Śrī Kṛṣṇa Nāma

Śrī-Mūrti-sevā o Pautalikatā (Deity Worship and Idolatry)Śrī-Mūrti-sevā o Pautalikatā (Deity Worship and Idolatry)
mangalacaranaMaṅgalācaraṇa

In ‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa Nāma’ published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, vol.11, issue 5 in 1899, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura discusses Mahāprabhu’s instructions to constantly chant the Holy Name and states that simply discussing nāma-tattva, studying it in śāstra or chanting in public is not sufficient.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Nāma

by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

 Śrī kali-pāvanāvatāra Śrīman Mahāprabhu Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya advented in Navadvīpa-dhāma in order to propagate kṛṣṇa-nāma throughout the world. In the age of Kali, there is no other way except hari-nāma for the different jīvas, and understanding this clearly, He has instructed everyone to chant kṛṣṇa-nāma. Nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana (Perform kṛṣṇa-nāṁa saṅkīrtana constantly!) – this was the instruction from his holy mouth. At that time, in the town of Nadīyā, Śrīman Nityānanda and Hari Dāsa were appointed to propagate the Name and Śrīman Mahāprabhu gave the following order:

prati ghare ghare giyā kara ei bhikṣā
`bala kṛṣṇa, bhaja kṛṣṇa, kara kṛṣṇa-sikṣā’
ihā bai āra nā balibā balāi
bādina-avasāne āsi āmāre kahibā

“Go to every house and beg in this way, `Chant the names of Kṛṣṇa, worship Kṛṣṇa, and follow the teachings of Kṛṣṇa.’ Except for this, do not speak anything else, nor have others speak anything else. At the end of the day, come and give Me a report.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khāṇḍa, 13.9-10)

On the command of the Lord, the two went to the houses of the jīvas and began to propagate kṛṣṇa-nāma, according to Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata:

ājñā pāi’ dui jane bule ghare ghare
“bala kṛṣṇa, gāo kṛṣṇa, bhajaha kṛṣṇere
kṛṣṇa prāṇa, kṛṣṇa dhana, kṛṣṇa se jīvana
hena kṛṣṇa bala bhāi hai’ eka-mana”

“Having been ordered by the Lord, the two went door to door saying, ‘Chant the name of Kṛṣṇa, sing the glories of Kṛṣṇa, and worship Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is your life, Kṛṣṇa is your wealth, Kṛṣṇa is your very soul. O brothers! Chant the name of Kṛṣṇa with full attention.’” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khāṇḍa, 13.16-17)

The day before Śrī Gāurāṅga accepted sannyāsa, His holy feet attracted all the devotees. When the devotees offered Him daṇḍavats, the Lord gave them this last instruction:

āpana galāra mālā sabākāre diyā
ājṇā kare prabhu sabe—“kṛṣṇa gāo giyā
bala kṛṣṇa , bhaja kṛṣṇa, gāo kṛṣṇa-nāma
kṛṣṇa vinu keha kichu nā bhāviha āna
yadi āmā’-prati sneha thāke sabākāra
tabe kṛṣṇa-vyatirikta nā gāibe āra
ki śayane, ki bhojane, kibā jāgaraṇe
aharniśa cinta kṛṣṇa, balaha vadane”

“Giving everyone a garland from His neck, the Lord instructed them all, “Sing the glories of Kṛṣṇa. Say Kṛṣṇa, worship Kṛṣṇa, and chant kṛṣṇa-nāma. Think of nothing except for Kṛṣṇa. If you have affection for Me, then do not speak about anything other than Kṛṣṇa. Whether you are sleeping, eating, or awake, both during the day and night, only think of Kṛṣṇa and speak about Him.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khāṇḍa 28.25-28)

The more one loves Śrīman Mahāprabhu, the more one tries to obey Him. The Lord’s advice is to make one’s life full of kṛṣṇa-nāma.

There is no real object in this world except for kṛṣṇa-nāma. He who has firm faith in Śrī Mahāprabhu does not disbelieve in kṛṣṇa-nāma. There is no doubt that all benefits are obtained by having firm faith in the words of the Lord, and being able to chant kṛṣṇa-nāma by the grace of Śrī Guru. Śrīman Mahāprabhu has delivered the jīvas by giving them kṛṣṇa-nāma and chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma. During His travels in the South, He made everyone into a Vaiṣṇava through the name of Kṛṣṇa. Thus it is said in the Caritāmṛta:

yāre dekhe, tāre kahe kaha kṛṣṇa-nāma
ei-mata vaiṣṇava kaila saba nija-grāma

“Whoever He saw, whoever He spoke to, He told them to chant kṛṣṇa-nāma. In this way, all the villagers became Vaiṣnavas”. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.101)

kṛṣṇa-nāma loka-mukhe śuni avirāma
sei loka vaiṣṇava kaila anya saba grāma

“Always hearing them chant kṛṣṇa-nāma, those persons made the people into Vaiṣṇavas in other villages.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.117)

kṛṣṇa-nāmāmṛta-vanyāya deṣa bhāsāila

“The nectar of kṛṣṇa-nāma flooded the whole country.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.118)

In Kūrma-kṣetra, the Lord instructed the Vaidika brāhmaṇa named Kūrma:

gṛhe rahi kṛṣṇa-nāma nirantara laiba

“Remain at home and always chant kṛṣṇa-nāma.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.127)

kabhu nā bādhibe tomāra viṣaya-taraṅga

“Thus, the waves of materialism will not obstruct you at any time. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.129)

In the Caritāmṛta, the Lord told the brāhmaṇa, Vāsudeva:

nirantara kaha tumi ‘kṛṣṇa’ ‘kṛṣṇa’ nāma

“Constantly chant the Names, ‘Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!’” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.147)

The Lord gave this instruction to the Gauḍa chieftain, Subuddhi Rāya:

nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana
eka nāmābhāse tomāra pāpa-doṣa yābe
āra nāma laite kṛṣṇa-caraṇa pāibe
āra kṛṣṇa-nāma laite kṛṣṇa-sthāne sthiti

“Constantly perform kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana! Even one nāmābhāsa will remove all your sinful reactions and the Name will eventually lead you to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s feet. Also, kṛṣṇa-nāma will eventually situate you in the association of Kṛṣṇa.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 25.198-200)

In Śrī Caitanya-bhāgavata, The Lord tells Tāpana Miśra:

kali-yuga-dharma haya nāma-saṅkīrtana
cāri yuge cāri dharma jīvera kāraṇa

“The yuga-dharma in Kali-yuga is nāma-saṅkīrtana. The four different types of dharma for the four yugas are all meant for the deliverance of the jīvas. (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khāṇḍa 14.137)

sādhya-sādhana-tattva ye kichu sakala
hari-nāma-saṅkīrtane milibe sakala

“By hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana one can achieve everything, including the goal of life (sādhya) and the means for attaining it (sādhana). (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khāṇḍa 14.143)

During His travels in Śrī Vṛndāvana, Mahāprabhu also made the animals, birds and both immovable and movable objects crazy by chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma:

prabhu kahe—kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’, vyāghra uṭhila
‘kṛṣṇa’ ‘kṛṣṇa’ kahi’ vyāghra nācite lāgila

“The Lord said: ‘Chant Kṛṣṇa!’ The tiger then got up and began to dance and chanted, ‘Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!’” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17. 29)

mayūrādi pakṣi-gaṇa prabhure dekhiyā
saṅge cale, ‘kṛṣṇa’ bali’ nāce matta hañā

“The peacocks and other birds, saw the Lord and followed Him, dancing madly, chanting ‘Kṛṣṇa!’” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17. 44)

‘hari-bola’ bali’ prabhu kare ucca-dhvani
vṛkṣa-latā—praphullita, sei dhvani śuni

“When the Lord loudly chanted “Hari-bol!” the trees and creepers became happy to hear Him His voice.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17. 45)

jhārikhaṇḍe’ sthāvara-jaṅgama āche yata
kṛṣṇa-nāma diyā kaila premete unmatta

“In Jhārikhaṇḍa, the animate and inanimate beings became maddened with prema by hearing kṛṣṇa-nāma. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17. 46)

To understand the intrinsic nature of kṛṣṇa-nāma, one must take shelter of the Holy Name with a mood of one-pointed determination. “Nirantara nāma laya khāite śuite tāṅhāra mahimā vede nāhi pāre dite” (The Vedas cannot fully describe the glories of one who chants the Holy Name constantly, even while eating and sleeping) – we should always remember these words of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. We are very foolish, yet the Lord has graciously given us kṛṣṇa-nāma. Now, by firmly believing in the words of the Lord and constantly chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, all our hopes will be fulfilled. The sannyāsīs who were living in Kāśī asked Mahāprabhu the reason He did not listen to Vedānta:

prabhu kahe śuna śrīpāda, ihāra kāraṇa
guru more mūrkha dekhi karila śāsana
mūrkha tumi tomāra nāhika vedāntādhikāra
kṛṣṇa-mantra japa sadā ei mantra-sāra
kṛṣṇa-mantra haite habe saṁsāra-mocana
kṛṣṇa-nāma haite pābe kṛṣṇera caraṇa
nāma vinu kali-kāle nāhi āra dharma
sarva-mantra-sāra nāma ei śāstra-marma

“The Lord replied, ‘Śrīpāda, please listen to the reason. My guru saw Me as a fool, and chastised Me. He said: ‘You are a fool! You have no qualification for Vedānta! Always perform japa of the kṛṣṇamantra for this is the essence of all mantras. By chanting the kṛṣṇa-mantra one can become liberated from material existence. And by chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, one will attain the feet of the Kṛṣṇa. In the age of Kali there is no other dharma than the Holy Name. It is the essence of all mantras. Indeed, this Holy Name is the essence of all the śāstra.’” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 7.71-74)

kṛṣṇa-nāma-mahā-mantrera ei ta’ svabhāva
yei jape, tāra kṛṣṇe upajaye bhava

“It is the intrinsic nature of the mahā-mantra of Kṛṣṇa’s Name that anyone who chants it develops feelings of bhāva for Kṛṣṇa.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 7.83)

ei tāṅra vākye āmi dṛḍha viśvāsa kari
nirantara kṛṣṇa-nāma saṅkīrtana kari

“I firmly believe in these words (of My guru), thus I always engage in kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 7.95)

How long will it be before we are able to chant the Name constantly, and our life is blessed by the results of the Holy Name, attaining the wealth of prema, by the grace of Śrī Gurudeva? The most merciful Mahāprabhu has given us kṛṣṇa-nāma which is imbued with all His potencies, but we are so unfortunate that we have no taste for the Holy Name. Descending in order to save the jīvas, Mahāprabhu Himself has taught us, by constantly chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma. We should observe His conduct.

ki bhojane, ki śayane, kibā jāgaraṇe
kṛṣṇa-vinu prabhu āra kichu nā vākhāne

“Whether eating, sleeping, or awake, the Lord did not speak of anything other than Kṛṣṇa.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-khāṇḍa 1.242)

nirantara kṛṣṇa-nāma jihvā tāṅra gāya
dui-netre aśru vahe gaṅgā-dhārā-prāya
kṣaṇe nāce hāse gāya karaye krandana
kṣaṇe huhuṅkāra kare siṁhera garjana

“His tongue is constantly chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, and from both His eyes tears are flowing like the Gaṅgā. Sometimes He dances, laughs, sings and weeps, and sometimes He roars loudly like a lion.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 17.111-112)

By the desire of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Śrī Hari Dasa Ṭhākura descended as the ācārya of nāmatattva. By chanting three lakhs of Holy Names throughout his life, he propagated the glories of the Name in this world. Continuously immersing himself in the nāma-rasārṇava (the ocean of divine mellows derived from the Holy Name), Hari Dāsa Ṭhākura distributed hari-nāma to the jīvas of this world, while laughing and crying like a madman.

viṣaya-sukhete viraktera agragaṇya
kṛṣṇa-nāme paripūrṇa śrī-vadana dhanya
kṣaṇeka govinda-nāme nāhika virakti
bhakti-rase anukṣaṇa haya nānā mūrti

“He (Hari Dāsa) was most renounced as regards mundane enjoyment. His holy mouth was completely blessed with the chanting of kṛṣṇa-nāma. He did not give up chanting the Name of Govinda even for a moment. Immersed in bhakti-rasa, he continuously manifested various forms of ecstasy.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Ādi-khāṇḍa 16.23-24)

If you think about it, there is nothing easier than kṛṣṇa-nāma. The pride of performing yoga, amassing jñāna, knowledge, wisdom, erudition, etc. is useless – what could be easier than chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma carefully and in a simple mood? However, one may believe in the glories of the Holy Name on face value, or propagate the Name in public, but if one has no taste or if there is a tendency towards other processes, then what benefit will there be? If one chants the Holy Name without offence, the result will be the wealth of prema, but if one does not do that, how will he attain the result? Simply speaking about belief in nāma-tattva, or studying about it in the śāstra is not enough. The result can only be obtained by doing it. One who is acquainted with the glories of the Holy Name, but does not chant it, is not free from offences; they can never attain a taste for the Holy Name due to weakness of heart (hṛdaya-daurbalya) stemming from bad association (asat-saṅga) – this is because they are offenders to the Holy Name. It is a good sign when one is able to remove offences by good association and with a simple-hearted mood. If one chants the Name carefully without offences, then in a short time the Name a seems to be blissful. Gradually, such bliss increases, so much so, that there is no desire to give up chanting the Holy Name.  Then it becomes easy to take exclusive shelter of the Name. From that time onwards, all good fortune arises.

We have no wealth except for śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāma. Knowing that the jīvas in this age of Kali are very poor, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has given us this nāma-tattva. By the mercy of Śrī Mahāprabhu, we can constantly chant kṛṣṇa-nāma – this is our only prayer.

(Śrī Kṛṣna Nāma, published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol. 11, issue 5 in 1899, was translated into English by Swami B.V. Giri)
Śrī-Mūrti-sevā o Pautalikatā (Deity Worship and Idolatry)Śrī-Mūrti-sevā o Pautalikatā (Deity Worship and Idolatry)
mangalacaranaMaṅgalācaraṇa

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