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Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsvati Thakura Prabhupada explains the ontology of the name of Krishna in one essay as follows:
“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.”
Twenty Teachings on the process of Nama-bhajana
by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
from his Bengali letters to different disciples printed in Shrila
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, published by Shree Gopinatha Gaudiya Math. English
translation by B.S. Damodara Maharaja)
1. “One should call on the Lord through the chanting of the Holy Names at all times. You should be vigilant to maintain your scheduled rounds on the beads while loudly chanting the holy name. This will effectively remove all anarthas. Then atheistic people will not be able to shake you with their blasphemy.
2. “If sinful or materialistic thoughts engulf you during chanting that should not deter you from persevering in chanting. In the beginning stages of chanting it is natural for such thoughts to arise in the mind. Don’t become disillusioned by such thoughts, because that will not help your advancement. Such thoughts will cease only when one develops nama-priti (love and attraction for the holy name). Unless one is determined and enthusiastic in chanting the holy name, how will such material thoughts ever stop? By engaging your body, mind and words in the service of nama, you will soon perceive the resplendent form of the Supreme Lord (nami).
3. “I am pleased to hear that your enthusiasm for chanting the holy name has increased. Continually chanting the holy name with perseverance will eradicate all anarthas. Then the form, qualities and pastimes of Shri Nama will automatically be revealed. The Lord and His holy name are non-different. But this fact can only be understood when one becomes freed from anarthas. Offenseless chanting will help us realize that chanting the holy name yields all perfections.
4. “Pure chanting of the holy name will dissolve the gross and subtle coverings of the soul, and manifest one’s original pure identity.
shri namai jivera svarupa udaya (naiya) krishna-rupa akarshana karana.
In other words, chanting the holy name will gradually reveal one’s original spiritual form, qualities and eternal seva. This is turn will cause him to be attracted to Krishna’s form, qualities and pastimes.
5. “The holy name will manifest in your heart as you go on serving the holy name with body, mind and words. Hearing and reciting sastras helps to confirm the realizations one attains by chanting the holy name.
6. “To become free from offenses one must constantly chant the holy name. Shriman Mahaprabhu invested all His potencies in Shri Rupa Gosvami. Therefore, we must beg mercy from Shri Rupa Gosvami and his devoted followers. One should pray to the holy name for the qualification to engage in the transcendental service of Shri Rupa Gosvami. Be assured that the holy name as the Supreme Lord will come to reside in your heart.
7. “One of the best ways to counteract bad association is to increase the chanting of the holy names. Atheists cannot present any impediments to your devotional service if you chant one lakh of nama everyday. Please try to adjust your time so you can chant one lakh (64 rounds) of holy names daily. Otherwise, one is considered fallen. One should attempt to transcend this fallen state.”
8. “The Supreme Lord is non-different from His name. If one fails to perceive this fact due to his conditioned nature, then he should serve a pure devotee expert in Hari-bhajana. You can help others by becoming expert in bhajana. Please chant the holy name loudly so that your enjoying tendencies will not overcome you.
9. “Lord Gaurasundara is especially merciful to those of humble disposition who feel completely unqualified. I will pray to Shriman Mahaprabhu that your enthusiasm for chanting the holy name increases. You should constantly perform Hari-bhajana in a humble state of mind while cultivating the qualities of respecting all and demanding none. I will be very happy if you can chant the holy name without any obstacles.
10. “Chanting the holy name is equivalent to meeting Lord Krishna face to face. The liberated soul engages in worship of the personified name, along with reading books like Chaitanya-charitamrita, Chaitanya Bhagavata, Prarthana, Prerna-bhakti-candrika and Kalyana Kalpataru. You should know that the main result of activities like Deity worship and meditation on the Supreme Lord is the chanting of the holy name.
11. “You should chant the holy name free from all offenses and bad association. One who chants the holy name, while possessing sambandha-jnana, will not be defeated by any obstacle on the path to perfection. There cannot be any auspiciousness for the living entity unless he practices Krishna nama-bhajana.
12. “It is with ordinary material vision that one sees a difference between the Supreme Lord and His name. Even if there is no taste for the holy name, one should chant with great adoration. By strictly chanting a fixed number one will gradually understand the non-difference between the name and Gaura-Krishna. Shri Gaura Hari and Radha-Krishna are one and the same. Lord Gauranga is Shri Krishna Himself. The compassion of Shri Gaurasundara is without limit, and the nectarean sweetness of Shri Krishnacandra is boundless!
13. “One should take to the name with great patience and determination; free from any desire for material benefits. Lord Krishna will definitely reciprocate. Before chanting the holy name one should surrender his mind to the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga.
14. “Krishna is most compassionate and one day He will shower His mercy upon us. We have to pray to the holy name, and He will certainly bestow His mercy upon us.
15. “If you chant suddha-nama then all your desires for material activities will be completely destroyed. Initiation by the spiritual master gives one enthusiasm and inspiration to chant the holy name. Furthermore, you identify yourself as the servant of Lord Hari and thus become free from fruitive work. If after beginning a life of sadhana bhakti you again want to submerge yourself in fruitive work, this means that you have not even chanted one name of the Lord! The ignorant living entity feels helpless, so he strives to secure money for sense gratification. But the liberated devotees simply chant the holy name of Krishna.
16. “Chanting the holy name will remove all types of bad association (karmis, jnanis and mayavadis), just as the rising sun dissipates the morning fog. Taking Shri Rupa Gosvami’s order (asatsanga-tyaga) to heart, you should chant the holy name. Thus you will receive the mercy of Shri Gaurahari.
17. “By taking the medicine of sugar candy a jaundiced patient gradually becomes cured, and begins to relish the sugar candy. Similarly, by taking the prescription of the holy name one’s aversion to serving the Lord will decrease. The sweetness of the holy name will gradually manifest, and one will begin to serve the Lord with his transcendental senses.
18. “To make spiritual advancement one should serve the Vaishnavas, preach to the conditioned souls (jiva doya), and chant Krishna’s holy name. Accept all things favorable for these three activities and reject anything opposed to them.
19. “Without a doubt, the fact that you are delving into the high topics of asta-kaliya lila smarana is not very proper. These subjects cannot be assimilated in the stage of anartha-nivrtti. One who sincerely chants the holy name with great determination will realize the pure identity of the self. The eternal identity of the soul will become established only after the anarthas have been destroyed.
20. “It is not a type of knowledge which can be derived by logic or falsely imposed on someone. Even at the stage of enlightenment, whatever realizations one obtains about his spiritual identity from sincerely chanting the holy name must be confirmed by a shiksa guru. This is the meaning of ekadasa bhava. At that advanced stage, the spiritual master simply guides the further development of one’s bhajana. All these realizations will automatically manifest as one progresses in spiritual life.”
Further Instructions by Shrila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada:
“One should never lose hope in spite of being attacked by wicked thoughts while chanting the holy name. All these thoughts will gradually disappear as one becomes fixed in chanting. But if one does not chant with enthusiasm how will such materialistic thoughts disappear?
“The best way to overcome the material energy is to associate with advanced devotees and to chant the holy name of Krishna. A devotee’s advancement can be measured by how much he is attracted to chanting the holy name.
“The end of all study and knowledge is the chanting of Krishna’s holy names. Devotion to the Lord means faithfully chanting the holy name of Krishna. One who chants the holy name without of-fenses will very quickly attain Krishna prema.”
Nama-seva and Dhama-seva
by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada:
“Failing to realize the dignity of the Dhama (Navadvipa, Puri and Vrindavana), we have no predilection for Dhama-seva. Dhama-seva will bring us the highest welfare. He who seeks connection with the Dhama will find his attachment to grama (birthplace, home or domestic life) therewith soon liquified. Relations with the worldly abode (grama), and hankering after the ordinary worldly life will soon cease for one who realizes his relation with Shri Dhama. The service of Dhama frees one from the illusion that the soul is himself God or master.
“The service of Shri Dhama will lead us, as a matter of course, to the service of the holy name. Then shri-nama seva soon brings us to our real end-serving Shri Krishna in pure love. Shri Vaikuntha-nama alone has come down to this earth, and it is in the Shri Dhama that Shri Nama has been deposited. The presence of nama-seva does not give the real end of service to Shri Krishna in pure love to one who disconnects himself from Shri Dhama. The mere pretense of serving the name apart from the service of Shri Dhama, and living aloof from any relationship with the dhama, will never lead to the goal of serving the divine desire of Krishna.”