(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 1 August 2020, Radhadesh, Belgium, Initiation Ceremony Lecture)
When I first encountered the Holy Name, it was in a musical situation. There was a workshop in Amsterdam, some jam session with a piano player named Burton Green. He still lives there, in Amsterdam. We somehow or other had a jam session. Burton said, “let’s try to do some ragas.” I had been to India, had gotten some sitar lessons so I learnt a few ragas and played guitar. So we were going to do some ragas. Next moment, he says, “let’s do some mantras.” I said, “Yes, why not.“ Ragas, mantras and all sorts of spiritual sounds from India. While we were practicing the mantras, he started to sing the mahamantra. So at that time, when I heard the mahamantra, I thought of the mantra as a spiritual sound. But, I had no knowledge beyond it. I did not identify the mantra with the Personality, Sri Krsna, because I did not have that information. That came later. Later, I found out many things. Later, I found out that the mantra was Krsna, and that He was a divine person who played on the flute, with a peacock feather, three-fold bent form, a darkish complexion, lotus eyes, lotus hands, lotus feet, lotus navel, all these things I found out.
As I found out all these things, the Holy Name came to life. I also found out something about Burton Green. I was reading Prabhupada’s Lilamrta and I found out that in 1966, at the Matchless Gift storefront, the devotees one day picked up an old string board from a piano. They brought back that string board from the piano to the temple and it was at the back of the temple. And it was one person named Burton Green who used to particularly hammer on the strings. So here I was, Burton Green, who brought me the kirtan from 1966 to the 1970s, to Amsterdam. Little did I know! But it somehow or other, the Holy Name reached me. Then, gradually by Prabhupada’s movement and his mercy by hearing about Krsna, I found out more about Krsna. By serving Krsna, I developed more attachment to Krsna. Then Krsna began to reveal Himself more and more in my life, as it happens for all. That is the nature of how the Holy Name works!