Adi Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara) was none other than the incarnation of Lord Shiva. He was born about twelve hundred years ago at a place called Kalady, situated on the banks of river Purna in Kerala. He was born to a brahmin couple – Shivaguru and Aryamba in answer to their prayers unto Sri Vadakkunnathan, a form of Lord Shiva. At the tender age of eight, Shankaracharya left his home in search of his Guru. Walking about two thousand Kilometers, he reached central India where he surrendered unto Guru Govindapada. He stayed under his tutelage for four years and attained mastery over various Vedic scriptures. From the age of twelve to sixteen Shankaracharya, on being instructed by his Guru, wrote commentaries elucidating the meanings of various scriptures. From the age of sixteen until he passed away at thirty-two, Shankaracharya traveled across the length and breadth of India preaching the message of the Vedas.
15 Reasons why you should chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra daily
All glories to Sri Krishna Sankirtanam! All glories to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra !!!
In this age of Kali the only means of spiritual salvation is the chanting of Krishna’s holy name and glories (Sri-Krishna-Kirtana). No other activity surpasses the effectiveness of this.
harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha (Brhad Naradiya Purana) – In this age of Kali the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of Lord Hari. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.
Chanting the Holy name of Lord Hari destroys all sins
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said:
One of the features of the Holy name is that it destroys all sins. First of all, hear about this subject based on evidence from the scriptures. Take note of the sinner Ajamila who had chanted the holy name ‘Narayana’, lying helplessly (upon his deathbed). He immediately became absolved of the innumerable sins that he had committed over millions of his births.
ayam hi krta-nirveso janma-koty-amhasam api yad vyajahara vivaso nama svasty-ayanam hareh (Srimad Bhagavatm, 6.2.7) – (The Vishnu-Dutas said) Ajamila has already atoned for all his sinful actions. Indeed, he has atoned not only for sins performed in this life but also for those he had performed in millions of lives. It is because he had chanted the holy name of Narayana in a helpless condition.
Religious rites and vows are insignificant in comparison to chanting the Holy Name
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained :
The religious rites like ‘Chandrayan Vrata’ as mentioned in the scriptures do not completely eradicate the sins of a sinner. The chanting of Lord Hari’s holy Name just once, however, delivers the sinner of all his sins.
na niskrtair uditair brahma vadibhis tatha visuddhyaty-aghavan vratadibhih yatha harer nama-padair udahrtais tad uttamahsloka-gunopalambhakam (Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.2.11) – (Vishnu-Dutas said) By following the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or undergoing atonement, sinful men do not become as purified as by chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.The chanting of the holy Name reminds one of the Lord’s qualities.
One who chants the holy name of Lord Hari attains Vaikuntha
If one chants the holy name of Krishna or Hari indirectly, jokingly, for entertainment or even neglectfully – then this namabhasa (impure but offenseless chanting of the Holy Name) will destroy his innumerable sins and enable him to enter into Vaikuntha(the spiritual world) overstepping the jurisdiction of Yamadutas (attendants of Yamaraja).
sanketyam parihasyam va stobham helanam eva va vaikuntha-nama-grahanam-asesagha-haram viduh (Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.2.14) – (Vishnu-dutas said) Even if one chants the holy name of the Lord indirectly, jokingly, for entertainment, or even neglectfully, one is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins. This is accepted by all the learned transcendentalists.
Yamaraja never torments those who helplessly and submissively call out the names of Krishna, Hari or Narayana after having fallen, slipped, been broken, bitten, burnt or having suffered an injury.
patitah skhalito bhagnah sandastas tapta ahatah harir-ity-avashenaha puman-narhati yatanah (Srimad Bhagavatm, 6.2.15) – (Vishnu-dutas said) If one chants the holy name of Hari and then dies because of an accidental misfortune, such as falling, slipping, suffering broken body, being bitten, burnt, or being injured, then one is immediately absolved from having to enter hellish life, even though he is sinful.
Chanting absolves sins of the past as well as sins that are yet to fructify
The Holy Name of the Lord quickly nullifies the reactions to one’s present sins, sins associated with one’s previous lives, and sins that shall fructify in the future. The living entity has no friend in his life other than the Holy Name of the Supreme Lord.
vartamanas tu yat papam yadbhutam yad-bhavishyati tat sarvam nirdahatyasu govinda-kirtananalah (Laghu Bhagavata) – The fire of chanting of Lord Govinda’s Name quickly burns away the reactions to sinful activities that have accumulated not only in this life but over many past lives and even those which are yet to ripen in the future.
Even those who offend and commit sins against the virtuous people of this world attain deliverance by chanting the Holy Name of the Supreme Lord.
sada droha-paro yas tu sajjananam mahitale jayate pabano dhanyo harer-namanukirtanat (Laghu Bhagavata) – An offense committed against a saintly person is a grave violation and can only be atoned by chanting the Holy Name of the Lord.
The Holy name cures all diseases
All the Vedic scriptures sing that the holy name of the Supreme Lord can cure all diseases.
achyutananda-govinda-namochcharana-bhisitah nasyanti sakala rogah satyam satyam vadamy aham (Brhan Naradiya Purana) – This is the Truth! This is the Truth! Chanting the Names ‘Achyutananda’ and ‘Govinda’ causes diseases to die out of fear.
The Holy Name transforms the greatest sinners into the most glorious saints
mahapataka-yukto pi kirtayan manisam harim suddhantahkarano bhutva jayate pamkti-pavanah (Brahmanda Purana) – By chanting the Holy Name of the Lord day and night, even the greatest sinner is purified and is transformed into a saint who can purify others by his association.
Chanting the Holy name dispels fear and punishments
The Fear of terrible diseases or the fear of being punished by the King is driven away by chanting the Holy Name of Narayana.
mahavyadhi-samach-chhanno raja-vadhopapiditah narayaneti sankirtya niratanko bhaven narah (Vahni Purana) – Living beings who are troubled with terrible diseases or oppressed by kings grow fearless by chanting the Holy Name of Narayana.
All kinds of diseases, sufferings, along with troubles and calamities are destroyed by chanting the Holy Name of Lord Hari.
sarva-roga-upasamanam sarvopadrava-nasanam santidam sarva aristanam harer nama anukirtanam (Brhad Vishnu Purana) – Chanting the Holy Name of the Supreme Lord Hari heals all diseases, ends all troubles and subdues all disasters.
Just as the mighty wind scatters the clouds, and the rising sun certainly dissipates the darkness – similarly the Holy Name of the Lord drives away the calamities that torment the living beings on the strength of its potency. These are the words of Vyasadeva.
sankirtyamano bhagavan anantah srutanubhavo vyasanam hi pumsam pravisya cittam vidhunoty asesam yatha tamo ’rko ’bhram ivati vatah (Srimad Bhagavatm, 12.12.48)
– When a living entity chants about the Infinite Supreme Personality of Godhead, or hears about His prowess, the Lord enters their hearts and cleanses away their misfortunes, just as the sun dispels the darkness or as a powerful wind scatters the clouds.
Chanting the Holy name of Lord Hari with faith counteracts the adverse ill-effects of Kali Yuga
In this dark age of Kali, sincere devotees should give up all other shelters and take exclusive shelter of the Holy Name of Lord Hari.
Chanting the Holy Names of ’Hari’, ‘Keshava’, ‘Govinda’, ‘Vasudeva’, ‘Jagan-Maya’ fulfills one’s heart with great bliss.
One who chants the Holy Name of the Supreme Lord with unflinching faith is not affected by the reverses of Kali Yuga and his heart stays eternally pure.
harinama-para ye ca ghore kali-yuge narah te eva krtakrtyasca na kalir badhate hi tan hare keshava govinda vasudeva jaganmaya itirayanti ye nityam na hi tan badhate kalih (Brhan Naradiya Purana) – Living beings who devote themselves to the chanting of the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord Hari are not affected by the reverses of Kali Yuga. Chanting the Holy Names ’Hari’, ‘Keshava’, ‘Govinda’, ‘Vasudeva’, ‘Jagan-Maya’ ,one overcomes the hindrances posed by Kali Yuga.
Chanting the Holy name of Lord Hari is superior to the study of all 4 Vedas
The Holy Name of the Supreme Lord is superior to all the Vedas. One who doubts this never attains any good fortune.
‘Pranava’ or ‘Om’ is another Name of Krishna, and it is from this sound, spoken first by Brahma, that the Vedas had originated. Essentially these two (Krishna’s name and the Vedas) have no distinction. Hence one who constantly chants the Holy names of Lord Hari has already recited the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas.
rig-vedo hi yajur-vedah sama-vedo py atharvanah adhitas tena yenoktam haririty akshara dvayam (Vishnu Dharma Purana) – Those who have chanted the two syllables ‘Ha-ri’ have certainly studied the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas.
What is the use of studying the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda? Just chant the holy name of ‘Govinda’.
ma richo ma yajustata ma sama pathha kinchana govindeti harer nama geyam gayasva nityasah (Skanda Purana) – Do not recite the Rig, Yajur, Sama or Atharva Veda. Just chant the holy name of Lord ‘Govinda’ incessantly.
The Holy name of Krishna is superior to the holy names of ‘Vishnu’ and ‘Rama’
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said :
Every Name of Lord Vishnu is superior to all the Vedas. Know that the name ‘Rama’ is superior to a thousand names of Lord Vishnu.
vishnor ekaika-namapi sarva-vedadhikam matam tadrk-nama-sahasrena ‘Rama’-nama-samamsmrtam (Padma Purana) – Every single name of ‘Vishnu’ is superior to all the Vedas. The Name ‘Rama’ is superior to a thousand names of Vishnu.
The result which is achieved by chanting a thousand names of ‘Vishnu’ three times is the same that is attained by chanting the Holy Name of Krishna just once.
sahasra-namnam punyanam triravrttya tu yat phalam ekavrttya tu krsnasya namaikam tat prayachchhati (Brahmanda Purana) – The result which is achieved by chanting a thousand names of ‘Vishnu’ three times is the same that is attained by chanting the Holy Name of Krishna just once.
“Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna he!” .O devotees! Incessantly chant this Holy name (Hare Krishna Mahamantra).
‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’
Chanting these sixteen Holy Names ensures that all spiritual obligations are satisfied. One who chants them is bestowed with all perfections in spiritual life.
Chanting of the Holy Name of Lord Hari is superior to any pilgrimage
kuruksetrena kim tasya kim kasya puskarena va jihvagre vasati yasya harir ity aksara-dvayam (Skanda purana) – What is the need of touring Kurukshetra, Kashi or Pushkara for one whose tongue is always blessed with the two syllables ‘Ha-ri’?
tirtha-koti-sahasrani tirtha-koti-satani ca tani sarvany avapnoti vishnor namanukirtanat (Vamana Purana) – What one cannot obtain after touring millions and billions of holy places is achieved simply by chanting the holy names of Lord Vishnu.
Sitting at Kurukshetra, Visvamitra Muni once said, ’I have heard the names of various holy places of pilgrimage in this world. But none of them are even one-millionth as potent as chanting the Holy Name of Lord Hari’. This statement is of utmost value.
visrutani bahunyeva tirthani bahudhani ca koty amsena na tulyani nama-kirtanato hareh (Visvamitra Samhita) – None of the renowned holy places of this world are even one-millionth as potent as chanting the Holy Name of Lord Hari.
kintata vedagama sastra-vistarais tirthair anekair api kim prayojanam yady atmano vanchasi mukti-karanam govinda govinda iti sphuratam rata (Laghu Bhagavata) – My child, What is the need for studying the voluminous Vedas and its corollaries? And what is the need of so many holy sites of pilgrimage? One who aspires to get delivered from this material world should constantly chant ‘Govinda’ ‘Govinda’.
Chanting the Holy Name is superior to all pious activities
prayaga-gangodaka-kalpa-vasah yajnayutam meru-suvarna-danam govinda-kirterna samam satamsaih (Laghu Bhagavatah) – The actions of donating millions of cows during solar eclipses, staying at sacred Prayag by the Ganges for a Kalpa (billions of years comprising a cycle of the 4 yugas), offering countless sacrifices or donating Mount Sumeru’s worth of Gold in charity does not compare to even one-hundredth the value of chanting the Lord Govinda’s Holy Name.
The scriptures state that public welfare works, no matter how numerous or extensive, are after all mundane activities.
The Holy Name of Lord Hari easily grants one liberation from this material world. Fruitive activities are trivial when compared to the Holy Name of the Lord.
istapurtani karmani subahuni kritany api bhava hetuni tany-eva harer nama tu muktidaam (Baudhayana samhita) – Public welfare works, numerous or extensive, are after all mundane activities.The Holy Name of Lord Hari easily grants one liberation from this material world.
Chanting the Holy Name is superior to the practice of Sankhya and Ashtanga Yoga
kim karishyati sankhyena kim yogair nara nayaka muktim-ichchhasi rajendra kuru govinda-kirtanam (Garuda Purana) – O King, What will you do with Sankhya Yoga (path of deductive philosophical speculation) or Astanga Yoga (eightfold mystic yoga) processes? If you are searching for liberation then incessantly chant the holy name of Govinda.
aho bata svapaco to gariyan yaj jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya brahmanuchur nama grnanti ye te (Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.33.7) – Oh, how glorious! Even an outcast on whose tongue appears Your holy name is worshipable! Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have performed severe austerities, fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To chant Your holy name, they must have bathed at holy sites of pilgrimage, studied all the Vedic scriptures and fulfilled everything needed.
Lord Krishna and His holy name is non-different
The Holy Name of the Supreme Lord is all-powerful and is equal to Lord Krishna in all respects. Lord Krishna has invested all of His potencies within His holy name.
Lord Krishna has drawn His powers present within the practice of charity, religious rituals, austerity, visiting holy sites of pilgrimages, Karma-Kanda rituals for the demigods, rajasuya yajna, asvamedha yajna, knowledge of self-realization and has invested them in His Holy Name.
dana-vrata-tapas-tirtha-kshetradinam ca yah sthitah saktayo deva-mahatam sarva-papah-harah subhah rajasuyasvamedhanam jnanam adhyatma-vastunah akrsiya harina sarvah sthapitah svesu namasu (Skanda Purana) – The Lord has drawn all of His purifying power invested within the practice of charity, religious rituals, austerity, visiting holy sites of pilgrimages, Karma-Kanda rituals that are offered unto the demigods, rajasuya yajna, asvamedha yajna, knowledge of self-realization and has infused them into His Names.
How to Chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra ?
One should chant in such a manner that the Holy name of Krishna is suitably glorified. The valor of the Holy name never unveils itself wherever there is any uncertainty regarding the Holy name’s potency. The grace of the holy name of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna can only be attained by the faithful and not by the skeptical. This is an esoteric mystery which the devotees should certainly be aware of.
One should chant the following Hare Krishna Mahamantra preferrably on Tulasi beads –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
This Hare Krishna Mahamantra also finds its mention in the Kali santarana Upanishad, wherein it has been described as the destroyer of all inauspiciousness (iti sodasakam namnam kali kalmasa nashanam). The Supreme Lord, appearing as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, has inspired us one and all to incessantly chant the holy name of Krishna. He has further instructed us to make an effort and preach extensively to others ,about the glories of chanting Krishna’s holy name (yare dekho taare kaha Krishna upadesha…). It is very important that we seek shelter of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates before we begin chanting each round of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. So first of all we should chant the below Pancha Tattva Mahamantra before we proceed to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
‘Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda ,Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa adi Gaura bhakta vrinda’
Translation – I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara Pandit, Srivasa Thakura and all the devotees of Lord Chaitanya.
Chanting the holy names of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates bestows upon us their causeless mercy enabling us to chant Krishna’s names without committing any offenses.
108 japa beads form a round. On each of these beads, we should chant the complete Hare Krishna Mahamantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) before proceeding to the next bead. A minimum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra daily is recommended for the most beneficial results considering the present day and age. However, one can begin with chanting any number of rounds and then slowly grow his chanting with time. As stated before, we should chant the Pancha Tattva Mantra at least once before beginning each round of the ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’.
Meaning of the ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’
The word ‘Hare’ refers to the Supreme Lord’s internal energy or Srimati Radharani and the word ‘Krishna’ refers to Lord Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead. When we chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, we pray to Srimati Radharani, to engage us in the service of Sri Krishna. Rendering devotional service unto the Supreme Lord is the very essence of our existence and the ultimate perfection of our lives. Also, as Lord Gauranga (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) is non-different from Sri Radha and Krishna (Sri Krishna Caitanya ,Radha Krishna Nahe anya), the syllables ‘Hare Krishna’ is non-different from Lord Gauranga. So when we chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, we pray to Lord Chaitanya to engage us in His glorious Harinama sankirtana movement.
Audio – Chant a Round of Hare Krishna Mahamantra with us :
In his work ‘Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’ Karl Marx expresses his fundamental philosophical perception of the world and life in general. After going through his work, we have come to believe that Karl Marx was fundamentally opposed to the idea of the divine. For instance, he mentions that ‘criticism of religion is the prerequisite of all criticism’ and ‘Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again’. In this work of his, Karl Marx professes how Man should do away with religion which is ‘an inverted consciousness of the world’, in order to dispel his illusions and seek his ‘true reality’. In fact, he was of the opinion that ‘The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness’.
Asserting that ‘Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself’, Karl Max designates the religious pursuit of man as only a figment of his imagination. He goes a step further and expresses how – ‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people’. His theory promoted the idea that the ‘state and this society produce religion’ and that ‘Man makes religion, religion does not make man’.
Another famous socialist Friedrich Engels wrote In Ludwig Feuerbach that “religion arose in very primitive times from erroneous and primitive ideas of men about their own nature and that of the external world around them,… ”
Vladimir Lenin, a follower of Karl Marx, appropriately summarized the thoughts of Marx in his book ‘Religion’ where he stated – ‘Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism, of the theory and practice of scientific socialism’
(The below is adapted from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva Dharma)
Exalted abode of Godrumadvipa :
Of all the places on earth, Jambudvipa is the best. Of the places in Jambudvipa, the land of Bharatavarsha (India) is the most illustrious. Within Bharata, the land of Gauda (Bengal) is the best and within Gauda, the land of Navadvipa is the most exalted. The splendid village of Godrumadvipa, situated by the Ganges shore, eternally manifests itself in one section of Navadvipa. In the ancient days, several bhajanananda devotees (always engaged in chanting the holy names and glories of the Supreme Lord), built their homes and resided in this wonderful abode of Godruma. One such devotee was Sri Premadasa Babaji, who was an initiated disciple of Sri Pradyumna Brahmachari, an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. It was not very far from this place that the celestial Surabhi cow once lived and engaged in deep meditation of Lord Gauranga.
Sri Premadasa was a great scholar of the Vedic scriptures. Knowing the land of Godruma to be non-different to Nandagram (in Mathura), he resided there chanting two lakh holy names a day and offering hundreds of dandavats unto the Vaishnavas every day. Strictly following the rules of saintly life, he did not engage in mundane conversations. Instead in his free time, he would recite from Srila Jagadananda Pandita’s ‘Prema Vivarta’. The devotees from the adjoining groves would then gather and listen with love and devotion.
(The below is adapted from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s ‘Prema Pradipa’)
yamadaibhir yoga pathaih kama-lobha hato muhuh mukunda-sevaya yadvat tathatmaddha na samyati (Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.6.35) – Though it is true that by exercising restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get respite from the disturbances of desire and lust, yet this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this is derived from devotional service unto the Supreme Lord.
Citing the above verse, Sri Premadasa Babaji added that Yama, Niyama, asana, Pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, Dharana, and samadhi constitute the process of Ashtanga Yoga. It is true that by practicing them one achieves peace. However in certain circumstances, the practitioner, being overwhelmed with lust and greed, may indulge himself in relishing some trivial intermediary results. Thus instead of persevering for the ultimate objective of peace, he may fall down and get derailed from his Yogic practice. But in the process of rendering devotional service unto Sri Krishna, there is no chance of receiving any intermediary results. Hence a servant of Lord Krishna, definitely obtains his desired peace.