Chanting Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna mantra

The following are a few select excerpts on the importance of chanting Hare Krishna. Even if there is still some offence, our chanting should not be abandoned, but rather continued day and night.

Simply our prayer should be, My dear Krishna, please remind me to always chant Your Holy Name, please do not put me into forgetfulness. You are sitting within me as Supersoul, so you can put me into forgetfulness or into remembering You. So please do not put me into forgetfulness. Please always remind me to chant, even You send me into the hell, it doesn’t matter, just so long as I can always chant Hare Krishna. (letter to Devananda, Nov. 23, 1968)

The chanting of the holy name of Lord Viṣṇu is the best process of atonement for a thief of gold or other valuables, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brāhmaṇa, or for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior. It is also the best method of atonement for one who murders women, the king or his father, for one who slaughters cows, and for all other sinful men. Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Viṣṇu, such sinful persons may attract the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers, “Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.9-10)

“I do not find the strength to carry on alone the sankirtana of the holy name of Hari. Please bless me by giving me just one drop of faith with which to obtain the great treasure of the holy name of Krsna.

Krsna is yours. You have the power to give Him to me. I am simply your servant running behind you shouting, “Krsna! Krsna!” (Ohe! Vaisnava Thakrua-Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur)

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. Ajāmila, 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 Nārāyaṇa. (SB 6.3.24)

…Haridāsa Ṭhākura confirmed that simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord one is liberated, even if he does not chant completely inoffensively.

“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 ādareṇa śṛṇvan). Another quotation says:

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ dhyānaṁ
harer adbhuta-karmaṇaḥ
janma-karma-guṇānāṁ ca
tad-arthe ’khila-ceṣṭitam

“One should always chant and hear about the extraordinarily wonderful activities of the Lord, one should meditate upon these activities, and one should endeavor to please the Lord.” (Bhāg. 11.3.27)

Śrīdhara Svāmī also quotes from the Purāṇas, pāpa-kṣayaś ca bhavati smaratāṁ tam ahar-niśam: “One can become free from all sinful reactions simply by remembering the lotus feet of the Lord day and night [ahar-niśam].” Furthermore, he quotes from Bhāgavatam (6.3.31):

tasmāt saṅkīrtanaṁ viṣṇor
jagan-maṅgalam aṁhasām
mahatām api kauravya
viddhy aikāntika-niṣkṛtam

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, etāvatālam agha-nirharaṇāya puṁsām: 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-kośa, the most authorized dictionary in the Sanskrit language, alaṁ bhūṣaṇa-paryāpti-śakti-vāraṇa-vācakam: 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… It is to be concluded that with a strong vow one should chant the holy name of the Lord—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—for thus one will certainly be delivered from the clutches of māyā by the grace of Kṛṣṇa.

The chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is recommended even for persons who commit offenses, because if they continue chanting they will gradually chant offenselessly. By chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without offenses, one increases his love for Kṛṣṇa. As stated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, premā pum-artho mahān: one’s main concern should be to increase one’s attachment to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to increase one’s love for Him.

In this regard Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura quotes the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.19.24):

evaṁ dharmair manuṣyāṇām
uddhavātmani vedinām
mayi sañjāyate bhaktiḥ
ko ’nyo ’rtho ’syāvaśiṣyate

Even if in the beginning one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra with offenses, one will become free from such offenses by chanting again and again. Pāpa-kṣayaś ca bhavati smaratāṁ tam ahar-niśam: one becomes free from all sinful reactions if one chants day and night, following the recommendation of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It was Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu who quoted the following verse:

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
[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.” If the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement strictly follow this recommendation of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, their position will always be secure.

One who constantly hears and chants the holy name of the Lord and hears and chants about His activities can very easily attain the platform of pure devotional service, which can cleanse the dirt from one’s heart. One cannot achieve such purification merely by observing vows and performing Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. (SB 6.3.32)

One may very easily practice chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord and thus become ecstatic in spiritual life. Padma Purāṇa states:

nāmāparādha-yuktānāṁ
nāmāny eva haranty agham
aviśrānti-prayuktāni
tāny evārtha-karāṇi ca

Even if one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra offensively, one can avoid offenses by continuously chanting without deviation. One who becomes accustomed to this practice will always remain in a pure transcendental position, untouchable by sinful reactions. Śukadeva Gosvāmī especially requested King Parīkṣit to note this fact very carefully. There is no profit, however, in executing the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. By performing such activities one may go to the higher planetary systems, but as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.21), kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti: when the period of one’s enjoyment in the heavenly planets is terminated because of the limited extent of the results of one’s pious activities, one must return to earth. Thus there is no use in endeavoring to travel up and down in the universe. It is better to chant the holy name of the Lord so that one may become fully purified and eligible to return home, back to Godhead. That is the aim of life, and that is the perfection of life.

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