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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Shachinandana Swami > The Nectarean Ocean of the Holy Name > VI. Tips to Improve One's Chanting > 4. Living With the Holy Name

4. Living With the Holy Name


Becoming a Servant of the Holy Name


One must come to the understanding that the holy name of the Lord and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself are identical. One cannot reach this conclusion unless one is offenseless in chanting the holy name. By our material calculation we see a difference between the name and the substance, but in the spiritual world the Absolute is always absolute; the name, form, quality and pastimes of the Absolute are all as good as the Absolute Himself. As such, one is understood to be an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead if he considers himself an eternal servant of the holy name and in this spirit distributes the holy name to the world. One who chants in that spirit, without offenses, is certainly elevated to the platform of understanding that the holy name and the Personality of Godhead are identical...


The holy name becomes manifest when one engages in the service of the holy name. This service in a submissive attitude begins with one's tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: One must engage his tongue in the service of the holy name. Our krishna consciousness movement is based on this principle. We try to engage all the members of the krishna consciousness movement in the service of the holy name.1 Here, Srila Prabhupada underlines two ways how to serve the holy name: with the tongue by chanting, and by propagating it all over the world.


Results of Giving up Chanting


In the SrTmad-Bhagavatam, King Prthu prays to Lord Visnu:


My dear highly glorified Lord, if one, in the association of pure devotees, hears even once the glories of Your activities, he does not, unless he is nothing but an animal, give up the association of devotees, for no intelligent person would be so careless as to leave their association. The perfection of chanting and hearing about Your glories was accepted even by the goddess of fortune, who desired to hear of Your unlimited activities and transcendental glories.1


Snla Prabhupada comments: Maharaja Prthu maintains that the attraction of this chanting is so great that one cannot give up the process unless he is an animal. This is the case even if one comes in contact with this transcendental vibration by chance. Prthu Maharaja is very emphatic in this connection—only an animal can give up the practice of chanting Hare krishna. Those who are not animals, but actually intelligent, advanced, human, civilized men cannot give up this practice of continually chanting Hare krishna, Hare krishna, krishna krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The human being is the only life form which is endowed with the intelligence to understand the need for spiritual practice and has the required senses to engage in regulated devotional service.


Chanting at the Time of Death


There is an inportant prayer to Lord Visnu by the priests in Maharaja Nabhi's sacrificial arena: Dear Lord, we may not be able to remember Your name, form, and qualities due to stumbling, hunger, falling down, yawning or being in a miserable condition at the time of death, when there is a high fever. We therefore pray unto You, O Lord, for You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Please help us to remember You and utter Your Holy names, attributes and activities, which can dispel all the reactions or our sinful lives.2


In Srila Prabhupada's purport it is said:


The real success in life is ante narayana-smrtih3—remembering the holy name, attributes, activities, and form of the Lord at the time of death. Although we may be engaged in the Lord's devotional service in the temple, material conditions are so tough and inevitable that we may forget the Lord at the time of death due to a diseased condition or mental derangement. Therefore we should pray to the Lord to be able to remember His lotus feet without fail at the time of death, when we are in such a precarious condition.


To chant at the time of death, however, is very difficult, because one is extremely disturbed and cannot concentrate his thoughts deliberately—they just come like an uncontrollable stream. Very easily one might become so overwhelmed that he loses the power to speak. Therefore we have to prepare ourselves now, as long as the body is strong and the mind more or less well poised, and as long as there are no greater difficulties in our lives.


"What can be done", asks Canakya Pandita, "if one is on the brink of death?"— indicating that one should be prepared by then. If we run into a difficult situation, for example, while driving a car, we should instantly chant the holy name. If suddenly a thought incompatible with devotional service enters the mind, one should immediately chant Hare krishna. This should be practiced again and again. Then we are trained to chant the holy name even at the greatest danger—namely at the time of death. One who chants the holy name in a helpless state, instantaneously attracts the blessings and the help of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri krishna. If one succeeds in doing this at the time of death, Lord krishna will deliver him from the painful cycle of birth and death, by bringing him back to His own abode in the spiritual world. Hare krishna!