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Title: Chant the Holy Name of God
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-03-12 17:46:09
Dear Swami Gaurangapada,
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Please accept my humble obeisances.
I would like to ask You one question regarding Naam:
As we already know, one of Shrila Prabhupada's main instruction was "Chant the Holy Name of God". He wasn't even insisting too much to specifically take up the Holy Names of Nityananda Gauranga and Hare Krishna. His foremost mission was to make the people somehow chant the Holy Name of God, in general. So my question is: What about all the other religions and their respective Holy Names of the Lord? Do they lead the follower to the ultimate goal of transcendental loving service to Lord Gauranga-Krishna?
Thank You very much.
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! No, chanting of all Holy Names do not lead to the ultimate destination just like a flight ticket to Munich will not take us to Vienna. Like Lord Krishna Himself says yanti deva vrata devan...meaning worshipers of His different aspects attain different destinations. Some religions have some bonafide Holy Names of God which are mostly secondary Holy Names of God so they reward the chanter with the fruits of happiness in the heavenly planets and fruits upto liberation as described in Hari Nama Chintamani. Some Names chanted in some paths are imaginary and added by some later people and have no specific positive spiritual benefit to the soul. The religious books of some other religions may contain some spiritual descriptions but the depth of knowledge in the Vedic scriptures is not found anywhere. That is why the Vedic scriptures are said to be the actual goal of all religions. The unique feature of the Vedic scriptures is that they describe the eternal divine activities of God in the spiritual world and the Holy Names which are directly connected to Them. Only these primary Holy Names of God which directly descend from the pastimes of God in the spiritual world can takes to the spiritual world. In fact, there are some other secondary Names of God even in the Vedas which pertain to the the pastimes of God in this material world. Even those Names cannot take the soul to the spiritual planets.
I had compiled a brief description of the different levels which exist even for the spiritual bonafide Holy Names in the Vedas which I am attaching below.
Secondary Names of God like Brahma, Paramatma, Srishtikarta, etc. take us only to the heavenly planets or maximum can grant us temporary liberation or mukti from the cycle from the birth and death. But only the chanting the Primary Names of God which are specifically related to His Divine Eternal Pastimes in the spiritual planets can elevate the soul to the spiritual Vaikuntha planets themselves.
(I) In the Brhad-visnu-sahasranama-stotra, Uttara-khanda, Padma Purana (72.335) it is said:
rama rameti rameti, rame rame manorame;
sahasra-namabhis tulyam, rama-nama varanane.
Lord Siva addressed his wife, Durga: "O Varanana (lovely-faced woman), I chant the holy name of Rama, Rama, Rama and thus constantly enjoy this beautiful sound. This holy name of Ramacandra is equal to one thousand holy names of Lord Visnu (Visnu-sahasra-nama-stotram)."
(II) In the Padma Purana it its mentioned:
visnor ekaika namapi, sarva vedadhikam matam
tadrk nama sahasrena, rama nama samasmrtam
"Each Name of Lord Vishnu is greater and more potent than the entire Vedas combined together, and Lord Rama's Name alone is more superior that a thousand Names of Lord Vishnu."
(III) In the Brahmanda Purana it is stated:
sahasra-namnam punyanam, trir-avrttya tu yat phalam;
ekavrttya tu krsnasya, namaikam tat prayacchati.
"And the pious results (punya) achieved by chanting the thousand holy names of Visnu (Visnu-sahasra-nama-stotram) three times or the Holy Name of Rama thrice can be attained by only one utterance of the Holy Name of Krsna."
(IV) Prabhasa Khanda of Padma Purana states:
namnam mukhyataram nama, krsnakhyam me parantapa;
prayascittam asesenam papanam mocakam param.
"O Arjuna, the Holy of Krishna is the most principal (mukhyataram) among all Names of God. One can atone for unlimited sinful deeds by chanting the Name of Krishna which is the supreme destroyer of all sins."
(V) Finally in the Brahma-Rahasya it is stated:
krsna-caitanyeti nama, mukhyan mukhyatamam prabhoh;
helaya sakrd uccarya, sarva-nama-phalam labhet.
"The Holy Name Krsna Chaitanya or Gauranga is the topmost or the most principal (mukhyan) even among all the important primary and most principal (mukhyatamam) Holy Names of the Lord Krsna. By chanting this name just once, a person attains the spiritual results (punya) of chanting all the other holy names of the Lord."
So from the above five very important verses we can easily come to the following conclusion:
Secondary Names of God like Brahma, Paramatma, Srishtikarta etc. take us only to the heavenly planets or maximum can grant us liberation or mukti. But only the chanting the Primary Names of God which are specifically related to His Divine Eternal Pastimes in the spiritual planets can elevate the soul to the spiritual Vaikuntha planets themselves.
Vishnu's Name = Principal Name of God more than all the Vedas combined together
Rama's Name = More Principal Name (Mukhya) of God =1000 Names of Vishnu
Krishna's Name = Most Principal Name (Mukhyataram) of God = 3 Names of Rama or 3000 Names of Vishnu
Gauranga's Name = Most Principal (Mukhyan) among the Most Principal Names (Mukhyatamam) of Lord Krishna = Total of all the result achieved by chanting the All the Holy Names of Krsna, Rama and Visnu (sarva nama phalam labhet)
Please note there is absolutely no difference between the Holy Name of Krishna and Gauranga (They are of equal potency totally non-different) for the liberated souls but for the conditioned souls the Name of Gauranga is even more beneficial than the Name of Krishna. Thus the above difference as described in the scriptures is purely due to the difference in benefit achieved by the chanting of These Names by the conditioned souls not the liberated souls. Since there is no difference between Krishna and Gauranga, the liberated offenseless souls get equal benefit form chanting the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas and the Hare Krishna Mahamantra so for them they can chant anyone and get the same absolute benefit. But that is not applicable to the conditioned souls because their ten offenses block the full light and power of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra from coming through in the conditioned stage. But as per Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya (aparadha sattva jiva labhe prema dhana and aparadha badha tara kichu nahi kare) the experience the full potency and power of the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas is fully available even to the conditioned and offensive chanters.
As per the original Sanskrit verses quoted above, Mukhya is the first degree, Mukhyataram is the second degree and Mukhyatamam is the third degree of emphasis. So in the above verses from the scriptures, Rama's Name is Mukhya, Krishna's Name is Mukhyataram and Gauranga's Name is Mukhyan Mukhyatamam.