10 The holy name liberates one from the miseries of material existence

The Holy Name Liberates One From The Miseries Of Material Existence

To escape the ocean of material miseries and illusion, we must chant the maha mantra:

We are all pure spirit, part and parcel of the Supreme. God is pavitram, pure, and we are also pure. Somehow or other, however, we have fallen into this material ocean, and as the waves toss, we suffer. Actually we have nothing to do with the tossing waves of material miseries. We must simply pray, “Krsna, please pick me up.” As soon as we forget Krsna, the ocean of illusion is there, and it at once captures us. The chanting of Hare Krsna is most important in order to escape from this ocean.

– Raja vidya: The King of Knowledge

Chanting the holy name is the universal remedy for all the miseries of materialistic life:

Chanting the holy name and glorifying the Supreme Lord are the universal remedy for all the miseries of materialistic life. Persons who desire to be freed from this material world are called mumuksu. Such persons can understand the miseries of materialistic life, and by glorifying the activities of the Lord they can be released from all these miseries. The transcendental sound vibrations concerning the Lord’s name, fame, form, qualities and paraphernalia are all nondifferent from the Lord. Therefore the very sound vibration of the Lord’s glorification and name are pleasing to the ears, and by understanding the absolute nature of the Lord’s name, form and qualities the devotee becomes joyful.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 10.1 “Additional notes”

The holy name eradicates the miseries of material existence:

[Lord Caitanya to Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya]: “Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Krsna, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence…”

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 20.12

The only remedy for burning in the fire of material existence is chanting the maha mantra:

Material affairs have been compared to an ocean of poison. They have been described in a similar way by Srila Narottama dasa thakura in one of his songs:

samsara−visanale, diva−nisi hiya jvale,
judaite na kainu upaya

“My heart is always burning in the fire of material existence, and I have made no provisions for getting out of it.”

golokera prema−dhana, hari−nama−sankirtana,
rati na janmila kene taya

“The only remedy is hari−nama−sankirtana, the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra, which is imported from the spiritual world, Goloka Vrndavana. How unfortunate I am that I have no attraction for this.”

– Srimad Bhagavatam 5.1.2

Chanting extinguishes the blazing fire of material miseries:

Due to our manipulation of material activities, a great deal of dust has collected over our mind’s clear mirror, and as a consequence we are unable to see things in perspective. This vibration of transcendental sound (the Hare Krsna mantra) will cleanse away this dust and enable us to see clearly our real constitutional position. As soon as we come to understand “I am not this body; I am spirit soul, and my symptom is consciousness,” we will be able to establish ourselves in real happiness. As our consciousness is purified by this process of chanting Hare Krsna, all our material miseries will disappear. There is a fire that is always blazing over this material world, and everyone is trying to extinguish it, but there is no possibility of extinguishing this fire of the miseries of material nature unless we are situated in our pure consciousness, in our spiritual life.

– On the Way to Krsna

How the chanting of the maha mantra extinguishes the blazing fire of material existence:

Maharaja Yudhisthira was asked by Yamaraja, “What is the most wonderful thing in this world? Can you explain?” So Maharaja Yudhisthira answered, “Yes. The most wonderful thing is that at every moment one can see that his friends, his fathers, and his relatives have died, but he is thinking, ‘I shall live forever.'” He never thinks that he will die, just as an animal never thinks that at the next moment he may be slaughtered. He is satisfied with the grass, that’s all. He is satisfied with the sense gratification. He does not know that he is also going to die.

My father has died, my mother has died, he has died, she has died. So I will also have to die. Then what is after death? I do not know. This is the problem. People do not take this problem seriously, but the Bhagavad gita indicates that that is real education. Real education is to inquire why, although we do not want to die, death comes. That is real inquiry. We do not want to become old men. Why does old age come upon us? We have many problems, but this is the sum and substance of all of them.

In order to solve this problem, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu prescribes the chanting of Hare Krsna. As soon as our heart is cleansed by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, the blazing fire of our problematic material existence is extinguished. How is it extinguished? When we cleanse our heart we will realize that we do not belong to this material world. Because people are identifying with this material world, they are thinking, “I am an Indian, I am an Englishman, I am this, I am that.” But if one chants the Hare Krsna mantra, he will realize that he is not this material body. “I do not belong to this material body or this material world. I am a spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme. I am eternally related with Him, and I have nothing to do with the material world.” This is called liberation, knowledge. If I don’t have anything to do with this material world, then I am liberated. And that knowledge is called brahma−bhuta.

– The Science of Self Realization

Chanting the holy name is the ultimate solution to the perplexities of material existence:

In his state of perplexity, Subuddhi Raya met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu when the Lord was at Varanasi. Subuddhi Raya explained his position and asked Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu what he should do. The Lord advised him, “Go to Vrndavana and chant the Hare Krsna mantra constantly.”

This is a solution to all sinful activities. In this age of Kali everyone is perplexed by so many inconveniences−social, political and religious−and naturally no one is happy. Due to the contamination of this age, everyone has a very short life. There are many fools and rascals who advise people to adopt this way of life or that way of life, but real liberation from life’s perplexities means preparation for the next life. Tatha dehantara−praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]. One should be situated in his spiritual identity and return home, back to Godhead. The simplest method for this is recommended herein by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We should constantly chant the holy names of the Lord, the Hare Krsna maha mantra. Following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, this Krsna consciousness movement is recommending this process all over the world. We are saying, “Chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra, be freed from all the complexities of life and realize Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Engage in His devotional service and perfect your life so that you can return home, back to Godhead.”

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 25.197−98

To become free of the pangs of material existence, one must chant the maha mantra:

Srila Narottama dasa thakura says, samsara−visanale, diva−nisi hiya jvale, judaite na kainu upaya: “We are always suffering from material pangs, and our hearts are burning, but we cannot find any way out of it.” The materialistic person can also be called a tapasvi, which means someone who is always suffering from material pains. One can get rid of all these material pains only when he takes shelter of the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra… all persons in this material world are suffering from material pains, and if one wants to get rid of them, he must associate with saintly persons, pure devotees of the Lord, and chant the maha mantra

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

That is the only auspicious way for materialistic persons.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.22.15

The Hare Krsna maha mantra is the medicine to cure the disease of material life:

As Murari Gupta treated his patients, by his mercy both their bodily and spiritual diseases subsided.

Murari Gupta could treat both bodily and spiritual disease because he was a physician by profession and a great devotee of the Lord in terms of spiritual advancement. This is an example of service to humanity. Everyone should know that there are two kinds of diseases in human society. One disease, which is called adhyatmika, or material disease, pertains to the body, but the main disease is spiritual. The living entity is eternal, but somehow or other, when in contact with the material energy, he is subjected to the repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. The physicians of the modern day should learn from Murari Gupta. Although modern philanthropic physicians open gigantic hospitals, there are no hospitals to cure the material disease of the spirit soul. The Krsna consciousness movement has taken up the mission of curing this disease, but people are not very appreciative because they do not know what this disease is. A diseased person needs both proper medicine and a proper diet, and therefore the Krsna consciousness movement supplies materially stricken people with the medicine of the chanting of the holy name, or the Hare Krsna maha mantra, and the diet of prasada. There are many hospitals and medical clinics to cure bodily diseases, but there are no such hospitals to cure the material disease of the spirit soul. The centers of the Krsna consciousness movement are the only established hospitals that can cure man of birth, death, old age and disease.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 10.51

Chanting the Hare Krsna mantra frees one from the disease of material life:

The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Krsna are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidya [ignorance] cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root.

When a man in the material world takes more interest in the materialistic way of life than in Krsna consciousness, he is considered to be in a diseased condition. The normal conditionis to remain an eternal servant of the Lord (jivera ‘svarupa’ haya−krsnera ‘nitya−dasa’ [Cc.  Madhya 20.108]). This healthy condition is lost when the living entity forgets Krsna due to being attracted by the external features of Krsna’s maya energy… Although Krsna consciousness may not be very palatable for a diseased person, Srila Rupa Gosvami nonetheless advises that if one wants to be cured of the material disease, he must take to it with great care and attention. One begins his treatment by chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra because by chanting this holy name of the Lord a person in the material condition will be relieved from all misconceptions (ceto−darpana−marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]). Avidya, a misconception about one’s spiritual identity, provides the foundation for ahankara, or false ego within the heart.

The real disease is in the heart. If the mind is cleansed, however, if consciousness is cleansed, a person cannot be harmed by the material disease. To cleanse the mind and heart from all misconceptions, one should take to this chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra. This is both easy and beneficial. By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one is immediately freed from the blazing fire of material existence…The conclusion is that in order to get freed from the material disease, one must take to the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra.

– The Nectar of Instruction Text 7

By constantly chanting the holy name of the Lord, one transcends the distresses of the world of duality and thus becomes happy:

The distinctions between happiness and distress in the material world of duality are simply mental concoctions, for the so−called happiness and distress are actually one and the same. They are like the happiness and distress in dreams. A sleeping man creates his happiness and distress by dreaming, although actually they have no existence… In this connection there is a statement by Prabodhananda Sarasvati: visvam purna−sukhayate. Everyone in this material world is distressed by miserable conditions, but Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati says that this world is full of happiness. How is this possible? He answers, yat−karunya−kataksa−vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah. A devotee accepts the distress of this material world as happiness only due to the causeless mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By His personal behavior, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed that He was never distressed but always happy in chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra. One should follow in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and engage constantly in chanting the maha mantra

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

 Then he will never feel the distresses of the world of duality. In any condition of life one will be happy if he chants the holy name of the Lord.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.17.30

By constantly chanting Hare Krsna, one can be forever freed from the cycle of birth and death:

[The child in the womb to Lord Visnu]: Therefore, without being agitated any more, I shall deliver myself from the darkness of nescience with the help of my friend, clear consciousness. Simply by keeping the lotus feet of Lord Visnu in my mind, I shall be saved from entering into the wombs of many mothers for repeated birth and death.

The miseries of material existence begin from the very day when the spirit soul takes shelter in the ovum and sperm of the mother and father, they continue after he is born from the womb, and then they are further prolonged. We do not know where the suffering ends. It does not end, however, by one’s changing his body. The change of body is taking place at every moment, but that does not mean that we are improving from the fetal condition of life to a more comfortable condition. The best thing is, therefore, to develop Krsna consciousness. Here it is stated, upasadita−visnu−padah. This means realization of Krsna consciousness. One who is intelligent by the grace of the Lord, and develops Krsna consciousness, is successful in his life because simply by keeping himself in Krsna consciousness, he will be saved from the repetition of binh and death… In Bhagavad gita it is said that one’s intelligence is his friend, and the same intelligence can also be his enemy. Here also the same idea is repeated: suhrdatmanaiva, friendly intelligence. Absorption of intelligence in the personal service of Krsna and full consciousness of Krsna always are the path of self−realization and liberation. Without being unnecessarily agitated, if we take to the process of Krsna consciousness by constantly chanting

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

the cycle of birth and death can be stopped for good.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.31.21

Chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra frees one from the miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease:

[Lord Caitanya]:”Distribute this Krsna consciousness movement all over the world. Let people eat these fruits and ultimately become free from old age and death.”

The Krsna consciousness movement introduced by Lord Caitanya is extremely important because one who takes to it becomes eternal, being freed from birth, death and old age. People do not recognize that the real distresses in life are the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease. They are so foolish that they resign themselves to these four miseries, not knowing the transcendental remedy of the Hare Krsna maha mantra. Simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one can become free from all miseries, but because they are enchanted by the illusory energy, people do not take this movement seriously. Therefore 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.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 9.39

The Hare Krsna mantra is especially suited to deliver us from material existence in the Kali yuga:

Only the dvijas (the brahmanas) and the devas (the demigods) can be delivered from material existence by the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is a mantra and is suitable for delivering the conditioned souls from mental speculation. The conditioned souls are engaged in a struggle for existence (manah sasthanindriyani prakrti−sthani karsati [Bg. 15.7]). Deliverance from this struggle constitutes the highest benefit, but unless one gets a mantra from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, deliverance is impossible. The beginning mantra is the Gayatri mantra. Therefore, after purification, when one is qualified to become a brahmana (dvija), he is offered the Gayatri mantra. Simply by chanting the Gayatri mantra, one can be delivered. This mantra, however, is suitable only for the brahmanas and demigods. In Kali yuga, we are all in a very difficult position, in which we need a suitable mantra that can deliver us from the dangers of this age. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His incarnation as Lord Caitanya, gives us the Hare Krsna mantra… In His Siksastaka, Lord Caitanya says, param vijayate sri−krsna−sankirtanam: “All glories to the chanting of sri−krsna−sankirtana!” The maha mantra

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

is directly chanted by the Lord Himself, who gives us this mantra for deliverance. We cannot invent any means to be delivered from the dangers of material existence… Sparks are beautiful as long as they are in the fire. Similarly, we have to remain in the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always engage in devotional service, for then we shall always be brilliant and illuminating. As soon as we fall from the service of the Lord, our brilliance and illumination will immediately be extinguished, or at least stopped for some time. When we living entities, who are like sparks of the original fire, the Supreme Lord, fall into a material condition, we must take the mantra from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as it is offered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, we shall be delivered from all the difficulties of this material world.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 8.6.15

The fallen souls of Kali yuga will be delivered by chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra:

Just before the beginning of Kali yuga−or, in other words, at the end of Dvapara−yuga−Lord Sri Krsna appeared and left His instructions in the form of Bhagavad gita, in which He asked all living entities to surrender unto Him. Since the beginning of Kali yuga, however, people have practically been unable to surrender to the lotus feet of Krsna, and therefore, after some five thousand years, Krsna came again as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu just to teach the entire world how to surrender unto Him, unto Sri Krsna, and thus be purified…

Kali yuga is full of contamination. This is described in the Srimad−Bhagavatam (12.3.51):

kaler dosa−nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta−sangah param vrajet

This age of Kali is full of unlimited faults. Indeed, it is just like an ocean of faults (dosa−nidhi). But there is one chance, one opportunity. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta−sangah param vrajet: simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, one can be freed from the contamination of Kali yuga and, in his original spiritual body, can return home, back to Godhead. This is the opportunity of Kali yuga.

When Krspa appeared, He gave His orders, and when Krsna Himself appeared as a devotee, as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He showed us the path by which to cross the ocean of Kali yuga. That is the path of the Hare Krsna movement. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, He ushered in the era for the sankirtana movement. It is also said that for ten thousand years this era will continue. This means that simply by accepting the sankirtana movement and chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, the fallen souls of this Kali yuga will be delivered. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, at which Bhagavad gita was spoken, Kali yuga continues for 432,000 years, of which only 5,000 years have passed. Thus there is still a balance of 427,000 years to come. Of these 427,000 years, the 10,000 years of the sankirtana movement inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago provide the opportunity for the fallen souls of Kali yuga to take to the Krsna consciousness movement, chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra and thus be delivered from the clutches of material existence and return home, back to Godhead.

Chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra is potent always, but it is especially potent in this age of Kali. Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami, while instructing Maharaja Pariksit, stressed this chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra.

kaler dosa−nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta−sangah param vrajet

“My dear King, although Kali yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age. It is that simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (S.B. 12.3.51)

Those who have accepted the task of spreading the Hare Krsna maha mantra in full Krsna consciousness should take this opportunity to deliver people very easily from the clutches of material existence. Our duty, therefore, is to follow the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and preach the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world very sincerely. This is the best welfare activity for the peace and prosperity of human society.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 8.5.23

The transcendental sound of Hare Krsna can end material entanglement:

It is stated in the Vedanta−sutra that sound is the origin of all objects of material possession and that by sound one can also dissolve this material existence. Anavrttih sabdat means “liberation by sound.” The entire material manifestation began from sound, and sound can also end material entanglement, if it has a particular potency. The particular sound capable of doing this is the transcendental vibration Hare Krsna. Our entanglement in material affairs has begun from material sound. Now we must purify that sound in spiritual understanding. There is sound in the spiritual world also. If we approach that sound, then our spiritual life begins, and the other requirements for spiritual advancement can be supplied. We have to understand very clearly that sound is the beginning of the creation of all material objects for our sense gratification. Similarly, if sound is purified, our spiritual necessities also are produced from sound.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.26.32

The holy name brings liberation:

“‘The holy name of Krsna is the controller of the opulence of liberation…'”

– Padyavali (29), by Rupa Gosvami
– [cited: Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 15.110]

For one who chants the holy name, the paths to liberation and heavenly happiness are at once open:

In the Padma Purana there is a statement: “For any person who is chanting the holy name either softly or loudly, the paths to liberation and even heavenly happiness are at once open.”

– The Nectar of Devotion

Even if uttered once, the holy name awards liberation:

Srila Sanatana Gosvami has praised the chanting of the holy name as follows in his Brhad−bhagavatamrta (Chapter One, verse 9):

jayati jayati namananda−rupam murarer
katham api sakrd−attam muktidam praninam yat
paramam amrtam ekam jivanam bhusanam me

“All glories, all glories to the all−blissful holy name of Sri Krsna, which causes the devotee to give up all conventional religious duties, meditation and worship. When somehow or other uttered even once by a living entity, the holy name awards him liberation. The holy name of Krsna is the highest nectar. It is my very life and my only treasure.”

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 4.71

By chanting the holy name, one attains the perfection of nirvana, liberation from material existence:

The bhakti yoga system is the topmost yoga system, and in this system the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is the foremost performance of devotional service. By chanting the holy name one can attain the perfection of nirvana, or liberation from material existence, and so increase one’s blissful life of spiritual existence as described by Lord Caitanya (anandambudhi−vardhanam). When one is situated in that position, he no longer has any interest in material opulence or even a royal throne and sovereignty over the whole planet. This situation is called viraktir anyatra ca. It is the result of devotional service.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.13.8−9

The devotee attains liberation by chanting the holy name:

Bhakti is in a far higher position than mukti because a person’s endeavor to get liberation from the material encagement is automatically served in devotional service… A devotee does not have to try separately to attain liberation. That very service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the process of his liberation because to engage oneself in the service of the Lord is to liberate oneself from material entanglement…

For a devotee, liberation is no problem at all. Liberation takes place without separate endeavor. Bhakti, therefore, is far better than mukti or the impersonalist position. The impersonalists undergo severe penances and austerities to attain mukti, but the bhakta, simply by engaging himself in the bhakti process, especially in chanting

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

immediately develops control over the tongue by engaging it in chanting, and accepting the remnants of foodstuff offered to the Personality of Godhead. As soon as the tongue is controlled, naturally all other senses are controlled automatically. Sense control is the perfection of the yoga principle, and one’s liberation begins immediately as soon as he engages himself in the service of the Lord.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.33

The only way of liberation from material existence is chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord:

In the process of evolution from the lower to the higher grade of living, the human form of life is a great boon. But maya is so strong that in spite of achieving this great boon of the human form of life, we are influenced by temporary material happiness, and we forget our goal of life. We are attracted by things which will cease to exist. The beginning of such attraction is the temporary body. In this horrible condition of life there is only one way of liberation−to engage in the activities of transcendental chanting and hearing of the holy name of the Supreme Lord:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

 The illusion is that the conditioned soul does not try to understand his spiritual identity. He is more interested in his external body, which is only a flash and which will be finished as soon as the time is designated. The whole atmosphere will change when the living entity has to transmigrate from one body to another. Under the spell of maya, he will again be satisfied in a different atmosphere. This spell of maya is called avaranatmika sakti because it is so strong that the living entity is satisfied in any abominable condition. Even if he is born as a worm living within the intestine or abdomen in the midst of urine and stool. still he is satisfied. This is the covering influence of maya. But the human form of life is a chance to understand, and if one misses this opportunity, he is most unfortunate. The way to get out of illusory maya is to engage in the topics of Krsna… The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is operating for this purpose. We do not ask anyone to first change his position and then come to us. Instead we invite everyone to come with us and simply chant

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

because we know that if one simply chants and hears the topics of Krsna, one’s life will change; he will see a new light, and his life will be successful.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.7.44

Chanting of the holy name is sufficient in itself for achieving liberation:

[Yamaraja to the Yamadutas]: My dear servants, who are as good as my sons, just see how glorious is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The greatly sinful Ajamila chanted only to call his son, not knowing that he was chanting the Lord’s holy name. Nevertheless, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, he remembered Narayana, and thus he was immediately saved from the ropes of death. Therefore it should be understood that one is easily relieved from all sinful reactions by chanting the holy name of the Lord and chanting of His qualities and activities. This is the only process recommended for relief from sinful reactions. Even if one chants the holy name of the Lord with improper pronunciation, he will achieve relief from material bondage if he chants without offenses. Ajamila, for example, was extremely sinful, but while dying he merely chanted the holy name, and although calling his son, he achieved complete liberation because he remembered the name of Narayana.

In the assembly of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s father, Haridasa thakura confirmed that simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord one is liberated, even if he does not chant completely inoffensively. Smarta brahmanas and Mayavadis do not believe that one can achieve liberation in this way, but the truth of Haridasa thakura’s statement is supported by many quotations from Srimad Bhagavatam. In his commentary on this verse, for example, Sridhara Svami gives the following quotation:

sayam pratar grnan bhaktya duhkha−gramad vimucyate

“If one always chants the holy name of the Lord with great devotion in the evening and in the morning, one can become free from all material miseries.” Another quotation confirms that one can achieve liberation if one hears the holy name of the Lord constantly, every day with great respect (anudinam idam adarena srnvan)… Furthermore, he quotes from Bhagavatam (6.3.31):

tasmat sankirtanam visnor jagan−mangalam amhasam
mahatam api kauravya viddhy aikantika−niskrtam

All these quotations prove that one who constantly engages in chanting and hearing of the holy activities, name, fame and form of the Lord is liberated. As stated wonderfully in this verse, etavatalam agha−nirharanaya pumsam: simply by uttering the name of the Lord, one is freed from all sinful reactions.

The word alam, which is used in this verse, indicates that simply uttering the holy name of the Lord is sufficient. This word is used with different imports. As stated in the Amara−kosa, the most authorized dictionary in the Sanskrit language, alam bhusana−paryapti−sakti−varana−vacakam: the word alam is used to mean “ornament,” “sufficiency,” “power” and “restraint.” Here the word alam is used to indicate that there is no need of any other process, for the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is sufficient. Even if one chants imperfectly, one becomes free from all sinful reactions by chanting.

This power of chanting the holy name was proved by the liberation of Ajamila. When Ajamila chanted the holy name of Narayana, he did not precisely remember the Supreme Lord; instead, he remembered his own son. At the time of death, Ajamila certainly was not very clean; indeed, he was famous as a great sinner. Furthermore, one’s physiological condition is completely disturbed at the time of death, and in such an awkward condition it would certainly have been very difficult for Ajamila to have chanted clearly. Nevertheless, Ajamila achieved liberation simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord. Therefore, what is to be said of those who are not sinful as Ajamila? It is to be concluded that with a strong vow one should chant the holy name of the Lord

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

for thus one will certainly be delivered from the clutches of maya by the grace of Krsna.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.23−24

Even a faint light from the holy name brings liberation:

[Haridasa thakura to Lord Caitanya]: “Even a faint light from the holy name of the Lord can eradicate all the reactions of sinful life… Because of even the faintest rays of the effulgence of the Lord’s holy name, one can attain liberation. We can see this in all the revealed scriptures.”

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 3.63, 65

To establish ourselves on the spiritual platform, beyond the modes of nature, we must chant the maha mantra:

Sri Krsna encourages us to transcend the bodily conception of existence and attain to our actual spiritual life.

gunan etan atitya trin dehi deha−samudbhavan
janma−mrtyu−jara−duhkhair vimukto ‘mrtam asnute

“When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes [goodness, passion, and ignorance], he can become free from birth, death, old age, and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.” (Bg. 14.20)

To establish ourselves on the pure brahma bhuta spiritual platform, above the three modes, we must take up the method of Krsna consciousness. The gift of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the chanting of the names of Krsna

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

facilitates this process. This method is called bhakti yoga or mantra yoga, and it is employed by the highest transcendentalists.

– Beyond Birth and Death

By constantly chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one remains in a liberated position, even within this material world:

[The demigods to Lord Krsna in the womb of Devaki]: Even while engaged in various activities, devotees whose minds are completely absorbed at Your lotus feet, and who constantly hear, chant, contemplate and cause others to remember Your transcendental names and forms, are always on the transcendental platform, and thus they can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

How bhakti yoga can be practiced is explained in this verse. Srila Rupa Gosvami has said that anyone who has dedicated his life to the service of the Lord (iha yasya harer dasye) by his activities, his mind and his words (karmana manasa gira) may stay in any condition of life (nikhilasv apy avasthasu) and yet is no longer actually conditioned but is liberated (jivan−muktah sa ucyate). Even though such a devotee is in a material body, he has nothing to do with this body, for he is transcendentally situated. Narayana−parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati: because a devotee is engaged in transcendental activities, he is not afraid of being materially embodied. (S.B. 6.17.28) illustrating this liberated position, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed, mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: “All I want is Your causeless devotional service in My life, birth after birth.” (Siksastaka 4) Even if a devotee, by the supreme will of the Lord, takes birth in this material world, he continues his devotional service. When King Bharata made a mistake and in his next life became a deer, his devotional service did not stop, although some slight chastisement was given to him because of his negligence. Narada Muni says that even if one falls from the platform of devotional service, he is not lost, whereas nondevotees are lost entirely because they are not engaged in service. Bhagavad gita (9.14) therefore recommends that one always engage at least in chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra:

satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha−vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya nitya−yukta upasate

“Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, the great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.”

– Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.37

Even if one chants the holy name imperfectly, he still easily attains liberation:

[A disciple of Prakasananda Sarasvati to an assembly of disciples]: “In this age of Kali, one cannot attain liberation without taking to the devotional service of the Lord. In this age, even if one does not chant the holy name of Krsna perfectly, he still attains liberation very easily.”

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 25.30

By chanting the holy name, one is liberated and attains love of Godhead:

As a result of chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one makes such great advancement in spiritual life that simultaneously his material existence terminates and he receives love of Godhead. The holy name of Krsna is so powerful that by chanting even one name, one very easily achieves these transcendental riches.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 8.28

In spite of enjoying material facilities, people can be liberated in this very life by chanting the holy name:

[Maitreya to Vidura]: Thus Svayambhuva Manu was a saintly king. Although absorbed in material happiness, he was not dragged to the lowest grade of life, for he always enjoyed his material happiness in  a Krsna conscious atmosphere.

The kingly happiness of material enjoyment generally drags one to the lowest grade of life, namely degradation to animal life, because of unrestricted sense enjoyment. But Svayambhuva Manu was considered as good as a saintly sage because the atmosphere created in his kingdom and home was completely Krsna conscious. The case is similar with the conditioned souls in general; they have come into this material life for sense gratification, but if they are able to create a Krsna conscious atmosphere, as depicted here or as prescribed in revealed scriptures, by temple worship and household Deity worship, then in spite of their material enjoyment they can make advancement in pure Krsna consciousness without a doubt. At the present moment, modern civilization is too much attached to the material way of  life, or sense gratification. Therefore, the Krsna consciousness movement can give the people in general the best opportunity to utilize their human life in the midst of material enjoyment. Krsna consciousness does not stop them in their propensity for material enjoyment, but simply regulates their habits in the life of sense enjoyment. In spite of their enjoying the material advantages, they can be liberated in this very life by practicing Krsna consciousness by the simple method of chanting the holy names of the Lord

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

– Srimad Bhagavatam 3.22.34

To get freedom from death one should invite Yamaraja to kirtana of the holy name:

[Saunaka Rsi to Suta Gosvami]: O Suta Gosvami, there are those amongst men who desire freedom from death and get eternal life. They escape the slaughtering process by calling the controller of death, Yamaraja.

The living entity, as he develops from lower animal life to a higher human being and gradually to higher intelligence, becomes anxious to get free from the clutches of death. Modern scientists try to avoid death by physiochemical advancement of knowledge, but alas, the controller of death, Yamaraja, is so cruel that he does not spare even the very life of the scientist himself. The scientist, who puts forward the theory of stopping death by advancement of scientific knowledge, becomes himself a victim of death when he is called by Yamaraja. What to speak of stopping death, no one can enhance the short period of life even by a fraction of a moment. The only hope of suspending the cruel slaughtering process of Yamaraja is to call him to hear and chant the holy name of the Lord. Yamaraja is a great devotee of the Lord, and he likes to be invited to kirtanas and sacrifices by the pure devotees, who are constantly engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus the great sages, headed by Saunaka and others, invited Yamaraja to attend the sacrifice performed at Naimisaranya. This was good for those who did not want to die.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 1.16.17

Mayavadis cannot tolerate scriptural statements indicating the ease of attaining liberation through pure chanting of the holy name:

At the house of Hiranya and Govardhana Majumadara, a person named Gopala Cakravarti was officially the chief tax collector. This Gopala Cakravarti lived in Bengal. His duty as chief tax collector was to collect 1,200,000 coins to deposit in the treasury of the emperor. He had handsome bodily features, and he was learned and youthful, but he could not tolerate the statement that simply by glimpsing the awakening of the Lord’s holy name one can attain liberation. This young man, Gopala Cakravarti, became very angry upon hearing the statements of Haridasa thakura. He immediately criticized him. “O assembly of learned scholars,” he said, “just hear the conclusion of the emotional devotee. After many millions upon millions of births, when one is complete in absolute knowledge, one still may not attain liberation, yet this man says that one may attain it simply by the awakening of a glimpse of the holy name.” Haridasa thakura said, “Why are you doubtful? The revealed scriptures say that one can attain liberation simply by a glimpse of offenseless chanting of the holy name. For a devotee who enjoys the transcendental bliss of devotional service, liberation is most insignificant. Therefore pure devotees never desire to achieve liberation. ‘My dear Lord, O master of the universe, since I have directly seen You, my transcendental bliss has taken the shape of a great ocean. Being situated in that ocean, I now realize all other so−called happiness, including even brahmananda, to be like the water contained in the hoofprint of a calf.'” Gopala Cakravarti said, “If one is not liberated by namabhasa, then you may be certain that I shall cut off your nose.” Then Haridasa thakura accepted the challenge offered by Gopala Cakravarti. “If by namabhasa liberation is not available,” he said, “certainly I shall cut off my nose.” All the members of the assembly who had heard the challenge were greatly agitated, and they got up, making a tumultuous sound. Hiranya and Govardhana Majumadara both immediately chastised the brahmana tax collector. The priest named Balarama Acarya chastised Gopala Cakravarti. “You are a foolish logician,” he said. “What do you know about the devotional service of the Lord? You have insulted Haridasa thakura. Thus there will be a dangerous position for you. You should not expect anything auspicious.” Then Haridasa thakura got up to leave, and the Majumadaras, the masters of Gopala Cakravarti, immediately dismissed Gopala Cakravarti from their service. With all the members of the assembly, the two Majumadaras fell at the lotus feet of Haridasa thakura. Haridasa thakura was smiling, however, and he spoke in a sweet voice. “None of you are at fault,” he said. “Indeed, even this ignorant so−called brahmana is not at fault, for he is accustomed to dry speculation and logic. One cannot understand the glories of the holy name simply by logic and argument. Therefore this man cannot possibly understand the glories of the holy name.”

Vaisnavas strictly follow the directions of the sastras regarding how one can be liberated simply by a slight awakening of pure chanting of the holy name. Mayavadis cannot tolerate the statements of the sastras about how easily liberation can be achieved, for as stated in Bhagavad gita, kleso ‘dhikataras tesam avyaktasakta−cetasam: [Bg. 12.5] impersonalists must work hard for many, many births, and only then will they perhaps be liberated. Vaisnavas know that simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord offenselessly, one achieves liberation as a by−product. Thus there is no need to endeavor separately for liberation. Srila Bilvamangala thakura has said, muktih svayam mukulitanjali sevate ‘sman: liberation stands at one’s door, ready to render any kind of service, if one is a pure devotee with unflinching faith and reverence. This the Mayavadis cannot tolerate. Therefore the arinda pradhana, chief tax collector, although very learned, handsome and youthful, could not tolerate the statements of Haridasa thakura.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 3.190−206

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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