13 The maha mantra is the essence and the conclusion of all vedic Knowledge, Rituals, Hymns, and Mantras (and thus one who chants the Maha mantra is understood to have passed through all vedic knowledge and practices in previous lives)

The Maha Mantra Is The Essence And The Conclusion Of All Vedic Knowledge, Rituals, Hymns, And Mantras

The essence of all Vedic knowledge is included in the maha mantra:

The Naradapancaratra praises the Hare Krsna maha mantra, as follows:

trayo vedah sad−angani
chandamsi vividhah surah
sarvam astaksarantahstham
yac canyad api van−mayam
sarva−vedanta−sararthah
samsararnava−taranah

"The essence of all Vedic knowledge comprehending the three kinds of Vedic activity [karma−kanda, jnana−kanda and upasana−kanda], the chandah or Vedic hymns, and the process for satisfying the demigods−is included in the eight syllables Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. This is the reality of all Vedanta. The chanting of the holy name is the only means to cross the ocean of nescience."

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.16


Since the holy name can deliver a conditioned soul, it is the essence of all Vedic hymns:

[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.'" 

Simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra offenselessly one can be freed from all subtle and gross material conditions.… In the present age the vibration of the Hare Krsna maha mantra is the only process which is in a transcendental position beyond material contamination. Since the holy name can deliver a conditioned soul, it is explained here to be sarva−mantra−sara, the essence of all Vedic hymns.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.74


The chanting of the holy name of the Lord is the substance of all the Vedic mantras:

Srila Jiva Gosvami strongly emphasizes the chanting of the holy name of the Lord as follows:

nanu bhagavan−namatmaka eva mantrah;
tatra visesena namah−sabdady−
alankrtah sri−bhagavata srimad−rsibhis
cahita−sakti−visesah, sri−bhagavata samam
atma−sambandha−visesa−pratipadakas
ca tatra kevalani sri−bhagavan−namany api 
nirapeksany eva parama−purusartha−
phala−paryanta−dana−samarthani tato
mantresu namato 'py adhika−samarthye
labdhe katham diksady−apeksa? ucyate−
yadyapi svartpato nasti, tathapi prayah
svabhavato dehadi−sambandhena kadarya−
silanam viksipta−cittanam jananam tat−
sankoci−karanaya srimad−rsi−prabhrtibhir
atrarcana−marge kvacit kvacit
kacit kacin maryada sthapitasti

Srila Jiva Gosvami states that the substance of all the Vedic mantras is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Every mantra begins with the prefix nama om and eventually addresses by name the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the supreme will of the Lord there is a specific potency in each and every mantra chanted by great sages like Narada Muni and other rsis. Chanting the holy name of the Lord immediately renovates the transcendental relationship of the living being with the Supreme Lord.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.76


Krsna consciousness, the chanting of the maha mantra, is the essence of the Vedic principle:

In the Narada−pancaratra it is stated that all the Vedic rituals, mantras, and understanding are compressed into the eight words Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Similarly, in the Kali−santarana Upanisad it is stated that these sixteen words, 

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

 are especially meant for counteracting the degrading and contaminating influence of this materialistic age of Kali.… The process of chanting is, therefore, not only the sublime method for practical perfection of life, but the authorized Vedic principle inaugurated by the greatest Vedic scholar and devotee, Lord Caitanya (whom we consider an incarnation of Krsna). We are simply following in His authorized footsteps. The scope of the Krsna consciousness movement is universal. The process for regaining one's original spiritual status of eternal life, full with bliss and knowledge, is not abstract, dry theorizing. Spiritual life is not described in the Vedas as theoretical, dry, or impersonal. The Vedas aim at the inculcation of pure love of God only, and this harmonious conclusion is practically realized by the Krsna consciousness movement, or by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra.

As the goal of spiritual realization is only one, love of God, so the Vedas stand as a single comprehensive whole in the matter of transcendental understanding. Only the incomplete views of various parties apart from the bona fide Vedic lines of teaching give a rupturous appearance of the Bhagavad−gita. The reconciliative factor adjusting all apparently diverse propositions of the Vedas is the essence of the Veda, or Krsna consciousness (love of God).

– The Science of Self Realization


All Vedic literature prescribes the chanting of the name of Krsna:

My dear Dr. Staal: … Regarding convincing you that all scriptures prescribe chanting of the name of Krsna, I can simply present the authority of Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya recommended, kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. adi 17.31] ["Hari, Krsna, is constantly to be praised" (Siksastaka 3)]. Similarly, Madhvacarya quotes, vede ramayane caiva harih sarvatra giyate ["Hari is sung about everywhere in the Vedas and Ramayana"]. Similarly, in the Bhagavad−gita [15.15] the Lord says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah ["By all the Vedas, I am to be known"].

In this way we find all the scriptures aiming at the Supreme Person. In the rg−veda [1.22.20] the mantra is om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti strayah ["The demigods are always looking to that supreme abode of Visnu"]. The whole Vedic process, therefore, is to understand Lord Visnu, and any scripture is directly or indirectly chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, Visnu.

– The Science of Self Realization


One who chants the holy names is understood to have passed through all forms of Vedic ritual, sacrifice, austerity, and study:

[Devahtti to Lord Kapila]: Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your name! Even if born in the families of dog−eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required.

As it is stated in the previous verse, a person who has once offenselessly chanted the holy name of God becomes immediately eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. One should not be astonished by this statement of Srimad−Bhagavatam. One should not disbelieve or think, "How by chanting the holy name of the Lord can one become a holy man to be compared to the most elevated brahmana?" To eradicate such doubts in the minds of unbelievers, this verse affirms that the stage of chanting of the holy name of the Lord is not sudden, but that the chanters have already performed all kinds of Vedic rituals and sacrifices. It is not very astounding, for no one in this life can chant the holy name of the Lord unless he has passed all lower stages, such as performing the Vedic ritualistic sacrifices, studying the Vedas and practicing good behavior like that of the Aryans. All this must first have been done. Just as a student in a law class is to be understood to have already graduated from general education, anyone who is engaged in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord 

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

must have already passed all lower stages. It is said that those who simply chant the holy name with the tip of the tongue are glorious. One does not even have to chant the holy name and understand the whole procedure, namely the offensive stage, offenseless stage and pure stage; if the holy name is sounded on the tip of the tongue, that is also sufficient. It is said herein that nama, a singular number, one name, Krsna or Rama, is sufficient. It is not that one has to chant all the holy names of the Lord. The holy hames of the Lord are innumerable, and one does not have to chant all the names to prove that he has already undergone all the processes of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. If one chants once only, it is to be understood that he has already passed all the examinations, not to speak of those who are chanting always, twenty−four hours a day.…

The holy name has to be chanted to please the Supreme Lord, and not for any sense gratification or professional purpose. If this pure mentality is there, then even though a person is born of a low family, such as a dog−eater's, he is so glorious that not only has he purified himself, but he is quite competent to deliver others. He is competent to speak on the importance of the transcendental name, just as Thakura Haridasa did. He was apparently born in a family of Muhammadans, but because he was chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord offenselessly, Lord Caitanya empowered him to become the authority, or acarya, of spreading the name. It did not matter that he was born in a family which was not following the Vedic rules and regulations. Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Advaita Prabhu accepted him as an authority because he was offenselessly chanting the name of the Lord. Authorities like Advaita Prabhu and Lord Caitanya immediately accepted that he had already performed all kinds of austerities, studied the Vedas and performed all sacrifices. That is automatically understood. There is a hereditary class of brahmanas called the smarta−brahmanas, however, who are of the opinion that even if such persons who are chanting the holy name of the Lord are accepted as purified, they still have to perform the Vedic rites or await their next birth in a family of brahmanas so that they can perform the Vedic rituals. But actually this is not the case. Such a man does not need to wait for the next birth to become purified. He is at once purified. It is understood that he has already performed all sorts of rites. It is the so−called brahmanas who actually have to undergo different kinds of austerities before reaching that point of purification. There are many other Vedic performances which are not described here. All such Vedic rituals have been already performed by the chanters of the holy name.

The word juhuvuh means that the chanters of the holy name have already performed all kinds of sacrifices. Sasnuh means that they have already traveled to all the holy places of pilgrimage and taken part in purificatory activities at those places. They are called aryah because they already finished all these requirements, and therefore they must be among the Aryans or those who have qualified themselves to become Aryans. "Aryan" refers to those who are civilized, whose manners are regulated according to the Vedic rituals. Any devotee who is chanting the holy name of the Lord is the best kind of Aryan. Unless one studies the Vedas, one cannot become an Aryan, but it is automatically understood that the chanters have already studied all the Vedic literature. The specific word used here is antcuh, which means that because they have already completed all those recommended acts, they have become qualified to be spiritual masters.

The very word grnanti, which is used in this verse, means to be already established in the perfectional stage of ritualistic performances. If one is seated on the bench of a high court and is giving judgment on cases, it means that he has already passed all legal exams and is better than those who are engaged in the study of law or those expecting to study law in the future. In a similar way, persons who are chanting the holy name are transcendental to those who are factually performing the Vedic rituals and those who expect to be qualified (or, in other words, those who are born in families of brahmanas but have not yet undergone the reformatory processes and who therefore expect to study the Vedic rituals and perform the sacrifices in the future).

 There are many Vedic statements in different places saying that anyone who chants the holy name of the Lord becomes immediately freed from conditional life and that anyone who hears the holy name of the Lord, even though born of a family of dog−eaters, also becomes liberated from the clutches of material entanglement.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.33.7

[Lord Krsna to Arjuna]: By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles−even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist, striving for yoga, stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures.

Advanced yogis are not very much attracted to the rituals of the scriptures, but they automatically become attracted to the yoga principles, which can elevate them to complete Krsna consciousness, the highest yoga perfection. In the Srimad−Bhagavatam (3.33.7), such disregard of Vedic rituals by the advanced transcendentalists is explained as follows:

aho bata svapaco 'to gariyan yaj−jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya brahmantcur nama grnanti ye te

"O my Lord! Persons who chant the holy names of Your Lordship are far, far advanced in spiritual life, even if born in families of dogeaters. Such chanters have undoubtedly performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices, bathed in all sacred places, and finished all scriptural studies."

The famous example of this was presented by Lord Caitanya, who accepted Thakura Haridasa as one of His most important disciples. Although Thakura Haridasa happened to take his birth in a Muslim family, he was elevated to the post of namacarya by Lord Caitanya due to his rigidly attended principle of chanting three hundred thousand holy names of the Lord daily: 

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

 And because he chanted the holy name of the Lord constantly, it is understood that in his previous life he must have passed through all the ritualistic methods of the Vedas, known as sabda−brahma. Unless, therefore, one is purified, one cannot take to the principle of Krsna consciousness nor become engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord, Hare Krsna.

– Bhagavad gi ta As It Is 6.44

As long as one is within the limited jurisdiction of fruitive activities or is involved in mental speculation, he may perhaps be eligible to study or teach the theoretical knowledge of Vedanta−sttra, but he cannot understand the supreme, eternal, transcendental (completely liberated) vibration of 

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

One who has achieved perfection in chanting the transcendental Hare Krsna vibration does not have to separately learn the philosophy of Vedanta−sttra. According to the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the bona fide spiritual master, those who do not understand the transcendental vibration as being nondifferent from the Supreme and who try to become Mayavadi philosophers or experts in Vedanta−sttra are all fools. Studying Vedanta−sttra by one's own efforts (the ascending process of knowledge) is another sign of foolishness. He who has attained a taste for chanting the transcendental vibration, however, actually attains the conclusion of Vedanta. In this connection, there are two verses in Srimad−Bhagavatam which are very instructive. The purport of the first is that even if a low caste person is engaged in chanting the transcendental vibration, it is to be understood that he has performed all types of renunciation, austerities and sacrifice and has studied all the Brahma−sttras. Thus one can be able to chant 

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

 The purport of the second verse is that one who chants the two syllables Ha−ri must be considered to have studied all the Vedas: the rg Veda, Atharva Veda, Yajur Veda and Sama Veda.

– Teachings of Lord Caitanya

As stated in the Fifteenth Chapter, all the rules and regulations of the Vedas are meant for knowing Krsna. If one understands Krsna from the Bhagavad−gita and becomes situated in Krsna consciousness, engaging himself in devotional service, he has reached the highest perfection of knowledge offered by the Vedic literature. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu made this process very easy: He asked people simply to chant  

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

 and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord and eat the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Deity. One who is directly engaged in all these devotional activities is understood as having studied all Vedic literature. He has come to the conclusion perfectly.

– Bhagavad gita As It Is 16.24


Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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