By: Mahanidhi Swami
Srila Haridasa passed his time relishing the nectar of the holy name and giving his enlightened association to the pious pure-hearted brahmanas of Nadiya. Once in a public assembly, an angry, arrogant brahmin criticized Haridasa Thakura for chanting loudly, and challenged him to prove the validity of his practice. That narrow-minded brahmin said sastra only prescribes silent chanting.
Haridasa Thakura replied, “The main result of loudly chanting God’s Holy Name is that it purifies one a thousand times more than any other form of worship. The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.34.17) states, ‘Anyone who chants Krishna’s name purifies all who hear his chanting, as well as himself.’
Speaking from his own realization, Haridasa Thakura described the efficacy of personal nama-japa v.s. Harinama Sankirtana: “If one does japa of Sri Krishna nama, he delivers himself; but if one performs loud Harinama Sankirtana, he delivers others too, “japile Sri Krishna nama apane se tare, uccha sankirtana para upakara kare. Although all living entities have a tongue, only the human beings are able to chant the names of Krishna.” (CB Adi 16)
Haridasa Thakura daily chanted 192 japa rounds or 3 lacs of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. In the particular circumstance cited above, Haridasa Thakura is preaching to an impious doubtful brahmin about the 100x power of Harinama Sankirtana over solitary Nama japa. But in his personal practice of Nama bhajana, we see that Haridasa Thakura daily chanted 64 totally silent rounds in his mind (manasic-japa); 64 rounds inaudibly whispering (upamshu-japa; and 64 rounds loudly vibrated (uccha-japa), which is technically actually called kirtana or sankirtana. Most devotees have heard about this, and it is confirmed in Ishana Thakura’s Advaita Prakash (7.152): prati-dina tin lakshaa haridasa kore, manane jihvay ar uccaihsvare, “Every day Haridasa Thakura chanted three lacs (300,000 Holy Names) in the mind, with the tongue, and loudly.”
So from the personal example of the Namacharya, one can understand that chanting one’s daily rounds can be done either silently in the mind, inaudibly whispered or chanted loudly as in sankirtana. However, every sadhaka must remember that in all bhakti-sadhana practices it is best to follow the instructions of one’s Guru.
Namacharya Haridasa Thakura ki jai!
Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!
Nitai Gaura Premanande ki jai!