Hearing and Chanting

Before you chant, you must hear

after you hear, you must chant

 

 

 
Contents-
 
* No one can understand the activities of a pure devotee 
* By chanting we will see Krsna's form
* They should always appreciate this opportunity 
* The order of Krsna is to chant His name incessantly
* Even householders can achieve perfection 
* Writing is Kirtan
* Sri Kali-santarana Upanisad glorifies the Maha-mantra
* No question of experimentation
* The Moon walks along with us, so does Krishna
* Read and hear Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam
* Prabhupada's short essay on LP Krishna consciousness record
 

"No one can understand the activities of a pure devotee."

 Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 16.5-7:

Kalidasa was a very advanced devotee, yet he was simple and liberal. He would chant the holy name of Krsna while performing all his ordinary dealings. When he used to throw dice in jest, he would throw the dice while chanting Hare Krsna.

                              PURPORT

    In this connection Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura warns the men of this age not to imitate the jesting of a maha-bhagavata like Kalidasa. If someone imitates him by playing with dice or gambling while chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, he will certainly become a victim of offenses unto the holy name. As it is said, hari-nama-bale pape pravrtti: one must not commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. Playing with dice is certainly gambling, but it is clearly said here that Kalidasa did this only in jest. A maha-bhagavata can do anything, but he never forgets the basic principles. Therefore it is said, vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijneha na bujhaya: "No one can understand the activities of a pure devotee." We should not imitate Kalidasa.

 


By Chanting We will see Krsna's Form

If one chants the holy name of God--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--eventually he will see Krsna's form, realize Krsna's qualities, and remember Krsna's pastimes. That is the effect of the pure chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that the chanting of the holy name of the Lord has special significance that distinguishes it from the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of atonement for severe, more severe, or most severe sins. There are twenty types of religious scriptures called dharma-sastras, beginning with the Manu-samhita and Parasara-samhita, but herein it is stressed that although one may become free from the reactions of the most sinful activities by following the religious principles of these scriptures, this cannot promote a sinful man to the stage of loving service to the Lord. On the other hand, chanting the holy name of the Lord even once not only frees one immediately from the reactions of the greatest sins, but also begins to raise one to the platform of rendering loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one serves the Lord by remembering His form, attributes, and pastimes.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti explains that it is because of the Lord's omnipotence that this is all possible simply by chanting His holy name. What cannot be achieved through the performance of Vedic rituals can easily be achieved through the chanting of the Lord's holy name. To chant the holy name and dance in ecstasy is so easy, sublime, and effective that one can readily achieve all the benefits of spiritual life simply by following this process. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu declares, param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam: "All glories to the congregational chanting of Lord Krsna's holy name!" The sankirtana movement we have started offers the best process for immediately becoming purified of all sinful reactions and coming to the platform of spiritual life.

Although Ajamila became fallen in his later days, in his youth he was a brahmacari and was properly trained by his father. He knew the name, form, and pastimes of Narayana, but by bad association he forgot them. However, as soon as he chanted the name of Lord Narayana on his deathbed, he again remembered all his past pious activities, and therefore he was saved.

That chanting and hearing the Lord's name and glories is the best means of purifying the heart of sinful propensities is confirmed at the beginning of the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17):

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
punya-sravana-kirtanah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam

"Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted."

taken from Second Chance by Srila Prabhupada


 Now they have been given the opportunity to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. Therefore they should always appreciate this opportunity

    The holy name of God is all-auspicious. Therefore for one who constantly practices chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, there cannot be any inauspiciousness. Just by chanting, one is put into an auspicious condition of life perpetually.

   Those engaged in broadcasting the holy name through the Krsna consciousness movement should always consider what their position was before they came and what it is now. They had fallen into abominable lives as meat-eaters, drunkards, and woman-hunters, performing all kinds of sinful activities, but now they have been given the opportunity to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. Therefore they should always appreciate this opportunity. By the grace of the Lord we are opening many branches, and the members of this movement should use this good fortune to chant the holy name of the Lord and serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. They must be conscious of the difference between their present conditions and their past conditions and should always be very careful not to fall from the most exalted life of Krsna consciousness. Every devotee of Krsna should have this determination. Devotees have been elevated to an exalted position by the mercy of Krsna and the spiritual master, and if they remember that this is a great opportunity and pray to Krsna that they will not fall again, their lives will be successful.

   Being fully Krsna conscious, Ajamila settled the debts he had accrued due to his sinful activities, and he was filled with determination to continue chanting the holy name of the Lord, Narayana: "If I continue chanting the holy name of the Lord," he thought, "I will always be engaged in the highest welfare activities for the benefit of all living entities, and I shall be very peaceful." Because he was now purified of all sinful reactions, Ajamila realized that Krsna was dictating from within his heart that his duty was to become every living entity's well-wisher. 

(from A Second Chance, by Srila Prabhupada)


The order of Krsna is to chant His name incessantly

One day Vallabha Bhatta said to Advaita Acarya, "Every living entity is female [prakrti] and considers Krsna her husband [pati].
"It is the duty of a chaste wife, devoted to her husband, not to utter her husband's name, but all of you chant the name of Krsna. How can this be called a religious principle?"
Advaita Acarya responded, "In front of you is Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the personification of religious principles. You should ask Him, for He will give you the proper answer."
Hearing this, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "My dear Vallabha Bhatta, you do not know religious principles. Actually, the first duty of a chaste woman is to carry out the order of her husband.
"The order of Krsna is to chant His name incessantly. Therefore one who is chaste and adherent to the husband Krsna must chant the Lord's name, for she cannot deny the husband's order.
"Following this religious principle, a pure devotee of Lord Krsna always chants the holy name. As a result of this, he gets the fruit of ecstatic love for Krsna."

 From Cc Antya 7.103-8 


Even householders can achieve perfection by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra

[Narada Muni to King Yudhisthira]: The process of chanting the holy name of the Lord is so powerful that by this chanting even householders [grhasthas] can very easily gain the ultimate result achieved by persons in the renounced order. Maharaja Yudhisthira, I have now explained to you that process of religion.

   This is a confirmation of the Krsna Consciousness movement. Anyone who takes part in this movement, regardless of what he is, can gain the topmost result achieved by a perfect sannyasi, namely Brahma-jnana (spiritual knowledge). Even more important, he can advance in devotional service. Maharaja Yudhisthira thought that because he was a grhastha there was no hope of his being liberated, and therefore he asked Narada Muni how he could get out of material entangelment. But Narada Muni, citing a practical example from his own life, established that by associating with devotees and chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, any man in any condition of life can achieve the highest perfection without a doubt. 

This verse is from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.74 [7.3 p. 287]

and purport is by Srila Prabhupada

 
 

Writing is kirtan

 

I heard Srila Prabhupada say in his purport to Bhajahu Re Mana, that “Either by chanting vibration, or by writing, or by speaking or preaching, the kirtan must be there, Sravanam Kirtanam, first hearing, then chanting."

 

Especially old devotees, we've been hearing for so many years, and reading

Prabhupada's books. Some of us are getting old and can't do the old "hari-nama two step" quite so good any more. And so we rest our old feeble bones in the chair, and get the paper and pencil, or the keyboard, and the kirtan comes out. It must, after all those years of hearing, it has to. And Prabhupada certifies this as bona fide devotional service, kirtanam. So all you writers write till your fingers get too knoted and weak,

 

ys visokadasa

 

*

 

Realization means you should write - by Srila Prabhupada

 

Every one of you. What is your realization? You write your realization – what you have realized about Krishna. That is required. It is not passive. Always you should be active. Whenever you find time, write. Never mind – two lines, four lines, but you write your realizations. Sravanam, kirtanam.

Writing or offering prayers, glories – this is one of the functions of a

Vaisnava. You are hearing, but you have to write also. Then, writing means

smaranam – remembering what you have heard from your spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada Los Angeles 1970

 

 

Sri Kali-santarana Upanisad

At the end of Dvapara-yuga, Narada approached Brahma and asked, “O glorious one, how can I cross beyond the Kali-yuga as I wander over the earth?” Brahma replied, “The question you have asked me is excellent. Please listen to this answer, which is very confidential and contains the secret of all the Vedas, an answer that will enable you to transcend the world of birth and death in the age of Kali. Simply by chanting aloud the mantra of the holy names of Lord Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one shakes away the age of Kali.

Narada again asked, “What is that holy name?” Brahma replied, “The sixteen words of the Hare Krishna mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, are especially meant for counteracting the sins of the age of Kali. To save oneself from the contamination of this age there is no alternative but to chant the Hare Krishna mantra. After searching through all the Vedic literatures one cannot find a method of religion for this age so sublime as the chanting of Hare Krishna. The sixteen words of the maha-mantra destroy the illusions that cover the conditioned soul. This mantra makes the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself appear as the brilliant sun appears when a host of clouds are dispersed.”

Again Narada asked, “O glorious one, what are the rules for chanting this mantra?” Brahma replied, “There are no rules. Even if he is impure, a devotee who chants this mantra becomes pure. He attains the kinds of liberation known as salokya, samipya, sarupya, and sayujya. One who chants these sixteen names forty-five million times becomes free from the sin of killing a Brahmana. He becomes free of the sin of killing a ksatriya. He becomes purified of the sin of stealing gold. He becomes purified of the sin of approaching a vrsali woman. He becomes purified of the sin of insulting pitas, demigods, or human beings. He is at once purified of the sin of abandoning all religious duties. At once he becomes liberated. At once he becomes liberated. Thus the Upanisad.

 
 
 

 
No question of experimentation, you must hear
 

This cannot be understood by experimental knowledge. We may look at millions and millions of stars trough telescopes, but we cannot approach what we are seeing. Similarly, our senses are so insufficient that we cannot approach an understanding of the spiritual nature. Being incapable, we should not try to understand God and His kingdom by experimental knowledge. Rather, we have to understand by hearing Bhagavad-gita. There is no question of experimenting. Once we become advanced in Krishna consciousness, we will realize God and His nature. We can come to understand, “Yes, there is God and a spiritual kingdom, and I have to go there. Indeed, I must prepare myself to go there.”

The word vyakta means “manifest.” This material universe that we are seeing (or partially seeing) before us is manifest. At least at night we can see that stars are twinkling and that there are innumerable planets. But beyond this vyakta  is another nature, called avyakta, which is unmanifest. That is the spiritual nature, which is sanatana, eternal. This material nature has a beginning and an end, but that spiritual nature has neither beginning nor end. This material sky is within the covering of the mahat-tattva, matter. This matter is like a cloud. When there is a storm, it appears that the entire sky is covered with clouds, but actually only an insignificant part of the sky is covered. Because we are very minute, if just a few hundred miles are covered, it appears that the entire sky is covered. As soon as a wind comes and blows the clouds away, we can see the sky once again. Like the clouds, this mahat-tattva covering has a beginning and an end. Similarly, the material body, being a part of material nature, has a beginning and an end. The body is born, grows, stays for some time, leaves some by-products, dwindles, and then vanishes. Whatever material manifestation we see undergoes these six basic transformations. Whatever exists within material nature will ultimately be vanquished. But herein Krishna is telling us that beyond this vanishing, cloudlike material nature, there is a superior nature, which is sanatana, eternal. Yah sa sarvesu bhutesu nasyatsu na vinasyati. When this material manifestation is annihilated, that spiritual sky remains. This is called avyakto ‘vyaktat.

from Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavada-gita "yoga" classes.

 


The Moon walks along with us, so does Krishna-

Therefore Krishna tells Arjuna to always remain in Krishna consciousness. This is possible through the chanting of Hare Krishna. Since Krishna and His spiritual kingdom are nondifferent, being absolute, Krishna and His sound vibration are the same. Simply by vibrating Krishna’s name, we can enjoy Krishna’s association. If we are walking down the street chanting Hare Krishna, Krishna is also going with us. If we walk down the street and look up at the sky, we may see that the sun or the moon is accompanying us. I can recall about fifty years ago, when I was a householder, my second son, who was about four years old at the time, was walking with me down the street, and he suddenly asked me, “Father, why is the moon going with us?”

If a material object like the moon has the power to accompany us, we can surely understand that the Supreme Lord, who is all-powerful, can always remain with us. Being omnipotent, He can always keep us company, provided that we are also qualified to keep His company. Pure devotees are always merged in the thought of Krishna and are always remembering that Krishna is with them. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has confirmed the absolute nature of Krishna in His Siksastakam (verse 2)

“My Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Your holy name there is all good fortune for the living entity, and therefore You have many names, such as Krishna and Govinda, by which You expand Yourself. You have invested all Your potencies in those names, and there are no hard-and-fast rules for remembering them. My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting.”

By Srila Prabhupada in “The Path of Perfection.”

 


One should also read an hear the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-
Bhagavatam in the association of devotees
 
from Srimad Bhagavatam 2. 2.30 purport-
 
When we speak of hearing and chanting, it means 
that not only should one chant and hear of the holy 
name of the Lord as Rama, Krsna, but one should 
also read an hear the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-
Bhagavatam in the association of devotees. The 
primary practice of bhakti-yoga will cause the seed
already sowed in heart to sprout, and by a regular 
watering process, as mentioned above, the 
bhakti-yoga creeper will begin to grow. By 
systematic nurturing, the creeper will grow to such an
extent that it will penetrate the coverings of the 
universe, as we have heard in the previous verses, 
reach the effulgent sky, the Brahmajyoti, and go 
farther and farther and reach the spiritual sky, where 
there are innumerable spiritual planets called 
Vaikunthalokas. Above all of them is Krsnaloka, or 
Goloka Vrndavana, wherein the growing creeper 
enters and takes repose at the lotus feet of Lord 
Sri Krsna, the original Personality of Godhead. 
When one reaches the lotus feet of Lord Krsna at 
Goloka Vrndavana, the watering process of 
hearing and reading, as also chanting of the holy 
name in the pure devotional state, fructifies, and 
the fruits grown there in the form of love of God 
are tangibly tasted by the devotee, even though he 
is here in this material world.

 


In his short essay on the early LP Krishna consciousness, Srila 
Prabhupada says:
 
"The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya, 
or illusion. Maya means "that which is not". And what is this 
illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of 
material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent 
laws....This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped 
at once by revival of our eternal Krsna consciousness.
 
"Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama 
Rama Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this 
original, pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental 
vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The 
basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that 
I am the lord of all I survey.
 
"Krsna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This 
consciousness is the original, natural energy of the living entity. 
When we hear this transcendental vibration, this consciousness is 
revived. This simplest meditation is recommended for this age. By 
practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this 
maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, once can at once 
feel a transcendental ecstacy coming through from the spiritual 
stratum...."  submitted by Jayaradhe dasi

 

 

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