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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Five hundred years ago in Jagannatha Puri, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya asked Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu which item is the most important form of devotional service.

bhakti-sādhana-śreṣṭha śunite haila mana
prabhu upadeśa kaila nāma-saṅkīrtana
harer nāma harer nāma, harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva, nāsty eva gatir anyathā

Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya asked Caitanya Mahāprabhu, ‘Which item is most important in the execution of devotional service?’ Mahaprabhu replied that the most important item was the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Then Mahaprabhu quoted a verse from Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa:

‘In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.’ (Caitanya Caritamrita,  Madhya 6.241-2)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu always emphasized the supremacy of nama-bhajana in His preaching. In Jagannatha Puri, Mahaprabhu also instructed Sanatana Gosvami on this point:

bhajanera madhye śreṣṭha nava-vidhā bhakti
‘kṛṣṇa-prema’, ‘kṛṣṇa’ dite dhare mahā-śakti
tāra madhye sarva-śreṣṭha nāma-saṅkīrtana
niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana

Of all the different spiritual practices, the nine forms of bhakti (sravanam, kirtanam, etc) are the best because they have great potency to deliver Kṛṣṇa and ecstatic love for Him. Of these nine practices, nama-sankirtana is the best. By chanting the holy name without offense, one very easily obtains the priceless treasure of kṛṣṇa-prema. (Caitanya Caritamrita, Antya 4.70-1)

“The Caitanya-caritāmṛta states that of the nine ways of devotional service to obtain love of God, the foremost is nāma-saṅkīrtana. One who chants nāma without offenses surely achieves love of God. Bhakti-sandarbha says no form of bhakti (i.e. mathurā-vāsa, sādhu-saṅga, srī-murti sevā, and bhāgavata-sravana) is complete without Śrī Kṛṣṇa nāma-saṅkīrtana. The Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya says that saṅkīrtana is the best and foremost of all spiritual practices for attaining Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. If the other practices of bhakti are helpful to it, they should then be accepted.” (Sri Caitanya’s Teachings)

“Sri-nama bhajana is more powerful than all other forms of bhajana (nava-vidha-bhakti). There is no difference between nama (the holy name) and nami (Bhagavan, who possesses the name.) If you chant nama without offense, you will very quickly attain all perfection. All nine forms of bhajana are automatically carried out by performing nama-bhajana. When one utters sri-nama, he is engaged in hearing and chanting (sravanam, kirtanam). As one continues to chant, one also remembers the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, and within the mind one serves Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet (pada-sevanam), worships Him (arcanam), offers prayers (vandanam), serves Kṛṣṇa in the mood of a servant (dasyam) or friend (sakhyam), and offers one’s very self to Kṛṣṇa (atma-nivedanam).” (Jaiva Dharma ch. 4)

Upon completing the description of the sixty-four limbs of devotional service, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī mentions five of them as the most important items. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura clearly shows how each one of these five most potent devotional processes points to the chanting of the holy name.

Sarasvatī Ṭhākura once explained that after careful consideration of the five limbs of bhakti, the best practice is srī-nāma bhajana. The next entry shows how chanting Kṛṣṇa’s holy names is the root of all nine forms of devotion and is glorified above all.

(1) Sādhu-saṅga­­­­­­­­­­­­­–associating with devotees is recommended to create a taste or inclination for srī-nāma bhajana. This comes from associating with holy saints who are attached to chanting Kṛṣṇa’s holy names with firm faith and who systematically chant the names.

(2) Bhāgavata-śravaṅa–hearing Śrīmad Bhāgavatam which itself declares sri-nāma bhajana to be the highest virtue. In its beginning, middle (sixth canto, Ājamila story), and end, the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam repeatedly stresses the efficacy of sri-nāma bhajana.

(3) Mathurā-vāsa–sri-nāma bhajana is situated at the root of residence in Vṛndāvana or Śrīdhāma Māyāpur. The sādhus living in or visiting these holy places are always engaged in nāma-saṅkīrtana.

(4) Śrī-murti-sevā–the service of Kṛṣṇa’s Deity is always conducted with mantras full of God’s names. The Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī say that Deity service must be accompanied with chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra for it to be accepted.

(5) Nāma-saṅkīrtana–is directly chanting the holy names.

“Of all means of bhajana (devotional service), the name of Kṛṣṇa is most purely spiritual. In describing the absolute duties, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa states that singing and meditating on Śrī Nāma (Kṛṣṇa’s holy names) is the best devotional activity.

“The most advanced devotees who have fully dedicated themselves to Śrī Kṛṣṇa take exclusive refuge in kṛṣṇa-nāma amongst all other practices of devotion. There is no other performance so pure and spiritual as singing the name of Kṛṣṇa.” (Nama-bhajana)

According to Sri Jiva Gosvami, chanting the holy name is not only the greatest form of sadhana, but it must accompany every other form of devotional service: “Chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is the chief means of attaining love of God. This chanting does not depend on any paraphernalia, nor birth in a good family. All the Vedas proclaim that by humility and meekness one attracts the attention of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa is the greatest sadhana (mahā-sādhanānam), and the fulfillment of all sacrifice, penance and austerities. Simply by chanting one achieves ecstatic love of God and complete perfection in life. Therefore, whatever one does in executing devotional service must be accompanied with the chanting of the holy name.” (Bhakti-sandarbha 270)

An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In the material world, both neophyte sadhakas and realized suddha-bhaktas chant the holy name. Dutiful beginners chant Hare Kṛṣṇa as a sadhana for purification, whereas adepts relish the sweetest nectar in the holy name. Chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra is the eternal activity of every soul. Therefore, it is good to cultivate attachment and affection for one’s eternal companion–Kṛṣṇa’s holy names.

Harinama sankirtana goes on in the spiritual world as well among Kṛṣṇa’s eternal associates. The scriptures narrate many pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees chanting the holy names.

“Kṛṣṇa said to Uddhava, ‘Mother Yasoda is always singing My names in a deep mood of separation. As she takes long slow breaths, the sound “Ha Kṛṣṇa! Ha Kṛṣṇa!” comes from her throat. Profuse perspiration soaks her weary body, and tears gush from her eyes, soaking her clothes, as she stares intently at the road to Mathura waiting for My return.’ ” (Uddhava-sandesh)

“A sakhi tells Kṛṣṇa, ‘O Kṛṣṇa! When You are out tending the cows in the pasture, Radharani spends Her day, longing to see You again. Fixing Her eyes on the path where You will return with the cows, She engages Her tongue in repeating the two syllables kṛṣ and ṇa. Radhika’s ears yearn to hear the sound of Your flute, and Her heart is fixed in the happiness of thinking of You.’ ” (Ujjvala-nilamani ch.15)

“Kṛṣṇa said, ‘Hey Kundavalli! When I accidentally said the word “Radha”, Candravali became tortured with pain, as if violently wounded at heart. However, in order to pacify My embarrassment and bewilderment, she doubled the smile on her lotus face and spoke words filled with sweetness.’ ” (Ujjvala-nilamani ch.14)

“Vrnda-devi said to Paurnamasi, ‘Radharani gave a farewell embrace to the budding jasmine creeper She had planted on the Yamuna’s shore. She placed the farewell gift of Her very beautiful diamond necklace in Lalita’s hand. Radhika then entered a kadamba grove filled with buzzing sounds of bees and fainted. But She was reawakened by Her priya-sakhis chanting the name of Hari.’ ” (Ujjvala-nilamani ch.15)

“The wonderful sacred mantra Kṛṣṇa chants is the name of His dearmost Radharani. Srimati Radharani’s maha-mantra is the name of Lord Kṛṣṇa.” (Radha-Kṛṣṇa Ganoddesa-dipika)

An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

kṛṣṇa-mantra haite habe saṁsāra-mocana,
kṛṣṇa-nāma haite pābe kṛṣṇera caraṇa

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “The kṛṣṇa mantra (gopala mantra) gives one freedom from material existence. And kṛṣṇa nama (the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra) delivers one to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Ādi 7.73)

In this verse, Lord Caitanya describes the effects of chanting the eighteen-syllable gopala mantra and the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra. Of the two mantras, Sri Jiva Gosvami emphasizes chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra in Bhakti Sandarbha 284: “Mantras are actually composed of the names of the Supreme Lord. Mantras are distinct from the name because they include the word “namah” [or svaha], and have special powers that are given by the rsis or the Lord Himself. The holy names of the Lord, however, in themselves, being independent, can bestow the higest goal of life, Kṛṣṇa-prema. Thus the names of Kṛṣṇa are more suitable than mantras.”

In Kṛṣṇa Samhita, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes the various mantras given to liberate one in the different yugas. In Satya, Treta and Dvapara yugas these mantras, called tāraka-brahma-nāma, addressed the Supreme Lord with feelings of awe and reverence invoking His divine power, majesty and protection (aisvarya-bhava). The tāraka-brahma-nāma for Kali-yuga is the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra, a selfless call for loving service.

In the Gaudiya conception, samsara-mocana, or liberation means to realize one’s svarupa. At this stage, the Brahma Gayatri and the gopala mantra retire, but chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa continues to deliver one to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-carana), in the spiritual world. This is the final stage of spiritual evolution wherein one attains his vastu siddhi, (pure spiritual form), and engages in Kṛṣṇa’s eternal service.

Whether one is in Kṛṣṇaloka or the material world, chanting Kṛṣṇa’s holy name is the eternal function of the soul. In the material world, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa is the primary activity for purification and spiritual elevation. Everything else is auxiliary or supportive of the main service of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Upon entering the spiritual world, however, chanting the holy name will be in the background, helping and energizing. Serving Radha-Govinda will be in the foreground, distinct and most important. For example, when the gopīs churn fresh yogurt for Kṛṣṇa’s butter, they simultaneously sing His glories while keeping time with their bangles and waistbells.

An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

“Kṛṣṇa-nāma has been accepted by all to be an incarnation of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa on this earth. Although He appears like a word, Kṛṣṇa, still by His inconceivable power He is completely spiritual. The name is a special incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As Kṛṣṇa and His name are identical, Kṛṣṇa has descended to earth as nāma. Kṛṣṇa-nāma is our first introduction to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, we first meet Kṛṣṇa in His name. With determination to reach Kṛṣṇa, we must first accept the name of Kṛṣṇa.” (Nama Bhajana)

“Nāma is also another incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. Nāma-rūpe kali-kāle kṛṣṇa-avatāra. Because name and Kṛṣṇa are not different. Abhinnatvād nāma-nāminoḥ. There is no difference. In the material world there is difference between the name and the substance. But in advaya-jñāna, the Absolute world, there is no such distinction. The name and the person are the same, identical.” (SPT 30/10/72)

How does Hare Kṛṣṇa japa purify the chanter? “Chanting gradually diminishes the propensity to sin, and simultaneously purifies the consciousness. At this juncture, a taste for chanting begins to manifest. The inclination to commit sinful acts vanishes, though a faint residue of previous sinful acts still lingers in the consciousness. The receding sinful reactions leave an odor of sinful habits. But the chanter’s contact with the name produces a purity of mind and strength of willpower that overcomes the clinging smell of sin.” (Hari-nama-cintamani)

An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Kṛṣṇa’s holy name–full of mercy, full of compassion, full of affection, full of rasa and full of prema–is the rarest treasure in the world. Without hearing from sastra and saints, however, one can never understand the power, value and benefit of Sri Kṛṣṇa’s divine name, form, attributes, pastimes and holy abode (nama, rupa, guna, lila, dhama). Throughout the Vedas the transcendental glories of the holy name are recounted.

The following verse from the Padma Purana compares the holy name to a cintamani gem, a divine stone that can bestow one’s desired results. Such cintamani gems make up the transcendental land of Kṛṣṇaloka in the spiritual world. This verse clearly describes the transcendental identity of the holy name:

nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś, caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto, ‘bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ

The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is a transcendental wish-fulfilling gem (cintamani); it is the embodiment of all consciousness and sentiments; it is complete; it is pure; it is ever free because the name of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa Himself are one and the same.

Srila Prabhupada gives a wonderful expanded translation of this verse:

“The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Kṛṣṇa Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Kṛṣṇa’s name is complete, and it is the form of all the transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Kṛṣṇa Himself. Since Kṛṣṇa’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with māyā. Kṛṣṇa’s name is always liberated and spiritual. It is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa Himself are identical.” (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 17.133 p.)

The following story from Vaisnava tradition illustrates the incomparable value of Kṛṣṇa’s holy name.

Once a disciple asked his guru for the topmost secret of bhajana. The guru replied, “The most confidential secret of bhajana is to always chant the maha-mantra–Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!”

After leaving his guru’s asrama, the disciple met some poor washermen who were chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa while scrubbing clothes beside the Yamuna. He then heard some little girls chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa while collecting cow dung. When the disciple hired a ricksaw, the skinny old driver chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa all the way back to the asrama.

Meeting his guru, the disciple expressed a doubt about the maha-mantra, “Gurudeva! What kind of secret have you given to me that is known to every dhobi, ricksaw-walla and little girl in India? Is this really the most confidential secret of bhajana?”

Instead of a long explanation, the guru handed the disciple a precious jewel and said, “Show this jewel to the dhobi, ricksaw-walla and little girls, and see if they appreciate its value.” The disciple then showed the priceless jewel to the illiterate washermen, but they could not detect the value of the jewel. They said they would gladly accept it, and use it for beating their dirty cloth. The disciple refused to give them the gem, saying, “You have to pay the proper price for it. A stone or piece of wood is sufficient for beating dirty cloth.”

Upon seeing the jewel, the ricksaw-walla said, “Since it is a little rough, I think it is just suitable for scraping off the dry skin from my feet.” “Are you crazy!” said the disciple as he walked on to show the village girls. Failing to recognize the true worth of the jewel, the girls said, “We could use the jewel to pack our cow dung.”

The disciple again met with his guru and said, “Gurudeva! Nobody wanted to pay the proper price for the jewel. Nor could anyone appreciate the great value of the gem.”

“Yes, in the same way,” said the guru, “most people cannot appreciate the value of the holy name. For this reason, they are indifferent to the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa. The Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra is an open secret that is revealed only to the qualified.”

An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting

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

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Just before my merciful mentor left this world to enter Sri Radha’s eternal seva, we discussed the merits of different bhakti sadhana practices. Throughout that most wonderful and unforgettable Harikatha, he repeatedly stressed and proclaimed, with the firm conviction of a 101 years practice: “HARI NAMA WILL DO ALL THINGS! You need to chant Krishna nama and you will get everything—EVERYTHING!!!” Jai Gurudeva!

With lightning speed, he then quoted the following slokas to support his conclusion, and strengthen my faith and conviction in Sri Hari Nama-sankirtana. We hope these slokas will inspire everyone, and ignite their enthusiasm to chant more and more and more.

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

The last verse of the 18,000 in the Srimad Bhagavatam (12.13.23) says:

nāma-saṅkīrtanaṁ yasya, sarva-pāpa praṇāśanam
“Nama-sankirtana destroys all sins.”

Throughout the Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally teaches about the power and benefit of Sri Hari Nama-sankirtana.

bhakti-sādhana-śreṣṭha prabhu upadeśa nāma-saṅkīrtana
Mahaprabhu said, “Nama-sankirtana is the best bhakti practice. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.6.241)

kale kalera dharma krishna nama-sankirtana
Mahaprabhu said, “Krishna nama sankirtana is the dharma for the age of Kali.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.98)

kṛṣṇa-sevā vaiṣṇava-sevana
nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana

Mahaprabhu said, “Serve Sri Krishna and the Vaisnavas and constantly chant Krishna Nama-sankirtana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.15.104)

vaiṣṇava-sevā, nāma-saṅkīrtana
dui kara, śīghra pābe śrī-kṛṣṇa-caraṇa

Mahaprabhu said, “By serving Vaisnavas and doing Nama-sankirtana, you will very quickly attain the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2. 16.70)

bhāgavata karaha vicāra, pābe sūtra-śrutira artha-sāra
nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana, helāya mukti pābe prema-dhana

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “By studying the Srimad Bhagavatam you will understand the essence of Sruti and Vedanta Sutra. And by constantly chanting Krishna Nama-sankirtana, you will attain liberation and the wealth of Krishna prema! (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2. 25.153-154)

nava vidhi bhakti sarva-śreṣṭha nāma-saṅkīrtana
niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana

Mahaprabhu said, “Nama-sankirtana is the best form of sadhana bhakti. Chanting without offense gives the treasure of Krishna prema.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.4.71)

During the final days of His Puri lila, Sri Caitanyadeva plunged into the ocean of separation from His Prana-pati Vrajendranandana. Deep in the night, hidden inside the latern lit cave of the Gambhira, Mahaprabhu savored the sweet bliss of madhurya-rasa (rasa-asvadane) in the sanga of Damodara Svarupa and Ramananda.

Wrapped in a magical melody of joy, lamentation, anger, humility, anxiety, grief, intense eagerness and satisfaction, Mahaprabhu mercifully spoke the essence of Krishna consciousness. While sighing in bliss, overwhelmed in mahabhava, His molten heart pulsing with compassion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:

nāma-saṅkīrtana haite sarvānartha-nāśa
sarva-śubhodaya, kṛṣṇa-premera ullāsa

“Nama-sankirtana destroys all anarthas, brings the rising of all good fortune, and thrills one with Krishna prema.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.11)

saṅkīrtana haite pāpa-saṁsāra-nāśana
citta-śuddhi, sarva-bhakti-sādhana-udgama

Mahaprabhu cried, “Hari Nama-sankirtana destroys sins and samsara. It cleanses the heart and manifests all types of bhakti sadhana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.13)

kṛṣṇa-premodgama, premāmṛta-āsvādana
kṛṣṇa-prāpti, sevāmṛta-samudre majjana

“By Nama-sankirtana, Krishna prema will appear in the heart. One will taste the nectar of Krishna’s love; attain Krishna, and submerge in the nectar ocean of Krishna’s eternal seva.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.14)

khāite śuite yathā tathā nāma laya
kāla-deśa-niyama nāhi, sarva siddhi haya

Sri Gauranga said, “For chanting Krishna nama there are no rules regarding time and place. If one chants Krishna nama even while eating or sleeping, one will attain all perfection i.e. Radha-Krishna nitya prema seva in the kunjas of Vrndavana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.14)

Sri Krishna nama sankirtana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

After the fiendish, ghost-like witch named Putana Raksasi attacked her six-day old baby Gopala Krishna, Yasoda Mata and other elderly Vraja gopis chanted the following mantras mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

bhūta-preta-piśācāś ca / yakṣa-rakṣo-vināyakāḥ
unmādā ye hy apasmārā / deha-prāṇendriya-druhaḥ
svapna-dṛṣṭā mahotpātā / vṛddhā bāla-grahāś ca ye
sarve naśyantu te viṣṇor / nāma-grahaṇa

“The various subtle, invisible, evil beings (aka ghosts, hobgoblins) like bhutas, pretas, pisacas, yaksas, rakshasa and vinakayas, who especially prey on children (balak/arbhak), by troubling their bodies and causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams, ARE ALL DESTROYED BY CHANTING VISNU/KRISHNA NAMA! (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.28-29)

Srila Prabhupada on Wearing Kavacas

Srila Prabhupada: “Dear Jayapatka! Regarding the Narayana Kavaca mantra, the HARE KRISHNA MANTRA IS EVERYTHING! (SPLetter 76-12-04)

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

This article about the absolute and unlimited power of Sri Krishna Harinama to remove and destroy all types of negative vibrations, situations, environments, people, ghosts and mental monsters will conclude with a conversation between the author and his wisdom teacher.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Should adult devotees wear Nrsimha Kavacas for protection, auspiciousness, or any other purpose?

Wisdom Teacher: No, there is no need! Krishna Nama will do all things. Although there is no difference in tattva between Sri Krishna and Sri Nrsimha, Hari Nama alone is enough. Devotees should just chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, having full faith in Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: But what about babies and young children who are often harassed by subtle entities? What can parents do to protect them, since small children are not yet able to chant Hare Krishna on japa mala?

Wisdom Teacher: Still Hare Krishna maha-mantra is enough! Just follow the example of Yasoda Mata, who took exclusive shelter of Hari Nama. For small babies and children, who can’t chant Hare Krishna, then parents CAN USE A KAVACA containing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and Yasoda’s prayer (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.22-29) written on a piece of paper.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Then when the children can chant Harinama-japa, what should they do?

Wisdom Teacher: The parents should remove the kavaca, and respectfully offer it into a sacred river like Ganga or Yamunaji.

Exclusive shelter in Krishna ki jai! Hare Krishna maha-mantra ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

When Sri Sri 108 Pandit Sri Krishna Das Babaji Maharaja, Bhakti-tirtha was about 15 years old, three desires (sankalpas) mysteriously arose in his mind: “I will worship Radha-Krishna in the mood of gopi-bhava,” “I will study Srimad Bhagavatam!” “And I will chant Harinama and do Sankirtana!”

As a tender teen, Babaji Maharaja had no idea what is gopi-bhava. Nor did he know that the rest of long life of 101 years would be spent realizing these three desires. From where did these three beautiful, transcendental sankalpas come from? Bhagavan Sri Krishna answers in Sri Gita (6.44): purva abhyasena tenaiva, hriyate hy avaso pi sah, “Because of performing bhakti yoga sadhana in a prior life, one is automatically attracted to the same practices in this life.”

In 1918 (Magha Sukla Trayodashi), Babaji Maharaja appeared in Dakshina Khanda, West Bengal near the village of Gaura-Govinda nitya-parisada Sri Narahari Sarkar Thakura. Babaji Maharaja appeared in wealthy Brahmin family of Krishna bhaktas hailing from the Kasyapa and Shandilya gotras. At the age of five, Babaji Maharaja lost his mother and was raised by his grandparents.

In 1940, Babaji Maharaja graduated with honors from high school, and then stayed home managing the family estate. Most of the day, he chanted Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Nama (aka Hare Krishna maha-mantra).

Babaji Maharaja recalls those days saying, “I felt so much bliss in my mind while chanting Hare Krishna that I lost all interest in material life. I decided that I will leave home, become a sadhu and live in a Himalayan cave doing bhajan like Dhruva and Prahlada Maharaja.”

“Detecting my mood of detachment, my uncle gave me a Gita to read, hoping that I would learn about duty, stay home, get married and so on. However, the Gita had the opposite effect and after reading it, especially 9.33, 18.65-66, I became even more determined to leave home and become a sadhu.”

“Then one night Radha-Krishna appeared in my dream. They looked very beautiful dancing together in a most exquisite and attractive way. I moved towards them, but then They vanished, leaving me with an intense thirst to see them again.”

A short time later, Babaji Maharaja’s uncle’s baby of two years old was visiting his home. He gazed at Baba and suddenly surprisingly said in a most distinct way, “Dada! I give you a blessing: Become a sadhu!” At first, Babaji Maharaja couldn’t believe his ears, but then he thought that Bhagavan Sri Krishna must be speaking through that baby’s mouth.

“Being a young Indian boy, however, I was afraid to leave home and I worried about getting food and shelter. Then Krishna appeared in a dream holding a club and said, ‘Don’t worry or fear. Just leave home and become a sadhu. If anyone tries to harm you, I will destroy them with this club!’”

Babaji Maharaja left home and went to Gaya for Visnu darsana, Ganga snana, then on to Haridvar where he arrived after a month of walking. Babaji Maharaja lived on the bank of Ganga under a tree, and in a garden house offered by a sympathetic devotee. Babaji Maharaja passed a few years in Haridvar staying in different places, chanting Hare Krishna and studying Bhagavad-gita.

Babaji Maharaja then came to Vrndavana Dhama in 1940 and did Vraja parikrama subsisting on madhukari before settling in Cakalesvara, Govardhana. There Babaji Maharaja met a niskincana sadhu who lived doing bhajan and madhukari.

Feeling the utmost respect and attraction to him, Babaji Maharaja took diksa from that Gaudiya Vaisnava saint named Sri Sri 108 Sanatana Das Babaji Maharaja, who was the favorite vesh disciple of the famous Govinda Kunda Siddha Baba 108 Sri Sri Manohara Das Babaji.

In 1941, Babaji Maharaja took sannyasa (babaji vesh) before Sri Raghnuatha Dasa Goswami’s Samadhi. Babaji Maharaja spent time with his guru in Radha Kunda and Govardhana studying sastra in the association of Sri Kunjabihari Das Babaji, Gaura-Gopala Dasji, Sri Dina Sarana Maharaja, Priyacharana Dasji Maharaja, Parameshvara Dasji Maharaja, and Sri Advaita Das Babaji Maharaja.

Babaji Maharaja studied Sanskrit for a few years in Vrndavana and received degrees in Sanskrit vyakarana, Vaisnava darsana tirtha and became a Bhagavata acarya. Returning to Govardhana Govinda Kunda, Babaji Maharaja did bhajan, and served his Guru and the other great Govardhana nivasi bhajananadi sadhus staying at Govinda Kunda.

Not only was Babaji Maharaja an amazing Pandita, a strict vairagi and a perfect gentle man, he was expert in cooking, book keeping and managing entire temples and ashrams. Appreciating Babaji Maharaja’s superb scholarship, honesty and impeccable behavior several Vrndavana temple trusts requested his service as mahanta.

For 35 years, Babaji Maharaja selflessly served as the Mahant of the Gwalior Mandir, Kusuma Sarovara; Mahant of Siddha Manohara Das’s temple in Govinda Kunda, and the Radha-Syamasundara Mandir in Prema Sarovara.

Of his 101 years as a sadhu sannyasi, Babaji Maharaja did Radha-Krishna bhajan in Vraja Mandala for 80 years. All his belongings fit into one shoulder bag. Babaji Maharaja never had a bank account, personal kutira or any land. He wandered here and there living a complete vairagi life—sometimes staying in Govinda Kunda, Radha Kunda, Kusuma Sarovara, Prema Sarovara and Varsana.

He initiated many devotees, wrote several books on Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva, sadhana and sadhya, and often went to Bengal, Assam and other places to discourse on the Srimad Bhagavatam, and preach suddha Radha-Krishna bhakti bhajan, and the prema dharma introduced by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

During his long life Babaji Maharaja freely taught Sanskrit and the secrets of the Srimad Bhagavatam to scores of eager brahmacaris and Babajis. As a service whenever Babaji Maharaja was requested by other Gurus like Sri Sri 108 Pandit Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja, he would give sannyasa vesh (bheka) to their disciples.

Babaji Maharaja was a gentle, humble, unassuming sadhu with a fantastic memory of slokas from the Bhagavatam, Gita and other sastra. He deeply knew all the Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhantas, and he would compassionately share his vast wisdom with anyone seeking his shelter.

Babaji Maharaja constantly stressed the need to take complete shelter in Harinama; always be completely humble; never offend any Vaisnava; and always remember the nitya-lilas of Radha Govinda Yugala. Govinda-lilamrta and Sri Raghnuatha Dasa Goswami’s Stavavali were his constant companions.

Babaji Maharaja satisfied the thirst of all seekers who came for his darsana. He emanated friendly warmth, care, and oceans of wisdom. Babaji Maharaja treated everyone like his own, making sure each and every devotee was satisfied and comfortable. And most importantly before leaving his sublime association, everyone just had to take Krishna prasadam, which he often personally served with the utmost love.

On January 11, 2019, at 7.10 A.M. Srimati Radharani came to Babaji Maharaja’s kutira in Varsana, and said, “Hey Baba! Now come with Me. We have to go to Nandagrama to cook breakfast for Sri Nandanandana.”

And thus Babaji Maharaja’s incredibly long life of Harinama, Gopi-Bhava and Bhagavata came to a beautiful close. He fulfilled his three sankalpas, perfected his bhakti sadhana bhajan, and went to Goloka Vrndavana to blissfully serve His beloved Radha Govinda Yugala for time eternal!
108 Sri Sri Pandit Sri Krishna Das Babaji Maharaja, Bhakti-tirtha ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Jai Gurudeva! Jai Gurudeva! Jai Gurudeva!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

  1. satāṁ ninda-namnaḥ param aparādham vitanute, yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tu tad vigarhām
    The topmost offense (param aparadha) is to criticize a devotee.
  1. śivasya śrī visnor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalam, dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari-nāmāhita-karaḥ
    One will get no benefit from Harinama (hari-nama ahita karah) if one considers the name or qualities of Siva as equal to or independent (bhinna) of Sri Vishnu.
  1. guror avagya
    To disrespect, disregard or disobey Sri Guru.

  2. śruti śāstra-nindanaṁ
    To disrespect any scriptures describing God.

  3. tathārthavādo
    Think the glories of Krishna Nama are exaggerations or empty praise.

  1. hari nāmni kalpanam
    To give imaginary or concocted 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 shubha karmas (good deeds) like varnashrama duties, vows, austerities, yagyas.
  1. aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati, yas copadeṣaḥ śiva-nāmāparādhaḥ
    To describe the glories of Krishna Nama to the faithless (ashradha); 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 (ashrnvati).
  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 Acharya Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Sri Harinama ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!