After accepting sannyāsa, the avatāra who purifies Kali-yuga, that unprecedented ocean of mercy, Śrīman Godruma-candra (Śrī Caitanya) preached hari-nāma all over the world. Residing in Śrī Puruṣottama-kṣtera, the Lord personally distributed the greatest treasure to the residents of Orissa and South India. He gave Śrīman Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrīmad Advaita Prabhu the eligibility to reveal the holy names and bhagavat-tattva in the land of Bengal. He sent the Gosvāmīs led by Śrīmad Rūpa and Sanātana to the western part of India in order to preach śuddha-bhakti and the glories of the Name. Upon attaining the Lord’s instruction, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī stayed in Śrīdhāṁa Vṛndāvana where he propagated śuddha-nāma, śuddha-bhakti and the glories of the Holy Name. Today I will sing to you the nāma-mahimā-āṣṭaka (eight verses glorifying the Holy Name) composed by the best of Gosvāmīs, that ācārya of nāma-rasa. Kindly listen and experience the glories of śrī-hari-nāma.
ayi mukta-kulair upāsyamānaṁ
paritas tvāṁ hari-nāma saṁśrayāmi
“O hari-nāma! All the Upaniṣads, the crown-jewel of the Vedas, offer ārati with their rays to your lotus feet. You are worshipped in all respects by eternally liberated jīvas. I take shelter at Your feet.”
sva-nāma-mahimā karala pracāra
The son of Śacī propagated the glories of His own Name through the mouth of Śrī Rūpa.
yo nāma, so hari-kachu nāhi bheda
(so) nāma satyam iti gāyati veda
Śrī Hari is His Name and there is not even a slight difference between them. The Vedas sing that the Holy Name is the Absolute Truth.
sabu upaniṣad, ratna-mālā-dyuti,
maṅgala-ārati, kara-i anukṣana,
All the Upaniṣads are like a necklace of effulgent gems shining before the feet (of the Holy Name). They continuously offer maṅgala-ārati to the Name with lamps of ten wicks.
caudda bhuvana māha, deva-nara-dānava,
bhāga yāṅkara balavān
nāma-rasa-pīyuṣa, piba-i anukṣana,
Within the fourteen worlds, those Devas, men and Dānavas who have great fortune constantly drink the nectar of nāma-rasa, rejecting karma and jñāna.
nitya-mukta punaḥ, nāma-upāsana,
satata kara-i sāma-gāne
goloke vaiṭhata, gāowe nirantara,
nāma-viraha nāhi jāne
Those who are eternally liberated worship the Holy Name by eternally singing the Sāma hymns. Residing in Goloka, they perpetually chant the Name and know no separation from it.
sabu-rasa-ākara, ‘hari’ iti dvy-akṣara,
sabu-bhāve karaluṅ āśraya
nāma caraṇe paḍi, bhaktivinoda kahe,
tuwā pade māgahuṅ nilaya
The two syllables ha and ri are the origin of all rasa. Every bhāva has taken shelter in them. Falling at the feet of the Holy Name, Bhaktivinoda says, “I pray for residence at Your two feet.”
jaya nāmadheya muni-vṛnda-geya he
tvam anādarād api manāg udīritaḿ
O Holy Name, all the munis sing about You! You give pleasure to the whole world. You have taken the form of divine syllables. Even if someone chants You a little, with disrespect, You remove all the terrible sufferings of that jīva. All glories unto You!
jaya jaya hari-nāma, cidānandāmṛta-dhāma,
nija-jane kṛpā kari’, nāma-rūpe avatari’,
jīve dayā karile apāra
All glories, all glories to hari-nāma, the abode of nectarean bliss, the Supreme Truth in the form of eternal syllables. To show compassion to Your devotees, You have descended in the form of the holy name and you give unlimited mercy to the jīvas.
jaya ‘hari’, ‘kṛṣṇa’, ‘rāma’, jaga-jana-suviśrāma,
muni-vṛnda nirantara, ye nāmera samādara,
kari’ gāya bhariyā vadana
All glories to Hari, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma! You are the wonderful resting place for everyone in the universe, and You delight the minds of all. The sages constantly show great respect to you, O Holy Name, and sing You with their mouths wide open.
ohe kṛṣṇa-nāmākṣara, tumi sarva-śakti-dhara,
tomā vinā bhava-sindhu, uddhārite nāhi bandhu,
O kṛṣṇa-nāma in the form of syllables! You possess all potencies, and bestow auspiciousness upon the jīvas. Except for You, there is no other friend to rescue us from the ocean of material existence. You have come for the deliverance of all jīvas.
āche tāpa jīve jata, tumi saba kara hata,
helāya tomāre eka-bāra
ḍāke yadi kana jana, ha’ye dīna akiñcana,
nāhi dekhi’ anya pratikāra
You destroy all the distress of the jīvas, if someone chants you neglectfully even once, feeling fallen and destitute. I see no other remedy.
tava svalpa-sphūrti pāya, ugra-tāpa dūre jāya,
liṅga-bhaṅga haya anāyāse
bhakativinoda kaya, jaya hari-nāma jaya,
paḍe’ thāki tuwā pada-āśe
If one attains even a slight glimpse of You, then all sorts of dreadful miseries are driven far away and the subtle body is easily dissolved. Bhaktivinoda says, “All glories, all glories to hari-nāma! I constantly offer obeisance, hoping to attain Your feet.
yad-ābhāso ‘py udyan kavalita-bhava-dhvānta-vibhavo
dṛśaḿ tattvāndhānām api diśati bhakti-praṇayinīm
janas tasyodāttaḿ jagati bhagavan-nāma-taraṇe
kṛtī te nirvaktuḿ ka iha mahimānaḿ prabhavati
O sun-like Name of the Supreme! In this world, who is so learned that they can completely describe Your glories? When Your reflection appears, You appear in a form covered by darkness, just as sun rays are covered by morning fog. But Your strength is so great that within a short time that covering is removed, and those who are spiritually blind are made eligible to directly experience bhakti.
viśve udita, nāma-tapana,
choḍata saba, māyā-vibhava,
sādhu tāhe anurāgī
The sun of the Holy Name has appeared in this world to destroy ignorance. Rejecting the opulence of māyā, the sādhus show affection for the Name.
tomāra mahimā kevā jāne
ke heno panḍita-jana, tomāra māhātmya-gaṇa,
uccaiḥ-svare sakala vākhāne
O effulgent hari-nāma! You remove the darkness of ignorance. Who really knows Your greatness? Who is that scholar who is capable of loudly singing all Your glories?
tomāra ābhāsa pahilahi bhāya
e bhava-timira kavalita-prāya
When Your reflection is first perceived, the darkness of material existence is almost devoured.
acire timira nāśiyā prajñāna
tattvāndha-nayane karena vidhāna
Swiftly destroying that darkness, You give realised knowledge to our spiritually blinded eyes.
sei ta’ prajñāna viśuddha bhakati
upajāya hari-viśayinī mati
That realised knowledge manifests pure devotion (viśuddha-bhakti), which awakens consciousness of Hari.
e adbhuta-līlā satata tomāra
bhakativinoda jāniyāche sāra
This is Your eternal wonderful līla and Bhaktivinoda understands its essence.
vināśam āyāti vinā na bhogaiḥ
apaiti nāma sphuraṇena tat te
prārabdha-karmeti virauti vedaḥ
Despite gaining direct experience of Brahman, prārabdha-karma is not removed without attaining its results. But, O Holy Name, all the Vedas say that simply by a glimpse of You, one’s prārabdha-karma is destroyed.
jñānī jñāna-yoge, kariyā yatane,
brahmera sākṣāt kare
brahma-sākṣātkāra, aprarābdha karma,
sampūrna jñānete hare
The jñānī makes endeavours in jñāna-yoga and directly perceives Brahman, and upon perceiving Brahman, his aprārabdha-karma (unfructified karma) is destroyed by dint of jñāna.
tabu ta’ prārabdha, nāhi haya kṣaya,
phala-bhoga vinā kabhu
brahma-bhūta jīva, phala-bhoga lāgi’,
But his prārabdha-karma (present karmika reactions) is not eliminated without experiencing its results. The jīva who has attained the brahma-bhūta platform must undergo the results of his karma and experience birth and death.
kintu ohe nāma, tava sphūrti ha’le,
ekāntī janera āra
prārabdhāprārabdha, kichu nāhi thāke,
vede gāya bāra bāra
But, O Holy Name, when You manifest, Your exclusive devotee has no more prārabdha or aprārabdha-karma. The Vedas declare this again and again.
tomāra udaye, jīvera hṛdaya,
sampūrna śodhita haya
karma-jñāna-bandha, saba dūre jāya,
Your appearance in the heart of a jīva completely purifies him. The fetters of karma and jñāna are totally removed and worldly existence is easily eradicated.
bhakativinoda, bāhu tule’ kaya,
nāmera niśāna dhara
nāma-ḍaṅkā-dhvani, kariyā jāibe,
With raised arms, Bhaktivinoda says, “Take up the banner of the Holy Name and walk along beating the drum of the Holy Name – then surely you will see Muralīdhara.”
agha-damana yaśodā-nandanau nanda-sūno
kamala-nayana gopī-candra vṛndāvanendrāḥ
praṇata-karuṇa-kṛṣṇāv ity aneka-svarūpe
tvayi mama ratir uccair vardhatāḿ nāmadheya
O Holy Name! May my attraction increase towards Your innumerable forms such as the Killer of Agha (Agha-damana), the son of Yaśodā (Yaśodā-nandana), the son of Nanda (Nanda-sūna), the lotus-eyed One (Kamala-nayana), the Moon of the gopīs (Gopī-candra), the Lord of Vṛndāvana (Vṛndāvanendra), He who is merciful to those who surrender unto Him (Praṇata-karuṇa), and the all-attractive One (Kṛṣṇa).
hari-nāma, tuwā aneka svarūpa
O hari-nāma, You possess many forms – as the son of Yaśodā, He who increases bliss, the son of Nanda, and the reservoir of rasa.
You are the destroyer of Pūtanā and the killer of Tṛnāvarta, the breaker of the cart, the protector of the cows, the player of the muralī flute, the slayer of Agha and Baka, the holder of Govardhana, and You are a cowherd boy.
You killed Keśī, bewildered Brahmā, and broke the pride of the lord of the demigods. You slew Ariṣṭa, enchanted the gopīs, and You sport on the banks of the Yamunā.
rāma, kṛṣṇa, hari, mādhava, narahari,
You give pleasure to Rādhikā, You are the nectar of the rāsa-līlā, and You sport in the bowers near Rādhā Kunḍa. You are the reservoir of all pleasure, the all-attractive one, the remover of miseries, the Lord of the goddess of fortune, the half-man half-lion avatāra, and You are the original source of all avatāras such as Matsya etc.
govinda, vāmana, śrī madhusūdana,
You give pleasure to the cows, You are Vāmana, the dwarf-brāhmaṇa, and the celebrated destroyer of Madhu. You are the moon of the Yadus, and You wear a beautiful garland of forest flowers. You are the chastiser of Kāliya, the delight of Gokula, and You attain pleasure in the worship of Rādhā.
ityādika nāma, svarūpe prakāma,
vāḍuka mora rati rāge
rūpa-svarūpa-pada, jāni’ nija sampada,
bhaktivinoda dhari’ māge
Therefore, may my attraction and love increase for these forms of the Holy Name. Knowing the feet of Śrī Rūpa and Svarūpa Dāmodara to be his dearest wealth, Bhaktivinoda holds them and prays in this way.
vācyaḿ vācakam ity udeti bhavato nāma svarūpa-dvayaḿ
pūrvasmāt param eva hanta karuṇaḿ tatrāpi jānīmahe
yas tasmin vihitāparādha-nivahaḥ prāṇī samantād bhaved
āsyenedam upāsya so ‘pi hi sadānandāmbudhau majjati
O Holy Name! You manifest two different forms – the word expressing an object (vācya) and the object which is expressed (vācaka). However, we certainly know that the vācya is even more compassionate than the vācaka. This is because when a jīva makes an offence against Your vācaka form, if he worships You by uttering your vācya form, he is completely submerged in an ocean of divine bliss.
vācya o vācaka dui svarūpa tomāra
vācya-tava śrī-vigraha cid-ānandākāra
Vācya (that which expresses) and vācaka (that which is expressed) are Your two forms. Vācya is Your beautiful form of transcendental knowledge and bliss.
vācaka svarūpa tava ‘śrī-kṛṣṇādi’ nāma
The vācaka forms are Your holy names, such as Śrī Kṛṣṇa etc. Appearing in the form of letters, You are the blissful refuge of all jīvas.
ei dui svarūpe tava ananta prakāśa
dayā kari’ deya jīve tomāra vilāsa
Your unlimited expansions are found in these two forms. Being merciful, They confer Your pastimes to the jīvas.
kintu jāniyāchi nātha vācaka-svarūpa
vācyāpekṣā dayamaya, ei aparūpa
But I know, O Lord, that Your vācaka form is even more merciful than Your vācya form. This is most wonderful.
nāma nāmī bheda nāi, vedera vacana
tabu nāma-nāmī ha’te adhika karuṇa
There is no difference between the Name and the Named – this is stated by the Vedas. However, the Name is more merciful than the Named.
kṛṣṇe-aparādhī yadi nāme śraddhā kari’
prāṇa bhari’ ḍāke nāma ‘rāma, kṛṣṇa, hari’
aparādha dūre jāya, ānanda-sāgare
bhāse sei anāyāse rasera pāthāre
If one is an offender to Kṛṣṇa, but has faith in the Holy Name and calls out for his very life, “Rāma! Kṛṣṇa! Hari!” then his offences are cast far away, and he easily floats in a sea of divine bliss – an ocean of rasa.
vigraha-svarūpa vācye aparādha kari’
śuddha-nāmāśraye sei aparādhe tari’
One may make offences to the vācya form of the Lord, but if one takes shelter of the Holy Name, he crosses beyond those offences.
bhakativinoda māge śrī-rūpa-caraṇe
vācaka-svarūpa nāme rati anukṣane
Bhaktivinoda begs at the feet of Śrī Rūpa for constant attachment to the vācaka form of the divine Holy Name.
nāma gokula-mahotsavāya te
kṛṣṇa pūrṇa-vapuṣe namo namah
O Holy Name! O Kṛṣṇa! You are the great festival of Gokula, complete and perfect, the form of concentrated spiritual bliss and the destroyer of distress for those who have taken refuge in You. Again and again, I offer my respects unto You.
ohe hari-nāma, tava mahimā apāra
tava pade nati āmi kari bāra bāra
O hari-nāma! Your glories are unlimited! I bow down at Your feet again and again.
gokulera mahotsava ānanda-sāgara
tomāra caraṇe paḍi’ haiyā kātara
O grand festival of Gokula! O ocean of bliss! In despair, I fall at Your feet.
tumi kṛṣṇa, pūrna-vapu, rasera nidāna
tava pade paḍi’ tava guna kari gāna
O Kṛṣṇa, You possess a perfect and complete form, and You are the source of rasa. Falling down at Your feet, I will sing of Your qualities.
ye kare tomāra pade ekānta āśraya
tā’ra ārti-rāśi nāśa karaha niścaya
For that person who takes exclusive shelter at Your feet, you certainly destroy all of their miseries.
sarva-aparādha tumi nāśa kara tā’ra
nāma-aparādhāvadhi nāśaha tāhāra
You eliminate all of their offences, including offences to the Holy Name.
sarva-doṣa dhauta kari’ tāhāra hṛdaya
siṁhāsane baisa tumi parama āśraya
Purifying them of all impurities, You sit upon the throne of their heart, because You are the Supreme shelter.
‘raso vai saḥ’ bali’ veda kare tuwā gān
Your form is most delightful and is comprised of concentrated spiritual bliss. Raso vai saḥ (‘He is indeed rasa!’) – saying this, the Vedas sing Your glories.
māgaye sarvadā nāma-sphūrti sarva-kṣane
Bhaktivinoda constantly begs at the feet of Rūpa Gosvāmī that the Holy Name may reveal itself at every moment.
tvaḿ kṛṣṇa-nāma kāmaḿ
sphura me rasane rasena sadā
O kṛṣṇa-nāma! When You manifest from Nārada Muni’s vīṇā, You become a condensed sweet flood in the form of nectarean waves. Please constantly appear directly on my tongue.
nārada muni, bājāya vīṇā,
nāma amani, udita haya,
Nārada Muni plays his vīṇā and sings the names of ‘Rādhikā-Ramaṇa.’ The Holy Name appears immediately as the devotees sing the Sāma hymns.
amiya-dhārā, bariṣe ghana,
bhakata-jana, saghane nāce,
bhariyā āpana hiyā
A thick shower of nectar rains down into their ears, and the devotees dance in ecstasy to their heart’s content.
mādhurī-pūra, asaba paśi’,
keha vā kānde, keha vā nāce,
keha māte mane mane
A flood of this ambrosial nectar intoxicates the inhabitants of the universe. Some of them weep, some of them dance and some become intoxicated within their minds.
pañca-vadana, nārade dhari’,
premera saghana rola
kamalāsana, nāciyā bale,
‘bala bala hari-bola’
The five-faced Śiva embraces Nārada and shouts in great ecstasy. Kamalāsana (Brahmā) dances and exclaims, “Chant! Chant! Haribol!'”
‘hari hari’ bali’ gāya
nāma-prabhāve, mātila viśva,
nāma-rasa sabe pāya
In supreme ecstasy, the thousand-headed Ananta sings and calls out, “Hari! Hari!” By the influence of the Holy Name, the whole universe becomes intoxicated as everyone tastes nāma-rasa (the mellows of the Holy Name).
śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāma, rasane sphuri’,
purā’la āmāra āśa
śrī-rūpa-pade, yācaye ihā,
Directly manifesting on the tongue, śrī kṛṣṇa-nāma fulfils all my desires. This humble servant Bhaktivinoda, begs for this at the feet of Śrī Rūpa.
Nāma Māhātmya samāpta
Thus ends this glorification of the Holy Name.
He is the son of Yaśodā; the greatest lover in the land of Vraja; the delight of Gokula; He is known as Kāna; He is the wealth of the lives of the gopīs. He steals the mind of the god of love, and He chastises Kāliya.
amala hari-nāma amiya-vilāsā
vipina-purandara, navīna nāgara-vara,
These pure names of Hari are full of ambrosial pastimes. He is the King of the forests groves; He is the greatest of youthful lovers; He plays the vaṁśī flute and dresses beautifully.
govinda mādhava, navanīta-taskara,
He is the protector of the residents of Vraja; the destroyer of demoniac dynasties; the tender of Nanda’s cows; He is gives pleasure to the cows and the senses; the Husband of the goddess of fortune; the butter thief; and the beautiful cowherd boy of Nanda.
He wanders along the banks of the Yamunā; He stole the garments of the gopīs; He finds pleasure in the mellows of the rāsa dance; He is most merciful; He is the beloved of Srī Rādhā; the greatest dancer of Vṛndāvana; and the refuge of Bhaktivinoda.
(The Song of the Broker)
bara sukher khabar gāi
surabhi-kuñjete nāmer hāṭa khule’che (khoda nitāi)
I sing news of great happiness! In Surabhī-kuñja, a market-place of the Holy Name has opened! Nitāi is the owner.
bara majār kathā tāya
śraddhā-mūlye śuddha-nāma sei hāṭete bikāya
The amusing thing is that He is selling śuddha-nāma in that market-place only for the price of only one’s faith.
yata bhakta-vṛnda basi’
adhikārī dekhe’ nāma becche dara kaṣi’
All the devotees wait as He looks at their qualifications and sells the Holy Name to them at a fixed price.
yadi nāma kinbe, bhāi
āmār sańge cala, mahājaner kāche jāi
O brother, if you wish to purchase the Holy Name, then come with me. I am going to see that great personality (Nityānanda).
tumi kinbe kṛṣṇa-nāma
dasturi laiba āmi, pūrṇa ha’be kāma
You can buy the name of Kṛṣṇa, and I will take my commission and all of our desires will be fulfilled.
bara dayāl nityānanda
śraddhā-mātra la’ye dena parama-ānanda
Nityānanda is extremely merciful. Only in exchange for one’s faith, He gives the highest bliss.
ek-bāra dekhle cakṣe jala
‘gaura’ bale’ nitāi dena sakala sambala
If Nitāi sees tears in someone’s eyes while chanting “Gaura” even once, He gives all support to that person.
dena śuddha kṛṣṇa-śikṣā
jāti, dhana, vidyā, bala nā kare apekṣā
Giving the pure teachings of Kṛṣṇa, He does not care for one’s birth, wealth, knowledge or strength.
amani chāḍe māyā-jāla
gṛhe thāka, bane thāka, nā thāke jañjāla
Immediately giving up the snare of māyā, either remain at home or in the forest (as a sannyāsī) and all troubles will cease.
āra nāiko kalir bhaya
ācaṇḍāle dena nāma nitāi dayāmaya
There is no more fear of Kali-yuga. The merciful Nitāi gives the Holy Name even to the caṇḍālas.
bhaktivinoda ḍāki’ kaya
nitāi-caraṇa vinā āra nāhi āśraya
Bhaktivinoda cries out, “Except for the feet of Nitāī there is no other shelter!”
dayāl nitāi-caitanya’ bale’ nāc re āmār mana
nāc re āmār man, nāc re āmāra mana
Chanting, ‘Dayāl Nitāi-Caitanya!’ – O my mind, please dance! O my mind, please dance! O my mind, please dance!
(eman, dayāl to nāi he, māra kheye prema deya)
(are) aparādha dūre jābe, pābe prema-dhana
(o nāme aparādha-vicāra ta nāi he)
(takhan) kṛṣṇa-nāme ruci ha’be, ghucibe bandhana
Such a merciful personality cannot be found! He is beaten and still gives prema! O when your offences go far away, you will attain the wealth of prema! In these names (Caitanya and Nitāi) there is no consideration of offence! When you have a taste for kṛṣṇa-nāma, your bondage will end.
(kṛṣṇa-nāme anurāga to ha’be he)
(takhon) anāyāse saphal ha’be jīvera jīvana
(kṛṣṇa-rati vinā jīvan to miche he)
śeṣe vṛndāvane rādhā-śyāmer pa’be daraśana
(gaura-kṛpā ha’le he)
When attachment to kṛṣṇa-nāma is there, then the life of a jīva becomes successful very easily! Without affection for Kṛṣṇa, life is useless! At the end of life, you will attain darśana of Rādhā-Śyāma in Vṛndāvana – but only by the mercy of Gaura!
The most fallen Śrī Kedāranātha Bhaktivinoda