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Life of the Holy Names
By Swami Gaurangapada
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! As I was chanting today, I felt such an intense and overwhelming desire to dive deeper into the mysteries of the Holy Names. I saw the divine form of Lord Nityananda which was full bliss from head to toe, holding and trying to make steady the transcendental form of Lord Gauranga with His two golden rod like hands. The form of Lord Gauranga was trembling and shivering in extreme spiritual ectsasy. Then suddenly I heard the roaring of Lord Nityananda from within my heart. It was as if my heart was illumined by the presence of Lord Nityananda. May these two divine Lords in these forms always appear in my heart while chanting Their Holy Names! This is my only prayer to the Holy Names and to Shri Puri Dhama. The purpose of the whole existence of this creation and the soul is to make us absorbed in the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna.
What is so remarkable about chanting is that when you chant the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna once, your greed for taking them again increases! The Names made me mad today. The Holy Names are the only thing is my life which never satisfy me. The more I chant, the more I want to be absorbed in Them. I can now understand a little bit about how much bliss Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura must have experienced when he shut himself in the Bhakti Kuti in Kolkata for the last four years simply to chant and relish the Holy Names before His divine disappearance from this world. He was so absorbed in the Lord's pastimes while chanting, he simply could not do anything else. No one knows the highest levels of samadhi he experienced in Bhakti Kuti, but we can get a small glimpse of it from his divine writings. I wish I would have been an insect in his Bhakti Kuti room and would have received a drop of his great taste for chanting the Holy Names. Anyway now I hope that Puri Dhama will grant me that taste as all the great devotees of Lords Nityananda Gauranga have walked and resided here. There is a photograph of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura chanting in Bhakti Kuti while sitting on a chair and he looks totally overwhelmed by the bliss of the Holy Names.
It was time for prasadam but I could even bring the thought in my mind of putting my beads down. I was drinking the nectar of the Holy Names which is the life-sustaining nectar of the soul. Eating and talking became a burden. The Holy Names are such mysteries that no one outside can understand what is going through our heart, mind and soul when we relish the nectar of the Holy Names.
The only thing I could do when I put my beads down was I began to read this most powerful essay by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Only an effulgent Acharya like Shrila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada can speak like this. No ordinary soul can vibrate this kind of powerful words as found in this essay. I could write pages and pages of commentaries on this essay but first I want to relish the Holy Names to my heart's satisfaction. Enough of the description, here it is:
“The holy name of Krishna means divine sound. It can be compared to a capsule of medicine. The capsule is not the medicine. Externally one capsule may look like another, but within one capsule maybe medicine and within another may be cyanide. The capsule itself is not the medicine. It is not the sound of Krishna’s name that is Krishna. Krishna is within the sound. The holy name must be be surcharged with the proper spirit not any mundane sentiment.
“The divine sound of the holy name must have it’s origin beyond the area of misconception or maya. Sound must have it’s origin in Goloka Vrindavana. The mere physical sound is not the holy name of Krishna. Repeating only the syllables of the holy name is called mayic sound. It has no spiritual essence. The life of the name is absent in offensive chanting.
“The most important thing in chanting the holy name is the spiritual realization backing the name which is the real name. A tape recorder can pronounce the holy name of Krishna, just like a parrot. But the physical sound is not Krishna. In the background there must be spiritual truth which is conscious. You cannot capture the holy name of Krishna simply by vibrating the syllables of the holy name with your tongue. Ravana wanted to capture Sita and he thought he did. But factually he did not even touch Her divine body. Ravana caught only a mundane replica of Sitadevi, an imitation which was like a statue of Sita.
“You cannot vibrate the holy name simply by moving the lips and tongue. The pure name of Krishna is not lip-deep but heart-deep. Ultimately, it goes beyond the heart and reaches the land of Krishna. When Krishna comes down, the name comes through the heart and moves the lips and tongue. That vibration is the holy name of Krishna. When Krishna in the form of sound descends from the transcendental world into the heart, and from the heart controlling every aspect of the nervous system comes to the lips and tongue dancing there, that is Krishna Nama.
“That sound is not produced from the material plane.The spiritual sound has come down into this plane. He can come down, but we cannot so easily go up there. The holy name is only realized when we approach Him with a very intense serving attitude. At that time Krishna Himself may come down by His grace being attracted by our pure serving nature.
“Then Krishna can influence this element and produce transcendental sound and dance within the mundane plane. That is the holy name of Krishna, Vaikuntha Nama, the real name of Krishna. We cannot produce it with our lips. The sound we create with our physical or mental production is not Krishna. He is indifferent to whatever sound we may produce. yet because He controls everything, He can appear anywhere, in any form, in any place, in any sound.”