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Chanting the Holy Names

The Essential Principles of Lord Gauranga´s Kirtan - Part 2

By Sacinandana Swami

What we can learn from Narada Muni is that:

1) We need to take shelter in Krishna by chanting in the mood of separation and

2) We need to be in a humble and non-envious state of mind while chanting

Narada Muni expressed this in his own words:

“Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. In doing so, I traveled all over the world, fully satisfied, humble, and unenvious.”
(SB 1.6.26)


To come to this anticipating mood, or the mood of longing for Krishna, “Krishna I really need You” you can do the following:

* Hear about Krishna from the Bhagavatam. In this way you will develop
your taste for Krishna.

* Serve the Bhagavatas - devotees who talk about and live by the example of
the Bhagavatam. They can infuse us with the bhakti, which they have for Krishna.

In his lecture on Nectar of Devotion, (Sri Vrindavan Dhama, Oct 20th 1972), Srila Prabhupada explains that to read regularly from our acaryas means to associate with them and if we act accordingly, then we are serving their lotus feet .

By hearing the Bhagavatam and serving the devotee Bhagavata, we will come to understand that we belong to Krishna. This understanding will make us turn to Krishna for shelter. Hence a devotee will pray:

“Ayi nanda tanuja kinkaram . . . My dear Lord, I am Your eternal servant, but somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of this material world. Kindly pick me up and fix me as a speck of dust at Your lotus feet.”
(Siksastaka 5)


Srila Prabhupada said in the purport to the text 1.6.26, that such devotees who take the chanting of the Lord’s names seriously have no desire for material gain. Because they have the highest aim of life, going back to Godhead, they are never envious of anyone, nor are they proud of being eligible to go back to Godhead

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu expresses the same principle in His Siksastaka (3), where He says:

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada hari

"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw on the street, being more tolerant than a tree and always ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly."

As we can see the way in which Narada Muni chanted ‘fully satisfied, humble and non-envious’, was also instructed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

• We must be free from pride like the straw on the street that people trample upon and

• We must be non-envious - in the words of Mahaprabhu, we must respect others, not be envious of them.

This instruction of Mahaprabhu does not refer only to social etiquette whereby we give respect to those ‘higher’ than ourselves, “Oh Sannyasi Maharaja, you are the best..” No, it means that we respect everyone, all souls without wanting anything else in return. So the next time we are disrespected, next time someone hurls insults upon us, we should just understand that it is not worth our while to fight. We want something much higher.

So let us get practical now!

1) When you sit down to chant your japa or kirtan, remember the Lord and how you are now separated from Him. Turn to Him for shelter:

krsna, tomara hana´ yadi bale eka-bara
maya-bandha haite krsna tare kare para

“My dear Lord Krsna, although I have forgotten You for so many long years in the material world, today I am surrendering unto You. I am Your sincere and serious servant. Please engage me in Your service.”
(CC M 22.33)

2) Then continue to chant by focusing on the maha-mantra. Try to hear each mantra all the while staying in the mood of longing.

3) When your mind starts to wander here and there and you cannot easily focus it on the holy name, then come to a humble state of mind. You may pray to the Lord, a prayer like:


patitam bhima-bhavarnaodare

agatim saranagatam hare

krpaya kevalam atmasat kuru

“O Hari! I am guilty of committing thousands and thousands of offenses thus I am drowning inside this terrible, turbulent ocean of material existence. I have lost my way, but I desire to find the right path and so I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet. Please accept me as Your own out of Your mercy alone.”
(Stotra-ratna 48)

If you continue to chant in this way, chanting from the heart and thus connecting with the Lord, miracles will unfold!

To be continued…

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