This is Part 3 in the series on ‘Chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra’ by Sri Nandanandana Prabhu, describing the power of the Lord’s holy names.
Lord Vishnu’s Names are More Powerful than the Greatest Holy Places
by Sri Nandanandana dasa (Stephen Knapp)
The power of the Lord’s holy names is also related in the following story. It is described in the Padma Purana that many years ago when asked by the sages at the forest of Naimisharanya which one single act will bring the fruit of visiting the many holy places, Suta Gosvami answered in this way: Out of so many rituals and rites that are prescribed, only one is superior. There is no doubt that one who has devotion to Lord Vishnu has undoubtedly conquered everything. Hari, [Vishnu, Krishna], the Lord of all gods, should alone be propitiated. The goblin of sin will perish by means of the great sacred hymns in the form of the names of Vishnu. There is no doubt that those with pure hearts, going around Vishnu even once, get (the fruit of) having bathed at all the holy places. A man would obtain the fruit of (having visited) all holy places by seeing Vishnu’s image. Chanting the excellent name of Vishnu, a man would obtain (the result) of having chanted all the sacred hymns. A man having once smelt the tulasi plant, the grace of Vishnu, does not see the huge and terrible face of Yama [Yamaraja, the lord of death]. A man having (but) once saluted Krishna does not drink the mother’s milk [does not need to be reborn again]. I always repeatedly salute them whose mind is (fixed) on the feet of Vishnu. Even [those of lower tribes, such as] pulkasas, chandalas, or other mleccha tribes, who serve the feet of Vishnu alone are fit to be saluted. Then what about the meritorious and devoted brahmanas and royal sages? Having placed one’s devotion in Vishnu, a person does not experience confinement in the womb (is not reborn). A man who with high sounds chants the name of Vishnu purifies the world as does the Ganga [Ganges River]. There is no doubt that a man is freed from sins like murder of a brahmana by seeing (the image of), touching (the feet of), reciting (the name of), and devoting oneself (to Vishnu).