11 By chanting the holy name one becomes enlightened

By Chanting The Holy Name One Becomes Enlightened

The holy name frees one from false bodily identification 

Chanting Hare Krsna frees one from the bodily concept of life:

[Ajamila said]: Simply because I chanted the holy name of the Lord in the association of devotees, my heart is now becoming purified. Therefore I shall not fall victim again to the false lures of material sense gratification. Now that I have become fixed in the Absolute Truth, henceforward I shall not identify myself with the body. I shall give up false conceptions of "I" and "mine" and fix my mind on the lotus feet of Krsna.

How a living entity becomes a victim of the material condition is lucidly explained in this verse. The beginning is to misidentify the body as one's self. Therefore Bhagavad gita begins with the spiritual instruction that one is not the body, but is within the body. This consciousness can be possible only if one chants the holy name of Krsna, the Hare Krsna maha mantra, and always keeps oneself in the association of devotees. This is the secret of success. Therefore we stress that one should chant the holy name of the Lord and keep oneself free from the contaminations of this material world, especially the contaminations of lusty desires for illicit sex, meat−eating, intoxication and gambling. With determination, one should vow to follow these principles and thus be saved from the miserable condition of material existence. The first necessity is to become freed from the bodily concept of life.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.38

The chanting of the holy name cleanses the heart and frees one from misidentification of the body as the self:

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement consists of spreading krsna sankirtana. Param vijayate sri krsna sankirtanam: "All glories to the sri−krsna−sankirtana!" Why is it so glorious? That has also been explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Ceto−darpana−marjanam: [Cc. Antya 20.12] by the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one's heart is cleansed. The whole difficulty is that in this age of Kali there is no sattva−guna and no clearance of the heart, and therefore people are making the mistake of identifying with their bodies. Even the big philosophers and scientists with whom we deal are practically all under the impression that they are their bodies. The other day we were discussing a prominent philosopher, Thomas Huxley, who was proud of being an Englishman. This means that he was in the bodily conception of life. Everywhere we find this same misunderstanding. As soon as one is in the bodily conception of life, one is nothing but an animal like a cat or a dog (sa eva go−kharah [SB 10.84.13]). Thus the most dangerous of the dirty things within our hearts is this misidentification of the body as the self. Under the influence of this misunderstanding, one thinks, "I am this body. I am an Englishman. I am an Indian. I am an American. I am Hindu. I am Muslim." This misconception is the strongest impediment, and it must be removed… Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says, ceto−darpana−marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. To cleanse the core of the heart, which is full of misunderstanding, is possible only through sri−krsna−sankirtana. The leaders of the Krsna consciousness movement should very seriously take this opportunity to be kind to the fallen souls by delivering them from the misunderstanding of matenalistic life.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 8.5.23

By chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, one realizes that he is not the material body:

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

Knowledge that we are not these bodies is made easily attainable through the process of chanting Hare Krsna:

We may be proud of our academic education, but if asked what we are, we are not able to say. Everyone is under the conception that this body is the self, but we learn from Vedic sources that this is not so. Only after realizing that we are not these bodies can we enter into real knowledge and understand what we actually are. This, then, is the beginning of knowledge… This kind of knowledge may not seem to be so easily attainable, but it is made very easy by the mercy of Krsna and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu who made this knowledge easily available through the process of chanting 

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

– Raja vidya: The King of Knowledge

Chanting Hare Krsna is part of the treatment to cure one of the bodily conception of life:

Suppose you have a disease and you want to be cured. You have to follow the instructions of a physician. If he says, "Don't eat this; eat only this," you have to follow his prescription. Similarly, we also have a prescription for being cured of the bodily conception of life: Chanting Hare Krsna, hearing about Krsna's activities, and eating krsna prasada. This treatment is the process of Krsna consciousness.

– The Science of Self Realization

By chanting Hare Krsna one is freed from false identification with the body and thus freed from suffering:

As soon as one understands his identity, his relationship with God, then immediately he becomes happy. We are so full of miseries because we have identified ourselves with the material world. Therefore we are unhappy. Anxieties and fearfulness are due to our misidentifying with the material world. The other day I was explaining that one who identifies with this bag of bones and skin is like an animal. So by chanting Hare Krsna this misunderstanding will be cleansed. Cleansing of the heart means that one will understand that he does not belong to this material world. Aham brahmasmi: I am spirit soul. As long as one identifies oneself with England, with India, or with America, this is ignorance. Today you are an Englishman because you were born in England, but in your next life you may not take your birth in England; it may be in China or Russia or some other country. Or you may not get this human form of body. Today you are a nationalist, you are a very great follower of your country, but tomorrow if you stay in your country you may be a cow being taken to the slaughterhouse.

– The Science of Self Realization

The effect of chanting the holy name is to become free from false egoism:

The effect of chanting the holy name of the Lord is perceived by the chanter as liberation from the conception of false egoism. False egoism is exhibited by thinking oneself to be the enjoyer of the world and thinking everything in the world to be meant for the enjoyment of one's self only. The whole materialistic world is moving under such false egoism of "I" and "mine," but the factual effect of chanting the holy name is to become free from such misconceptions.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.11

The devotee constantly chants Hare Krsna and remains aloof from the material body:

A devotee is not hampered by the material body, although he is situated in a physical body that runs according to so many material conditions, just as there are five kinds of air functioning within the body, and so many organs−the hands, legs, tongue, genitals, rectum, etc.all working differently. The spirit soul, the living entity, who is in full knowledge of his position is always engaged in chanting

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

and is not concerned with the bodily functions… As far as the material body is concerned, there are six "waves," or symptomatic material conditions: hunger, thirst, lamentation, bewilderment, old age and death. The liberated soul is never concerned with these six physical interactions.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.17.29

By chanting the holy name, one comes directly to the spiritual platform and realizes his spiritual identity:

Mr. Faill: Do you think the great mystics down through the ages have actually seen the spiritual spark you mentioned earlier?

Srila Prabhupada: What do you mean by "mystic"?

Mr. Faill: It's just a name given to people who have had an experience of another level of reality.

Srila Prabhupada: We don't use the word mystic. Our reality is God realization, which occurs when we come to the spiritual platform. As long as we have a bodily concept of life, our understanding is sense gratification, because the body is made of senses. When we progress from the bodily platform and we see the mind as the center of sense activity, we take the mind as the final stage of realization. That is the mental platform. From the mental platform we may come to the intellectual platform, and from the intellectual platform we can rise to the transcendental platform. Finally we can rise above even the transcendental platform and come to the mature, spiritual platform. These are the stages of God realization. However, in this age, because people are so fallen, the sastras [scriptures] give the special recommendation that people come directly to the spiritual platform by chanting the holy names of God:

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

If we cultivate this practice on the spiritual platform, then immediately we can realize our spiritual identity. Then the process of God realization becomes successful very quickly.

– The Science of Self Realization

The Holy Name dispels the illusion of maya

The medicine to awaken all living entities from the sleeping condition of material existence is the holy name:

The conditioned soul is actually sleeping on the lap of the illusory energy. Bhaktivinoda thakura has sung, kota nidra jao maya−pisacira kole: "O living entity, how long will you sleep in this condition on the lap of the illusory energy?" People do not understand that they are actually sleeping in this material world, being devoid of knowledge of spiritual life. Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says:

enechi ausadhi maya nasibaro lagi' 
hari−nama−maha mantra lao tumi magi'

"I have brought medicine to awaken every living being from perpetual sleep. Please receive the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krsna maha mantra, and awaken "

– Srimad Bhagavatam 5.13.9

Even a slight appearance of the holy name drives away ignorance due to sin:

"'O reservoir of all good qualities, just worship Sri Krsna, the purifier of all purifiers, the most exalted of the personalities worshiped by choice poetry. Worship Him with a faithful, unflinching mind, without duplicity and in a highly elevated manner. Thus worship the Lord, whose name is like the sun, for just as a slight appearance of the sun dissipates the darkness of night, so a slight appearance of the holy name of Krsna can drive away all the darkness of ignorance that arises in the heart due to greatly sinful activities performed in previous lives.'"

– Bhakti−rasamrta−sindhu (2.1.103)
– [cited: Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 3.62]

Lord Caitanya introduced the chanting of the holy name to dispel the illusion of maya: 

[Lord Caitanya]: "Therefore I order every man within this universe to accept this Krsna consciousness movement and distribute it everywhere." 

In this connection there is a song sung by Srila Bhaktivinoda thakura:

enechi ausadhi maya nasibaro lagi' 
hari−nama−maha mantra lao tumi magi' 
bhakativinoda prabhu−carane
pa se harinama−mantra la−ila magiya

The sankirtana movement has been introduced by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu just to dispel the illusion of maya, by which everyone in this material world thinks himself to be a product of matter and therefore to have many duties pertaining to the body. Actually, the living entity is not his material body; he is a spirit soul. He has a spiritual need to be eternally blissful and full of knowledge, but unfortunately he identifies himself with the body, sometimes as a human being, sometimes as an animal, sometimes a tree, sometimes an aquatic, sometimes a demigod, and so on. Thus with each change of body he develops a different type of consciousness with different types of activities and thus becomes increasingly entangled in material existence, transmigrating perpetually from one body to another. Under the spell of maya, or illusion, he does not consider the past or future but is simply satisfied with the short life span that he has gotten for the present. To eradicate this illusion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has brought the sankirtana movement, and He requests everyone to accept and distribute it. A person who is actually a follower of Sri Bhaktivinoda thakura must immediately accept the request of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu by offering respectful obeisances unto His lotus feet and thus beg from Him the Hare Krsna maha mantra. If one is fortunate enough to beg from the Lord this Hare Krsna maha mantra, his life is successful.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 9.36

The holy name rises within one's heart like a powerful sun and dissipates the darkness of ignorance:

Vidura, while trying to detach his elder brother, Dhrtarastra, from his familial attachments, said, "My dear brother, you just fix your mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, who is worshiped with beautiful, erudite verses by great sages and saintly persons. Krsna is the supreme deliverer among all deliverers. Undoubtedly there are great demigods like Lord Siva and Lord Brahma, but their positions as deliverers depend always upon the mercy of Krsna." Therefore Vidura advised his elder brother, Dhrtarastra, to concentrate his mind and worship only Krsna. If one simply chants the holy name of Krsna, this holy name will rise within one's heart like the powerful sun and will immediately dissipate all the darkness of ignorance. Vidura advised Dhrtarastra to therefore think always of Krsna, so that the volumes of contaminations due to sinful activities would be washed off immediately.

– The Nectar of Devotion

The devotees are protected from the actions and reactions of material nature by taking shelter of the holy name:

[The demigods to Lord Krsna in the womb]  "The action and reaction of the external energy of material nature (creation, maintenance and annihilation) are being carried on automatically. But simply by taking shelter of Your holy name−because Your holy name and Your personality are nondifferent−the devotees are sufficiently protected."

– Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Constant chanting of the maha mantra keeps one aloof from maya:

As it is stated in the Bhagavad gita, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te [Bg. 7.14]. Without Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no one is able to overcome the action of the illusory energy. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has also given us a nice weapon for this age, as stated in the Bhagavatam: sangopangastra−in this age, the narayanastra, or weapon to drive away maya, is the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra in pursuance of the associates of Lord Caitanya, such as Advaita Prabhu, Nityananda, Gadadhara and Srivasa… Krsna is like the sun, and maya, or the illusory energy of Krsna, is like darkness. Darkness means absence of light; similarly, maya means absence of Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness and maya are always there, side by side. As soon as there is awakening of Krsna consciousness, all the illusory pains and pleasures of material existence are vanquished. Mayam etam taranti te: [Bg. 7.14] constant chanting of the maha mantra will keep us always aloof from the illusory energy of maya.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.11.1−2

By chanting, one is freed from the darkness of maya and becomes fully enlightened:

Niharam iva bhaskarah. Bhaskarah refers to the sun. The sun immediately dissipates mist or fog as well as darkness. As stated before, we should try to make the sun of Krsna rise within our hearts. In the Caitanya caritamrta also it is stated that Krsna is like the sun and that maya, the illusory energy, is darkness. Yahan krsna, tahan nahi mayara adhikara: as soon as the sun of Krsna is present, the darkness of maya immediately disappears. Without following this process, it is very difficult to overcome the ocean of darkness, maya. If we  simply teach people to surrender unto Krsna, God, all the fog and mist of illusion will disappear.

The method is very simple: chant 

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

The more one goes on chanting, the more the darkness of many lives is dissipated. Ceto−darpana−marjanam: [Cc. Antya 20.12] by chanting, one can cleanse the dust from the mirror of his mind and perceive things very distinctly. Thus one will know what he is, what God is, what this world is, what our relationship with God in this world is, how to live in this world, and what our next life is.

– Krsna Consciousness: The Matchless Gift

The holy name enlightens one with Perfect, transcendental knowledge

By vibrating the transcendental sound of the Hare Krsna mantra, the meaning of everything, both material and spiritual, is revealed:

[Lord Siva to Lord Visnu]: My dear Lord, by expanding Your transcendental vibrations, You reveal the actual meaning of everything… I therefore offer my respectful obeisances again and again unto You. 

Vedic evidence is called sabda brahma. There are many things which are beyond the perception of our imperfect senses, yet the authoritative evidence of sound vibration is perfect. The Vedas are known as sabda brahma because evidence taken from the Vedas constitutes the ultimate understanding. This is because sabda brahma, or the Vedas, represents the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, the real essence of sabda brahma is the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. By vibrating this transcendental sound, the meaning of everything, both material and spiritual, is revealed. This Hare Krsna is non−different from the Personality of Godhead. The meaning of everything is received through the air through sound vibration. The vibration may be material or spiritual, but without sound vibration no one can understand the meaning of anything… Lord Siva is therefore praying to the Personality of Godhead to be kind to us so that simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra we can understand everything in both the material and spiritual worlds.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.40

By chanting the maha mantra, one will understand Krsna, and thus everything will be understood:

Simply by chanting, one can have self realization, God realization, and when there is God realization, then nature realization is included also. For example, if one learns one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and zero, then he has studied the entirety of mathematics because mathematics means simply changing the places of these ten figures. That's all. Similarly, if one simply studies Krsna, then all his knowledge is perfect. And Krsna is easily understood simply by chanting this mantra, Hare Krsna. So why not take this opportunity?

– The Science of Self Realization

All knowledge is revealed by the chanting of Hare Krsna:

We cannot doubt that the transcendental is there. Bhagavad gita is being spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself; therefore we should not doubt His word. The only problem is feeling and understanding what He is telling us. That understanding must be developed gradually, and that knowledge will be revealed by the chanting of Hare Krsna. By this simple process, we can come to understand the spiritual kingdom, the self, the material world, God, the nature of our conditioning, liberation from material bondage, and everything else. This is called ceto−darpana−marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], cleaning the dusty mirror of the impure mind.

– The Path of Perfection

By chanting, the heart is cleansed and one can understand transcendental knowledge:

Krsna says in the Bhagavad gita, "Maya, this external energy, is very, very strong. No one can surpass it. It is almost impossible." Then how can one get free from this material nature? Krsna says, "Simply by surrendering unto Me one can get relief from the onslaught of material nature." That is a fact. So we have to cleanse the heart to learn what is our relationship with God.

In the Katha Upanisad it is stated, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. The Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead, or the Absolute Truth, is eternal. God is eternal, and we are also eternal. But the Vedas indicate that He is the supreme living creature. He is not dead. If He is not living, how is this world working? In the Bhagavad gita Krsna says, "Under My supervision things are going on." In the Bible also it is said, "God created." That is a fact. Not that at one time there was a chunk and then this happened and then that. No. The Vedas tell us the actual facts, but we have to open our eyes to see. Ceto−darpana−marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. That is the process of cleansing our hearts. When we cleanse our hearts, then we will be able to understand what Krsna and the Vedas say.

– The Science of Self Realization

By chanting Hare Krsna, one becomes enlightened with spiritual understanding:

When you can understand Krsna's and your own position in a nice analytical way, then at once you become free from sinful reactions. This process will help you. Chant Hare Krsna and cleanse your mind, and you will receive the message. One has to be qualified. If you chant and hear, for no payment, you will approach God. All things will become clear and illuminated.

– The Path of Perfection

Chanting cleanses the mind and enables us to clearly see our constitutional position:

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

Hare Hare. This is transcendental sound vibration. It will help us to cleanse the dust from the mirror of the mind. At the present moment we have accumulated so much material dust on the mirror of the mind just as on Second Avenue (New York City) there is dust and soot over everything due to the heavy traffic. 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.

– On the Way to Krsna

By chanting Krsna's names, we associate with Him and He enlightens us from within:

Everyone wants to see God immediately, but we can see God when we are qualified and in perfect knowledge. We can see God eye to eye, just as we are seeing one another, but qualification is required, and that qualification is Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness begins with sravana, hearing about Krsna through Bhagavad gita and other Vedic literatures, and kirtana, repeating what we've heard and glorifying Krsna by chanting His names. By chanting and hearing of Krsna we can actually associate with Him, for He is absolute and nondifferent from His names, qualities, forms and pastimes. As we associate with Krsna, He helps us to understand Him and dispels the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge. Krsna is sitting within our hearts acting as guru. When we begin hearing topics about Him, the dust which has accumulated on our minds due to so many years of material contamination becomes gradually cleaned. Krsna is a friend to everyone, but He is a special friend to His devotees. As soon as we become a little inclined toward Him, He begins to give favorable instructions from within our hearts so that we can gradually make progress.

– Raja vidya: The King of Knowledge

Perfect knowledge (and thus perfect activities) is derived from chanting the maha mantra:

Cetah means "knowledge." Without perfect knowledge, one cannot act perfectly. The real source of knowledge is the vacah, or sound vibration, given by Vedic instructions. Here the word vacah, or vibration, means the Vedic vibration. The origin of creation is sound vibration, and if the sound vibration is clear and purified, perfect knowledge and perfect activities actually become manifest. This is enacted by the chanting of the maha mantra,

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

– Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.43

Chanting Hare Krsna is the easiest process for purifying the intelligence and understanding spiritual knowledge:

Mike Robinson: What about the chanting of

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

Srila Prabhupada: Chanting Hare Krsna is the easiest process by which to become purified, especially in this age, when people are so dull that they cannot very easily understand spiritual knowledge. If one chants Hare Krsna, then his intelligence becomes purified, and he can understand spiritual things.

– The Science of Self Realization

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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