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Conclusion: Chanting is the Topmost Activity
(98) Padyavail 29
akrstih krta-cetasam su-manasam uccatanam camhasam acandalam amuka-loka-subalo vasyas ca mukti-sriyah
no diksam na ca sat-kriyam na ca purascaryam manag Iksate mantro 'yam rasana-sprg eva phalati sri-krishna-namatmakah
The holy name of Lord krishna is an attractive feature for many saintly, liberal people. It is the annihilator of all sinful reactions and is so pow¬erful that save for the dumb who cannot chant it, it is readily available to everyone, including the lowest type of man, the candala. The holy name of krishna is the controller of the opulence of liberation, and it is identical with krishna. Simply by touching the holy name with one's tongue, immediate effects are produced. Chanting the holy name does not depend on initiation, pious activities or the regulative principles generally observed before initiation (purascarya). The holy name does not wait for all these activities. It is self-sufficient.1
This verse renders a nice summary of the transcendental qualities of the holy name:
• He is attractive even for saintly persons, because he bestows supreme spiritual bliss.
• He destroys all sinful reactions.
• He is available for everyone, regardless of caste, education, age and so on.
• He easily awards liberation.
• He is identical with krishna, thus a completely transcendental person.
• He immediately shows effect when chanted.
• He does not depend on initiation and the activities observed before initiation.
• He does not depend on time, place and circumstances.
Summed up, the holy name is self-sufficient, unlike any other pro¬cess for spiritual elevation. Thus, the chanting of krishna's holy name is the topmost activity for the living entity. Srila Sanatana Gosvami, by examining the difference between meditating on the Lord and chanting His holy name, comes to the same conclusion:
(99) Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.453
aghac-chit-smaranam visinor bahv-ayasena sadhyate
austha-spandana-matrena kirtanas tu tato varam
agha—sins; chid—cutting in pieces; smaranam—remembrance; visnoh—of Visnu; bahu—by a lot; dyasena—of trouble; sadhyate—it is attained; austha—of the lips; spandana—moving; mdtrena—just by; krtanah— chanting the holy name; tu—however; tatah—than that (smaranam); varam—it is better.
The remembrance of Visnu certainly cuts sins to pieces, but to attain perfection through this process is very difficult. However, simply by moving the lips, there is ktrtana of the holy name of Lord Visnu, and therefore the chanting of the holy names is the topmost process on devotional service.
The holy name is self-sufficient, and worship of krishna is solely dependent on the chanting process, as emphasized by Srila Ha-ridasa Thakura:
(100) Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 2.1.103
tamih nirvyajam bhaja guna-nidhe pavanam pavananam sraddha-rajyan-matir atitaram uttamah-sloka-maulim
prodyann antah-karana-kuhare hanta yan-nama-bhanor abhaso 'pi ksapayati maha-pataka-dhvanta-rasim
0 reservoir of all good qualities, just worship Sri krishna, 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 krishna can drive away all the darkness of ignorance that arises in the heart due to greatly sinful activities performed in previous lives.1 It should be reminded that the true value of the holy name is not its liberating power, but its ability to award prema, pure love of Godhead. The great devotee Srila Bilvamahgala Thakura speaks a famous verse in this regard:
(101) krishna-karnamrta 107 .....
bhaktis tvayi sthiratara bhagavan yadi syad daivena nah phalati divya-kisora-murtih
muktih svayam mukulitanjalih sevate 'sman dharmartha-kama-gatayah samaya-prattksah
bhaktih—devotional service; tvayi—unto You; sthira-tard—with fixed determination; bhagavan—oh my Lord; yadi—if; syat—it takes place; daivena—by destiny; nah—unto us; phalati—bears a fruit; divya— transcendental; kisora-mitrtih—as the eternally youthful form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, krishna; muktih—liberation; svayam— personally; mukulita—folded; anjalih—with her hands; sevate—she renders service; asmdn—unto us; dharma—religion; artha—economic development; kama—sence gratification; gatayah—the goals of; samaya— nearby; prattksah—expecting (our order).
O my Lord, if I am engaged in Your devotional service with firm de¬termination, You become visible in Your original transcendental youthful form as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As far as libera¬tion is concerned, I think that she stands before me with folded hands waiting to render service, and the subsidiary goals of religion, eco¬nomic development and sense gratification are all automatically at¬tained without separate endeavor.1
In other words, that which is considered the supreme goal for most transcendentalists becomes an insignificant by-product of the real treasure that the pure devotee raises from the nectarean ocean of the holy name—namely krishna-prema, pure ecstatic love of krishna.
Chanting the name of krishna bestows the devotee with unparal¬leled ecstasy and loving sentiments, as Srila Rupa Gosvami poeti¬cally expresses in the following verse:
(102) Vidagdha-madhava 1.15
tunde tandavini ratim vitanute tundavali-labdhaye karna-krodha-kadambini ghatayate karnarbudebhyah sprham
cetah-prangana-sanginl vijayate sarvendriyanam krtim no jane janita-kiyadbhir amrtaih krsneti varna-dvayi
I do not know how much nectar the two syllables "Krs-na" have pro¬duced. When the holy name of krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. In addition, when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.1
A devotee on that level of transcendental realizations will never abandon the chanting of krishna's names, no matter in which ca¬lamities he will fall. When Nawab Hussain Shah wanted to stop Haridasa Thakura's chanting, by threatening him with death sen¬tence, the Thakura fearlessly said:
(103) Sri Caitanya-bhdgavata Adi-lild 11.91
khanda khanda hai' deha yadi jaya prana
tabu ami vadane na chadi harinama
khanda khanda—cutting into pieces; hai'—doing; deha—my body; yadi—if; jaya—defeated; prana—my life; tabu—still; ami—I; vadane—to chant; nd— never; chadi—I stop; harindma—-the holy name.
Even if you cut my body into pieces, I will never give up chanting the holy name.
We want to end with the same text which inaugurated this book: with the marvelous praise of the holy name from the Adi Purana which delineates how the holy name is the all in all for the devo¬tee, his greatest treasure and sole object of worship:
(104-108) Adi Purana
na nama-sadrsam jnanam na nama-sadrsam vratam na nama-sadrsam dhyanam na nama-sadrsam phalam
na nama-sadrsas tyago na nama-sadrsah samah na nama-sadrsam punyam na nama-sadrsi gatih
namaiva parama muktir namaiva parama gatih namaiva parama santir namaiva parama sthitih
namaiva parama bhaktir namaiva parama matih namaiva parama pritir namaiva parama smrtih
namaiva karanam jantor namaiva prabhur eva ca namaiva paramarddhyam namaiva paramo guruh
na—not; nama—to the holy name; sadrsam—equal; jndnam—knowledge; vratam—vow; dhyanam—meditation; phalam—result; tyagah—penance; samah—anything which is equal; punyam—piety; gatih—goal, refuge; nama—the holy name; eva—without doubt; parama—the highest form of; muktih—liberation; gatih—goal; santih—peacefullness; sthitih—eternal life; bhaktih—devotion; matih—thought; priti—pleasure; smrtih— remembrance; nama—the holy name; eva—indeed; karanam—the cause; jantoh—of the living entity; prabhuh—their lord and master; eva ca—as well; parama—the supreme; dradhyam—worshipable object; paramah—the topmost; guru—spiritual master.
There is no vow like chanting the holy name, no knowledge superior to it, no meditation which comes anywhere near it, and it gives the highest result. No penance is equal to it, and nothing is as potent or powerful as the holy name. Chanting is the greatest act of piety and the supreme refuge. Even the words of the Vedas do not possess sufficient power to describe its magnitude. Chanting is the highest path to liberation, peace and eternal life. It is the pinnacle of devotion, the heart's joyous proclivity and attraction and the best form of remembrance of the Supreme Lord. The holy name has appeared solely for the benefit of the living entities as their lord and master, their supreme worshipable object and their spiritual guide and mentor.