07 The holy name eradicates material desires and sinful activity
By chanting the maha mantra, one can remove the seeds of desire from the heart:
Sukadeva points out that austerity, charity and the performance of ritualistic ceremonies for counteracting sinful activities are recommended processes, but that by performing them one cannot remove the sinful desire−seed from the heart, as was the case with Ajamila in his youth. This sinful desire−seed can be removed only by achieving Krsna consciousness. And this can be accomplished very easily by chanting the maha mantra, or Hare Krsna mantra, as recommended by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
– The Nectar of Devotion
By associating with the Supreme Lord by chanting His holy name, one becomes free from material desires:
Even those who are obsessed with material desires may also come to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead so steadily that they go back to Godhead. The fact is that if one comes to Krsna consciousness, although he may have many material desires, he becomes increasingly attracted to the lotus feet of Krsna through associating with the Supreme Lord by chanting His holy name. The Supreme Lord and His holy name are identical. Thus he becomes uninterested in attachment to material enjoyment.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.16.39
We must chant Hare Krsna in order to cleanse the heart of lust and greed:
The whole world is revolving due to kama and lobha. Kama means "lusty desire," and lobha means "greed." People cannot have enough sex or money, and because of this, their hearts are filled with contaminations, which have to be cleansed by hearing, repeating and chanting. Human life is meant to get rid of anarthas, unwanted things, but where is the university or college where this science of purification is taught? The only institution is this Krsna consciousness society. Krsna is within the heart, and the contaminations are also there, but Krsna will help us cleanse them. Nasta−prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata−sevaya (S.B. 1.2.18). We must regularly hear Srimad−Bhagavatam and chant Hare Krsna; these are the two processes recommended by Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
– Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti
The only method of controlling the agitated senses is to chant and hear the holy name of the Lord:
The human form of life is meant for God realization, but this process, which begins with sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23]−hearing and chanting of the holy name of the Lord−is disturbed as long as our senses are materially attracted. Therefore devotional service means purifying the senses. In the conditioned state our senses are covered by material sense gratification, and as long as one is not trained in purifying the senses, one cannot become a devotee. In our Krsna consciousness movement, therefore, we advise from the very beginning that one restrict the activities of the senses, especially the tongue, which is described by Srila Bhaktivinoda thakura as most greedy and unconquerable. To stop this attraction of the tongue, one is authoritatively advised not to accept meat or similar uneatable things nor to allow the tongue to hanker to drink or smoke. Even the drinking of tea and coffee is not permitted. Similarly, the genitals must be restricted from illicit sex. Without such restraint of the senses, one cannot make advancement in Krsna consciousness. The only method of controlling the senses is to chant and hear the holy name of the Lord; otherwise, one will always be disturbed.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.40
If one can control the tongue by engaging it in tasting prasada and chanting Hare Krsna, all the other senses can be controlled:
Self control means that one should not accept anything which is detrimental to the path of spiritual progress. One should become accustomed to this and reject anything which is against the path of spiritual progress. This is real renunciation. The senses are so strong that they are always anxious to have sense gratification. One should not cater to these demands, which are not necessary. The senses should only be gratified to keep the body fit so that one can discharge his duty in advancing in spiritual life. The most important and uncontrollable sense is the tongue. If one can control the tongue, then there is every possibility of controlling the other senses. The function of the tongue is to taste and to vibrate. Therefore, by systematic regulation, the tongue should always be engaged in tasting the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krsna and chanting Hare Krsna.
– Bhagavad gita As It Is 13.8−12
Those who have tasted the nectar of chanting the holy name do not care for any other spiritual bliss or for material comforts:
The personified Vedas said:] "The most intelligent devotees do not take to any means of self−realization except devotional service and constant engagement in the nine different processes of devotional life, especially hearing and chanting. When hearing and chanting about Your transcendental pastimes, Your devotees do not care even for the transcendental bliss derived from liberation or from merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such devotees are not interested even in so−called liberation, and certainly they have no interest in material activities for elevation to the heavenly planets for sense gratification. Pure devotees seek only the association of paramahamsas, or great liberated devotees, so that they can continually hear and chant about Your glories. For this purpose the pure devotees are prepared to sacrifice all comforts of life, even giving up the material comforts of family life and so−called society, friendship and love. Those who have tasted the nectar of devotion by relishing the transcendental vibration of chanting Your glories
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
do not care for any other spiritual bliss or for material comforts, which appear to the pure devotee to be less important than the straw in the street."
– Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By remaining fixed in chanting the holy name, one may protect himself from the sensual allurements of this age:
While traveling along the public way, Ajamila came upon a fourth class man and a prostitute, who are vividly described here. Drunkenness was sometimes manifest even in bygone ages, although not very frequently. In this age of Kali, however, such sin is to be seen everywhere, for people all over the world have become shameless. Long ago, when he saw the scene of the drunken sudra and the prostitute, Ajamila, who was a perfect brahmacari, was affected. Nowadays such sin is visible in so many places, and we must consider the position of a brahmacari student who sees such behavior. For such a brahmacari to remain steady is very difficult unless he is extremely strong in following the regulative principles. Nevertheless, if one takes to Krsna consciousness very seriously, he can withstand the provocation created by sin. In our Krsna consciousness movement we prohibit illicit sex, intoxication, meat−eating and gambling. In Kali−yuga, a drunk, half−naked woman embracing a drunk man is a very common sight, especially in the Western countries, and restraining oneself after seeing such things is very difficult. Nevertheless, if by the grace of Krsna one adheres to the regulative principles and chants the Hare Krsna mantra, Krsna will certainly protect him. Indeed, Krsna says that His devotee is never vanquished (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati). Therefore all the disciples practicing Krsna consciousness should obediently follow the regulative principles and remain fixed in chanting the holy name of the Lord. Then there need be no fear. Otherwise one's position is very dangerous, especially in this Kali−yuga.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.1.58−60
The test of the real change of heart from chanting the holy name is one's detachment from material enjoyment:
[Saunaka Rsi to Suta Gosvami]:"If one's heart does not change, tears do not flow from his eyes, his body does not shiver, nor his hairs stand on end as he chants the Hare Krsna maha mantra, it should be understood that his heart is as hard as iron. This is due to his offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord's holy name."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati thakura, commenting on this verse, which is a quotation from Srimad−Bhagavatam (2.3.24), remarks that sometimes a maha−bhagavata, or very advanced devotee, does not manifest such transcendental symptoms as tears in the eyes, although sometimes a kanistha−adhikari, neophyte devotee, displays them artificially. This does not mean, however, that the neophyte is more advanced than the maha−bhagavata devotee. The test of the real change of heart that takes place when one chants the Hare Krsna maha mantra is that one becomes detached from material enjoyment. This is the real change. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca [SB 11.2.42]. If one is actually advancing in spiritual life, he must become very much detached from material enjoyment. If it is sometimes found that a kanistha−adhikari (neophyte devotee) shows artificial tears in his eyes while chanting the Hare Krsna mantra but is still completely attached to material things, his heart has not really changed. The change must be manifested in terms of one's real activities.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 8.25
By chanting the maha mantra offenselessly, one may be saved from the allurement of women:
A grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasi, and brahmacari should be very careful when associating with women. One is forbidden to sit down in a solitary place even with one's mother, sister or daughter. In our Krsna consciousness movement it has been very difficult to disassociate ourselves from women in our society, especially in Western countries. We are therefore sometimes criticized, but nonetheless we are trying to give everyone a chance to chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra and thus advance spiritually. If we stick to the principle of chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra offenselessly, then, by the grace of Srila Haridasa thakura, we may be saved from the allurement of women. However, if we are not very strict in chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, we may at any time fall victim to women.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 5.6.3
By chanting, one gives up sinful activities:
If one is sincere, he is initiated, and this stage is called bhajana−kriya. One then actually engages in the service of the Lord by regularly chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, sixteen rounds daily, and refraining from illicit sex, intoxicants, meat−eating and gambling. By bhajana−kriya one attains freedom from the contamination of materialistic life. He no longer goes to a restaurant or hotel to taste so−called palatable dishes made with meat and onions, nor does he care to smoke or drink tea or coffee. He not only refrains from illicit sex, but avoids sex life entirely. Nor is he interested in wasting his time in speculating or gambling. In this way it is to be understood that one is becoming cleansed of unwanted things (anartha−nivrtti). The word anartha refers to unwanted things. Anarthas are vanquished when one becomes attached to the Krsna consciousness movement.
– The Nectar of Instruction Text 7
By chanting Hare Krsna constantly, Srila Prabhupada's disciples are able to give up all sinful sense gratification:
If we chant the holy names of God, we cannot lose anything; on the contrary, we gain greatly. My disciples practice chanting Hare Krsna constantly. They could also go to the cinema, or do so many other things, but they have given everything up. They eat neither fish nor meat nor eggs, they don't take intoxicants, they don't drink, they don't smoke, they don't partake in gambling, they don't speculate, and they don't maintain illicit sexual connections. But they do chant the holy name of God.
– The Science of Self Realization
Even if one cannot give up sinful life immediately, by chanting the maha mantra with faith and devotion he will be freed from sinful activities:
Anyone, anywhere, can easily take to this Hare Krsna movement; one need only chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra, observe the rules and regulations, and stay free from the contamination of sinful life. Even if one is sinful and cannot give up sinful life immediately, if he chants the Hare Krsna maha mantra with devotion and faith he will certainly be freed from all sinful activities, and his life will be successful.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 9.10.51
Chanting of the holy name frees one from all undesirable habits:
[Lord Caitanya to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya]: "Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Krsna, one can be freed from all undesirable habits. This is the means of awakening all good fortune and initiating the flow of waves of love for Krsna."
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 20.11