16 Other instructions
The Lord as nama−dheya, one whose holy name is worth chanting:
[Gajendra to Lord Visnu]: "All are purified simply by hearing Your holy name, which is worthy to be chanted."
The holy name of the Lord and topics in relation with Him are always worth hearing, and therefore He is called here in this verse nama−dheya, or one whose holy name is worth chanting.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.7.15
One who has taken to chanting has already received the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then glanced with mercy at the Muhammadan governor. Giving him assurance, He asked him to chant the holy names Krsna and Hari.
It is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy that He advises everyone−even candalas, mlecchas and yavanas−to chant the holy name of the Lord. In other words, one who has taken to chanting the holy names Krsna and Hari has already received Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 16.187
A person situated in Krsna consciousness and engaged with determination in chanting Hare Krsna is to be considered to be on the transcendental position even if by accident he falls down:
[Lord Krsna to Arjuna]: Even if one commits the most abominable actions, if he is engaged in devotional service, he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that if a person falls down, but is wholeheartedly engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord, the Lord, being situated within his heart, beautifies him and excuses him from that abomination. The material contamination is so strong that even a yogi fully engaged in the service of the Lord sometimes becomes ensnared; but Krsna consciousness is so strong that such an occasional falldown is at once rectified. Therefore the process of devotional service is always a success. No one should deride a devotee for some accidental falldown from the ideal path, for, as explained in the next verse, such occasional falldowns will be stopped in due course, as soon as a devotee is completely situated in Krsna consciousness.
Therefore a person who is situated in Krsna consciousness and is engaged with determination in the process of chanting
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
should be considered to be in the transcendental position, even if by chance or accident he is found to have fallen. The words sadhur eva, "he is saintly," are very emphatic. They are a warning to the nondevotees that because of an accidental falldown a devotee should not be derided; he should still be considered saintly even if he has fallen down accidentally. And the word mantavyah is still more emphatic. If one does not follow this rule, and derides a devotee for his accidental falldown, then he is disobeying the order of the Supreme Lord. The only qualification of a devotee is to be unflinchingly and exclusively engaged in devotional service.
The mark of a spot which may be seen on the moon does not become an impediment to the moonlight. Similarly, the accidental falldown of a devotee from the path of a saintly character does not make him abominable.
– Bhagavad gita As It Is 9.30
A first−class Vaisnava is he whose very presence makes others chant the holy name (and who chants the holy name perfectly):
[Lord Caitanya to the inhabitants of Kulina−grama]: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "A first−class Vaisnava is he whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Krsna."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati thakura says that if an observer immediately remembers the holy name of Krsna upon seeing a Vaisnava, that Vaisnava should be considered a maha−bhagavata, a first−class devotee. Such a Vaisnava is always aware of his Krsna conscious duty, and he is enlightened in self−realization. He is always in love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and this love is without adulteration. Because of this love, he is always awake to transcendental realization. Because he knows that Krsna consciousness is the basis of knowledge and action, he sees everything connected with Krsna. Such a person is able to chant the holy name of Krsna perfectly.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 16.74
Chanting the holy name of Visnu has gone on in Vedic culture since the beginning of history:
Mother Yasoda was firmly convinced of the Vedic injunctions about the importance of cows and the holy name of Visnu; therefore she took all shelter in the cows and the name of Visnu just to protect her child Krsna. She recited all the holy names of Visnu so that He might save the child. Vedic culture has taken advantage of keeping cows and chanting the holy name of Visnu since the beginning of history.
– Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
The Vedic scriptures do not authorize any kirtana other than hari−kirtana, the glorification of Krsna:
In Bengal there is competition between the Vaisnavas and the saktas. The saktas have introduced a certain type of kirtana called kali−kirtana. But in the Vedic scriptures there is no recommendation of kali−kirtana. Kirtana means hari−kirtana. One cannot say, "Oh, you are Vaisnava. You can perform hari−kirtana. I shall perform siva−kirtana or devi−kirtana or ganesa−kirtana." No. The Vedic scriptures do not authotize any kirtana other than hari−kirtana. Kirtana means hari−kirtana, the glorification of Krsna.
– The Science of Self Realization
The "Hari Haraye Namah" prayer is another way of chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra:
There were four people accompanying Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and these were Candrasekhara, Paramananda Puri, Tapana Misra and Sanatana Gosvami. They were all chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra in the foliowing way. They chanted, "Haraye namah, krsna yadavaya namah/ gopala govinda rama sri−madhusudana."
This is another way of chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra. The meaning is: "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. He is the descendant of the Yadu family. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Gopala, Govinda, Rama and Sri Madhusudana."
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 25.63−64
In the spiritual atmosphere of Vrndavana, one will automatically chant the holy name:
In India there are hundreds of sacred places of pilgrimage, of which Prayaga, Hardwar, Vrndavana and Ramesvaram are considered principal. After leaving his home, which was full of politics and diplomacy, Vidura wanted to purify himself by traveling to all the sacred places, which are so situated that anyone who goes there automatically becomes purified.
This is especially true in Vrndavana; any person may go there, and even if he is sinful he will at once contact an atmosphere of spiritual life and will automatically chant the names of Krsna and Radha. That we have actually seen and experienced.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.20.4
The Vrndavana scheme−execute Krsna consciousness by chanting Hare Krsna:
We should especially establish this New Vrndavana because Lord Caitanya recommended, aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa−tanayas tad−dhama vrndavanam: "Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, in the Vrndavana−dhama of Vrajabhumi, is the supreme worshipable Deity, and His place Vrndavana is also worshipable." The Western boys and girls are taking to Krsna consciousness, and they should have a place like Vrndavana. Swami Kirtanananda, who went to Vrndavana with me two years ago, knows what Vrndavana is like, so I have instructed him to construct at least seven temples. In Vrndavana, there are five thousand temples of Radha−Krsna, but the most important temples are seven, established by the Gosvamis. Our program is to live in New Vrndavana, depend on agriculture and cows as an economic solution, and peacefully execute Krsna consciousness, chant Hare Krsna−that is the Vrndavana scheme.
– The Science of Self Realization
Chanting of the holy name as muni vrata, the vow of silence:
[Lord Siva to the sons of King Pracinabarhi]: My dear princes, in the form of a prayer I have delineated the yoga system of chanting the holy name. All of you should take this important stotra within your minds and promise to keep it in order to become great sages. By acting silently like a great sage and by giving attention and reverence, you should practice this method.
The topmost yogi is he who constantly thinks of Krsna within himself and chants the glories of the Lord… The word muni−vratah is significant in this regard because those who are interested in advancing in spiritual life must be silent. Silence means talking only of krsna−katha. This is the silence of Maharaja Ambarisa:
sa vai manah krsna−padaravindayor
"King Ambarisa always fixed his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord and talked of Him only." (S.B. 9.4.19)
We should also take this opportunity in life to become as good as a great saint simply by not talking unnecessarily with unwanted persons. We should either talk of Krsna or chant Hare Krsna undeviatingly. This is called muni−vrata.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.71
Some caste brahmanas mistakenly think that if non−brahmanas chant the holy name, its potency is reduced:
[Some nonbelieving Hindus to Chand Kazi]: "'Now the lower classes are chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra again and again. For this sinful activity, the entire city of Navadvipa will be deserted. According to Hindu scripture, God's name is supposed to be the most powerful hymn. If everyone hears the chanting of the name, the potency of the hymn will be lost.'"
Pasandis [unbelievers] do not know the actual value of the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krsna. Foolishly proud of their material birth as brahmanas and their consequently higher position in the social order, they think of the other classes−namely, the ksatriyas, the vaisyas and sudras−as lower classes. According to them, no one but the brahmanas can chant the holy name of Krsna, for if others chanted the holy name its potency would be reduced. They are unaware of the potency of Lord Krsna's name. The Brhan−naradiya Purana recommends:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
"For spiritual progress in this age of Kali, there is no alternative, no alternative, no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord."
The pasandis do not accept that the potency of the holy name of Krsna is so great that one can be delivered simply by chanting the holy name, although this is confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam (12.3.51). Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta−sangah param vrajet: any man from any part of the world who practices chanting of the holy name of Krsna can be liberated and after death go back home, back to Godhead. The rascal pasandis think that if anyone but a brahmana chants the holy name, the potency of the holy name is vanquished. According to their judgment, instead of delivering the fallen souls, the potency of the holy name is reduced. Believing in the existence of many gods and considering the chanting of the holy name of Krsna no better than other hymns, these pasandis do not believe in the words of the sastra (harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam [Adi 17.21]). But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms in His Siksastaka, kirtaniyah sada harih: [Cc. adi 17.31] one must chant the holy name of the Lord always, twenty−four hours a day. The pasandis, however, are so fallen and falsely proud of having taken birth in brahmana families that they think that instead of delivering all the fallen souls, the holy name becomes impotent when constantly chanted by lower−class men.
Significant in verse 211 are the words nica bada bada because anyone can join in the sankirtana movement, as mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam (2.4.18):
abhira−sumbha yavanah khasadayah.
This is a list of the names of candalas. The pasandis say that when these lower−class men are allowed to chant, their influence is enhanced. They do not like the idea that others should also develop spiritual qualities because this would curb their false pride in having taken birth in families of the elevated brahmana caste, with a monopoly on spiritual activities. But despite all protests from so−called Hindus and members of the brahmana caste, we are propagating the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world, according to the injunctions of the sastras and the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus we are sure that we are delivering many fallen souls, making them bona fide candidates for going back home, back to Godhead.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 17.211−12
Chanting the Hare Krsna mantra will not free one from offending a brahmana or Vaisnava (one must beg the pardon of the offended person):
When one pollutes his Krsna consciousness by offending a brahmana or a Vaisnava, it is very difficult to revive. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has described the vaisnava−aparadha, or offense to a Vaisnava, as "the mad elephant offense." One should be very careful not to offend a Vaisnava or a brahmana. Even the great yogi Durvasa was harassed by the Sudarsana cakra when he offended the Vaisnava Maharaja Ambarisa, who was neither a brahmana nor a sannyasi but an ordinary householder. Maharaja Ambarisa was a Vaisnava, and consequently Durvasa Muni was chastised.
The conclusion is that if Krsna consciousness is covered by material sins, one can eliminate the sins simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, but if one pollutes his Krsna consciousness by offending a brahmana or a Vaisnava, one cannot revive it until one properly atones for the sin by pleasing the offended Vaisnava or brahmana. This was the course that Durvasa Muni had to follow, for he surrendered unto Maharaja Ambarisa. A vaisnava−aparadha cannot be atoned for by any means other than by begging the pardon of the offended Vaisnava.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.26.24
A renunciate should not renounce chanting Hare Krsna:
Even one who has renounced the world and has taken sannyasa should not renounce chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra. Renunciation does not mean that one has to renounce sankirtana−yajna.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 5.6.2
Rather than discuss the Lord's confidential, transcendental pastimes among mundane moralists who misinterpret them, one should give them the maha mantra so that they may become gradually purified and elevated to transcendental understanding:
[Priest calling Madhavendra Puri]: Holding the pot of sweet rice, the priest called, "Will he whose name is Madhavendra Puri please come and take this pot! Gopinatha has stolen this pot for you!" The priest continued, "Would the sannyasi whose name is Madhavendra Puri please come and take this pot of sweet rice and enjoy the prasada with great happiness! You are the most fortunate person within these three worlds!"
The difference between the Absolute Truth and relative truth is explained here. Lord Gopinatha has openly declared herein that He is a thief. He had stolen the pot of sweet rice, and this was not kept a secret because His act of stealing is a source of great transcendental bliss. In the material world, theft is criminal, but in the spiritual world the Lord's stealing is a source of transcendental bliss. Mundane rascals, who cannot understand the absolute nature of the Personality of Godhead, sometimes call Lord Sri Krsna immoral, but they do not know that His seemingly immoral activities, which are not kept secret, afford pleasure to the devotees. Not understanding the transcendental behavior of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, these rascals slur His character and immediately fall into the category of miscreants (rascals, lowest among men, demons and those whose knowledge is taken away by the illusory energy)… Although Krsna is the purest of the pure, mundane people, thinking of Krsna's pastimes that appear immoral, themselves become polluted. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore never publicly discussed Krsna's dealings with the gopis. He used to discuss these dealings only with three confidential friends. He never discussed rasa lila publicly, as the professional reciters do, although they do not understand Krsna or the nature of the audience. However, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged the public chanting of the holy name on a huge scale for as many hours as possible.
Here is an example of a personal benediction by Krsna's immoral activity. By Gopinatha's stealing for His devotee, the devotee becomes the most fortunate person within the three worlds. Thus even the Lord's criminal activities make His devotee the most fortunate person. How can a mundane rascal understand the pastimes of Krsna and judge whether He is moral or immoral? Since Krsna is the Absolute Truth, there are no mundane distinctions such as moral and immoral. Whatever He does is good. This is the real meaning of "God is good." He is good in all circumstances because He is transcendental, outside the jurisdiction of this material world. Therefore, Krsna can be understood only by those who are already living in the spiritual world.
One who is engaged in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord is already situated in the spiritual world (brahma−bhuyaya kalpate). In all circumstances, his activities and dealings with Krsna are transcendental and thus not understandable by mundane moralists. It is therefore better not to discuss such activities among mundane people. It is better to give them the Hare Krsna maha mantra so that they will be gradually purified and then come to understand the transcendental activities of Krsna.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 4.133−34
The sankirtana party of the followers of Tukarama exactly resembles those of the Gaudiya−Vaisnavas:
It is said that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu initiated Tukarama when He visited Pandarapura. This Tukarama Acarya became very famous in the Maharastra province, and he spread the sankirtana movement all over the province. The sankirtana party belonging to Tukarama is still very popular in Bombay in the province of Maharastra. Tukarama was a disciple of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and his book is known as Abhanga. His sankirtana party exactly resembles the Gaudiya−Vaisnava sankirtana parties, for they chant the holy name of the Lord with mrdanga and karatalas.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 9.282
Due to the influence of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, even today many scholars and sannyasis of Varanasi gather on the banks of the Ganges to perform sankirtana:
All the inhabitants of Kasi [Varanasi] began chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra in ecstatic love. Sometimes they laughed, sometimes they cried, sometimes they chanted, and sometimes they danced. After this, all the Mayavadi sannyasis and learned scholars at Varanasi began discussing Srimad Bhagavatam. In this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu delivered them. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then returned to His residence with His personal associates. Thus He turned the whole city of Varanasi into another Navadvipa [Nadiya−nagara].
Both Navadvipa and Varanasi were celebrated for their highly educational activities. At the present time these cities are still inhabited by great, learned scholars, but Varanasi is especially a center for Mayavadi sannyasis who are learned scholars. However, unlike Navadvipa, there are hardly any devotees in Varanasi. Consequently a discussion of Srimad Bhagavatam was very rare in Varanasi. In Navadvipa, such a discussion was quite ordinary. After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited Varanasi and turned Prakasananda Sarasvati and his disciples into Vaisnavas, Varanasi became like Navadvipa because so many devotees began discussing Srimad Bhagavatam. Even at the present moment one can hear many discussions on Srimad Bhagavatam taking place on the banks of the Ganges. Many scholars and sannyasis gather there to hear Srimad Bhagavatam and perform sankirtana.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 25.165−67