Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
The Holy Name is Transcendental
What does it mean that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is transcendental, and should never be considered a material sound vibration? The holy name has absolutely nothing to do with the mundane world of matter. The holy name is not a combination of material letters and syllables. The form of the holy name is sat-cit-ananda, eternal blissful consciousness. Although in this world, the holy name is not of this world. The divine name of the Lord is not a product of the material world. Only a liberated soul can purely pronounce the transcendental holy name. A conditioned soul covered by the modes of nature cannot utter the pure name (cintamani-nama).
“Nama is aprakrta-caitanya-rasa (a transcendental living mellow). Within nama there is not any scent of mundane consciousness. When the devoted jiva becomes purified through bhakti and renders service to sri-harinama, sri-nama personally manifests on his tongue. Nama cannot be accepted with material senses.” (Jaiva Dharma ch.20)
When the conditioned soul pleases Sri Guru and Sri Kṛṣṇa, the svarupa-sakti (internal spiritual potency) of the Lord descends upon him, and enables him to purely chant the divine name. Kṛṣṇa’s svarupa-sakti is a combination of hladini-sakti (bliss potency personified as Sri Radha) and samvit-sakti (knowledge potency personified as Lord Baladeva). Kṛṣṇa’s svarupa-sakti manifests the pure name in a surrendered heart saturated with devotion. Enriched with ecstatic rasas, the pure name then embraces the tongue in the dance of prema.
When explaining the transcendental nature of the holy name, Srila Prabhupada often compared the chanting of the word “water” to the name of Kṛṣṇa. The following quotes by His Divine Grace beautifully illuminate the essence of divine wisdom:
“In the relative world, the word “water” and the substance water are different. When I am thirsty, if I simply chant “Water, water, water,” my thirst will not be satisfied. I require the real water. That is the nature of the relative world and relative consciousness. But in the spiritual world or spiritual consciousness, the name is the same as the thing that is named. For instance, we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa were different from the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, then how could we be satisfied chanting the whole day and night? This is the proof. An ordinary name­­­­–if you chant “Mr. John, Mr. John,” after chanting three times you will cease. But this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra–if you go on chanting twenty-four hours a day, you will never become tired. This is the spiritual nature of the Absolute Truth. This is practical. Anyone can perceive it.” (Civilization and Transcendence ch. 7)
“Kṛṣṇa’s words and He are not different. That is omnipotency. Omnipotency means everything relating to Kṛṣṇa has the same potency. Just like here in this material world, if you are thirsty and want water, simply calling repeatedly, “water, water, water, water, water,” will not satisfy your thirst. Because the word “water” has not the same potency as water itself. You require the water as it is. Then your thirst will be satisfied. But in the transcendental, absolute world, there is no such difference. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s name, Kṛṣṇa’s words and Kṛṣṇa’s qualities, Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes–everything is Kṛṣṇa.” (SPT 25/3/67)
“So immediately you can be in touch with Kṛṣṇa by vibrating this sound, Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is so potent. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ. The name of Kṛṣṇa is cintāmaṇi, transcendental. It is not this material sound, material name. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś caitanya. Living force, caitanya. It is not dead sound. If you want water, if you chant only “Water, water, water, water,” you will not get water, because it is material sound. The water substance is different from the word “water”. Therefore, simply by chanting, “water, water” you cannot quench your thirst. You must have the substance water. That is material sound. Anything you take, simply by chanting the name, you will not get the thing. That is material.
“But in the spiritual world, the name and the person or the substance is the same. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s name is the same. There is no difference. Therefore, those who are chanting “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa,” they are becoming more and more enthusiastic to chant.” (SPT 22/1/75).
An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting
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