Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

One often hears the question, “How to get free nama aparadhas?

Nāma āparādha cannot be counteracted through some ritual or just by chanting some slokas. One needs to reform or change one’s faulty mentality which caused the offenses in the first place. Be it envy, disrespect or just a faultfinding mind—all this must be consumed by the fire of repentance, nama-sankirtana and Vaisnava seva.

As one can never forget the Tulasi necklace around one’s neck, Mahaprabhu told us to “always wear the necklace of this sloka” [which means constantly remember and imbibe the four saintly traits within it]:

  1. Think I’m lower than grass!
  2. Live with tolerance!
  3. Feel insignificant, undeserving—just one atomic jiva!
  4. Honor all as better, higher, worthy and deserving!

Thus Mahaprabhu commanded, tṛṇād api sunīcena, taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (Chaitanya Caritamrita 1.17.31)

By adopting these four attitudes, one can blast off into continuous nama japa which is the best, fastest and ONLY WAY to remove all aparadhas. Smrti confirms, “For nama aparadhis, the Divine Name itself is surely the only panacea. Incessant chanting of the Name will effectively destroy that sin.” (Padma Purana.; Svarga-khanda 48, 49 & Bhakti Sandarbha 265)

nāmāparādha yuktā nām, nā mānyeva haranty agham,
aviśranta prayuktāni, tānyev ārtha karāṇi ca

Jai Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Nama Sankirtana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

After hearing that chanting 64 rounds a day gives spiritual perfection, some very sincere and well-meaning devotees begin chanting 64 rounds a day.

However, they soon face problems in the form of maintaining the quota, being attentive and not doing robotic/mechanical chanting, committing aparadhas, lack of enthusiasm, not seeing any results, a gradual loss of taste for the practice itself, and worst of all—PRIDE—pramada, an aspect of the 10th nama-aparadha).

When trying to understand any truth in shastra, one must always consider kala, desha and patra—the time and place, situation and persons involved. It appears that many devotees have misunderstood the circumstances (kala, desha, patra) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ONE INSTRUCTION regarding the daily chanting of one lakh japa (100,000 names aka 64 rounds).

If one studies the life of Mahaprabhu, one sees that in every instance and in every place, Sri Chaitanyadeva was very very strict about maintaining maryada, which means following the proper conduct or behavior according to one’s social or spiritual position (varna/ashram).

So because Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was as a brahmin (Sri Vishvambhara Mishra), whether it was from His different personal servants, or in homes of His devotees, anywhere in India, Mahaprabhu ONLY ATE FOOD FROM THE HAND OF A BRAHMIN, and not from anyone of any other jati or class, regardless of their personal purity or spiritual realization.

Mahaprabhu’s Instruction to Brahmins

Mahaprabhu’s one and only instruction about chanting 64 rounds was spoken only to grhastha brahmins who wanted to feed the Golden Avatara in their homes.

Chaitanya Bhagavata narrates the story, “When the brahmins invited Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for prasada, Gauranga smiled and said, ‘I take meals only in the house of a lakṣeśvara brahmin.’

Hearing this, the brāhmaṇas became worried. Praying to Prabhu, the brahmins said, ‘O Gosai, what to speak of a hundred thousand, none of us possess even a thousand rupees.’

Mahaprabhu replied, ‘Do you know who is a lakṣeśvara? He is someone who daily chants a hundred thousand holy names (aka 1 lakh or 64 rounds). I take meals in only such a brahmin’s house, not in the houses of any other brahmins.’”(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.9.117-123)

After reading this lila and Gauranga’s shiksha herein, some nice devotees innocently think, “O, if I don’t chant 64 rounds a day, then God, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Sri Krishna, won’t eat my bhoga offerings.”

Thinking like this is ok, but it’s not really proven in this lila. One can see two points illustrated in this lila:

Point One: Since He was a Brahmin, Mahaprabhu would not display adharmic behavior by eating grains from non-brahmins, and He never did as is evident from all His biographies.

Point 2: Although it is not required, if a devotee can, then certainly it would be very good to chant a lakh (64 rounds) of nama before making a bhoga offering to his/her Thakurajis of Gaura-Nitai, Girirajaji, or Radha-Krishna.

Now let’s hear Mahaprabhu’s instructions on nama japa and attaining spiritual perfection for all the masses of us, non-brahmins and non nitya-siddha associates. Sri Chaitanya’s following teachings on siddhi in nama bhajana are the perfect instructions for every human being at all times and in every place. So everyone please understand them clearly and practice bhakti bhajana accordingly.

Mahaprabhu’s Teachings for All

Once in Navadvipa, in a general assembly of all His followers, which included brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas, sudras, mlecchas, yavanas, and assorted other outcastes, the all-merciful Mahaprabhu personally instructed everyone saying, “Now please, everyone happily hear the Krishna nama maha-mantra from Me……..

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

āpane sabāre prabhu kare upadeśe
Krishna-nāma mahā-mantra śunaha hariṣe

“I have told you the mahā-mantra. Now all of you chant this mantra as a daily practice (abhyasa).”[mmgd: which some take to mean 4, 20, 24, 64, 128 rounds per day]

prabhu bale kahilāṅa ei mahā-mantra
ihā japa giyā sabe kariyā nirbandha

Mahaprabhu continued, “Everyone will attain all perfection by it [i.e. Hare Krishna maha-mantra]. At every moment chant it, there is no other rule (vidhi nāhi āra).” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.23.75-78)

ihā haite sarva siddhi haibe sabāra
sarva-kṣaṇa bala ithe vidhi nāhi āra

Thus Mahaprabhu establishes that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra so transcendentally amazing and wonderful that it will give PERFECTION TO ANYONE who chants it daily. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly quoted this verse in his lectures.

Srila Prabhupada said:

  1. “That is the version of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He said, ihā haite sarva-siddhi haibe tomāra [Caitanya-bhāgavata Madhya 23.78]. He also stresses that ‘Simply by chanting, you will get all perfection.’” (folio 710217L2GOR)
  2. “That’s a fact. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, ihā haite sarva-siddhi haibe tomāra. Caitanya Mahāprabhu blesses, “You will get all perfections simply by chanting this Hare Krishna mantra.”(folio 720714SB.LON)
  3. “If you chant or if you associate with the chanting of holy name of Krishna, then you will get the highest perfectional stage of life. (folio 680613BG.MON)
  4. “Thus Lord Caitanya has blessed us. Simply by chanting Hare Krishna, we will achieve the perfection of self-realization.” (folio POP cp. 5)

The main point Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu establishes here is that daily Hare Krishna Maha Mantra japa is compulsory. Other than Mahaprabhu’s instructing the brahmins of Navadvipa to chant 64 rounds a day, I have not seen this instruction in any of the universally accepted Gaudiya Vaisnava shastras.

However, there is some mention about chanting 64 rounds in a not so authoritative book titled Prema-vilasa (chapter 17):

“Mahaprabhu was also in the habit of chanting three lakhs, and giving one lakh to His followers.”

prabhura āchāye saṅkhya, tina lakṣa nāma
eka lakṣa bhakta gaṇe, kaila kṛpā dāna

“In His own words, Gaurāṅga told Sri Rupa and the Vaiṣṇavas that the counting of one hundred thousand names is certainly to be done.”

gaurāṅga śrī-mukhe rūpe, kahila vaiṣṇave
lakṣa nāma saṅkhya kari, avaśya karibe

From the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Haridasa Thakura and Srila Prabhupada, it is clear that chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra is the fastest, most powerful and best means to attain spiritual perfection in Krishna prema.

Not only Mahaprabhu but numerous shastras confirm the unlimited power of Sri Krishna’s Divine Name. The Name is directly Krishna Himself, and thus Sri Nama Prabhu can easily give one all perfection (sarva siddhi).

Since Mahaprabhu’s time, many Gaudiya Vaisnavas have adopted the practice of daily chanting 64 rounds of nama-japa on tulasi beads. Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, the other Goswamis, and acharyas down to the present day have also chanted 64, and instructed their disciples to do likewise.

In the beginning of ISKCON in 1966, Srila Prabhupada ordered his disciples to daily chant 64 rounds. Seeing their inability to do so, however, Srila Prabhupada reduced the number to 32 and then finally to 16.

Other than Mahaprabhu’s one time demanding His brahmin hosts to daily chant 64 rounds, the Gaudiya Vaisnava purvacharyas and contemporary Gurus all stress the need to daily chant a fixed number of nama japa with the right feeling, mentality and attitude—be it 4, 16, 24, 64, or 192 DAILY ROUNDS.

In addition, all sadhakas should happily and peacefully keep engaged mentally and physically (where possible) in Krishna consciousness, so they can remember Krishna at the time of death. Of course, if one can, under the order of and with the blessings of his Sri Guru, steadily chant 64 rounds EVERYDAY WITHOUT FAIL that is very good.

In this regard, Mahaprabhu said, “Of all forms of bhakti practices, nama sankirtana is the best, for if one takes the name without offenses, one will attain the treasure of Krishna prema. (Chaitanya Caritamrita 3.4.71)

tāra madhye sarva-śreṣṭha nāma-saṅkīrtana
niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana

It must be noted that only a very rare sadhaka can continue to chant 64 rounds of HONEST nama japa every day without fail throughout his/her life with the proper consciousness, humility, attention, absorption, and most of all without aparadhas.

For those who cannot chant 64, however, still with the blessings of Sri Krishna and Sri Guru, just by practicing any limb of bhakti bhajana, one will definitely attain spiritual perfection and Radha Govinda prema.

SUMMARY:

64 is not a magic number in that—“Bingo! I hit 64 a day and now perfection is in my pocket!” Although quantity japa certainly helps, it does not guarantee perfection. Success depends on QUALITY NOT QUANTITY.

Our sadhana practices—be they chanting, hearing, worshiping or whatever—must bring about purification of the mind, reformation of the character, transformation of consciousness, melting of the heart, and a direct experience of Radha and Krishna within and without.

But don’t worry if you just can’t chant 64 a day. You can still attain spiritual perfection. In other yoga disciplines, personal performance brings perfection. But in bhakti only love brings perfection.

Perfection or siddhi in bhakti depends on you and Krishna—your loving endeavors offered to Krishna and Krishna’s sweet mercy returning from His heart.

In addition, the following factors will surely help bring about perfection in sri harinama japa:

  1. The mercy and sweet will of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
  2. The blessings and satisfaction of Sri Guru.
  3. Chanting a daily fixed number of japa per Guru’s order.
  4. Quality japa which means nama japa that is free from all types of aparadhas, misconceptions, and selfish ambitions.
  5. Proper moral behavior, which means following the four principles of purity.

In closing, we hope this post will encourage all the surrendered devotees struggling every day to chant “their rounds” with the desire to attain spiritual perfection and the eternal loving service of Radha-Govinda Yugala in the groves of Vraja Dhama.

(Special thanks to Sri Advaita Dasji)

Sri Harinama Japa ki jai! Jai Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

“The Vedic scriptures called Agamas say that it is proper to meditate on Sri Krishna’s pastimes which happened in the past because they are all eternal.” (Sri Jiva Goswamipada/ Krishna Sandarbha tika to Srimad Bhagavatam 8.3.8-9)

Once the mind and citta become purified by offenseless nama japa, one can have the ultimate japa experience of lovingly and attentively chanting Hare Krishna nama japa while diving deep into the ocean of Radha Govinda Yugala’s eight-fold daily pastimes, i.e. asta-kaliya lila smarana.

50 YEARS AGO! Srila Prabhupada himself said THIS IS THE GOAL of chanting Hare Krishna japa.

Japa/Lila Combination

In December 4,1968, Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciple Sivananda das:

“Regarding your first question, is it offensive to think of Krishna’s Pastimes while chanting?

“You should know that it is not offensive, but rather it is required. One must try for the point when one simply hears Krishna’s name, and immediately all of Krishna—His Pastimes, His Form, and His Qualities are in his thoughts. To always be immersed in thoughts of Krishna is our process.”

However, if the mind, or antah karana, is not pure it will be difficult to meditate on Krishna lila along with nama japa. In that case, one can practice meditation on the 19 marks on Radha-Krishna’s lotus feet.

When one is proficient in this along with japa chanting, one can expand to meditating upon Radha-Krishna’s delightfully pleasing transcendental forms while doing nama japa.

Our book Art of Chanting Hare Krishna gives detailed instructions how to meditate upon Radha-Krishna’s lotus feet and the meanings of each mark on them.

In the following entry, Srila Prabhupada encourages meditation on Krishna’s murti form. From here one can expand to combine japa and form meditation to attain a wonderfully rewarding experience of nama japa.

In the following quote, Srila Prabhupada says one should meditate on the beautiful, all-attractive murti form of Sri Krishna [like Radha-ramana Jiu or Syamasundara]. Then if you mix such Krishna rupa/dhyana with your nama japa, you will directly experience how your daily nama japa will become concentrated, absorbing and very tasty. The proof of the chanting is in the tasting—nama ruchi and then nama rasa.

Japa/Rupa Combination

Srila Prabhupada said, “As far as meditation on the arca-vigraha form of Krishna is concerned, we have to look at the Deity beginning with His lotus feet. It is not that we immediately look at Krishna’s smiling face.

“We should first try to see the lotus feet of Krishna. When we are practiced in this way, we can look at Krishna’s thighs, His waist and His chest. Then we can reach Krishna’s smiling face.

“In this manner we should meditate on Krishna’ s form, and thus we can associate with Krishna by meditating on Krishna’s smiling face, His flute, His hands, His dress, His consort Srimati Radharani and the other gopis surrounding Him. Thus we should practice observing the Supreme Lord, and to this end He has appeared before us as the arca-vigraha. (folio: “Teachings Lord Kapila” 15.36 pur.)

Blissful japa ki jai! Namacarya Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The Ten Offenses to Sri Krishna’s Holy Names (Padma Purana)

  1. satāṁ ninda-namnaḥ param aparādham vitanute, yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tu tad vigarhām

The topmost offense (param aparadha) is to show envy or criticize a devotee, saintly person, or one’s Guru.

  1. śivasya śrī visnor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalam, dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhita-karaḥ

One will get no benefit from doing Harinama (hari-nama ahita karah) if one sees or thinks that the names or qualities of Sri Visnu and Siva are different (bhinnam).

Please find more information about this offense and the Visnu/Siva relationship in our articles here.

  1. guror avajna

To disrespect, disregard or disobey the guru.

  1. śruti śāstra-nindanaṁ

To disrespect any scriptures describing God.

5.tathārthavādo

Think the glories of the Name are empty praise. Or to give concocted interpretations on the meanings of Krishna’s Holy Name.

  1. hari nāmni kalpanam

Consider praises of Krishna’s Holy Names to be exaggerated or imaginary. Or give imaginary meanings to Krishna’s Holy Names.

  1. nāmno balād yasya hi pāpabuddhir, na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ

To commit sin on the power of Krishna’s Name means one has sinful intelligence (papa buddhi). Such an offender cannot be purified by any type of rule or regulation (yama na suddhi).

  1. dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutādi-sarva, subha-kriyā sāmyam api pramādaḥ

To consider Krishna’s transcendental prema giving Holy Names to be a form of subha karmas (auspicious beneficial actions) like other punya,  karmas such as varna/asrama dharma duties, vows, austerities, fire yajnas or homas.

  1. aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati, yas copadeṣaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ

It’s an offense to give instructions about the auspicious holy names of Krishna to the faithless (asraddha); or one whose face is turned away from God (agnostic, not interested (vimukhe); and to one who does not want to hear anything about Krishna (asrnvati).

What about book distributors who come across many faithless people, yet still they try to convince them about Krishna consciousness? Is this committing the second offense?

NO, because if someone stops and listens to you that means Krishna is favoring them. And if they show interest, listen humbly or buy a book that is all arranged by Krishna. However, if they are unqualified in any of the above ways, they will just say “Get lost, no thanks, not interested, I don’t want.”

Then if you push or force that will be an offense because they don’t want to hear, are atheists etc. By the mercy and blessings of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and Sri Guru, we sold Srila Prabhupada’s books every day for 6 years 1975-1981.

Among Gaudiya Vaisnavas, it is commonly said, “Vaisnava seva, jiva doya, nama ruci”. Jiva doya means showing kindness to all jivas, living entities, which is best done by giving prasada, Harinama Sankirtana, preaching and book distribution. Some acaryas say, “This phrase means if you serve the Vaisnavas (Vaisnava seva) and preach to the qualified (jiva doya)—then you will get taste and attraction (ruci) for chanting Hare Krishna!”

  1. śrute’pi nāma-māhātmye yah prīti rahito naraḥ, ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha-kṛt

To not have faith, taste or affection (priti) for Krishna’s Holy Names even after hearing the glories of Krishna Nama, and to not give up material attachments and continue to think and act only in terms of “I and mine” (aham mam adi).

Nama Acarya Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Sri Harinama ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Everyone! Please be careful not to offend Sri Krishna’s most merciful and powerful, sweet, ever-present loving form as the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

In Kali-yuga, Sri Krishna Nama is our only hope—our only chance, and the only way we’ll ever attain the plane of love divine desired by all. Worship Krishna Nama! Protect Krishna Nama! Cherish Krishna Nama! Chant Krishna Nama! Give Krishna Nama! Live Krishna Nama and depart with Krishna Nama! And by all means never, never, ever offend Krishna Nama!

The Five Disasters

In Bhakti-sandarbha (anu. 154-159), Sri Jiva Goswamipada describes five prominent effects of offensively chanting Sri Krishna’s transcendental names i.e. Hare Krishna maha-mantra. The five effects are as follows: crookedness; faithlessness; absorption in mundane objects that erode one’s faith in Krishna; slackness in devotional service; and pride.

If a sadhaka is experiencing any of the following effects, it means one is committing offences to Sri Krishna Nama:

  1. Crookedness (kautilya)

Offenders to Nama become crooked in their dealings with others, disrespectful towards Sri Hari, Sri Guru and other devotees, and start acting in various deceitful ways. In Skanda Purana, Muni Parasara says, “Crooked, deceitful people cannot attain Govinda bhakti, or chant and remember Bhagavan.”

  1. Faithlessness

Offenders to nama gradually become faithless, lose their conviction about the glories of Krishna bhakti, and start harboring contrary non-devotional ideas.

  1. Distraction

Nama aparadhis become absorbed in material objects and pursuits i.e. making money, attaining degrees, etc. that erode their faith in Krishna and Krishna bhakti.

  1. Slackening Devotion

As a result of Nama aparadhas, one’s bhakti bhajan wanes and one again becomes absorbed in sense gratification—maya! One thinks excessively about one’s own bodily happiness and distress and that of others.

  1. Pride

When one offends Sri Nama Prabhu, one starts feeling proud of his/her devotional service and activities. This in turn generates other offenses i.e. disrespecting Vaisnavas. As they say, “pride precedes a fall.”

To close, we offer a poem in praise of Krishna Nama:

The name puts you in a new frame, beyond the game of name and fame. Your mind the name will tame. You’ll never be the same as your old claim goes aflame. The Name will set your aim, and take you to Vraja dhama for more and more Nama!”

Suddha Nama ki jai! Namacarya Sri Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Sri Jiva Goswamipada ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Receiving the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra from a teacher is not called diksha; it is an expression of acceptance, care and compassion.

According to the Veda shruti, Sri Sanatana Goswami, Sri Jiva Goswamipada and all Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas diksha means to receive the Krishna mantra (aka Gopala Mantra) from the spiritual master. Only this is diksha. Although it’s commonly thought that receiving harinama is diksha, it is not according to shastras, tradition and the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

To teach the example for everyone, Bhagavan Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Panca Tattva and all Gaudiya Vaisnavas have taken diksha which means atma samarpana or surrender to Sri Guru, and hearing three times in the right ear the Gopala/Krishna mantra from Sri Guru.

The confusion arises because the terms nama and mantra are often mixed up and translated incorrectly. Mantra is called nama and nama is called mantra. But Nama DOES NOT MEAN MANTRA. Nama means names of Krishna i.e. the maha-mantra. Although called a mantra, it is actually a chant or divine names which is why it’s in the EIGHTH or vocative CASE, the vocative form of calling out to Bhagavan—“O Hare, O Radha, divine energy of Sri Krishna. O Krishna please save me!”

The word mantra, however, refers to a collection of transcendental sounds in the FOURTH or dative CASE which by definition must contain a bija mantra (om, klim, srim, aim); and a verb (svaha, namah, vidmahe, dhimahi, prachodayat). In the following verse, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu clearly explains that the DIKSHA MANTRA is different than Krishna’s Divine Name, nama.

krishna mantra haite habe, samsara mocana
krishna nama haite pabe, krishnera carana

Sri Chaitanyadeva said, “Krishna mantra means the diksha mantra i.e. Gopala Mantra which acts to free the disciple from all anarthas, karmas and samsara. The name of Krishna i.e. Hare Krishna Hare Rama will give Krishna’s lotus feet.” (Caitanya Caritamrita. 1.7.73)

Practically all the Sanskrit and Bengali verses glorifying Sri Krishna’s Divine Name always use the word, NAMA and not mantra. For example, nama cintamani krsnas, hari nama harer nama harer nama, iti ñoòaçakaà nämnäà, nämnäm akäri bahudhä nija-sarva-çaktis, and there are hundreds of examples in Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita i.e. kali yuga yuga dharma namera pracara, etc.

Srila Haridasa Thakura is known as “Nama Acharya” not the mantra Acharya. Thus mantra means specifically our diksha mantras Gopal mantra and Kama Gayatri, and nama means the many, beautiful and amazingly attractive sweet Divine Names of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Nama Sankirtana ki jai!

Real, proper and traditional diksha means a process of spiritual initiation through which the guru imparts the Vaisnava diksha mantra i.e. Krsna/Gopal Mantra and Kama Gayatri for Gaudiyas. By chanting the diksha mantras a disciple will obtain all transcendental knowledge and attain the association of Radha-Krishna. Unlike mantra, nama requires no diksha, tapa, vairagya or purascharana. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself said, “Harinama is not diksha and does not require diksha. It stands alone and has its own purpose and function.

Mahaprabhu said:

dīkṣā-puraścaryā-vidhi apekṣā nā kare
jihvā-sparśe ā-caṇḍāla sabāre uddhāre

“Chanting Krishna nama IS NOT DIKSHA. One need not perform purascharya -vrata, or observe any rules and regulations. Just a touch of Krishna nama with the tongue is sufficient to deliver everyone one, even a dog eater.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.15.108)

Srila Prabhupada tika: Quoting Hari Bhakti Vilasa (2.6), Srila Prabhupada says, “If one has no diksha then ALL HIS ACTIONS ARE USELESS (sarvam nir arthakam), and one attains birth as an animal (pashu yonim avapnoti diksha virahito jana).” And further (2.10), “It is the duty of every human to take Vaisnava mantra diksha i.e. Gopala/Krishna mantra from Sri Guru.”

As far as the maha-mantra, Srila Prabhupada said, “The chanting of the holy name does not depend on the initiation process.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.15.108)

Diksha mantras act invisibly but powerfully within the disciple to clear and remove all previous bad tendencies and commitments to illusion. One begins a new life awakened in divine knowledge. By giving diksha, Sri Guru mercifully slackens the bondage of maya, infuses transcendental energy into the disciple’s heart via the mantra, and awakens an awareness of one’s eternal relationship with Sri Hari.

Contained within the diksha mantra i.e. the Gopala mantra alone is divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge which acts to purify one’s consciousness and reveal the form and identity of Bhagavan Sri Krishna (bhagavat-svarupa) along with knowledge of the sadhaka’s particular relationship with Bhagavan Sri Krishna (sambandha-jnana) and one’s eternal spiritual form i.e. siddha deha.

What special power and wisdom does the most wonderful Gopala/Krishna mantra contain? Sri Jiva Goswamipada answers:

divyam jnanam srimati mantre,
bhagavat svarupa jnanam, bhagavata sambandha vishesha jnanam

“Two types of divine wisdom are received from the beautiful diksha mantra i.e. Gopala Mantra—knowledge of Sri Krishna’s form and identity (bhagavat svarupa jnana), and knowledge of one’s special and specific relationship with Sri Krishna [i.e. sthayi rati and siddha deha].” (Bhakti-sandarbha 283)

In summary, this is the power, beauty and extraordinary effect of Gaudiya Vaisnava diksha which DOES NOT mean receiving harinama from a preceptor. Through the medium of the Gopala-mantra (Krishna-mantra), Sri Guru dispels the jiva’s aversion toward Krishna, and inspires and directs the disciple to serve Sri Krishna with love. Gradually, the surrendered disciple attains divine wisdom about Sri Krishna, the jiva and the material energy. This powerful wisdom in turn then completely destroys the disciple’s sins and ignorance.

Believe it or not, we have met many mature devotees who only have harimana and NO DIKSHA, even after ten years of sincere service to Sri Guru. This is most regrettable and unfortunate. It is seen everywhere that most Gaudiya Vaisnava Gurus GIVE DIKSHA within 1-4 years of knowing the candidate.

Disciple means surrender and Guru means diksha. This is the transcendental exchange between sad shisya and sad Guru. Simple logic: no surrender—no disciple; no diksha—no Guru. Giving diksha is the duty of Guru and receiving it is the right of the disciple.

So we deeply pray to our most beloved, sweet and dear Srimati Radhika and Giridhari-Shyam to bless all my friends known and unknown with the great treasure of Gaudiya Vaisnava diksha which means receiving the beautiful Gopala mantra, and sometimes getting the most enchanting and esoteric Kama Gayatri.

Sri Guru diksha ki jai! Sad Shishya ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Jai Jai Sri Vrindavana Dhama!

Mahanidhi Swami

When Mahaprabhu came to Benares, a local Brahmin narrated His transcendental glories to Sri Prakashananda, a famous Advaitin acharya.

The Advaitin then laughed very much (bahuta hasila) and criticized Mahaprabhu: “Yes, I heard He is called Chaitanya. He has hypnotized a bunch of sentimental followers into believing He is Ishvara. And now they dance around like madmen!”

Feeling very much aggrieved to hear this, the Brahmin immediately left and went to describe his meeting: “O Mahaprabhu! Although he offended You that Advaitin said Your name, “Chaitanya Chaitanya Chaitanya”. But why could he not say “KRISHNA?”

Sri Krishna Chaitanya replied, “The Mayavadi Advaitins are Krishna aparadhis. Thus they only keep saying ‘brahma’, ‘atma’ ‘chaitanya’ kahe niravadhi. (129) Therefore, Krishna nama never manifests in their mouths.

“Krishna’s name and transcendental form are identical, krishna nama krishna svarupa duita samana. (130) Sri Krishna’s name, murti and personal form are one form of transcendental blissful consciousness, nama vigraha svarupa, cid ananda rupa. There is no difference between them. (131)

“There is no difference between Krishna’s transcendental body and Himself or between His name and Himself. But by nature the jiva’s name, body and soul are all different. (132)

deha dehira nama namira, krishne nahi bheda
jivera dharma nama deha, svarupe vibheda

“Therefore, Krishna’s transcendental name, form and intimate pastimes are not perceptible or self-manifest to the material senses. (134)

ataeva krishnera nama, deha vilasa
prakrtendriya grahya nahe, haya sva-prakasha

“Sri Krishna Himself and His name, qualities, and pastimes are all equal in transcendental consciousness and bliss. (135)

Krishna nama krishna guna, krishna lila vrnda
Krishnera svarupa sama, saba cid ananda

“The complete absolute bliss of Krishna’s lila rasa forcibly pulls the jnanis away from brahman bliss of and conquers their souls.”(137) [i.e. Sri Shuka Muni]

brahmananda haite purna, ananda lila rasa
brahma jnani akarshiya, kare atma vasha

These are Sriman Mahaprabhu’s direct and personal teachings on the glories of Sri Krishna’s Divine Names. During His discourse, however, Sri Chaitanya spoke the following two essential verses about Nama Tattva that all devotees should know, memorize and remember while chanting Sri Harinama japa and kirtana.

nama cintamanih krishnash, chaitanya rasa vigrahah
purnah shuddho nitya-mukto, bhinnatvan nama naminoh

“The peerless gem of Krishna’s transcendental name fulfills all thoughts and desires. Nama Prabhu is the living form of consciousness and divine loving rapture. Krishna nama is completely immaculate—ever existing on the transcendental plane.”

atah sri krishna namadi, na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, svayam eva sphuraty adah

“Sri Krishna’s transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes cannot be perceived by the material senses. However, they all automatically self-manifest [svayam sphurti] on the tongue and other senses of one with a service attitude [seva mukha].” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.17.114-137)

Sri Harinama ki jai! Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

  1. Dawn and dusk are best for japa because the air is pure and the density of distracting vibrations is less.
  2. Bathe or just wash hands, feet, face, and mouth before sitting for japa.
  3. Observe silence (besides japa) and avoid all distractions, both internal and external.
  4. Sit in the same place at the same time daily. Facing east or north enhances concentration.
  5. Resolve to complete a certain minimum number of repetitions. (rounds or malas)
  6. Recite prayers before the recitation.
  7. Repeat the mantra aloud for a few minutes, and then recite silently. If the mind wanders, recite loudly again or whisper for some time. Return to mental japa as soon as possible.
  8. Focus your attention exclusively on the mantra sound.
  9. Close your eyes, and mentally recite the mantra slowly with devotion and one-pointed attention (ekagrata). As the mind becomes still and concentrated, mental japa speed will automatically increase.
  10. When you repeat the mantra, visualize that Bhagavan Sri Krishna is sitting in your heart, sending purity into your mind. The mantra is elevating you to the spiritual dimension of seeing your eternal identity. The mantra is liberating you from all your negative karmas, worldly desires and cravings for unnecessary things.
  11. Do not perform japa in a hurried manner.
  12. Be vigilant and alert during japa. Open your eyes or stand if dullness overcomes you.
  13. Be regular in the number of daily rounds (malas or recitations of the Holy Name).
  14. Maintain your japa practice with tenacity and perseverance.
  15. Recite japa during any free time, especially at the daily junctures (morning, noon, and evening) and before sleep.
  16. Upon completing japa, sit a few minutes meditating on God and your relationship with Him. Think how you can be a better person by trying to live moment to moment for the pleasure of God and the happiness of everyone around you.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!