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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Chanting the Holy Names

55 -Chanting the Holy Names of the Lord


1. What qualification should a chanter of Hari's holy names possess?


One should have the following symptoms in order to constantly chant the holy names of Hari: humility, freedom from envy, compassion, freedom from false pride, and the willingness to offer all respects to everyone. (Commentary on Siksastakam, Verse 3)


2. How does hari-kirtana become effective in the material world?


One who has developed faith should first take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and hear the spiritual truth from him. Thereafter he should engage in chanting and glorifying whatever he has heard from his spiritual master. Thus the process of self-realization, and the destruction of mdyd, take place. In this way, hari-kirtana becomes effective in the material world.

(Commentary on Siksastakam, Verse 1)


3.What is the purpose of sahkirtana ?


The purpose of sahkirtana is to call out the holy names of the Lord with heartiest feelings. (Sajjana Tosani 10/9)


4. By following what process does one remove obstacles on the path and cultivate constant chanting of the holy names?


At first, one should chant the holy names for a short time in a solitary place with undivided attention. Gradually, by increasing the prescribed number of holy names, one will attain constancy in chanting and all one's obstacles will certainly diminish. (Harindma-cintamani)


5.What process should a practitioner who is full of anarthas follow in the course of chanting the holy names?


Every day a person should give up the disturbance caused by material enjoyment and chant with love for a while in a solitary place. Gradually he should try to increase the duration of this process. Finally, a wonderful mood will be awakened in him and will remain constantly. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 40)


6. What does it mean to chant constantly?


Except when one is asleep, to always chant the holy names of the Lord—while taking care of bodily activities and at all other times—is called "constant chanting of the holy names."

{Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 23)


7. How should one chant the holy names of Hari in the association of Tulasi-devI?


Tulasi is dear to Hari. Therefore, by chanting in her association one feels spiritual strength. While chanting the holy names, one should consider that there is no difference between Lord Krsna and His holy names. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 23)


8. Is it beneficial to chant more rounds without feeling or eagerness?


One should try hard to constantly chant the holy names of Krsna clearly and lovingly rather than trying to increase the number of rounds. (Harinamacintdmani)


9. What religion in this world will become the goal of all religion?


In their mature stage, all world religions will end up as the one religion, ndma-sankirtana. We feel this to be a certain fact. (Sajjana Tosani 4/3)


10. During what part of Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura's life was ndma-sahkirtana first preached in Calcutta? How can  hari-kirtana be performed purely?


Once upon a time, the leaders of Sri Gaurariga Samaj decided to perform sahkirtana. Being induced by such thoughts and with the help of the citizens of Calcutta, they performed the first ndma-sahkirtana on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance day at Bidon Street, Calcutta. According to the opinion of many elderly persons, such a sahkirtana festival had never taken place in Calcutta before. Everyone—both atheists and devotees—joined in the congregational chanting. Such a tumultuous sahkirtana should be performed in all countries on the appearance day of Sri Mahaprabhu. Due to this sahkirtana festival, the citizens became attached to kirtana. What to speak of this, people gave up all other engagements and formed kirtana groups in every village, spending lavishly for that purpose. It was pleasing that the citizens of Calcutta, who hail from India's different states, joined in the ndma-klrtana. Particularly, the people from the western part of India, who have never even heard Mahaprabhu's name, became intoxicated by chanting the names Nityananda-Gaurahga in the course of their participation. Many shopkeepers and commission agents of Bada Bazar, who belong to the western part of India, participated in the nagara-klrtana by spending huge  amounts of money and offering their labor. The residents of each of Calcutta's villages performed klrtana in their respective villages with pomp.


On the appearance day of Sri Mahaprabhu, we were engaged in holding a grand festival at Sri Navadvipa Mayapur, the birthplace of both Mahaprabhu and harinama. After a few days we came to Calcutta and perfomed this harindma-sahklrtana. It appeared that the religious principles that were extinct in Calcutta are now, by Mahaprabhu's mercy, becoming prominent. This is because hari-klrtana, the essence of all religion, was being performed. Despite these encouraging activities, however, Mahaprabhu did not distribute love of God, which is the most confidential mystery, in the metropolitan city of Calcutta. In order to reveal  Himself the Lord has given sufficient encouragement to all kinds of people. He even gave them the strength to give up material happiness. Still He has not opened the door of pure love and devotion. He has induced people to chant the holy names, but He has not given them the propensity to follow in the footsteps of the mahdjanas even today.


We saw many people performing klrtana with mrdanga and karatdlas, giving up their leather shoes, yet we did not find any tulasi beads on their necks. If some people do have tulasi beads, they are new ones. This creates some doubt. Many people have not decorated their bodies with the twelve tilaka marks. In order to hear klrtana in the way of the mahdjanas, we went to Neemtala Ghat one day, Joda Sanko another day, and Jhama Pukura on yet another day. Still, we could not find any such thing. We were extremely pained to hear klrtana performed by Nyadas, Bahuls, and other unauthorized people to the tune of cinema songs. But our pain was somewhat diminished by hearing the eternal names of Hari, Krsna, and Rama uttered by them in the course of their singing. Those who possess love and devotion in their hearts love to hear klrtana performed with the old and ancient tunes. They do not like to hear or sing of useless topics. They sing and hear the pure holy names of Hari sung in the old tunes. Due to a lack of good association, the residents of this metropolitan city do not easily realize the characteristics of pure devotional service. Therefore they follow their own concocted process. Anyhow, our Sri Gaurariga is most merciful. Since He has mercifully allowed the residents of Calcutta to perform klrtana, we hope that gradually He will reveal within their hearts pure devotional service.


Some people say that the residents of Calcutta have started this process of klrtana in order to avoid dreaded diseases like the plague. There is no doubt that those who are against this klrtana are enemies of the country. We have a proposal for them. They can perform sahklrtana, but they must do so on occasions like Purnima, Ekadasi, Gaura-Purnima, JanmastamI, Karttika, Vaisaka-masa, the days when the Lord is taken out on procession, and on days when the sun enters a particular zodiac sign. May the residents of Calcutta increase our happiness by performing klrtana with mrdanga and karatala in a pure Vaisnava way, following in the footsteps of the mahdjanas. Sri Gauranga is jagatguru. Therefore, He will certainly award them their desired result.  (Sajjana Tosanl 11/3)


11. For what does a chanter of the holy names beg?


Accompany us and chant the names of Radha and Krsna. This is our only appeal. Sri Bhaktivinoda says, "Whenever I chant the holy names, all dangers go away." (Gitavali)