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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > SG Translated and Main Scriptures > Maha Mantra Yoga > Ch 4 The Glories of Chanting The Hare Krishna Maha Mantra > Contents

The Glories Of Chanting the Hare Krishna
Maha Mantra By Lord Gauranga Himself

In the last (21st) chapter entitled Nama-mahima of his wonderful book Prema-vivarta, Shrila Jagadananda Pandita describes the super-excellent narration of the divine glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu Himself to His devotee Krishnadas as follows:

One day Krishnadas broke his long silence and asked Lord Gauranga a question in Kashi Mishra’s house. “If you will kindly permit me to ask, then please tell me about the unlimited and wonderful glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, about which even Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma are unacquainted.”

Lord Gauranga replied, “The excellences of the maha-mantra are like an ever-expanding shoreless ocean. Even Lord Krishna Himself does not know the limits of It, what to speak of ordinary mortals. I will simply repeat what is written in the scriptures. if you listen with proper faith, you can be delivered from this distressful material world.

“The maha-mantra is capable of dissolving sins and removing impediments. The maha-mantra embalms sufferings and diminishes the detriments that are so charactersitic of Kali-yuga. It redeems the unredeemable residents of hellish planets and nullifies the inevitable sinful reactions carried over from previous births. The maha-mantra purifies offenses and is the quintessence of all trancendental activities, shining more brilliantly than the Vedas. The scriptures declare that the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the highest spiritual activity, higher than making pilgrimages to the holiest of places. The maha-mantra is omnipotent and benedicts the chanter with unimaginable good fortune-Its very nature is that It elevates one to experience divine bliss. The chanter is no ordinary person, for he becomes worthy of the entire world’s praise. The maha-mantra is the only means of salvation for the fallen conditioned souls, and It is always worshippable for It offers the much desired liberation, exalts one to the supreme spiritual abode and blesses the chanter with transcendental love of Godhead, Shri Hari. The shruti and smriti contain proofs of the maha-mantra’s sublime position. It is the supreme destination of all spiritual aspirations and the mainstream of the current of bhakti (devotional service).

“One of the inherent characteristics of the maha-mantra is that It destroys all sins. Hear first the different, authoritative conclusions on the subject. Take note of Ajamila, the example of a sinner, who on his deathbed unconsciously called out, “Narayana’, the Supreme Lord’s name. The innumerable sins he had committed in countless lives were immediately absolved.

“The Bhagavatam 6.2.7 states that Ajamila had already atoned for all his sinful actions. Indeed, he has atoned not only for sins performed in one life but for those performed in millions of lives, for in a helpless condition he chanted the holy name of Narayana. Even though he did not chant purely, he chanted without offenses, and therefore he is now pure and eligible for liberation.

“The most heinous offenses like murdering a woman, a king, a cow or a brahmana; taking intoxicants, cohabiting with guru’s wife, betraying a friend, stealing, etc. are easily condoned simply by chanting the maha-mantra. Once one is purified of his sins, he becomes attracted to Lord Krishna. In this way the maha-mantra guides the living entity to his penultimate spiritual goal.

“The chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the best process of atonement for a thief of gold or other valuables, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brahmana, or for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior. It is also the best method of atonement for one who murders women, the king or his father, for one who slaughters cows, and for all other sinful men. Simply by chanting the maha-mantra, such sinful persons may attract the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers, ‘Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection.’” (Bhag 6.2.9-10)

“Observing penances and vows like chandrayana-vrata strictly according to scriptural injunctions cannot completely eradicate the sins a sinner commits. Yet, by chanting the maha-mantra even once, one becomes totally free from all sins.

“By following the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or undergoing atonement, sinful men do not become as purified as by chanting once the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Although ritualistic atonement may free one from sinful reactions, it does not awaken devotional service, unlike the chanting of the maha-mantra, which reminds one of the Lord's fame, qualities, attributes, pastimes and paraphernalia. (Bhag 6.2.11)

“Even if the maha-mantra is chanted unconsciously, jokingly, simply for entertainment, or neglectfully, the most grievous sins are absolved, and he enters the spiritual realm of Vaikuntha, lying beyond the jurisdiction of Yamaraja, the god of death.

“One who chants the maha-mantra is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures. (Bhag 6.2.14)

“If one chants the maha-mantra and then dies because of an accidental misfortune, such as falling from the top of a house, slipping and suffering broken bones while traveling on the road, being bitten by a serpent, being afflicted with pain and high fever, or being injured by a weapon, one is immediately absolved from having to enter hellish life, even though he is sinful. (Bhag 6.2.15)

“As a fire burns dry grass to ashes, so the maha-mantra, whether chanted knowingly or unknowingly, burns to ashes, without fail, all the reactions of one's sinful activities.(Bhag 6.2.18)

“The Laghu Bhagavatamrita states that the maha-mantra is the only real friend of the living entity. By the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one very easily uproots all sinful reactions that have been accumulated not only in this lifetime but also for many past lives and which are yet to mature into frution.

“It furthur states that a sinful offense committed against a saintly person is a serious crime, and only by chanting the maha-mantra can one be freed from the reaction (alongwith asking forgiveness from that saintly person if he is physically present).

“The scriptures have amply described the various forms of prayascitta (rituals for atonement of sins). However all of these ritualistic activities are inconsequential compared to the chanting of the maha-mantra.“

The Kurma Purana states that the process of chanting the maha-mantra has the power to eradicate all the accumulated and sinful reactions and much more, so much so that the maha-mantra can absolve more sinful reactions than one is even capable of committing.

“It furthur states that it is impossible to commit such volumes of sinful activities in this age of Kali which cannot be eradicated by the chanting of the maha-mantra.

“The Skanda Purana states that all the sins committed through actions, mind, words and body can be permanently nullified in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

“The Brhan-naradiya Purana states that the scriptures proclaim unequivocally that the maha-mantra is the cure for all diseases. O resident of Puri, I say it is true, trust Me. Just chant the names of Govinda, Acyutananda, Krishna, Madhusudana etc. Chant the maha-mantra with feeling from the heart and with tears flowing from the eyes. This will rid you of all material diseases and sufferings.

“The Brahmanda Purana states that chanting of the maha-mantra can purify even the most fallen sinner, and after he becomes purified, he in turn is to be counted amongst the saintly persons who can purify others by his association.

“The Vahni Purana states that all dreadful fears and sufferings, like severe sickness, the fear of capital punishment, etc. are easily quelled by chanting the maha-mantra.

“The Brhan-naradiya Purana states that the chanting of the maha-mantra drives away all types of chronic diseases, sufferings, distressful conditions and inauspicious situations.

“The Shrimad-Bhagavatam Mahapurana 12.12.48 states that when people properly glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead by chanting the maha-mantra or simply hear about His power, the Lord personally enters their hearts and cleanses away every trace of misfortune, just as the sun removes the darkness or as a powerful wind drives away the clouds.

“The Vishnu-dharmottara states that a person afflicted by poverty, hopelessness, despondency, weakness of mind, fear and serious diseases and distress can rarely see the redeeming rays of hope, but if he simply chants the maha-mantra or the name of Narayana, he will certainly be released from this intolerable misery and experience unlimited happiness. The Hare Krishna maha-mantra possesses inconceivable power and potency. By chanting the maha-mantra, all evil spirits, ghosts, demons and monstors etc. flee in fear, putting an end to the living entities’ extreme trepidations. Chanting removes all inauspiciousness, tribulations, hunger, thirst, confusion, and so on.

“After knowing all these facts about the potency of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, if one is still in doubt about Its efficacy, then he will not achieve any success in chanting. Another esoteric point about the maha-mantra the devotees must be aware of is that one receives the mercy of the maha-mantra only by increasing one’s faith and not by faithless doubting.

“The Skanda Purana states that Kali-yuga is like a black, poisonous snake with a gaping mouth and fangs. But please be unperturbed dear devotees and listen with faith. Once the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is being chanted, it is like igniting a forest fire which will burn to ashes the poisonous snakes within the forest.

“The Vishu-dharmottara states that in this dark age of Kali-yuga, sincere devotees of the Supreme Lord should leave aside all other means for liberation and take full shelter of the maha-mantra. This is the real responsibility and duty. There is unlimited bliss in chanting the maha-mantra and the different names of Krishna like Hari, Keshava, Govinda, Vasudeva and Jaganmaya. For one who chants constantly with unflinching faith, he remains unaffected by the reverses of Kali-yuga, because his heart has become purified by chanting.

“The Nrsingha Purana states that an abominable sinner a fit resident of hell, can easily become a devotee of the Lord by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Thus he can enter into the highest spiritual abode of the Lord.

“Prarabdha, or unmanifested reactions of sinful activities commited in a previous life, can be counteracted only by means of chanting the maha-mantra.

“This result cannot be achieved by pursuing speculative knowledge or performance of fruitive activity. In fact, it is impossible to break free frm the entanglement of karma (results of actions) without the help of the chanting process. Final liberation, therefore is unattainable through other processes. The kind of liberation the maha-mantra offers to the living entity will never again allow him to be induced to perform fruitive activities, but will rather make him transcend illusion and the three material modes.

“Bhag 6.2.46 states that one who desires freedom from material bondage should adopt the process of chanting and glorifying the name, fame, form and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand. One cannot derive the proper benefit from other methods, such as pious atonement, speculative knowledge and meditation in mystic yoga, because even after following such methods one takes to fruitive activities again, unable to control his mind, which is contaminated by the base qualities of nature, namely passion and ignorance.

“If a person who is in a death stupor, suffering acutely in a state of coma, somehow-unconsciously or otherwise-chants or hears the maha-mantra, the bonds of karmic reaction that bind him are severed, and he attains the supreme goal. In Kali-yuga or for that matter in any yuga, such liberation is unobtainable by any other methods.

“Bhag 12.3.44 states that when a man is about to die, he becomes terrified and collapses on his bed. Although his voice is faltering and he is hardly conscious of what he is saying, if he utters the Hare Krishna maha-mantra he can be freed from the reaction of his fruitive work and achieve the supreme destination. But still people in the age of Kali will not worship the Supreme Lord through the chanting process.

“The Vishnu-yamala states that the maha-mantra should be chanted with sincere faith and devotion and without envy. Krishna then forgives all of his countless offenses. As for the unfortunate soul who does not believe in the potency of the maha-mantra, the gates of liberation remain always closed to him.

“Discrepancies that arise while pronouncing Vedic hymns and following regulative principles of ritualistic activities in regard to time, place and paraphernalia are all rectified by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and thus one experiences unlimited joy. Chanting is the most important of all spiritual activities, so if one takes shelter of the maha-mantra he will automatically achieve perfection in all other devotional endeavours.

“Bhag 8.23.16 states that there may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and, moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when the maha-mantra is chanted, everything becomes faultless.

“The Vishnu-dharmottara states that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the essence of the Vedas, and far superior to it, anyone who doubts this faces constant misery. Pranava (the sound om) is one of Krishna’s names; the Vedas have emanated from this seed sound om, spoken first by Lord Brahma. Thus one who constantly chants the maha-mantra which is full of the names of Lord Hari, is considered to have mastered the four Vedas.

“The Skanda Purana states that there is no need whatsoever to undertake the tedious study of the four Vedas, namely, Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva? Simply go on chanting the maha-mantra and names of Lord Govinda. That is all that is required to achieve perfection in this age.“The Padma Purana states that each name of Lord Vishnu is greater and more potent than the entire Vedas; and Lord Rama’s name alone is superior to a thousand names of Vishnu.

“The Brahmanada Purana states that the spiritual result one obtains from chanting a thousand names of Vishnu three times (i,e. three names of Lord Rama) is attained by chanting Lord Krishna’s name just once.

“Therefore dear devotees, please continuously chant:

hare krishna hare krishna, krishna krishna hare hare;
hare rama hare rama, rama rama hare hare.

and also

krishna krishna, krishna krishna, krishna krishna krishna he ;

“The Hare Krishna maha-mantra consisting of sixteen names is perfect in every respect, and chanting this mantra gives one the highest benefit and perfection in spiritual life.

“Why undertake so many inconveniences to visit pilgrimage places simply to gain some peity, when by constantly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, wherever you are situated, you can accrue the results of all pious activities?

“The Skanda Purana states that for one who continually chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra there is no extra spiritual benefit by visiting even such holy places as Kurukshetra, Kashi, Pushkara, etc.

“The Vamana Purana states that the spiritual value of chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is far superior to visiting or even circumambulating millions and millions of holy pilgrimages.

“On a visit to the holy land of Kurukshetra, the powerful sage Vishvamitra made a statement which is recorded in the Vishvamitra-samhita. He said that he had heard the names of many holy places of pilgrimages in this material universe but none of them possessed even one millionth of the spiritual potency contained in the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. This statement is of utmost value to everyone.

“The Laghu Bhagavatamrita questions the necessity for studying such voluminous works as the Vedic literature and its corollaries? And why do people visit innumerable holy pilgrimages sites? One who truly desires to liberate the soul from illusion, let him constantly chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and other the names of Lord Govinda.

“It continues to state that the chanting of the maha-mantra is the highest spiritual activity, far superior to all other pious activities. One who chants with this realization is automatically executing all other prescribed religious duties. Pious activities like giving millions of cows in charity on solar eclipses; residing in Prayaga in the month of Magha (December-January) an observing strict vows and baths; performing countless sacrifices and disbursing mountains of gold are not equivalent to a minutest fraction of a fraction of the spiritual potencies acquired by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

“The Bodhyana-samhita states that even if hundreds of altruistic works are performed for the benefit of the general people’s welfare, all such activities are mundane activities according to the scriptures. The chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra alone can actually give complete liberation from this material world. Every other activity is insignificant in comparison.

“The Garuda Purana questions the reliability of sankhya-yoga (deductive philosophical speculation), astanga-yoga (the eightfold yoga process), etc. to offer one liberation. It states that if one is really searching for mukti, then such a person should continuously chant the maha-mantra. In fact, mukti is also insignificant in comparison to the actual result one achieves by chanting the maha-mantra. Mukti is but facile even to someone who chants the maha-mantra indifferently.

“One who constantly chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, the maha-mantra dances on his tongue. He may have taken birth in a family of dog-eaters (svapaca), but he should be considered a highly elevated brahmana. He must have already performed severe austerites and penances, visited all the holy places, taken bath in all of the sacred rivers and deeply studied the conclusions of the Vedas. Thus, obtaining immense piety in this way, he has come to the platform of incessantly tasting the nectar of the maha-mantra.

“Bhag 3.33.7 states: Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting the maha-mantra! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To be chanting the maha-mantra, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required.

“The Skanda Purana states that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the greatest chant for deliverance. It can easily offer all perfections and bring one to the highest spiritual realizations. This fact has been boldly proclaimed in the Vedic literatures. The chanting of the maha-mantra brings completely under control all six vicious vices (lust, greed, anger, etc.) and the impetuous senses, thus freeing one to execute perfect devotional service to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

“The really qualified and intelligent scholar, who applies his knowledge by proper behaviour and who relishes the essence of the scriptures, appreciates Kali-yuga; because it is only in this yuga that one attains the highest perfection through the simple but sublime process of vibrating the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

“Bhag 11.5.36 states: Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

“The Skanda Purana states that the supremely potent maha-mantra is equal in all respect to the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself, because Lord Krishna has invested the maha-mantra with all of His potencies. Krishna has collected the spiritual results accrued by charity, austerity, penance, pilgrimage, karma-kanda rituals offered to the demigods, rajasuya-yajna, asvamedha-yajna, knowledge of self-realization etc. and infused them into the maha-mantra to make It absolutely powerful.

“The Brahmanda Purana states that Lord Krishna, the Lord of all the demigods, possesses inconceivable potencies, and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and all of His names are endowed with the same potencies. One should thus devlop attachment for the maha-mantra, for the omnipotent maha-mantra can give one every desirable object.

“The world becomes joyful hearing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and everyone becomes attached to the Lord. The perfected souls offer their respectful homage to Him, but the demons are afraid, and they flee away. Lord Krishna and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra are the same; the maha-mantra has immense powers of influence-It is not lacking in anything just like the Lord Himself.

“The Bhagavad-gita 11.36 states: Arjuna said: ‘O master of the senses, the world becomes joyful upon hearing Your name, and thus everyone becomes attached to You. Although the perfected beings offer You their respectful homage, the demons are afraid, and they flee here and there. All this is rightly done.’

“The Brhan-naradiya Purana states that material qualifications, caste etc. are not the required qualifications for chanting the maha-mantra. One does not need formal initiation or have undergone vows of purification to be eligible to chant the maha-mantra. Whoever constantly chants the maha-mantra alongwith the other names of the Supreme Lord like Narayana, Jagannatha, Vasudeva, Janardana, is respected by all as a spiritual master. That person who chants the maha-mantra in sleeping, walking, dreaming and while performing other chores, is to be worshipped by everyone.

“The Narayana-vyuha-stava states that anyone who chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is to be worshiiped as a guru without considering that such a person is a shudra, a pukkasa, a yavana or of even lower birth etc.

“The Padma Purana states that one who is shelterless, who has no higher spiritual goals, who is a debauchee, cruel, violent, very licentious and devoid of knowledge, austerity or religious principles can become more elevated than the pious men simply by chanting the maha-mantra.

“The Vishnu-dharma states that there are no rules indicating time, place or circumstances for chanting the maha-mantra, nor is anyone prohibited from chanting if he is unclean or contaminated.

“The Skanda Purana states: Just go on chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Do not be inhibited by external rules such as those overning cleanliness, the maha-mantra is fully independent of all such material prescriptions and It is the supremely purifying agent-cleansing everything but without becoming affected in any way.

“The Vaishnava Cintamani states that ritualistic religious practices like yajna, charity, sacred baths and chanting of Vedic hymns are all regulated by rules of time, cleanliness etc. To consider that the chanting of the maha-mantrais subject to the same restrictions is a gross blunder. There are no hard and fast rules for chanting. Therefore, everyone chant the maha-mantra at all times.

“For the yogi who is searching for peace of mind, tranquility and freedom from fear, the only quick and effective way is to chant the maha-mantra.

“Bhag 2.1.11 states: O King, constant chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge.

“The Skanda Purana states that the Hare Krishna maha-mantrais the most magnanimous deliverer of souls. The maha-mantra alone offers the living entity sure and easy liberation. One needs to chant the maha-mantra or the name of Lord Hari just once, and immediately become an eligible candidate for liberation.

“The Padma Purana states that anyone who chants the maha-mantra or the name of Narayana even once with a pure heart, having conquered sleep and lethargy, is liberated and is in constant communion with the Lord.

“A living entity, enmeshed in the abysmal ocean of repeated birth and death, even if unconsciously or unknowingly chants the maha-mantra, he becomes immediately liberated and personified fear being afraid of the maha-mantra goes away.

“Bhag 1.1.14 states: Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, which is feared by fear personified.

“Bhag 3.9.15 states: Let me take shelter of the lotus feet of Him whose incarnations, qualities and activities are mysterious imitations of worldly affairs. One who invokes His transcendental names in the form of the maha-mantra, even unconsciously, at the time he quits this life, is certainly washed immediately of the sins of many, many births and attains Him without fail.

“In the Vishnu Purana it is stated: In our normal activities of eating, sleeping, sitting, dreaming, etc. to chant the maha-mantra, will completely nullify the ill effects of Kali-yuga and is the perfection of speech. Even if a persons chants Hare Krishna indifferently, he will attain that state beyond all material fear and lamentation. He will eventually reach Vaikuntha, the supreme goal.

“In the Varaha Purana it is stated: If somehow or other one chants the maha-mantra, Krishna is attracted to him and He showers him with causeless mercy. Even a ghostly haunted drunkard, miserably suffering numerous health disorders simply chants the maha-mantra, then liberation is immediately within his easy reach.

“The Padma Purana states: Chanting the maha-mantra is the highest goal of this human form of life. It is the supremely opulent and auspicious goal of life.

“The Prabhasa-khanda states: “The maha-mantra is the most auspicious of all auspicious things. It’s form is transcendental and is the ultimate fruit of the desire tree of the Vedas. Thus whoever chants the maha-mantra either with faith or negligently is immediately delivered. This is the conclusion of all the Vedic scriptures.

“The Vaishnava Cintamani states that amongst the different limbs of bhakti, chanting of the maha-mantra is, according to all the scriptures, the most efficacious. Astanga-yoga necessitates much arduous physical and mental exercise in order to remember (smarana) the Supreme Lord Vishnu. But simply by moving the lips and chanting is the best form of glorification and rememberance of the Supreme Lord. Therefore chanting is higher than only mental rememberance of the Lord. Because while chanting, shravana, kirtana and smarana, all three limbs of bhakti-yoga are accomplished.

“The Vaishnava Cintamani furthur states that one who has worshipped the Deity of the Lord for atleast a thousand lifetimes, and in each life having taken proper brahminical initiation, is able to constantly vibrate the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

“The Vishnu Purana states that: The supreme goal which was attained in Satya-yuga by years of prolonged meditation; in Treta-yuga by performing extensive yajnas, in Dvapara-yuga by opulent and scrupulous Deity worship; in Kali-yuga the same results are easily achieved simply by chanting the maha-mantra.

“The Skanda Purana states that the hallmark of a maha-bhagavata (the most elevated devotee) in Kali-yuga is that he chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra constantly.

“The Brhan-naradiya Purana states that the extraordinary result derived from chanting the transcendentally empowered and eternal Hare Krishna maha-mantra just a few times cannot be satisfactorily described, even by great personalities like Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma. So marvellous is the maha-mantra that immediately upon chanting or hearing It, the chanter attains the supreme destination.

“In the Adi Purana, Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, ‘O Arjuna! Listen attentively. When the living entity chants the maha-mantra which is made up of My own names, I never forget this act. I become so obliged to such a person that I Myself begin chanting the name of that person who is chanting the maha-mantra not finding any other means to repay his debt. There is no vow like the chanting of the maha-mantra. no knowledge like It, no meditation which comes anywhere near It, and no other result equal to It. No penance is equal to It, and nothing is as potent or powerful as the maha-mantra. Chanting the maha-mantra 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 all kinds of devotion, the heart’s joyous proclivity and attraction and the best form of rememberance of the Supreme Lord. The maha-mantra 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.

“There are no limits to the glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Just by hearing It once, even a pukkasa, the lowest of mankind can be saved.

“Bhag 6.16.44 states: My Lord, it is not impossible for one to be immediately freed from all material contamination by seeing You. Not to speak of seeing You personally, merely by hearing the holy name in the form of the maha-mantra only once, even candalas, men of the lowest class, are freed from all material contamination. Under the circumstances, who will not be freed from material contamination simply by seeing You?

“The Varaha Purana states that whoever continuously chants the maha-mantra, even in his sleep, can easily realise that the maha-mantra is a direct manifestation of Krishna Himself, inspite of all bad influences of Kali-yuga. This has been ordained by Lord Krishna Himself.

“The Nrsingha Purana states that one who constantly chants the maha-mantra and in this way remembers the Lord, even though living in this material ocean of nescience, is like the lotus, which is born in the water but is untouched by it: it’s position is transcendental. This great soul is capable of liberating all the suffering residents of the hellish planets.

“The Prabhasa-khanda states that the maha-mantra is the prime and the most secure shelter for the living entities. The maha-mantra can eradicate endless offenses and liberate a person.

“The Bhakti-rasamrita-sinduh, Purva-vibhaga 2.108 states that the maha-mantra is a trancendental touchstone, a direct manifestation of Krishna Himself, a fully cognisant Being, perfect, pure, eternally independent-the maha-mantra and Krishna are identical.

“The Rig Veda 1.56.3 states that one who philosophically understands that the Lord’s holy name and His potencies are the same can properly approach and worship the Supreme Lord with transcendental knowledge and choice prayers.”

Shri Krishnadas, a resident of Puri-dhama, then humbly enquired from Lord Chaitanya with folded hands: “Dear Lord, I have one clarification to be made, which I place before Your lotus feet, after having heard the supremely wonderful glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra directly from You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I wonder why the chanting does not give everyone the same result.”

Lord Gauranga replied-“Faith and conviction in the glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the root cause of success in chanting. Without this faith no one can get the desired results from the chanting process. The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the incarnation of Lord Krishna Himself, Who is omniscient. Thus it bestows the benefit to the chanter solely on the basis of one’s faith in the chanting process. Those who do not have complete faith in the glories of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra will never achieve the desired results from chanting but will be thrown into hell because of their offenses against the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. They will misinterpret the glories and the transcendental nature of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and thus suffer hellish existence.”(End)

Hari Nama Chintamani by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Chp 1. The Glories of the Holy Name
(Translated by Sarvabhavana dasa prabhu)

All glories to Shri Gadadhara Pandit and Lord Shri Gauranga; all glories to Lord Nityananda, the life of Shrimati Jahnavadevi; all glories to Shri Advaita Acarya and Mother Sita; all glories to Shrila Shrivas Pandit, and to all the devotees of Lord Chaitanya.

The Supreme Lord and His Devotees In Nilacala

Within a Temple near the ocean shore, the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides, visible in His form of wood known as Darubrahman (Lord Jagannatha). The Supreme Lord Hari descends to the material world in the Deity form to save the living entities; He gives both material pleasure and liberation. In this same holy place, Lord Chaitanya, the Supreme Personality, appeared in the role of a renounced sannyasi to benedict humanity; He stayed at Kasi Misra's residence and propagated the dharma necessary for this age of Kali, making everyone understand its real meaning.

Lord Chaitanya gathered His devotees at Jagannatha Puri, and together they showered love of Godhead on everyone, just like a wish-fulfilling tree. For the proper dissemination of spiritual instructions, He arranged for different devotees to speak on various subjects while He gave them a sober audience. He had Shri Ramananda Raya reveal the confidential mellows of the conjugal dealings of the Supreme Lord; Shri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya explained the truth about liberation; Shri Rupa Gosvami analyzed the levels and varieties of spiritual exchanges with the Lord; and Shrila Haridasa Thakura glorified the supreme efficacy and excellence of the Holy Name.

The Lord Inquires from Haridasa

One day, having returned from His bath in the ocean, Lord Chaitanya came to see Shrila Haridasa Thakura. He found Haridasa sitting under the Siddha Bakula tree. Greatly pleased at meeting Shrila Haridasa, the Lord then inquired from him the means by which the conditioned soul can easily attain liberation. Shrila Haridasa fell at the Lord's lotus feet and clasped them tightly. His entire body went into rapture, and he offered humble prayers punctuated by shivering and tears.

In a choked voice Shrila Haridasa said, “My Lord, Your wonderful pastimes are unfathomable. I am unfortunate and illiterate. My only anchor is Your lotus feet. What is the use of asking questions of a worthless person like me?”

Shrila Haridasa continued: “You are Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has appeared in Navadvipa to save the living entities. O my Lord Gauranga, kindly shelter me in the shade of Your lotus feet. Only this can engladden my heart. Your pastimes are ever-expanding; You have manifested Your name, form, qualities and pastimes in this material world so that even a fallen wretch like myself can relish them. It is impossible for the jiva to perceive Your transcendental features with mundane senses. Lord Krishna has mercifully manifest His transcendental feature of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the panca-tattva for the highest benefit of humanity. These direct manifestations of transcendence are immediate expansions of the internal spiritual potency of the Lord.
“You are the spiritual sun and I am an insignificant spark of Your effulgence; You are my Lord and master and I am Your servitor eternally. The ambrosia emanating from Your lotus feet intoxicates all my senses; my hope lies in the limitless nectar of Your holy name. I am fallen-what can I say of my own volition? I am here just to execute Your orders. I shall be greatly satisfied to speak the words You put into my mouth and I will not consider whether they are right or wrong.

The Truth of Lord Krishna

“Lord Krishna is the only Absolute Autocrat. He is beyond anyone's jurisdiction, for He alone is the Supreme Controller and Lord. He is endowed with inconceivable potencies, and is a fully independent, self-willed and conscious being. All energies or potencies are a part of His inherent nature; therefore they are not independent of Him. The omnipotent Lord is the fountainhead of all energies. Lord Krishna is the master of unlimited opulences and potencies, yet He is still one nondual brahman. Through the eightfold yoga system, the yogi can perceive this same nondual Supreme Being, who is omnipresent, localized within the heart as paramatma, the Supersoul. This aspect of Lord Krishna is also a partial manifestation. Therefore, neither brahman nor paramatma is a complete feature of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna alone is fully replete with absolute potency, will, control and consciousness.

Lord Krishna and His energies are one

“The multifarious energies of Lord Krishna are never independent of Him. The Vedas declare that the Lord and His energies are nondifferent. Lord Krishna is the infinite, absolute vibhu, and His energies are exhibitions of His opulences (vaibhava). In spite of His endless excellences and multifarious potencies, He remains unaffected and indivisible.

The three kinds of opulences

“The Lord's energies are manifestations of His vaibhava (opulences); the Supreme Lord, therefore, can be perceived only through these energies or vaibhava. O Lord Gauranga! You are the repository of three types of vaibhava. They are as revealed in the scriptures: the spiritual potency (cit-vaibhava), the material potency (maya or acit-vaibhava), and the marginal potency (jiva-vaibhava).

Cit-vaibhava or spiritual potency

“Lord Krishna's cit-vaibhava (spiritual opulences) are a transformation of His internal transcendental potencies. This unlimited display of spiritual potencies includes His abode, generally known as the Vaikunthaloka; His innumerable names like Govinda, Hari, etc.; His transcendental forms, like the threefold bending form with two hands playing on a flute; His divine qualities, so sublimely pleasurable to His devotees; His superexcellent pastimes like the rasa dance in Vrndavana and its nondifferent appearance in Navadvipa as the congregational chanting of the holy names. Thus His spiritual potencies are countless.

“The Lord's cit potency is His superior energy. It is the natural result of the Lord's spiritual fullness. The sandhini potency by which everything exists and is held together as an interrelated whole, including the relationships of all jivas to the Lord, is an emanation of the cit potency. From that same cit-vaibhava also comes the samvit potency, which gives knowledge of one's identity and of everything else; finally, from the cit-vaibhava comes the hladini potency, which gives birth to the ecstatic bliss of spiritual emotions, spiritual relationship and the divine exchange of rasas or mellows. The Lord's cit potency is His yogamaya, and its transformations are all beyond the jurisdiction of the mundane modes and influences.

“The cit potency is never affected by the inferior acit potency. Although it descends to this inferior mundane world it is unaffected by material inebrieties. Forever spiritual, embodying the absolute nature of the Supreme Lord, the Vedic hymns sing of its supreme position as equal to the Lord Himself.

Krishna's energies are in the visnu-tattva category

“There is no tinge of material influence in Lord Krishna's energy; it is transcendental and exists in pure goodness (suddha-sattva). Sattva is of two kinds: suddha-sattva (pure goodness) and misra-sattva (mixed goodness). Everything in the category of cit-vaibhava is suddha-sattva, or pure goodness. All sattva in the material nature is mixed, or misra-sattva. Suddha-sattva is devoid of passion and ignorance. Birth indicates the mode of passion in action. The eternally existent spiritual essence, suddha-sattva, has never been touched by birth, which is a manifestation of passion, nor by annihilation, which is an act carried out in the mode of ignorance. Although the Supreme Lord's separated parts and parcels, the jivas, belong to the category of suddha-sattva, due to their contact with nescience or material nature they have come under the sway of the material modes of passion and ignorance, and hence are now in the mixed or misra-suddha category. Even demigods like Lord Siva, though far superior in many ways to the ordinary jivas, are nevertheless captivated by the material glare due to false identification, and so fall in the category of misra-sattva. The Supreme Lord is always in pure goodness. He descends to this material world by His inconceivable spiritual potency and is always the controller of the material nature, maya, who is ever ready to act as His maidservant.

“All the expansions and partial expansions of the Lord, such as Govinda, Vaikunthanatha, Maha-Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and Ksirodakasayi Vishnu, are in the category of pure goodness, supreme and divine, and They are always absolutely spiritual. These visnu-tattvas, or Supreme Godhead belonging to the category of Vishnu, may sojourn in any place, either the spiritual abodes of Goloka, Vaikuntha, the Causal Ocean or in this material universe, yet They are always the Master of maya and the Supreme Controller of every other living entity, great or small. Their remaining unaffected by the influence of the illusory potency is evidence of Their inconceivable spiritual position.

Misra-sattva and maya-tattva

Lord Brahma the creator, Lord Siva the destroyer and all other demigods belong to the category of jiva, and hence are misra-tattva, or in the mixed category; while all the incarnations of the Vishnu category, Their pastimes, the spiritual sky, etc. are in pure goodness. On this side of the Viraja River, which separates the material universe from the spiritual abode, everything in all the fourteen planetary systems is acit-vaibhava or the temporary manifestation of matter. Elsewhere, this place has been described as Devi-dhama, the abode of Durgadevi, who is the presiding deity of maya. The material universe is composed of the five gross elements, mind, intelligence and false ego. Both the material universe and the physical bodies of the living entities are made of the same five material substances, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. Mind, intelligence and false ego comprise the jiva's subtle body which is the result of his desire; these are also material. Yet the jiva, who is by nature a product of the suddha-sattva as are his original mind, intelligence and ego, is spiritual and distinct from the subtle body.

“The seven higher planetary systems such as Bhur, Bhuvar, Svarga, Mahar, Jana, Satya and Brahma, and the seven lower planetary systems Atala, Sutala etc. are all manifestations of maya, the illusory potency of the Lord. cit-vaibhava is the complete whole, and maya is its shadow.

Liberated and conditioned souls

“The jiva is originally completely spiritual, but infinitesimal, and due to his spiritual nature he is also independent. The jivas are countless in number and spiritual bliss is their urgent need and perfection. In seeking after bliss, those who surrender their lives to Lord Krishna become liberated and reside eternally in the Lord's company as His confidential associates.

“On the other hand, the jivasoul who contemplates self-aggrandizement and selfish pleasure becomes attracted by maya, who is always near at hand. He becomes eternally entrapped, enticed away from Lord Krishna's service, and receives a body manufactured by material nature, or maya, conducive to residence in Devi-dhama. Thus he is bound in the cycle of inevitable karmic reaction, wandering in gross and subtle bodies. Sometimes he is elevated to the heavenly planets and next he has to descend to hell. In this way he travels through all the 8,400,000 species of life, suffering the pains of material existence.

Lord Krishna is always merciful

“O Lord, You are the Supreme Personality, and the jiva is Your part and parcel. You are always concerned for the wellbeing of Your servitors. Whatever situation the jiva may find himself in, Lord Krishna is always prepared to grant the jiva his heart's desire, like a well-wishing friend who never deserts him. The relationship between Krishna and the jiva is eternal. Krishna is the Supreme Godhead and the jiva is the instrument through whom and to whom the Lord manifests His energies and opulences. The Lord is the Supreme Controller, and the jiva is the beneficiary enjoying the rewards of his actions. Whatever the servant considers desirable, the Lord mercifully bestows upon him.

“Anyone yearning for evanescent sense pleasure in the material world can also easily find it kindly provided by You. The means to attain such gratification is the performance of auspicious activities as recommended in the Vedas. They are: following the duties of the varnasrama system; performing sacrifices such as the fire sacrifice (agnistoma); executing the eightfold yoga process; offering havan or oblations; keeping vows on full-moon days; and giving in charity on auspicious days and on occasions productive of material benefit. Although these activities are performed with Lord Vishnu as the presiding Deity, there is no pure devotional attitude on the part of the performer; he unfortunately does not realize his want of spirituality because these activities never help him develop a pure spiritual mood. The results one accrues from these activities are material; one simply craves for enjoyment in higher planets. Such activities and their results can never satisfy the soul, the real self; illusion is their cause. These so-called auspicious activities only allow one to attain temporary heavenly pleasures diametrically opposed to transcendental bliss.

Deliverance from material piety

“If a person is fortunate enough to have association with a saintly personality and comes to know of his eternal identity as a servant of Lord Krishna, he easily surmounts the great obstacle of material nature. This is very rare. It happens only because of the results of huge amounts of previous pious activities that are never to be attained by the performance of fruitive works, which can give only insignificant results.

“The seekers of dry empirical knowledge understand material nature to be a place of suffering and so strive for liberation. You are merciful to them also; You have given them the jnana-kanda section of the Vedas so they can pursue impersonal knowledge of the Absolute. Their final destination is absorption into the brahmajyoti. The brahmajyoti is Your spiritual effulgence and is situated on the bank of the Viraja River. All the demons killed by the Supreme Lord also end up merging with the brahmajyoti, which lies beyond the periphery of maya. Both the empiricists and the fruitive workers are nondevotees, disinclined to serve Lord Krishna. They can never relish the sweetness of Lord Krishna's service.

Pious activities leading to devotional service

“Sukrti, or pious activity, is of three varieties: 1) karmonmukhi or piety derived from fruitive activities, 2) jnanonmukhi or piety derived from the cultivation of knowledge and 3) bhaktiunmukhi or piety derived from devotional service. The first two result in enjoying the fruits of action and in liberation, respectively. However, bhakti-unmukhi involves faith in and appreciation of pure devotional service. Such exalted piety is achieved by unknowing performance of pure devotional service, without spiritual knowledge (ajnata-sukrti). Bhakti-unmukhi is the most important kind of sukrti, and it leads the jiva to meet a pure, saintly devotee. By associating with a devotee of Krishna the jiva's faith becomes firm. Gradually he develops a taste for chanting the holy name, becomes compassionate toward all beings, and is fixed in devotional service.

A secondary process for the karmi and jnani

“O Lord! You are an ocean of magnanimity and the Supreme Controller of everyone. You are always keen to serve the conditioned souls, including the karmis (fruitive workers) and jnanis (empirical philosophers). Thinking of their welfare You have proposed a secondary devotional path. The karmi who follows varnasrama-dharma associates with saintly persons and executes his duties for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Hari. Such activities cleanse his heart and gradually destroy the desire for more fruitive work. In its place the seed of sraddha, or pure faith, is sown within his heart.

“On the strength of his piety, the jnani obtains the association of pure devotees of the Lord and invokes their inherent compassion towards himself. This helps him easily develop firm faith in the process of pure devotional service. The association of a pure devotee is a secondary devotional path for the jnani. O Lord, You often say, 'My servant, the jiva, succumbs to the treachery of My illusory potency. I always know what is beneficial for him and thus I inspire him to develop an aversion to sense enjoyment and liberation, and in its place I grant him attraction to devotional service unto Me. I lead the jiva in the pursuit of fulfilling his material desires and very subtly deflect his yearnings toward a secondary devotional path, and in this way strengthen his faith and love.'

“O Lord! You are most merciful and all this is a reflection of Your causeless mercy. Without Your loving intervention, how could the jiva ever become purified?

Religion has deteriorated in Kali-yuga

“In Satya-yuga, sages who took up the process of meditation were purified by the Lord and given the treasure of devotional service. In Treta-yuga, the same spiritual success crowned those who flawlessly performed opulent sacrifices to satisfy the Lord, and in Dvapara-yuga You granted devotion to those who adhered perfectly to the path of Deity worship. With the advent of Kali-yuga, O Lord, You saw the dreadful condition of the jivas and relinquished all hope in the processes of yoga, meditation, fruitive activities, sacrifices etc.

“People in Kali-yuga are short-lived, always harassed by disease, and are born with a weak physique and psyche. They are handicapped from the outset. The cultivation of varnasrama-dharma, sankhya philosophy, yoga and empiricism will not yield the strength needed to redeem the jivas in Kali-yuga. And the secondary sub-devotional paths of jnana and karma are extremely narrow and hazardous. The two secondary paths that lead to the shrine of devotional service are: 1) the association of saintly persons during spiritual discussions; and 2) work performed without desire for results in which everything is offered to the Supreme Lord. In Kali-yuga both have become contaminated. Genuine saintly persons, now rarely seen, have been displaced by a brand of crass, commercial pseudo-spiritualists. Religious activities are no longer performed for purifying the consciousness but for mere enjoyment of the results. Therefore these secondary paths are no longer beneficial. Even the process of Deity worship that gave the highest spiritual success in Dvapara-yuga has become impure and degraded.

“The jivas then tried other means to reach the final destination but were confronted with many insurmountable obstacles. The path that directs one to the goal is the actual means, and what is gained by the execution of the means or process is the final destination. Receiving the Lord's mercy is the goal of human life. But karma or jnana are not the preeminent means to achieve that highest goal, because although they bring one close to the destination, in the end they suddenly reach a dead end and disappear.

The prime process: chanting the holy name

“The process of chanting the holy name is not like that. The Lord's holy name is always present, therefore it is the most efficient process. When the means becomes the end, the process becomes identical to the objective, and thus it is easy for the jivas to attain liberation by Your mercy. In my case, O Lord, it is different: I am extremely fallen and am much engrossed in material life. Being the rascal I am, I never chanted Your holy name.”

Saying this, Shrila Haridasa, the incarnation of Lord Brahma, fell at the Lord's feet with tears cascading from his eyes and his body heaving with sighs. Only persons who appreciate Lord Hari, His devotees, and devotional service can take this Harinama Cintamani to heart.

Many translations above are from Sarvabhavana dasa prabhu's translations which are copyrighted by him.