A lecture given by His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Maharaja, 13 August 2012 in New Vraja Mandala, Spain

We are reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 6th Canto chapter 3 entitled, ‘Yamaraja instructs his messengers, text 31:

tasmat sankirtanam visnor
jagan-mangalam amhasam
mahatma api kauravya
viddhy aikantika-niskrtam

Translation: Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is able to uproot even the reactions of the greatest sins. Therefore the chanting of the sankirtana movement is the most auspicious activity in the entire universe. Please try to understand this so that others will take it seriously.

The holy name takes over

So as stated in this verse, “the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is able to uproot even the reactions of the greatest sin” therefore,  jagan-mangalam, the entire universe will become auspicious. In that way we are most fortunate and it is as Srila Prabhupada had said, ‘I have created your good fortune.’ We didn’t have any good fortune of our own because we had no idea that there was something like the holy name and somehow or other it came in our life- definitely not by our plan. When I saw the devotees come into my town for the first time, there was a grey Bedford van and the backdoor flapped open and too many pink men came out! Too many! I wasn’t sure if they were human or extra terrestrial or anything! When they formed a line and came in my direction, I quickly came into a shop and I looked from behind the glass and someone said, ‘It’s a dangerous sect!’ I thought, ‘they sure look dangerous.’ Three months later I saw them on television and they were explaining their teachings- chanting a minimum of 16 rounds daily, no meat, fish, eggs, gambling, no intoxication…no illicit sex! Then I knew they were dangerous! (Laughter)

But the power of the holy name is such that even those who are reluctant will become touched by the mercy of the Lord. I already decided that I wanted spiritual life but not Hare Krsna because I thought it’s too much, it’s too involved. But the holy name penetrates into the heart and transforms the heart. Gradually our desires change. This is the mercy of Krsna. In that way the holy name can bring a revolution to the entire world and can gradually change the population of this Age of Kali. These activities of intoxication, meat eating, gambling and illicit sex, are normal. These are the activities that everyone is engaged in and these are the activities that we grow up with. Before we have come to the age where we begin to understand something about life, we are already fixed in sinful activities and by the time we become adults we are thoroughly fixed in sinful activities. But somehow or other, the connection with the sankirtana movement, once it is established, is not easily given up.

Prabhupada’s faith in the holy name
The mercy of the pure devotee is very powerful. In the Caitanya Caritamrta, it is mentioned that one of the pure devotees of the Lord had the power to deliver the entire universe. When we hear such a statement we think, ‘naah, this is an exaggeration! How can one devotee deliver the entire universe?’ But when we see Srila Prabhupada then we understand, ‘yes one devotee can deliver the entire universe.’ He made it practical, he made it realistic…somehow or other we see the holy name penetrated in people’s hearts.

In January we were in New York and we visited Tompkins Square Park and there is the tree where Prabhupada stood and chanted. The New York city council had put a sign on the tree which says, ‘Hare Krsna tree’ and then on the side of the park there is a sign which gives a bigger explanation of how A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada started this. So I was standing under the tree for a moment and saying a little prayer and out of nowhere one boy came up and he says, ‘you know, I want to become a monk, what do I have to do?’ And guess what the answer was under that tree- chant Hare Krsna! So it is a fact, chant Hare Krsna and everything will come. Prabhupada had this faith that simply by chanting Hare Krsna this movement would spread and Prabhuoada knew that they would somehow or other receive the holy name and it will work in their heart and in due cause of time they will come back. Prabhupada knew that the power of the holy name is very great.

A little while ago in Sweden, Smita Krsna Maharaja made a nice point. He said that he heard how Prabhupada said that when the harinama party goes through the street, it doesn’t just change the people in the street but it changes the whole street as well! Prabhupada said that anyone who goes through that street later, they also get purified simply because the harinama went through the street and the street is now purified! In this way we can just imagine the mercy of this movement!

In one lecture Srila Prabhupada was speaking about the microphone and he said, ‘we don’t need microphones; we are only using the microphone to purify the microphone maker! When we use the microphone, they will make spiritual advancement.’ Just think about all the things the devotees are using and the people that become purified with that! Some man in China or Japan works in a factory and puts the microphone in a box. Everyday, thousands of microphones in the boxes and one of these boxes goes to the Hare Krsna temple! Suddenly this man is becoming purified because they are chanting the maha mantra in that microphone.

The effect of this sankirtana movement

In this way, in an invisible way, the sankirtana movement is touching so many people. It’s not only the people who chant Hare Krsna that get the benefit, it’s also the people who hear who get the benefit. So the effect of the sankirtana movement is much greater than we can see. We see that some people are chanting Hare Krsna, we see that some people are coming to the temple, we see that some people are getting books, we see some articles in newspapers, sometimes we even see that they use Hare Krsna’s in advertising. Like here in Spain, some years ago, they had four Hare Krsna’s sitting on a big easy rider Harley Davidson! When the people see this of course they laugh, ‘look these monks, hahaha, sitting on a Harley Davidson!’ It’s a really funny thing and a big contradiction because monks on a Harley Davidson? And we also think it’s really funny because we know that this is how the monks actually really are! They are right at home on their Harley Davidson because this Hare Krsna movement is not just picking up the regular religious people but it is a movement that can pick up anyone and everyone from any condition of life!

Sometimes people have asked me, ‘what is it like to live in a monastery?’ And I say, ‘I have no idea!’ what can we say? Whatever it is, it’s not a monastery! But the one thing that we do have is kirtan! Last night we heard a little of the local folk tunes and one about the poison of the material world, which is very famous in this area. But ultimately then also, the holy name comes in. So this Hare Krsna maha mantra can reach out anywhere within this universe. There is no greater mercy than the mercy of the holy name in the entire universe, it requires no previous qualification. For chanting the gayatri mantra there are requirements. It is said that the Gayatri mantra is emanating from the mouth of Lord Brahma and has been revealed to him by the Supreme Lord. In fact it is said it is the sound of Krsna’s flute which comes out of Lord Brahma’s mouth and then gets transformed in the form of this mantra. So the Gayatri mantra is glorified as the mantra that can purify the entire world. But Jiva Gosvami explains in his commentary, the Bhakti Sandarbha, that the Gayatri mantra stands on four legs. One leg is the mind, the other leg is the body, the third are the words and the fourth was is the Earth. This means that there are conditions for living in a particular way on this earth. If those conditions are not met (the brahminical standard of life) then the Gayatri mantra will not produce its desired result.

But the holy name can reach out to the most fallen. It doesn’t matter how sinful one is. By chanting the holy name once, more sins can be destroyed that one can commit in a lifetime. There is a verse, and I’m ashamed to admit that I somehow or other always forget the sanskirt verse! One time I landed in Bombay and there was a taxi driver that picked me up from the airport and this man said, ‘oh, you’re from Hare Krsna?’ I said yes. Then he started to quote this verse with perfect Sanskrit and I remembered it for a moment and then forgot it again! Maybe because I don’t believe in it…I can remember so many verses but this verse I cannot remember and maybe because I just don’t believe that one holy name can destroy more sins than one can commit in a lifetime!

We cannot imagine the power of the holy name
In this way we can just imagine the power of the holy name. It is much more powerful than we think! And we’ve been chanting for so many years and give lectures about the Hare Krsna maha mantra, about the mercy and the power…

(Devotee reads out verse): By once chanting the holy name of the Lord one can be free from the reactions of sins more than he can even imagine performing. (Brhad Visnu Purana)

In Bombay even the taxi drivers know this! Everybody knows it! But we have some doubt; we think that, ‘it doesn’t work! I’m trying to be a devotee for such a long time. And yes, I’ve been chanting now for many years- everyday (or almost everyday!)- but I’ve been chanting a lot and I feel that I am still the same. I feel that I am the same fallen person I’ve always been. Hearing all these statements, I just don’t have the experience of it. In this way I have a doubt.’ Maybe that’s why I can’t remember that verse and I forgot it again! I think my mind blocks it out. It doesn’t want to accept it. But Srila Prabhupada quotes it from time to time or a line of the verse and sometimes says yes, one time chanting the holy name can purify us from more sins than we can commit in an entire lifetime. So sometimes he adds the word ‘lifetime.’ So my only explanation for the fact that it takes a little long for us to become completely purified is that we have been in this material world for unlimited lifetimes engaging in unlimited sinful activities. And just now we are being purified like anything! It is said just like a tree that is full of birds and you clap the hands and they just fly away, in the same way our sins are flying away in all directions. (Dramatic) Hare Krsna Hare Krsna…sins are flying away!

Therefore is what we do – we chant Hare Krsna. We are here now in Spain and we are chanting Hare Krsna. Maybe the next time we meet again we’ll be in Mayapur and have a big kirtan mela or in Germany for a kirtan mela and we travel and what do we do? We just meet the same people- so much money spent to meet the same people! (Laughter) Like here in Spain, when there is someone from Holland (I’m from Holland) they always want me to go meet this person from Holland. But I tell you one thing, the people from Holland, when they come to Spain they don’t want to meet people from Holland! No, they spend so much money and they want to meet people from other countries. The people from Holland you can meet back home. So anyway, we travel so much and we go all the way to India only to see the same people! And then what do we do? The same thing, we chant Hare Krsna again! Big posters, big festivals and what do we do? We chant Hare Krsna! Every time the same thing but it is never the same because it is a great transcendental adventure. Krsna’s mercy is always there but not always can we perceive it like that. But sometimes there is magic in the kirtan and suddenly we can all feel the presence of Krsna and that kirtan takes us away to the transcendental platform! Some of us have hair standing on end and at least some of us suddenly forget our material desires! And we say, ‘this is the best, the best, the best thing in the entire world!’ And just for one moment our eyes have been opened and we actually see the truth because this is the best thing in the entire world!

Not only that we intellectually understand it but sometimes for a moment we can actually feel it in out hearts. This is very ecstatical! That is this wonderful sankirtana movement:

tasmat sankirtanam visnor
jagan-mangalam amhasam
mahatma api kauravya
viddhy aikantika-niskrtam

Translation: Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is able to uproot even the reactions of the greatest sins. Therefore the chanting of the sankirtana movement is the most auspicious activity in the entire universe. Please try to understand this so that others will take it seriously.

When the golden age sets in

So the last line also needs a little comment. “Please try to understand this so that others will take it seriously.” Yes we are now having our kirtan mela in Spain in the temple room but in the future we want a big pandal, like in India, covering the whole courtyard and just fill it with thousands of people! And then we want bigger- tents of thousands! Some years ago there was a music organizer that came here and wanted to rent the whole farm and he wanted to do a big concert here with hundreds and thousands! But we want to one day do a concert with hundreds of thousands with kirtan. This farm is big enough and it’s warm enough so we’ll just continue. Even in the cold part of the night we’ll get a little more fired up. This time will come because by this sankirtana movement, gradually there will be a Golden Age. The Brahma-vaivarta Purana says that in that Golden Age there will be eka-varna hari bhakta, there will be only once class of men- devotees of the Lord. So when the Golden Age sets in, there will be devotees everywhere! You can imagine…the weather will become warmer, no problem! Some devotees have said that this farm is too cold but don’t worry, it will become warm here.

Srila Prabhupada said in New Mayapur that the devotees should offer some fruits to the Deities in the afternoon. And the devotees said, ‘yes, somebody just went to buy some fruits Srila Prabhupada.’ Prabhupada said, ‘just take some fruits from the garden. Take some bananas and offer them to the Deities.’ They said, ‘Srila Prabhupada, there are no bananas here in France.’ And Prabhupada said, ‘In the future there will be bananas!’ So if there will be bananas in France you can imagine what we’ll have in Spain! Mangoes at least and many tropical fruits!

So by the chanting of Hare Krsna, everything will be adjusted because all the sinful reactions will disappear and everything will be perfect. So we should invite people and bring them. Some people may say, (dramatic), ‘how was the Spanish kirtan mela?’
‘erm well, it was not the biggest!’
But I tell you, in the future, it will be the biggest! The sankirtana movement will transform everything. Okay I’ll stop now, any questions or any comments?

Question: You said that if somebody chants the holy name he becomes purified and if somebody hears the holy name he also becomes purified. So who becomes more purified- the one who chants or the one who hears?

Maharaja: Well, there is a verse in regards to the recitation of the Bhagavatam, which is saying that the speaker is getting purified, the one who is inquiring is getting purified and the audience who are passively hearing is getting purified. It says that the one who is actively glorifying is purified the most. But there are no hard and fast rules because it may be that the holy name comes from the mouth of someone who’s not so serious- he chants but at the same time not giving up sinful activities and not having so much faith that really from this chanting all happiness would come. Then someone may just hear that chanting and it may hit his heart like a thunderbolt and it may change his whole life! That happened many times that someone got the holy name from a person who was not so serious and then that person who received it became very serious. So you never know who gets purified the most because the holy name is Krsna and He has a personal relationship with every living entity. So generally speaking, the one’s who are actively chanting are getting purified the most but you never know…!

Question: This verse says that by chanting once all these sinful reactions from a whole lifetime will be eradicated. But to what stage does it refer to- nama bhasa…?

Maharaja: It doesn’t make any conditions and we know from other references that by chanting nama-bhasaalone, all the sinful reactions will be destroyed. So nama-bhasa means the dim reflection of the holy name. It means we are not yet very seriously chanting the holy name and our lifestyle is still very offensive at that stage and we still have a life against the desires of the Lord. But even then, the chanting can purify us from more sinful activities than we can commit. That’s why I say that the holy name is just much more powerful than we can imagine. Prabhupada had that full faith and therefore without any support and without anything behind him-no big organization behind him, no big building behind him, no big money, no big campaign behind him. You can read in the Lilalamrta that the kirtan was going on in Tompkins Square Park and many musicians were there and it seemed to be like a big spontaneous thing. So one person who was there at that time described his experience. He said, ‘it was just an ocean of music all centered around this one rhythm and I just saw this whole thing happening. Then after a few minutes I suddenly realized that there was this old man sitting off on one side and that he actually was the beginning of it all. He was singing and everyone was following and he was the centre of it all. But at first sight it didn’t look like that.’

So Prabhupada just let the holy name act. He wasn’t trying to change the world by his power. He said when he was by the Boston pier in New York that, ‘What can I say to convince these people? All I can do is repeat Your words.’ In other words, Prabhupada understood that the purification will come from the holy name. It will all come from the holy name. The world will change because of the holy name! Prabhupada was convinced. Are we convinced? If we would be convinced we would just stay here and have big, big kirtans everyday and we would give up all sinful activity. But because we are not fully convinced, we chant Hare Krsna but we also look for some happiness somewhere else because we are not convinced. Prabhupada was convinced.

Question: Maharaja, we can be purified from the sinful reactions by chanting but (inaudible)

Maharaja: Nice one! Yes, Haridasa Thakura explains that actually the side effect of the chanting is that one becomes purified from sinful reactions and one gets liberation and the main result that one will get from this chanting is love of God. That may take a little more time and of course that is the ultimate goal of life but that is so high and far away from us. We need solutions for now, we want some happiness for now but we will not get it. No way, we are not going to get it. We want happiness now but we are not going to get it no matter what we do because in Kali yuga we all have so many sinful reactions in our heart. So suffering will come. But when we chant Hare Krsna then immediately we will be purified from all this sinful reactions. Then happiness can come – in this life, now! Then later also love of God.

All right we’ll end here, thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya! Harinama sankirtana yajna ki, Jaya!

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