The Mahā-mantra

HareKrishnamantra

This morning I was reading from the Nectar of Devotion the chapter entitled “The Mahā-mantra”. We have posted the entire chapter as well as some other related quotes from the Nectar of Devotion on the Maha-mantra.

In the Padma Purāṇa 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.”

When a mantra or hymn is chanted softly and slowly, that is called japa. The same mantra, when chanted loudly, is called kīrtana. For example, the mahā-mantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare) when uttered very softly only for one’s own hearing is called japa. The same mantra, when chanted loudly for being heard by all others, is called kīrtana. The mahā-mantra can be used for japa and kīrtana also. When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kīrtana is performed it is for the benefit of all others who may hear.

In the Liṅga Purāṇa there is a statement about glorifying and singing about the Lord. It is said there: “A brāhmaṇa who is constantly engaged in singing the glories of the Lord is surely elevated to the same planet as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kṛṣṇa appreciates this singing even more than the prayers offered by Lord Śiva.”

In the Viṣṇu-dharma there is a statement glorifying this process of congregational chanting: “My dear King, this word ‘Kṛṣṇa’ is so auspicious that anyone who chants this holy name immediately gets rid of the resultant actions of sinful activities from many, many births.” That is a fact. There is the following statement in Caitanya-caritāmṛta: “A person who chants the holy name of Kṛṣṇa once can counteract the resultant actions of more sinful activities than he is able to perform.” A sinful man can perform many, many sinful activities, but he is unable to perform so many that they cannot be wiped out by one single uttering of “Kṛṣṇa.”

“Anyone who is engaged in chanting My transcendental name must be considered to be always associating with Me. And I may tell you frankly that for such a devotee I become easily purchased.”

In the Padma Purāṇa also it is stated: “The chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is present only on the lips of a person who has for many births worshiped Vāsudeva.” It is further said in the Padma Purāṇa, “There is no difference between the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself. As such, the holy name is as perfect as the Lord Himself in fullness, purity and eternity. The holy name is no material sound vibration, nor has it any material contamination.”

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