10 In this age, Chanting of the holy name is more important than Varnasrama Dharma

In This Age, Chanting of the Holy Name Is More Important than Varnasrama dharma

Because varnasrama dharma has been lost in this age, Lord Caitanya has introduced the chanting of the maha−mantra:

In Bhagavad−gita (18.46) Sri Krsna says that every man can become perfect by following his qualities of work:

yatah pravrttir bhutanam yena sarvam idam tatam
sva−karmana tam abhyarcya siddhim vindati manavah

“By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all−pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection.”

Thus if one executes his duties as a perfect ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, or whatever, Visnu will be pleased. The purpose of work is to please Visnu. Unfortunately, people have forgotten this. Varnasrama dharma, the Vedic system of society, is therefore very important in that it is meant to give human beings a chance to perfect their lives by pleasing Krsna. Unfortunately, the varnasrama dharma has been lost in this age. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu, just to give relief to the rotting, conditioned souls of this age of Kali−yuga, has given us the maha−mantra.

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
[Adi 17.21]

“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”(Brhan−naradiya Purana)

Although we may try to revive the perfect varnasrama system, it is not possible in this age. People are fallen, disturbed and unfortunate:

prayenalpayusah sabhya kalav asmin yuge janah
mandah sumanda−matayo manda−bhagya hy upadrutah

“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (S.B. 1.1.10)

In this age, there will be insufficient rainfall and food, and the government will plunder one’s income by heavy taxation. All of these characteristics of Kali−yuga are described in Srimad−Bhagavatam. People will become so disgusted that they will suddenly leave their wife and children and go to the forest. How can the peaceful varnasrama dharma be revived when people are so harassed in this age? It is virtually impossible. Therefore the system of bhakti−yoga, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha−mantra, should be adopted. The whole aim of bhakti−yoga is to satisfy Visnu. Yajnaih sankirtana−prayaih: Visnu, Krsna, came Himself as Caitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us the way of sankirtana.

– Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti

For attaining the topmost goal, hearing and chanting about Lord Visnu is more important than varnasrama dharma:

The chief acarya of the Tattvavada community was very learned in the revealed scriptures. Out of humility, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu questioned him. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I do not know very well the aim of life and how to achieve it. Please tell me of the best ideal for humanity and how to attain it.” The acarya replied, “When the activities of the four castes and the four asramas are dedicated to Krsna, they constitute the best means whereby one can attain the highest goal of life. When one dedicates the duties of varnasrama dharma to Krsna, he is eligible for five kinds of liberation. Thus he is transferred to the spiritual world in Vaikuntha. This is the highest goal of life and the verdict of all revealed scriptures.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “According to the verdict of the sastras, the process of hearing and chanting is the best means to attain loving service to Krsna.”

According to the Tattvavadis, the best process is to execute the duties of the four varnas and asramas. In the material world, unless one is situated in one of the varnas (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) one cannot manage social affairs properly to attain the ultimate goal. One also has to follow the principles of the asramas (brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa), which are considered essential for the attainment of the highest goal. In this way the Tattvavadis establish that the execution of the principles of varna and asrama for the sake of Krsna is the best way to attain the topmost goal. The Tattvavadis thus established their principles in terms of human society. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, differed when He said that the best process is hearing and chanting about Lord Visnu.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 9.254−58

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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