being satisfied somehow or other and controlling the senses from sense enjoyment, one can very quickly satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Janardana.
The word sarva−bhutesu is significant because it applies not only to human beings but to all the living entities appearing in the 8,400,000 species of life. The devotee can do good not only to humanity but to all living entities as well. Everyone can benefit spiritually by the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha−mantra. When the transcendental vibration of Hare Krsna is sounded, even the trees, animals and insects benefit. Thus when one chants the Hare Krsna maha−mantra loudly, he actually shows mercy to all living entities.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.31.19