is Hare Krishna?
Events: Kirtan Festival
2004 - Hansadutta das
for Modern Man
By Hansadutta das
this story to a friend Printer
Kirtan--The Holy Names of God
O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all
to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like
Krishna and Govinda.--Shikshastaka
What is Kirtan?
Kirtan is singing and dancing to the holy names of
Chanting the holy names of the Lord in the form of Hare Krishna, Hare
Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama,
Hare Hare has been especially recommended for liberating the people of
this fallen age of Kali, the age of darkness, quarrel and dissension.
In spite of technological advancement, people in this age of
irreligious, sinful, short-lived, always disturbed, impatient, impious
and forgetful. Most of us born in this age are generally lacking in
spiritual qualifications. Therefore a special concession has been given
for this age to make self-realisation simple. That concession is
Kirtan, chanting the holy names of the Lord.
Kirtan does not cost anything, and it can be
anywhere--it is available to everyone. One can have Kirtan at home with
his family and friends. One can sing God's names in the factory, in the
office or on the street.
Kirtan is the most fundamental practice for
spiritual life. It is recommended in the Vedic scriptures, the world's
oldest spiritual books, that one should chant this sixteen-word mantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare
Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is called the maha-mantra. The word
mantra is very popular, but most people do not know the meaning. Maha
means "great," man means "mind" and tra means "to
deliver." Therefore maha-mantra means "the great mantra for
delivering one's mind from material contamination." For thousands of
years this mantra has been used successfully. In this chaotic age,
everyone should take shelter in the chanting of the holy names of God.
God has a Name
There are innumerable eternal living entities, but
them, one living entity is the leader. As the leader of the American
citizens is the president, the leader of all living entities is
commonly known as God. As the president of the United States is an
individual and has his name. Bill Clinton, similarly, the leader of the
living entities--the Supreme Eternal known as God--is called by the
name Krishna. In one sense, God has no name, because He is unlimited.
Therefore, the names which are indicated to address the supreme living
entity, such as Krishna, Rama, Jehovah or Allah, are unlike mundane
names like Tom, John, Bob or Harry. God's names have actual meaning.
The names of the Lord are descriptive of His qualities and are
identical with Him in every way.
God's chief name is Krishna, because that name
all-embracing or most broad. Krishna means "the all-attractive
one." God attracts everyone, either directly or indirectly. Rama
means "the source of all pleasure." Vishnu means "one who lives
everywhere." Jehovah means "all powerful," and Allah
means "all merciful." God has millions of names, which can be used or
vibrated to appeal to Him.
Christ was not a Catholic, Methodist or
said, "I am the son of God, and whatever I do, I do it on behalf of my
Father in heaven." Similarly, God is not Jewish, Christian, Hindu or
Muslim. God is God, and everyone is God's servant.
It does not matter which name of God one chants.
chant whatever name of God is indicated in the various authorised
scriptures of the world, such as Jehovah, Allah or Krishna. Chanting
any one of God's names is acceptable. Generally, people have no idea
what God's name is. They simply say "God." Most people think of God as
something impersonal or void, incapable of reciprocation or expression,
formless and ephemeral. Those who accept God as a person are at a loss
to understand how to serve or love someone they know nothing about.
The Spiritual World
We can be happy only when we re-establish our lost
with God, the Supreme Person. God must be a person, because we are
created by Him, and we are persons. The creator of so many persons must
also be a person. But unlike us--the small, insignificant persons who
are rotting in this material condition and struggling to enjoy sense
gratification--God is eternal and not bound by the laws of material
The entire history of the world is an
surrender or rebellion that God exists. One side is trying to establish
the existence of God by worship, glorification and surrender, and the
other party is rebelling against God and denying His existence. The
faithful devotees are always attempting to establish God's laws, and
the demoniac atheists are always attempting to conquer the laws of God.
But the central point is always God.
Vedic literature gives detailed descriptions of
the name of
the Supreme Lord, His form, His activities, His qualities and His
place. The president of the United States, the supreme head of state,
resides in his place, the White House, Washington DC. He can have his
place anywhere; nevertheless, his place is particularly in the White
House. Similarly, God also has His place--Goloka Vrindavan. The
spiritual sky beyond this temporary material sky is full of innumerable
Vaikunthas or spiritual planets, just as in the material sky there are
sun, moon and so many stars and other planets. In the material sky, the
planets are temporary, created and destroyed at some time. The planets
in the spiritual sky, however, are never created or destroyed at any
time. The topmost planet in the spiritual sky is known as Goloka
Vrindavan, or Krishnaloka. This planet is the residence of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Krishna.
In this age of darkness, the whole human society
ignorance about the spiritual sky, the innumerable spiritual planets
and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Few people are aware
that God is a person or what kind of person He is. Everyone is absorbed
in a constant struggle to maintain the temporary material body, not
knowing that to understand and glorify God is the perfection of human
life. Thus everyone is always full of anxiety and various misfortunes.
The Power of Sound
Kirtan means to praise God and simultaneously
sleeping, conditioned souls, who are in ignorance of their spiritual
nature. As a sleeping man is awakened by mundane sound, similarly the
soul is awakened by transcendental sound. Sound penetrates a man's
dream and arouses him to consciousness. The materialistic men of this
age can be very easily awakened from their dreaming, sense-engrossed
condition by loudly chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, accompanied by
cymbals and drums.
The chanting of Hare Krishna not only awakens
conditioned souls, but it keeps those who have already awakened awake,
so that they don't fall again into the sleep of ignorance, the sleep of
maya, illusion. As long as we are in this material body, the tendency
is to forget Krishna.
Lord Chaitanya, who was Krishna Himself
appearing in India
500 years ago, predicted that in every town and village on the face of
the earth the chanting of Hare Krishna would be heard.
Chanting Hare Krishna is not something new,
a yogi, swami or guru. The Sankirtan movement, or the congregational
chanting of the holy name, is recommended in Vedic literature. In this
literature there are many references to the process of chanting Hare
Krishna as the means of deliverance for the people of this age.
Contents | Foreword | Shikshastaka
| Preface | Introduction
| Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3
. . . Next | Previous
About the Author | Supporting References | Glossary
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Trustee, BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST
WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
Kirtan - Page 1/
WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
- Hansadutta das
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Meditation & Prayer
The Holy Name -
Chanting the Holy Name
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