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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Divine Name Haridasa > 14 The Highest Goal

CHAPTER 14

SRI NAMA-SANKIRTAN - THE HIGHEST GOAL

 

IN this dialogue between Shri Vishnu Parshadas and Shri Gopakumar in 'Shri Brihad Bhagavatamrita'* by Shri Sanatan Gosvami - one of the six Gosvamis of Vrindavan deputed by Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, to prepare a code for the Vaishnav way of living, all the niceties of the different aspects of the ninefold devotion (Navavidha Bhakti) have been very delicately elucidated, paiticulaily the comparison between Smarana, Dhyan, and Sankirtan, the exertions involved in the first two and the ease with which the last named practice, viz., Sankirtan, can be accomplished. It is conclusively proved without a shadow of doubt that Sankirtan is the best form of devotion and that it includes Sravana, Kirtan, Smarana, Dhyan, and that it should best be practised with a feeling of love-sickness, caused by the separation from the Beloved.

 

asmaad-ishvara-san-mantro- paasakomaa-pati-priya,

gopa-nandana bhakteshu bhavantam ganayema hi..302

gaude gangaa-tate jaato mathuraa-braahmanottamah,

jayanta-naama krishnasyaa-vataaras te mahaan guruh..303

satyam pratihi vayam atra bhavaan nimittam evaagatah shrinu hitam nija-krityam etat,

vaikuntham icchasi yadi parihaaya sarvam sa-prema-bhaktim anutishtha nava-prakaaram..304

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.121,122,123)

 

"O Umapati's beloved! O Gopanandan! We take you to be one of the devotees of the Lord, because of your practice of His best Mantra."302 "Your Guru is that famous Mathur Brahmin, Mayanta' by Name, on the banks of the Ganges - Who is the fullest Manifestation of shri krishanna Himself. (From the expression of Shri Sanatan Gosvami, it is inferred that 'Jayanta' is no other than Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself)."303 "Know for certain that we have specially come for your sake alone. If you desire Vaikunth, then giving up everything, in¬cluding the practice of the Mantra, lovingly practise any one of the ninefold (Navavidha) Bhakti, for therein lies your eternal weal."304

 

taj-jnaapakam ca bhaja bhagavataadi-shaastram lilaa-kathaa bhagavatah shrinu tatra nityam,

ta eva karna-vivaram pranayaat pravishtaah sadyah padam bhagavatah prabhavanti daatum..305

teshaam nava-prakaaraanaam ekenaiva su-sidhyati,

sarva-saadhana-varyena vaikunthah saadhya-sattamah..306

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.124,125)

 

"Follow the Sastras like Shrimad Bhagavata, and daily taste the accounts therein of the Lord's Pastimes, which greatly enchant the mind. No sooner do you hear them with love and attachment, than you will attain His (Shri Krishna's) Lotus Feet. One should hear the accounts of His Pastimes, as ihey very much entice the mind away from the worldly activities and lead him to his real good." For it is said (Bh. 12.4.40 Sansarsindhumati):- "If one who is afflicted by the conflagration of varied agonies, both physical and mental, is anxious to cross the ocean of the worldly life, which is most difficult to cross over, then there is no other surer boat for him than enjoying the sweet¬ness of the accounts of the Pastimes of Shri Purushottam." (Bh.2.2.37 Pibanti ye):- "Tasting the Nectarine Accounts of the Lord, living in the hearts of the virtuous people, and filling their ears with them, purify their hearts, however much corrupted by worldly enjoyments, and lead them to His Lotus Feet."305

 "Of the nine forms of devotion, if you practise any one of them, which is far superior to all such other paths, like Man Marga, Karma Marga, etc., you will easily attain Vaikunth Loka- the best amongst enjoyable objects, emancipation, etc. Greater results ensue from greater efforts. It is said in Brahma Purana, "If by the mere initiation of 'Krishna', one attains His Lotus Feet, how much more beneficial would the result be, if he always worships Him with unalloyed devotion!" "He Who be¬stows liberation, is Himself Moksha, i.e., Krishna. People who even daily remember Janardan (Krishna) craftily, attain His healthful Abode, after discarding this body."306

 

 mahattamatayaa shruya-maanaa api pare 'khilaah,

phala-vrata-vicaarena tucchaa mahad-anaadritaah..307

 

tathaapi tad-rasajnaih saa bhaktir nava-vidhaanjasaa,

sampadyate vicitraitad-rasa-maadhurya-labdhaye..308

 

teshaam kasmimsh cid ekasmin shraddhayaanushthite sati,

svayam aavirbhavet premaa shrimat-krishna-padaabjayoh..309

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.126,127,128)

 tathaapi kaaryaa premnaiva parihaaraaya hrid-rujah,

phalaantareshu kaamasya vaikunthaapti-virodinah..310

yadyapy etaadrishi bhaktir yatra yatropapadyate,

tat-tat-sthaanam hi vaikunthas tatra tatraiva sa prabhuh..311

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.129,130)

tathaapi sarvadaa saakshaad anyatra bhagavaams tathaa,

na drishyeteti vaikuntho 'vashyam bhaktair apekshyate.

sarva-prakaarikaa bhaktis taadrishi ca sadaanyatah,

na sampadyeta nirvighnaa tan-nishthair bahubhih saha..312

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.131,132)

 

 

"Bhaktas, who are capable of relishing the niceties of the devo¬tional code, and endowed with the faculty of discerning the best fruits, and the labours involved therein, from others, though known as equally great, treat Vaikunth Loka as the best and everything else as insig¬nificant before it."307 "But the Rasajnas (experts who appreciate the excellence of the charming sweetness) instantly adopt Navavidha Bhakti alone, because thereby they enjoy a variety of sweetness in this ninefold devotion, like Sravana, Kirtan, etc., and prefer it as a whole to any one form of it, like Sravana, Kirtan, etc., which by itself, is capable of achieving Vaikunth."308 "Out o'f these nine kinds, by adopting any one of them with unswerving faith, Love for the Lotus Feet of Shri Krishna, manifests in him of its own accord."309 "Even then, he should practise devotion with a loving heart, because thereby, the diseases of the heart, like evil desires, which are definite impediments on the way to Vaikunth, are destroyed. When Love begins to sprout, the evil desires for the transient enjoyments of this world, or the next, totally disappear, resulting in his ultimate good, without the least tinge of selfishness in rt."310  "If that loving devo¬tion which is full of all sweetness arising from this highest form of bliss of all kinds and which even excels Brahmasukh, can he achieved here alone, where then would the necessity of Vaikunth 1 oka arise? Truly, in Vaikunth Loka, there is some other speciality not obtain¬able here. Wherever such selfless loving devotion is practised, cer¬tainly that place itself becomes Vaikunth, and verily the Lord is present there, because He is the Lord of Vaikunth. Yet, it is said by the Lord Himself, "O Narada! 1 neither stay in Vaikunth nor in the hearts of Yogis; but wherever My devotees chant, there I am.""311 "Even then, Vaikunth is certainly desired by the devotees, because the Lord is not ever present elsewhere, in all His Glory of Beauty, Attributes, and the enchanting sweetness of His Pastimes. These can only be experienced in person in Vaikunth alone. Because, Vaikunth is not under the control of the Time Factor (Kala), this kind of the Lord's Pastimes can be enjoyed to one's heart's content, in the company of -   innumerable other Bhaktas, who too with their transcendental bod¬ies, are engrossed in relishing the Divine sweetness of the Lord's Name, Attributes, and the sweetness of His Pastimes that is not ob¬tainable elsewhere."312

 

nijendriya-manah-kaaya-ceshta-rupam na vidhi tam,

nitya-satya-ghanaananda-rupa sa hi gunaatigaa..313

nirgune sac-cid-aanandaat-mani krishna-prasaadatah

sphuranti vilasaty aatma- bhaktaanaam bahudhaa mude..314

vishuddhe tu vivekena satyaatmani hareh padam,

gate 'py aprakritim bhakti-vidhayo vilasanti hi..315

anyathetara-karmaani-vaite 'pi syur na sangataah,

kaayendriyaatma-ceshtaato jnaanenaatmani shodhite..316

Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.133,134,135,136)

 

"Do not treat this devotion as being of this transitory world, as a subject perceptible to the human sense-organs and the mind, and obtainable through human efforts. It is Transcendental in Nature, Non-perishable, Ever-true, and the Embodiment of Bliss Itself, and above human ken."313 "But by the sheer Grace of Shri Krishna, Bhakti manifests in the pure Jivatmas, composed of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, in the form ofSravana (hearing), Kirtan (uttering), Smarana-(recollection), etc., of the Divine Name, Attributes, Pastimes, etc., primarily for the appeasement of its votaries in various ways."314   "When the Jivatma is thus refined, through its power of discernment, and knows its innate and true relation and function with respect to Shri Hari, i.e., when man rises above his transient functions of this mortal frame, and realises that his real function is the service of his Maker, then alone, he becomes fit to enjoy the Transcendental Vaikunth Loka, and Bhakti with all its retinue, will down on him."315   "Other¬wise they, i.e., the nine aspects of devotion, appear as the function of these transient sense-organs. When the soul realises its tine nature, then alone, it can understand that, unlike the other transitory func¬tions of the sense-organs, the adoption by man, of the vaiious modes of devotion, is above the perception of his sense-organs, and cannot be associated with them."'316

 

anyebhya iva karmebhyo bhagavad-bhakti-karmatah;

viviktah san katham yaatu vaikuntham muktim arhati..317

na hy anya-karma-vad bhaktir api karmeti manyataam,

bahir-drishtyaiva jalpyeta  bhakta-dehaadi-vat kvacit..318

bhaktaanaam sac-cid-aananda- rupesht angendriyaatmasu,

ghatate svaanurupeshu vaikunthe 'nyatra ca svatah..319

vayam atra pramaanam smo'nisham vaikuntha-paarshadaah,

taanvanto bahudhaa bhaktim asprishtaah prakritair gunaih..320

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.137,138,139,140)

 

"If the soul is divorced from the devotional practices to God, how can it attain Vaikunth Loka? If it does so, it deserves emancipa-tion on account of its refinement through detachment, and not Vaikunth Loka, for which the Jiva must perform its true function of devotion."317 "Devotional practices should not be considered to stand in the same category as the other worldly actions; on a few occa¬sions, Bhakti may be said only apparently, to be of the type of Karma (action) of this mundane world; but when its true nature is consid¬ered, it is clearly found to be a function of the transcendental plane, in the same way as the bodies of the Vaikunthavasi devotees. Bhakti is the function of the spiritual body, though outwardly it appeals as the function of this mortal frame, and is transcendental in nature, as the transcendental bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikunth Loka."318 "The bodies of the devotees of the Lord, either in Vaikunth or else¬where assume Sachidanandarup by themselves, befitting the Exist¬ence-Knowledge-Bliss form of Bhakti or through the Grace of the Lord. When devotion takes hold of this mortal body, even tlus body, with all its limbs, sense-organs (Jnanendriyas and Karmendriyas), etc., transforms itself into a transcendental or spiritual one."319" "We, the dwellers of Vaikunth, untouched by anything of the transient world,and incessantly practising, and spreading the cult of devotion, like

Sravana, Kirtan, etc., are ourselves the proof of this."320

 

navina-sevakaanaam tu prityaa samyaak-pravrittaye,

nijendriyaadi-vyaapaara-tayaiva pratibhaati saa..321

mahadbhir bhakti-nishthaish ca na svaadhineti manyate,

mahaa-prasaada-rupeyam prabhor ity anubhuyate..322

tvaraa ced vidyate shrimad-vaikunthaalokane tava,

sarvaabhishta-prada-shreshtham tam shri-vraja-bhuvam vraja..323

param shrimat-padaambhoja-sadaa-sangaty-apekshayaa,

naama-sankirtana-praayam vishuddhaam bhaktim aacara..324

tayaashu taadrishi prema-sampad utpaadayishyate,

yayaa sukham te bhavitaa vaikunthe krishna-darshanam..325

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.141,142,143,144,145)

 

"For the appeasement and the continuous advance of a devotee who has newly taken to this cult, devotion to God, behaves as if it is a function of the sense-organs mainly for his advancement in it; because when the aspirant

feels that he meditates, utters, hears God's Epi-thets, etc., he becomes inspired, and elated and acquires greater and sounder faith in Them. Otherwise there is a chance of his despairing that all his efforts are not sustaining in their results."321 "Those great personages having implicit faith in devo¬tion, know for certain, that it springs through the sheer Grace of the Lord, and never think that it is either a function of their sense-organs or subjective to them."322 "If you have a vehement yearning to see Vaikunth Loka very early, then go to the famous blissful Vraja - which will most munificently, very quickly, and perfectly fulfil all your desires."323 "Then with your heart and soul, intent on the Lotus Feet of the Lord, practise mostly 'Nama-Sankirtan'- the purest form of devotion (unadulterated with the least tinge of Jnan or Karma).324 "By this Nama-Sankirtan a wealth of devotional love will be generated in you, by which you will easily have a full vi¬sion of Shri Krishna in Vaikunth."325

 

premno 'ntarangam kila saadhanottamam manyeta kaishcit smaranam na kirtanam,

ekendriye vaaci vicetane sukham bhaktih sphuraty aashu hi kirtanaatmikaa..326

bhaktih prakrishtaa smaranaatmikaasmin sarvendriyaanaam adhipe vilole,

ghore balishthe manasi prayaasair nite vasham bhaati vishodhite yaa..327

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.146,147)

 

"Some think that recollection and not chanting aloud (Smarana and not Kirtan) is the most beloved and the best means to attain Divine Love; because Kirtan manifests itself quickly and without much effort on the sense-

organ - tongue, devoid of the faculty of think-ing or intelligence. Consequently, the results too, will be in proportion to the efforts involved."326 "Mind - the most important and fickle of all the senses, is conquered by being brought under control, only with great difficulty, and that too when it is puri¬fied. Then only, the excellent form of devotion, known as 'recollec¬tion or remembrance', can be achieved. Hence, tins is the best mode of devotion, because of the great exertions involved therein."327

 

manyaamahe kirtanam eva sattamam lolaatmakaika-sva-hridi smarat smriteh,

vaaci sva-yukte manasi shrutau tathaa divyaat paraan apy apakurvad aatmya-vat..328

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.148)

 

"We, however, think that Kirtan is far superior to recollec¬tion, which flashes only in the mind that is too fickle; but Kirtan when it manifests on the tongue-the sense-or-gan of speech, simultaneously illumines the

mind, because unless it first flashes on the mind, it will not throb either on the tongue, or as a matter of fact on other sense organs. The sound of the Kirtan, not only benefits the performer's own ears, by entering them, but also those of others too, who have the good furtune of hearing it. This is not accomplished by 'Recollection'. Recollection too cannot be aptly done, because absolute control of the mind can be only successful, when its fickleness is removed or destroyed. This is the whole secret of it. It is also not the general rule, that the results, in any undertaking, are always in proportion to the efforts put in. It is already said by Shri Parasar, "One who is devoted to Shri Achyuta, does not go to hell; if He is reflected upon, he goes to heaven; if he concentrates his mind on Him, even the Brahma Loka obtainable with great difficulty, appears as worse than insignificant; that Immu¬table Shri Krishna, by staying in the hearts of pure souls, gives Him¬self up to them (see footnote 306). What wonder is there if all the sins of the person, who utters the Name of Shri Achyuta (Shri Krishna) are completely destroyed ? That a sinner like Ajamil, by taking the Name 'Narayana' attained emancipation, is no wonder at all. Thus by this exposition, the superiority of Kirtan over remembrance is described by the argument 'a fortiori', i.e., how much more superior would the Kirtan be over remembrance? Besides, what is obtained by meditation in Krita Yuga, by the performance of sacri¬fices in Treta Yuga, and worship in Dvapar Yuga, is all attained by Shri Hari-Kirtan, indicating thereby that all the benefits accruing from the practice of the first three Yuga Dharmas, are included in Shri Hari-Kirtan and can be easily accomplished too. And what is declared, does come true."328

 

bahyaantaraashesha-hrishika-caalakam vaag-indriyam syaad yadi samyatam sadaa,

cittam sthiram sad-bhagavat-smritau tadaa samyaak pravarteta tatah smritih phalam.

evam prabhor dhyaana-ratair matam ced buddhyedrisham tatra vivecaniyam,

dhyaanam parisphurti-vishesha-nishthaa sambandha-maatram manasaa smritir hi..329

 

ced dhyaana-vegaat khalu citta-vrittyaav antar-bhavantindriya-vrittayas taah,

sankirtana-sparshana-darshanaadyaa dhyaanam tadaa kirtanato 'stu varyam..330

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.149,150,151)

 

"Illustrating and accepting the opinion of meditationists of the Lord, who take Kirtan as the result of recollection only, their argu¬ments are refuted by the skill of discernment in these two Slokas thus :- The external organs, like the eyes, ears, etc., and the internal ones, like the mind, etc., i.e., all the sense-organs and senses, are moved to action by the tongue, because it is in their very nature to get excited by the action of the tongue, i.e., by its speech. By observ¬ing silence or chanting the Name of the Lord aloud, the tongue can be brought under control; then alone the mind becomes steady and can be employed in 'Smriti'. In that case, Smriti arises from Kirtan. So it is proved that Smriti is the result of Kirtan. Hence, the statement made above and emphasised in Sastras (see footnote 328) that the fruit of meditation is included in Sankirtan in Kali Yuga, should be taken as due to the requirements of the age. If it is said, that the most atrocious sin of Kali Yuga is destroyed by the great prowess of Kirtan alone, and by nothing else, like meditation, etc., then it must be admitted on all grounds, the superiority of Kirtan over Dhyan (meditation). So the potency of Nama-Sankirtan, over meditation in destroying even the vilest sins of Kali Yuga is not at all denied; the expedient that the sins of Kali Yuga, will not be destroyed by meditation alone, is not also there, by which it could be the practice or commandment (Vidhi) of Kali Yuga. If the meditationists of the Lord, persist in their opinion, that only through recourse to remembrance of the Lord, howsoever accomplished, the destruction, etc., of all the sins, always succeeds, and that hundreds of statements, throwing light on this view, are to be found, and hence meditation alone is the best, then their view needs further elucidation. Dhyan (meditation) is the Lord's manifes¬tation, in toto,from top to bottom, culminating in the maturing expe¬rience of the Lord's Personal Attributes, like Beauty, Sweetness, etc., by the mind, as if in person before Him; whereas, Smriti (remem¬brance) is the mental recollection of the aspirant's relation to the Lord as His servant, as in a flash."329 "We think that meditation will be superior to.Sankirtan only when it includes in its aspect, the functions of other sense organs, viz., those of utterance, touch, seeing, hearing, etc., by the power of meditation alone."330

 

pritir yato yasya sukham ca yena samyaag bhavet tad-rasikasya tasya,

tat-saadhanam shreshthatamam su-sevyam sadbhir matam praty uta saadhya-rupam..331

sankirtanaad dhyaana-sukham vivardhate dhyaanaac ca sankirtana-maadhuri-sukham,

anyonya-samvardhakataanubhuyate'smaabhis tayos tad dvayam ekam eva tat..332

dhyaanam ca sankirtana-vat sukha-pradam yad vastuno 'bhishtatarasya kasyacit,

citte 'nubhutyaapi yatheccham udbhavec chaantis tad ekaapti-visakta-cetasaam.

yathaa jvaara-ruj-artaanaam shitalaamrita-paathasah,

manah-paanaad api trutyet trid-vailakshyam sukham bhavet..333

tat-tat-sankirtanenaapi tathaa syaad yadi shakyate,

sataam atha vivikte 'pi lajjaa syaat svair akirtane..334

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.152,153,154,155,156)

 

The wise are of the opinion, that he who can appreciate the ex¬cellence of any one of the ninefold devotion, should accept it with earnestness, according to his liking, in which he takes pleasure to practise; that mode alone will be the most important one to him. He must practise it with his heart and soul, as that will quickly achieve for him his desired object."331 "But we think that Sankirtan en¬hances the beauty of meditation; and meditation increases the bliss and beauty of Sankirtan and that they mutually aid each other's enhancement (Poshak), like tire and fuel (oil) and that both are of equal merits."332

 "Meditation, like Sankirtan, brings happiness, because those who, bent on obtaining any object which they like most, call to their mind, that object and experience it in their mind to their heart's content, get mental peace (satisfaction), like people suffering from fever, by mentally drinking nectar-like cold water, lessen their trouble, arising from thirst and enjoy relief."333

 By conveying one's troubles to an intimate friend, he does experi¬ence relief from the load of worries weighing heavily on his mind. Similarly by uttering aloud the Name of his heart's coveted object, he feels peace of mind, provided he can clothe his inner-most feelings with suitable words. But sometimes he cannot give expression to all his mental feelings; or even if he can, he will feel ashamed even to utter them as he likes, even in solitude, because he wants to maintain the utmost secrecy."334

 

ekaakitvena tu dhyaanam vivikte khalu sidhyati,

sankirtanam vivikte 'pi bahunaam sangato 'pi ca..335

krishnasya naanaa-vidha-kirtaneshu tan-naama-sankirtanam eva mukhyam,

tat-prema-sampaj-janane svayam draak shaktam tatah shreshthatamam matam tat..336

shri-krishna-naamaamritam aatma-hridyam premnaa samaasvaadana-bhangi-purvam,

yat sevyate jihvikayaaviraamam tasyaatulam jalpatu ko mahattvam..337

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.157,158,159)

 

"Indeeed, meditation succeeds only when practised by oneself and that too in a lonely place and not otherwise. So there are so many impediments to its perfect practice and Nama-Sankirtan completion. But Sankirtan can be performed alone in solitude or in public in the company of even multitudes. Hence, what constitute impediments to meditation, are no impediments to Sankirtan at all; on the contrary, they contribute towards its success. Perfor¬mance of Sankirtan involves no obstacles."335

 "Amongst the dif¬ferent forms of Shri Krishna's Kirtan, such as uttering His Names, speaking about His Beauty, Attributes, Pastimes, etc., His Nama-Sankirtan alone is the most important one, because It awakens of Its own accord, in Its performer a wealth of Divine Love (Krishna Prem). Hence, it is our confirmed opinion and the opin¬ion of wise men that His Nama-Sankkirtan is far superior to meditation."336 "Who, indeed, will be able to describe the incomparale blessedness of the person, who longingly, lovingly, and with a relish, ever tastes, with his tongue, of the nectarine sweetness of the Divine Shri Krishna Nama-near and dear to his own heart?"337

 

sarveshaam bhagavan-naamnaam samaano mahimaapi cet,

tathaapi sva-priyenaashu svaartha-siddhih sukham bhavet..338

vicitra-ruci-lokaanaam kramaat sarveshu naamasu,

priyataa-sambhavaat taani sarvaani syuh priyaani hi..339

ekasminn indriye praadur-bhutam naamaamritam rasaih,

aaplaavayati sarvaanin-driyaani madhurair nijaih..340

mukhyo vag-indriye tasyo-dayah sva-para-harshadah,

tat prabhor dhyanato 'pi syan nama-sankirtanam varam..341

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.160,161,162,163)

 

"Even if the greatness of all the Divine Names be equally bal¬anced, still one can easily and in no time accomplish his heart's much coveted object, by resorting to the Name (Shri krishna,s Epithet), which he likes best like thephilosopher's stone (Chintamani) yielding to its possessor all his desires."338 "People having different tastes, develop a fondness for all the Names. In course of time, they will certainly hold all the Lord's Names dear to them."339 " When once the Nectarean Name becomes manifest in any one of the sense-organs, It inundates all the other sense-organs too, with Its Luscious Sweetness (Madhurya Rasas), i.e., It allures other sense-organs too, and impels them in Its Divine Service"340 "Its impor¬tant manifestation on the sense-organ of speech, i.e., tongue, causes ecstasy hot only to the utterer, but to others (hearers) also, because the Word bursts into Its all-alluring sound Form. Hence, Nama-Sankirtan is far superior to meditation on Him."341

 

naama-sankirtanam proktam krishnasya prema-sampadi,

balishtham saadhanam shreshtham paramaakarsha-mantra-vat..342

tad eva manyate bhakteh phalam tad rasikair janaih,

bhagavat-prema-sampattau sadaivaavyabhicaaratah..343

sal-lakshanam prema-bharasya krishne kaishcid rasajnair uta kathyate tat,

premno bharenaiva nijeshta-naama-sankirtanam hi sphurati sphutaartyaa..344

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.164,165,166)

 

Shri Krishna-Nama-Sankirtan is the most potent, important,and the highest means of attaining Krishna Prem like a Mantra,imbued with the power of attraction, attracting desired object, obtainable with great difficulty, even from a great distance. Thus other statements supporting this, should be seen."Hearing the auspicious Accounts and Deeds

of Shri Krishna and His Descents, an aspirant, unabashed, should move about in this world, alone, singing His Songs, and Names suggestive of His Pastimes." When Krishna Prem manifests in him,his condition invariably becomes thus- "That ardent devotee, who nthus moves about unabashed, singing aloud His Songs and Names dear to him, gaining intense attachment therein, with his heart melted with Krishna Prem, and being oblivious of the society,

laughs loudly, a moment later weeps, then shouts, and dances like one possessed with rapturous joy." In this Sloka too the word'Svapriyanamakirtya' occurs to emphasize its importance."342

"Adepts in relishing the beauties and sweetness of Nama-Sankirtan, treat it not only as the best Means of primary impor¬tance, but also as the best End in Itself; because when its votary is whole-heartedly engrossed in it, it always,unfailingly and necessarily results in Krishna Prem. Verily even if this Prem is taken as the

only fruit of all devotional codes of religious performances, when one practises Nama-Sankirtan, since this Prem arises as its necessary and invariable corollary, Nama-Sankirtan is taken as the best and highest accomplishment in itself."343 "It is indeed, proclaimed by those who appreciate the excellences of Krishna Prem, that the performance of Krishna-Sankirtan, dear to one's heart, is in itself the best distinctive mark of the inundating influx of Krishna-Prem, and incessant loud manifestation of Shri Krishna-Sankirtan is solely due to the in¬tense and uncontrollable Krishna Prem, showing thereby that they, both, are interdependent on each other for their exuber¬ance and luxuriant growth."344

 

naamnaam tu sankirtanam arti-bhaaraan megham vinaa praavrishi caatakaanm,

raatrau viyogaat sva-pate rathaangi-vargasya caakroshana-vat pratihi..345

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.167)

 

"Nama-Sankirtan should be .performed with a deep feeling of intense anguish caused by separation, like the Chatak bird crying aloud in distress, in torrential rains, because of its separation from the clouds, or like the love-sick Chakravak bird shrieking, being separated from its beloved dur-ing night-time. Nama-Sankirtan ought to be

performed with an intense feeling of love-sick-ness arising from separation from the Eter¬nal Beloved-Shri Krishna-the Embodiment of Divine Love. The experiences of the realised souls should be the guiding stars to the aspirant in achieving his goal."345

 

vicitra-lilaa-rasa-saagarasya prabhor vicitraat sphuritaat prasaadaat,

vicitra-sankirtana-maadhuri saa na tu sva-yatnaad iti saadhu sidhyet..346

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.168)

 

"If you think that many obstacles, like public censure, inability, bodily weakness, etc., may arise in the loud performances of Nama-Sankirtan, and that meditation can be easily accomplished unobserved by any one, and hence quite free from hin-drances,we boldly assure you that the varie- gated sweetness of Nama-Sankirtan is caused

by the boundless and inexplicable Grace of the Lord, Who is an unfathomable Ocean of lovely Lilas, beyond human comprehension and the whole suc¬cess of Nama-Sankirtan is due to His Mercy alone and can never be attributed to the aspirant's exertions, for there cannot be any impediment in the way of the free flow of God's Mercy. It should be understood that what holds good in the case of Nama-Sankirtan, is also applicable to other forms of Bhakti."346

 

icchaa-vashaat paapam upaasakaanaam kshiyeta bhogonmukham apy amusmaat,

praarabdha-maatram bhavatitareshaam karmaavashishtam tad-avashya-bhogyam..347

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.169)

 

 "How is it then that those who have taken solely to Nama-Sankirtan, endowed with such great powers, are usually seen to suf¬fer grief? The answer is this:- The accumulated sins of the aspirant, who has taken resort to Nama-Sankirtan, are destroyed by Sankirtan only, sorrow being the result of sin. But the meritorious deeds re¬main to his credit - because of their effect being always auspicious; but such deeds are subject to his sweet will and pleasure. He who is engrossed in relishing the Transcendental Sweetness of Shriman Nama is unaffected by the elevating effect of the latter, as the sole purpose of his life, is ever to taste the incessant flow of Nec¬tarine Bliss oozing out from Nama-Sankirtan. "Know for certain that the cycle of acts, i.e., undergoing the consequences of acts of previous lives, which is not inviolable even to gods and demons, is already transgressed by the mortals greatly devoted to Me." Except¬ing these, others have to bear the consequences of their acts in past lives, because for them, these are not destroyed unless endured by them. Hence, let them at sometime and somehow take to Nama-Sankirtan, because they will then be free from the consequences of their acts in this life."347

 

mahaashayaa ye hari-naama-sevakaah su-gopya-tad-bhakti-mahaa-nidheh svayam,

prakaasha-bhityaa vyavahaara-bhangibhih sva-dosha-duhkhaany anudarshayanti te..348

tan-naama-sankirtana-maatrato 'khilaa bhaktaa hareh syur hata-duhkha-dushanaah,

kecit tathaapi prabhuvat kripaakulaa lokaan sad-aacaaram imam prashaasati..349

duhsanga-dosham bharataadayo yathaa durduta-dosham ca yudhishthiraadayaah,

brahma-sva-bhitim ca nrigaadayo 'malaah pradarshayan sva-vyavahaarato janaan..350

bhakti-prabhaavena vicaara-jaataih sanjaayamaanena sadedrishais tvam,

vighnaati-vighnaan kila jeshyasiha sarvatra te hanta vayam sahaayaah..351

shri-krishnacandrasya mahaanukampaa-smaabhih sthiraa tvayy avadhaaritaasti,

linaa na saakshaad-bhagavad-didrikshaa tvattas tapoloka-nivaasi-vaakyaih..352

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.170,171,172,173,174)

 

"But those magnanimous servants of Shri Hari Nama, under the semblance of undergoing the reactions of their own evil actions, like the unusual attachment of Bharata, etc., to the young of a deer, for which he had to be reborn as a deer, show us the grief caused by their own faults, in their anxi-ety to conceal the Love of the highest form of wish-yielding devotion which is to be cher¬ished and protected from the public."348      "Through Nama-Sankirtan alone, all(bramh sahintee, become rid of their griefs and faults, and become devotees of Shri Hari. Yet a few devotees, overcome by kind¬ness like their Lord, teach the people about virtuous conduct, such as the avoidance of evil company, etc., because continued advance in devotion, cannot be achieved, unless one avoids evil company, thoughts, and the commission of evil deeds, and practises virtuous conduct in thought, words, and deeds."349* "The evil consequences of evil actions has been taught to us by Bharata, the evil effects of the vice of gambling by devotees like Yudhishthir, etc., similarly pure souls like Nrig, Saubhari, etc., have, by their conduct, shown us the way to nearness and dearness of God.350 "You will certainly over-come the greatest and even the worst of obstacles by recollecting the glory or miraculous power of devotion stated above. And gladly we will come to your succour everywhere."351 "We have observed that you have been copiously blessed by Shri Krishna's Mercy, which is firm in you, because your yearning to see Shri Krishna in person is still strong, in spite of your being told by the Tapolokvasis, like Pippalayan, to see Him with your mind's eye by meditation."352

 

rupam satyam khalu bhagavatah sac-cid-aananda-saandram yogyair graahyam bhavati karanaih sac-cid-aananda-rupam,

maamsaakshibhyaam tad api ghatate tasya kaarunya-shaktyaa sadyo labdhyaa tad-ucita-gater darshanam svehayaa vaa..353

tad-darshane jnaana-drishaiva jaaya-maane 'pi pashyaamy aham esha drigbhyaam,

mano bhavet krishna-kripaa-prabhaava-vijnaapako harsha-vishesha-vriddhyai..354

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.175,176)

 

"It is indeed true that His Form, composed of intense Existence-Knowledge-Bliss combination, and hence spiritual in nature, is per¬ceptible as such by the sense-organs when they attain the fitness to do so. Yet His Svarup does become perceiv-able by the ordinary eyes, through their natu-rai function, by reason of His unfathomable Grace. He is seen by those before Whom He manifests Himself, for which also His Mercy is essential. Because perception of the unlimited and undistinguished Form manifesting Itself at Its Own Will, by a limited inanimate, though impossible, becomes possible through His Mercy alone."353 "Even in those who perceive Him through the acquisition of appropriate knowledge alone, a feeling that "I am seeing Him with my own eyes (com¬posed of flesh and blood) is born", demonstrative of the Exalted Glory of Shri Krishna's Kindness, which in turn aids in the exu¬berance of exultations, even though He is beyond the perception of all human senses."354

 

prabhoh kripaa-pura-balena bhakteh prabhaavato vaa khalu darshanam syaat,

atah paricchinna-drishaapi siddhyen nirantaram tan manaseva samyaak..355

na cet kathancin na manasy api syaat svayam-prabhasyekshanam ishvarasya,

ghanam sukham sanjanayet kathancid upaasitah saandra-sukhaatmako 'sau..356

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.177,178)

 

"If one says that Bhagavan can be seen everywhere incessantly and without any impediments with the mind's eye, and that there will not be any fear of separation from Him, and if one sees Him with his natural eyes, with limited power of seeing, there is every likelihood of separation being caused between him and Bhagavan.That is true. But even through the Glory of the floods of Shri Krishna's Mercy or through the greatness of Bhakti, He can in¬deed be seen even with these very eyes, with their limited power, incessantly and without the least impediments, as with the mind and the whole charm of Person can be ever tasted without expe¬riencing any obstacles."355 "If one says that He cannot be the sub¬ject of the limited eyesight, either through His Grace or through the greatness of Bhakti, then He too cannot be the subject of the mind's eye, as He manifests Himself wherever He wants to; and He, be¬cause of His overlordship and Self-Willed Nature, is the Control¬ler of all, including the perceiving power of the human mind, which can have no control over Him. If one says that by seeing in the unlimited mind, the joy of seeing Him will also be unlimited, and hence when He becomes a subject of the eyes, with limited power of vision, the resulting joy of seeing Him, will be consequently limited too in its scope. He, being formed of ecstasy in very concentrated form, will give intense joy or ecstasy to him, who will somehow serve Him with any of the sense-organs, like the eyes, tongue, ears, or the mind, etc."356

 

drigbhyaam prabhor darshanato hi sarvatas tat-tat-prasaadaavali-labdhir ikshyate,

sarvaadhikam saandra-sukham ca jaayate saadhyam tad eva shravanaadi-bhaktitah..357

sarveshaam saadhanaanaam tat-saakshaat-kaaro hi sat-phalam,

tadaivaamulato mayaa nashyet premaapi vardhate..358

kaayaadhavaader hridi pashyato 'pi prabhum sadaakshnaa kila tad-didrikshaa,

tatra pramaanam hi tathaavalokaad anantaram bhava-vishesha-laabhah..359

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.179,180,181)

 

"Seeing Him in person is much better than seeing Him in one's imagination and has a special significance over the latter. It is experienced everywhere, that he enjoys His Grace in full measure,everywhere, as enjoyed by Kardam, Dhruv, etc.The Mercy that Pippalayan in Tapo Loka ob-tained in his Samadhi, i.e, profound meditation

and concentration of the mind on the Dhyeya -the desired object, in order to see the Lord, and described by Brahma as the Lord's Mercy, may have been a special favour to him alone, and may not be a common one, obtainable and enjoyable by all. But intense ecstasy, which is far superior to all other kinds of excessive joys, can be experienced only through direct vision of Him with one's eyes for which His Grace is quite essential and one is enabled to see Him in person, through the devotional practices, like Sravana, Kirtan, Dhyan, etc. Hence, the goal of meditational practice - a function of the mind, would also be to see the Lord in Person."357

"Hence, the best fruit of all the devo¬tional practices, is His Manifestation in Person before one's eyes, by Which alone, everything that the delusion (Maya) comprises including the worst state of forgetting Him, totally disappears. "When one sees the Lord in oneself or when one sees one's Lord, or the Lord Who is dearest to the self, his heart's knot of egoism or ignorance disappears; all the doubts are cleared; and his worldly acts come to an end." Then alone the sentiment of Love to Him will grow luxuriantly, because he experiences in person, the Beauty, Luscious Sweetness, etc., of His Svarup."358 "Prahlada, like other devotees of the Lord, though he was always seeing Him in his heart, was always yearning to see Him with his own eyes, the reason being that he used to experience a special kind of feeling of intense attachment, i.e., Transcendental Love for the Lord."359

 

krishnasya saakshaad api jaayate yat keshaancid akshi-dvaya-milanaadi,

dhyaanam na tat kintu mudaam bharena kampaadi-vat prema-vikaara eshah..360

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.182)

 

"Indeed those Sanatkumars, looking at the blue nightlotus-like Face of Shri Vishnu, beautiful with smiling Kunda-like red Lips, hav¬ ing their heart's desire fulfilled, again looked repeatedly at His Twin Feet decked with lustrous red pearl-like Nails, and being unable to relish the Beauty and charming Sweetness of His    Person, went into deep meditation (Bh. 3.15.44).So we hear of the Sanatkumars meditating on         Shri Vishnu, even in His very presence. But that is not the case in Shri Krishna's Golok. When some people see Shri Krishna, the shutting of their eyes, the flow of tears therefrom, hair standing on end, etc., are not due to medi¬tation, because of the acquisition of the Dhyeya, i.e., the Object of meditation, in one's very presence. The closing of the eyes, flow of plenteous tears, tremors of the body, perspiration, etc., are all due to the emotional perturbations, caused by excess of ecstasy because of the actual obtaining of Shri Krishna - the Tran¬scendental Object contemplated upon. This condition should not be taken as identical with meditation, though apparently, the exter¬nal symptoms appear similar to those of meditation."360

 

dhyaanam parokshe yujyeta na tu saakshaan mahaa-prabhoh,

aparokshe parokshe 'pi yuktam sankirtanam sadaa..361

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.183)

punah pulinam aagatya kaalindyaah krishna-bhaavanaah,

samavetaa jaguh krishnam tad-aagamana-kaankshitaah..361.1

(Shrimad Bhagavatam,10.30.44)

 

"Meditation could be aptly practised when the Lord is beyond one's range of sight and not when He is present in Person before one's very eyes. But Sankirtan can be practised everywhere and at all times, both when He is within or beyond one's ken. Accord¬ing to the rule that the conclusion should always be sweet overwhelming advantages of the Lord’s Sankirtan over His meditation, have been

thoroughly weighed in the concluding paras. "In the Rasa dance, the Gopis appeared most beautiful when they were singing Him (Shri Krishna) in all splendour, like lightning in a cluster of clouds." It is also said by Parasar, "While Shri Krishna described the autumnal moon, the moonlight, and the collection of nightlotuses, Gopis uttered 'Krishna', 'Krishna' incessantly." "Shri Krishna sang the Rasa song in a loud tone, while the Gopis nodding their heads, uttered 'Krishna', 'Krishna' in a doubly raised pitch." This clearly shows that even when the Rasa reached its ecstatic climax, the Gopis never failed to utter 'Krishna', 'Krishna' loudly, showing verily thereby the incomprehensible grandeur of Shri Krishna-Sankirtan, even in His very presence. Sankirtan of Gopis during Shri Krishna's separation from them is quite well-known in Gopi Gita.,361 "The Gopis, with their heart and soul engrossed in Shri Krishna and anxious about His return, gath¬ered together on the sands of the Yamuna and started uttering 'Krishna', 'Krishna'. Alas! Alas! He is made to run from place to place as we move after Him in our search. Should we thus cause Him bodily pain by making Him roam about? Besides He is not attainable without His Sweet Will. The Srutis also say, "He is obtainable by him whom He chooses. His Mercy is needed to see Him and to arouse His Grace, His Sankirtan must be resorted to. As if to prove the truth of this statement, they all went to that place where they had met Him first, and started uttering aloud 'Krishna','Krishna'."361.1

 

shriman naama prabhos tasya shri-murter apy ati-priyam,

jagad-dhitam sukhopaasyam sa-rasam tat-samam na hi..362

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrta,2.3.184)

 

"Shriman Nama of the Lord is dearer to Him than His very Svarup or Divine Form. Because it is imbued with excess of all the Excellences of Beauty, Power, Bliss, etc., and manifests Itself at all times, everywhere with all Its grandeur and splendour in all His Names. Hence, It is dearer to Him than his very person.there is nothing dearer to Him, than His Narria-especially 'Krishna' Nama-Which attracts animate and inanimate objects towards It. He told Uddhav thus:- "You are dearer to Me than even Brahma, Siva, Baladev, Lakshmi, and than even My very Soul or Person, because you are My ardent devotee (Bh. 11.14.15)." In this statement He clearly proves that He holds His ardent devo¬tees dearer to Him and His very Person. But now here has He said so with reference to His Name, proving clearly thereby that His Name is dearer to Him than everything else, including His Per¬son. To explain Its Affluence or Excellence, Shri Sanatan Gosvami describes Its quality most dear to him thus:- It benefits the whole world - one and all, to be perceived in any way by any of the sense-organs, at any time or all times, without any consideration of his or her fitness or qualification to do so. Its munificence, knows no lim¬its. 'Jagaddhitam' is explained by Shrijiva Gosvami in Shri Bhagavat Sandarbha as 'Attracting the mind and heart of everything to¬wards Itself or Himself, i.e., Sarvasyapi svatmanam p-rati chittakarshanam'. It can be practised with ease; by Its mere utter¬ance, or Its entering into the ears, i.e., hearing, It blesses one and all. Its service is quite easy. When It just manifests Itself on the tip of the tongue, Its service is accomplished; because It is in the Form of a Sacred Sweet Sound-Word, It is easy to utter; It is excellent because It is the Source of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss, and Divine in Nature; (1) It is also known as 'Saras'as It exists always in association with the five feelings and seven sentiments, like the sentiments of Love, etc., with the sentiments of devotion and attachments; (2) similarly 'Rasa' also means Love, i.e., the unalloyed and unflinching Love; It also exists in the states of separation and union; (3) Rasa means Divine Attachment and Love; it is for this very reason that It achieves unfailingly Shri Krishna's Divine Love or Prem, very quickly for Its votary; (4) It also causes attachment in Its servitors or in all people; (5) Rasa also means the sentiments of heroism be¬cause of Its possessing the highest Power or (6) Rasa also means Its distinguishing Attribute, viz., that of rescuing all who are humble; (7) Rasa also means the specific bliss, being of the type of Divine Bliss, as It imparts Transcendental Bliss to the utterers; and (8) Rasa also means Its characteristic sweetness or Madhurya Rasa because It is imbued with Nectarine Sweetness, as is indicated in the first Sloka of this book. Hence, there is nothing that can be compared to It, i.e., It is second to none. It is simply incompa¬rable.'"362

 

tunde taandavini ratim vitanute tundaavali-labdhaye

 karna-kroda-kadambini ghatayate karnaarbudebhyah sprihaam,

cetah-praangana-sangini vijayate sarvendriyaanaam kritim

 no jaane janitaa kiyadbhir amritaih krishneti varna-dvayi..363

(Bida gadh madhaba,1.15)

=364,

 

"When the love of the ardent devotee for the Name, develops into a passion, the two syllables 'Krishna' perform an uncontrol¬lable, and wild dance on his tongue, when he experiences an intense yearning to have a series of tongues to utter 'Krishna'. No sooner they enter the cavities of his ears, than he feels the necessity for billion's of ears to hear Them; as soon as these syllables become the bosom companions of the arena of his mind and heart, They lord over all the other sense-organs and impel them in Their own differ¬ent forms of service, like the eyes in seeing Their Form, the nose in inhaling Their enchanting fragrance, tongue to utter Them, etc. Words fail to describe in adequate terms the superb Transcendental Sweetness of the twin syllables 'Kri-shna'."363

"When Shri Krishna happens to hear the syllables 'Radha', incidentally uttered by others in the course of their talk, He forgets all the fine arts of amorous Pastimes in which He is engrossed with Shri Radha in Person; and when Shri Radhika similarly hears the syllables 'Krishna' in an un¬broken sequence, all Her limbs get paralysed and She falls into a deep stupor, caused by emotional perturbations.364 This indicates the extreme mutual influence of the Names 'Krishna' and 'Radha' on Them! When such is the marvellous and mystic Glory of the Divine Names 'Krishna', and 'Radha' - the Embodiment of His HIadini Sakti, that each allures the other, the author cannot but conclude this humble offering to the Lotus Feet of Shri Krishna, with his hearty and endless prostrated obeisances to 'Namavatar Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu', Who practised Nama-Sankirtan and relished Its ever new Luscious Sweetness and thereby imparted It along with the Love for It in all Its fullness to all fallen Jivas, irrespective of their fitness or the want of it, out of His causeless Mercy alone.