Equation of everything

Hare Krishna! Today while I was reading from Srila Prabhupada’s book “Namamrta,” I came across this. “But if one simply chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, it is to be understood that he is performing all kinds of yajña because there is nothing within our vision except Hare (the energy of Kṛṣṇa) and Kṛṣṇa.” I am unable to stop contemplating on this since then. Could this be the equation that explains everything?

Well, for progress in the spiritual life, the śāstras recommend meditation in Satya-yuga, sacrifice for the satisfaction of Lord Viṣṇu in Tretā-yuga, and gorgeous worship of the Lord in the temple in Dvāpara-yuga, but in the Age of Kali one can achieve spiritual progress only by chanting the holy name of the Lord.

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

This is confirmed in various scriptures. The Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad states, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare-these sixteen names composed of thirty-two syllables are the only means to counteract the evil effects of Kali-yuga. In all the Vedas it is seen that to cross the ocean of nescience there is no alternative to the chanting of the holy name.” Similarly, Śrī Madhvācārya, while commenting upon the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, has said:

dvāparīyair janair viṣṇuḥ
pañcarātrais tu kevalaiḥ
kalau tu nāma-mātreṇa
pūjyate bhagavān hariḥ

“In the Dvāpara-yuga one could satisfy Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu only by worshiping Him gorgeously according to the pāñcarātrikī system, but in the Age of Kali one can satisfy and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari simply by chanting the holy name.”

I had been reading about Lord Brahma's predicament in Srimad Bhagawatam. Lord Brahma is stressed out that he has on Lord Krishna’s instructions created five kinds of nesciences. However what is to guarantee that he himself would not get caught up in these illusions. Lord Krishna assures him that simply by seeing him in everything, one can be free from all illusions and perform his duties very nicely.

tata ātmani loke ca
bhakti-yuktaḥ samāhitaḥ
draṣṭāsi māṁ tataṁ brahman
mayi lokāṁs tvam ātmanaḥ

You will see Me in all living entities and all over the universe, just as fire is situated in wood. Only in that state of transcendental vision will you be able to be free from all kinds of illusion. (SB 3.9.32)

Well, the more I think of it, the more I see it as the same instruction that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s spiritual master Isvarapuri gave to him.

tṛṇād api su-nīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

“One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord. (CC Adi 17.31)

So the link behind the different statements is quite apparent. To see the lord everywhere, one naturally has to see beyond bodily differences. In that state he sees the lord in others and naturally becomes respectful to all living entities, not bothering any discomfort caused to his own body.

Even in Bhagavad-gītā (9.14), Krishna tells Arjuna to not bother about tearing apart the dresses of his beloved kith and kin. Instead, Krishna tells Arjuna to become a great soul engaging in constant glorification of Krishna.

satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
nitya-yuktā upāsate

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.

So although this determination is not easy for us, it can be performed in a happy mood. One does not need to undergo very severe penance or austerity. We can live this life in devotional service, guided by an expert spiritual master, and in any position, either as a householder or a sannyāsī, or a brahmacārī; in any position and anywhere in the world, we can perform this devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become actually mahātmā, a great soul. This is also described as the symptoms of a first-class devotee (SB 11.2.45):

sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed bhagavad-bhāvam ātmanaḥ
bhūtāni bhagavaty ātmany eṣa bhāgavatottamaḥ

“The most advanced devotee sees within everything the soul of all souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Consequently, he systematically sees everything related to the Supreme Lord and understands that everything that exists is eternally situated within the Lord.”

We learn from Prabhupada’s life that he was not disturbed even with the wildest psychedelics. Here I will like to share one of the memories by Srila Prabhupada’s disciples.

Another night while Prabhupada was lecturing, a boy came up and sat on the dais beside him. The boy faced out toward the audience and interrupted Prabhupada: “I got something to say. I want to say what I have to say now.” The devotees in the audience looked up, astonished, while the boy began talking incoherently.

Then Prabhupada picked up his karatalas: “All right, let us have kirtana.” The boy sat in the same place throughout the kirtana, looking crazily, sometimes menacingly, at Prabhupada. After half an hour the kirtana stopped.

Prabhupada cut an apple into small pieces, as was his custom. He then placed the paring knife and a piece of apple in his right hand and held his hand out to the boy. The boy looked at Prabhupada, then down at the apple and the knife. The room became silent. Prabhupada sat motionless, smiling slightly at the boy. After a long, tense moment, the boy reached out. A sigh rose from the audience as the boy chose the piece of apple from Prabhupada’s open hand.

This reflects Srila Prabhupada’s firm conviction that if engaged in chanting Hare Krsna, even the most fallen person could gradually become a saintly devotee. He knows that every hippie is eligible to receive the mercy of the holy name, and he sees it as his duty to his spiritual master to distribute the gift of Krsna consciousness freely, rejecting no one. On similar lines, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in Saranagati (Adi Pūtanā).

CHANT ANYWAY!
Your mind is wandering all over the universe when you chant. Chant anyway!
Your mind is wandering to the past and future when you chant. Chant anyway!
You are not able to concentrate on Krsna’s names while you chant. Chant anyway!
You have no taste for chanting. Chant anyway!
You have no taste for chanting. Chant anyway!
You have lusty desires. Chant anyway!
You are making offenses in chanting. Chant anyway!
You are not praying to Krsna to help you chant better. Chant anyway!
You often chant late at night. Chant anyway!

So WHY? Why should you chant despite all the above obstacles? This is why:

There is no vow like chanting the holy name, no knowledge superior to it, no meditation which comes anywhere near it, and it gives the highest result. No penance is equal to it, and nothing is as potent or powerful as the holy name. Chanting is the greatest act of piety and the supreme refuge. Even the words of the Vedas do not possess sufficient power to describe its magnitude. Chanting is the highest path to liberation, peace, and eternal life. It's the pinnacle of devotion, the heart's joyous proclivity and attraction, and the best form of remembrance of the Supreme Lord. The holy name has appeared solely for the benefit of the living entities as their lord and master, their supreme worshipful object, and their spiritual guide and mentor. Whoever continuously chants Lord Krishna's holy name, even in his sleep, can easily realize that the name is a direct manifestation of Krishna Himself, in spite of the influences of Kali-yuga.

Personally I find it peaceful there with the holy name, and it is so easy that you get to carry this peace by taking the mantra wherever you go, and it spreads. The joy and peace extend to everyone present, and so I chant and request my friends on their various pursuits to chant this mantra as far as possible throughout the day.

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Mayank Goel

The Krishna consciousness movement of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is so powerful that it can inundate the whole world with the love of Godhead. That is the mission