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krishna and His Devotees
The Lord is present where His holy name is chanted:
(78) Padtna Purana
naham tisthami vaikunthe yoginam hrdayesu va
mad-bhakta yatra gayanti tatra tisthami narada
na—not; aham—I; tisthami—stay; vaikunthe—in Vaikuntha; yoginam—of the yogis; hrdayesu—in the hearts; va—or; mat-bhaktah—My devotees; yatra—where; gayanti—they chant about Me; tatra—there; tisthami—I stay; narada—o Narada Muni.
My dear Narada, actually I do not reside in My abode, Vaikuntha, nor do I reside within the hearts of the yogis, but I reside in that place where My pure devotees chant My holy name and discuss My form, pastimes and qualities.1
The following is a moving testimony of how much krishna loves a person who chants His name:
(79) Adi Purana
sraddhaya helaya nama ratanti mama jantavah
tesam nama sada partha vartate hrdaye mama
sraddhaya—with faith; helaya—with neglicience; nama—the holy name; ratanti—they loudly exclaim; mama—My—jantavah—the living entities; tesam—their; nama—name; sada—forever; partha—o son of Prtha (Arjuna); vartate—remains; hrdaye—in the heart; mama—My.
O Arjuna, listen attentively! When the living entity chants My name, whether out of devotion or indifference, then his name will remain forever in My heart. I will never forget such a soul. Therefore, a pure devotee always chants the name of krishna, as confirmed by the Lord Himself:
(80) Bhagavad-glta 9.14
satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya nitya-yukta upasate
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion. Because krishna appears in the hearts of such devotees and estab¬lishes their mutual relation, they experience supreme transcen¬dental pleasure. This is confirmed by Gajendra, the King of the elephants, in his prayers to the Lord:
(81) Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.3.20
ekantino yasya na kancanartham vanchanti ye vai bhagavat-prapannah
aty-adbhutam tac-caritarh sumangalam gayanta ananda-samudra-magnah
Unalloyed devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Lord, worship Him in full surrender and always hear and chant about His activities, which are most wonderful and auspicious. Thus they always merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Such devotees never ask the Lord for any benediction.
DevahutI, the mother of the divine incarnation Sri Kapiladeva, came to a similar conclusion. Deeply affected by the realization that the Supreme Personality of Godhead had taken birth in her womb just to relieve her from material ignorance, she addressed her son as follows:
(82) Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.33.7
aho bata sva-paco 'to gariyan yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the aryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required. Srlla Sanatana GosvamI renders an even stronger statement:
(83) Hari-bhakti-vildsa 11.454
yena janma-sataih purvam vasudevah samarcitah
tan-mukhe hari-namani sada tisthanti bharata
yena—by whom; janma—of births; sataih—throughout hundreds; piirvam—previously; vasudevah—Lord Vasudeva, krishna; sam-arcitah— was worshipped; tat-mukhc—on his mouth; hari-namani—the holy names of Lord Hari; sada—eternally; tisthanti—they remain; bharata—oh descendant of Bharata.
Oh descendant of Bharata, one who has previously worshipped Lord Vasudeva in hundreds of lifetimes can now chant the holy name eternally. In other words, someone who can chant krishna's name constantly should be regarded as a devotee who has performed devotional service for many, many lifetimes. The next verse describes how such great souls realize the pleasure-giving potency of the holy name:
(84) Padma Purana
tebhyo namo 'stu bhava-vari-dhi-jirna-pahka-sammagna-moksana-vicaksana-padukebhyah
krsneti varna-yugalarh sravanena yesam anandathur bhavati nartitaroma-vrndah
tebhyah—unto such devotees; namah astu—I bow down; bhava—of repeated birth and death; vari-dhi—in the ocean; jirna—of old age; pahka—in the mud; sam-magna—who are immersed in; moksana— liberating; vicaksana—who are experienced, expert in; padukebhyah—unto the impressions of their lotus feet; krishna iti—named "krishna"; varna-yugalam—the pair of syllables; sravanena—by hearing; yesam—of such devotees; anandathuh—they experience transcendental bliss; bhavati—it happens; nartita—dancing; roma-vrndah—of all their hairs.
The devotees of the Lord are filled with transcendental ecstasy upon hearing the name of krishna, which makes their hairs dance upright. I bow down in great joy to the impressions of their lotus feet, which are expert in releasing the poor conditioned souls who are drowning in the ocean of birth and death, stuck in the mud of old age and disease.1 A devotee on this stage of chanting will soon develop bhava, ec¬static love, as described by the sage Sri Kavi to King Nimi:
(85) Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.40
evam-vratah sva-priya-nama-kirtya jatanurago druta-citta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi rauti gayaty unmada-van nrtyati loka-bahyah
By chanting the holy name of the Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particu¬lar name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly, cries, or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.
In this connection, Srlla Bhaktivinoda Thakura states2 that a tran-scendentalist possesses only one real treasure—his intense longing for spiritual elevation. Therefore it is most essential for every devotee to keep this longing desire alive, and to substantiate this point, he quotes a verse from Srlla Rupa GosvamI:
(86) Padyavail 14
krishna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate
Pure devotional service in krishna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price—that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.'
King Kulasekhara, the great Alvar saint, has expressed this intense desire in a verse which Srila Prabhupada loved very much. He often quoted it and sang it as bhajana:
(87) Mukunda-mala-stotra 33
krishna tvadiya-pada-pankaja-panjarantam adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah
prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te
krishna—oh Lord krishna; tvadiya—of Your; pada—feet; pankaja—of the lotus; panjara—the network; an tarn—the edge; adya—now, at that moment; eva—certainly; me—my; visatu—may enter; manasa—of my mind; raja—the royal; hamsah—the swan; prana-prayana—of death; samaye—at the time; kapha—with mucus; vata—with air; pittaih—and with bile; kantha—the throat; avarodhana-vidhau—when it is choked; smaranam—remembrance; kutah—how it is possible; te—of You.
Oh Lord krishna, at this moment let the royal swan of my mind enter the tangled stems of the lotus of Your feet. How will it be possible for me to remember You at the time of death, when my throat will be choked up with mucus, bile, and air?2
King Kulasekhara was so eager to absorb his mind in krishna that he wanted to meet with death immediately, because he worried how he should possibly chant the holy name in an old, diseased body.