The Sankirtan Movement
The conclusion of all human endeavors is to chant Hare Krishna. Our books are meant to convince the diseased, conditioned soul that sankirtan, or chanting Hare Krishna, is the essence of all human activities. There cannot be any activity more auspicious than vibrating the holy name of the Lord. That is the essence of all Vedic conclusions. Revealed scriptures say that one who chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is to be understood as having already practiced all kinds of penances and austerities and to have studied all kinds of Vedic literatures.
The holy name of the Lord is as good as the Lord. There is no difference between the Lord and His name. We can realize the transcendental nature of the holy name of the Lord by faithfully and submissively chanting the holy name, avoiding the ten offenses and engaging in devotional service. The whole mission of Lord Chaitanya is to introduce Krishna consciousness by this simple chanting process.
In His famous eight prayers, Lord Chaitanya says:
O My Lord, You have made it so easy to approach You by the chanting of Your holy name. (Shikshastaka, Verse 2)
In by-gone ages—Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga and Dvapara-yuga—there were other process of self-realization, such as meditation, sacrifice and temple worship. But this age, Kali-yuga, is characterized by irreligion, hypocrisy and dissension. Because the living entities in this age are so degraded, the Lord has made a special concession by appearing in person and introducing something which everyone can actually accept. That is the sankirtan movement, the essence of which is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.
That Lord Chaitanya is an incarnation of God is not our opinion, but is evidenced by information contained in the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures. The revealed scriptures predicted that the Lord would appear in this age to propagate the sankirtan movement. Thus, Lord Chaitanya is non-different from Krishna, God, but in this age He has appeared in the guise of a devotee in order to show the fallen people of Kali-yuga how to worship the Lord and become perfect by chanting Hare Krishna. This is the significance of Lord Chaitanya’s appearance.
Why Chant Hare Krishna?
God is absolute, and therefore anything directly connected with Him, such as His holy name, form, pastimes, paraphernalia and entourage, is identical with Him. In the material world of duality, objects are different from their names. A thirsty man’s cry—”Water! Water! Water!”—will never satisfy his thirst, because the name water and the substance water are completely different. In the absolute world, however, there are no such differences. There an object and its name, or a person and his name, are one. Therefore, simply by vibrating the holy name of God, one associates with God directly.
nama chintaminih krishnash
pumah shuddho nitya-mukto
The holy name of Krishna is like a transcendental touchstone, for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krishna’s name is complete, and it is the form of transcendental mellows. It is always pure and liberated from all material contamination. This is because the name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical.—Padma Purana
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an incarnation of Krishna, recommended that one chant the maha-mantra twenty-four hours a day and thus make one’s life perfect. He said:
One can chant the holy name of God in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and always ready to offer all respects to others. In such a humble state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.—Shikshastaka, Verse 3
Chanting Hare Krishna gradually frees one from material concepts and elevates one to samadhi, a trance-like state in which one realizes the Supersoul (Paramatma, or Krishna residing in the heart) through his transcendental mind and intelligence. God realization is the goal of yoga.
The living entity is called jivatma (the atomic self), and Krishna is called Paramatma (the Supreme Self). In perfect Krishna consciousness, one realizes the eternal relationship between the atomic soul and the Supreme Soul, Krishna, without misidentifying himself with the Supreme.
In this age, the best method of practicing yoga is to chant and hear the holy names of God, as found in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is the beginning of bhakti-yoga, or Krishna consciousness. There are no hard and fast rules for chanting. One can chant at any time or in any place. One need not give up his job or family, because the chanting automatically purifies one’s life, adjusting unwanted and unnecessary difficulties. The authorized scriptures of the world’s civilized nations give various names for God, but the Vedic scriptures especially recommend the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. We therefore humbly request you to chant this maha-mantra and be happy.