Chanting of the Holy Name

Hare Krishna and pranams dear devotees,

Let us try to learn the fundamentals of chanting of the Holy Name from Srila Prabhupada as our founder acharya explains its importance, the dos and don’ts and also the remedy if we commit offenses while chanting.

How should we do chant the Holy Name?

It is recommended that such chanting be performed very loudly. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Nārada Muni says that without shame he began traveling all over the world, chanting the holy name of the Lord. Similarly, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has advised:

tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

A devotee can very peacefully chant the holy name of the Lord by behaving more humbly than the grass, being tolerant like a tree and offering respects to everyone, without expecting honor from anyone else. Such qualifications make it easier to chant the holy name of the Lord.

Who can Chant the Holy Name?

The process of transcendental chanting can be easily performed by anyone. Even if one is physically unfit, classified lower than others, devoid of material qualifications or not at all elevated in terms of pious activities, the chanting of the holy name is beneficial. An aristocratic birth, an advanced education, beautiful bodily features, wealth and similar results of pious activities are all unnecessary for advancement in spiritual life, for one can very easily advance simply by chanting the holy name.

Our disqualification is our qualification

It is understood from the authoritative source of Vedic literature that especially in this age, Kali-yuga, people are generally short-living, extremely bad in their habits, and inclined to accept methods of devotional service that are not bona fide. Moreover, they are always disturbed by material conditions, and they are mostly unfortunate. Under the circumstances, the performance of other processes, such as yajña, dāna, tapaḥ and kriyā — sacrifices, charity and so on — are not at all possible.

Chanting of the Holy Name is the only way

Therefore it is recommended:

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā

“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” Simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one advances perfectly in spiritual life. This is the best process for success in life. In other ages, the chanting of the holy name is equally powerful, but especially in this age, Kali-yuga, it is most powerful. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet: simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, one is liberated and returns home, back to Godhead.

Therefore, even if one is able to perform other processes of devotional service, one must adopt the chanting of the holy name as the principal method of advancing in spiritual lifeYajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ: those who are very sharp in their intelligence should adopt this process of chanting the holy names of the Lord. One should not, however, manufacture different types of chanting. One should adhere seriously to the chanting of the holy name as recommended in the scriptures: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Easy process but remain vigilant

While chanting the holy name of the Lord, one should be careful to avoid ten offenses. From Sanat-kumāra it is understood that even if a person is a severe offender in many ways, he is freed from offensive life if he takes shelter of the Lord’s holy name. Indeed, even if a human being is no better than a two-legged animal, he will be liberated if he takes shelter of the holy name of the Lord. One should therefore be very careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord’s holy name.

The offenses are described as follows: (a) to blaspheme a devotee, especially a devotee engaged in broadcasting the glories of the holy name, (b) to consider the name of Lord Śiva or any other demigod to be equally as powerful as the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (no one is equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor is anyone superior to Him), (c) to disobey the instructions of the spiritual master, (d) to blaspheme the Vedic literatures and literatures compiled in pursuance of the Vedic literatures, (e) to comment that the glories of the holy name of the Lord are exaggerated, (f) to interpret the holy name in a deviant way, (g) to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name, (h) to compare the chanting of the holy name to pious activities, (i) to instruct the glories of the holy name to a person who has no understanding of the chanting of the holy name, (j) not to awaken in transcendental attachment for the chanting of the holy name, even after hearing all these scriptural injunctions.

What if I commit offences?

There is no way to atone for any of these offenses. It is therefore recommended that an offender at the feet of the holy name continue to chant the holy name twenty-four hours a day. Constant chanting of the holy name will make one free of offenses, and then he will gradually be elevated to the transcendental platform on which he can chant the pure holy name and thus become a lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Don’t be anxious, seek forgiveness

It is recommended that even if one commits offenses, one should continue chanting the holy name. In other words, the chanting of the holy name makes one offenseless. In the book Nāma-kaumudī it is recommended that if one is an offender at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava, he should submit to that Vaiṣṇava and be excused; similarly, if one is an offender in chanting the holy name, he should submit to the holy name and thus be freed from his offenses.

In this connection there is the following statement, spoken by Dakṣa to Lord Śiva: “I did not know the glories of your personality, and therefore I committed an offense at your lotus feet in the open assembly. You are so kind, however, that you did not accept my offense. Instead, when I was falling down because of accusing you, you saved me by your merciful glance. You are most great. Kindly excuse me and be satisfied with your own exalted qualities.”

One should be very humble and meek to offer one’s desires and chant prayers composed in glorification of the holy name, such as ayi mukta-kulair upāsya mānam and nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād. One should chant such prayers to become free from offenses at the lotus feet of the holy name.

(SB 7.5.23-24p)

I hope something touched your heart reading it as it did mine. I felt embarrassed thinking about the quality of my chanting but I also felt the encouraging hand of Srila Prabhupada guiding me gently.

The unique thing about the above post is that except for the questions, which I made up, and the introductory line, rest everything else is a word to word copy from Srila Prabhupada’s purport from the famous SB 7.5.23-24 (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ). I did not add or change a single word.

We can appreciate how methodically Srila Prabhupada wrote these purports for us. Answer to all our spiritual questions, steps to make further advancement in our spiritual journey, yardsticks to measure our spiritual progress and remedies for our offences/ mistakes in Krishna consciousness are all there in Bhaktivedanta purports– we simply need to open the books and read them.

All glories to the most merciful Holy Name.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Meditation- Modern vs Factual

Modern science discovers the benefits of meditation

Recently there was a article on the front page of  New York Times as to how scientists now believe that meditation may change our brain! (NYT_article)

Towards the end the article stated that scientists accept that know very little about brain and its mechanisms! So much for modern medical advancement! I am quoting some parts from that article below.

But now, scientists say that meditators like my husband may be benefiting from changes in their brains. The researchers report that those who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. The findings will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.

It has been hard to pinpoint the benefits of meditation, but a 2009 study suggests that meditation may reduce blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease. And a 2007 study found that meditators have longer attention spans.

Previous studies have also shown that there are structural differences between the brains of meditators and those who don’t meditate, although this new study is the first to document changes in gray matter over time through meditation.

Ultimately, Dr. Hölzel said she and her colleagues would like to demonstrate how meditation results in definitive improvements in people’s lives.

“A lot of studies find that it increases well-being, improves quality of life, but it’s always hard to determine how you can objectively test that,” she said. “Relatively little is known about the brain and the psychological mechanisms about how this is being done.”

In a 2008 study published in the journal PloS One, researchers found that when meditators heard the sounds of people suffering, they had stronger activation levels in their temporal parietal junctures, a part of the brain tied to empathy, than people who did not meditate.

They may be more willing to help when someone suffers, and act more compassionately,” Dr. Hölzel said.

All hope giving words ! As I read this article I thought how modern science is now slowly discovering all these benefits from simple meditation and how millions of readers must be reading it with hope about meditation and its results. Humans have never been more stressful in a long long time as in today’s so called modern times, in turn suffering all type of diseases, mental as well as physical. 

Such meditation, sort of Dhyana-yoga,  only offers a mere glimpse. If all these amazing changes are possible in a human body by merely manipulating our gross and subtle body then what all must be true at the level of soul. Such meditation is mostly a mechanical system, where if one sits in a certain position, breathe in a certain way and focus our mind in a certain way then one can experience something  which is beyond the mind and senses. But not only such meditation is difficult, to focus our  mind into nothingness/ some focal point/ a light source (most of such meditations in west are advertised by Buddhists and in India by impersonalists), the results are at best temporary and do not bring any change in the consciousness of the person practicing it.

But, as devotees, we know that when we practice mantra mediation then we get much more benefits. When we chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra then, in addition to material benefits, for mind & body, one gets spiritual benefits, which are much more valuable. Hare Krishna Mahamantra touches us at the level of soul. As we progress in devotional life we realise bit by bit the immeasurable potency of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Bhakti-yoga is very wonderful, it is natural and very sweet. So , as devotees, we must value what jewel we have received due to the causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga.

Let us hear what our scriptures speak on meditation and what actually does meditation means.

Modern ‘Meditation’!

Generally people think that religion and piety come at the end of life, and at this time one generally becomes meditative and takes to some so-called yogic process to relax in the name of meditation. Meditation, however, is simply a farce for those who have enjoyed life in sense gratification… To meditate, one must restrain himself from all kinds of sense gratification. Unfortunately, meditation has now become a fashion for those who are overly addicted to sensual things. Such meditation is defeated by the struggle for existence. Sometimes such meditative processes pass for transcendental meditation.

(SB 4.27.17p)

Impersonal meditation is a bogus invention of modern days. In none of the Vedic literatures is impersonal meditation recommended. In Bhagavad-gétä, when meditation is recommended, the word mat-paraù, which means “pertaining to Me,” is used. Any Viñëu form pertains to Lord Kåñëa because Lord Kåñëa is the original Viñëu form. Sometimes someone tries to meditate upon the impersonal Brahman, which is described in Bhagavad-gétä as avyakta, meaning “unmanifested” or “impersonal.” But it is remarked by the Lord Himself that those who are attached to this impersonal feature of the Lord suffer a very troublesome task because no one can concentrate on the impersonal feature. One has to concentrate on the form of the Lord, which is described here in connection with Dhruva Mahäräja’s meditation. As will be apparent from later descriptions, Dhruva Mahäräja perfected this kind of meditation, and his yoga was successful.

(SB 4.8.45p)

Focus should be on soul not the brain!

People are suffering actually for want of spiritual life, spiritual understanding. There are so many theories. But, except, accept, they will not accept that the…, actually, because the soul is within this body, everything is happening. And without the soul, immediately this body, so nice body of such and such great personality, becomes a lump of matter. Not that the body is working… They are finding out the brain substance, how it is working. But the brain substance is already there in the dead body. Why don’t you work with that? No. That is not fact. The fact is the brain substance is a machine, but the man, or the person, is within the body. He’s working with the brain substance. Just like you have got a nice machine. But it must be worked by somebody. At the present moment, the computer is a very subtle machine. But this computer cannot work without an experienced mechanic who pushes the button and it works. These people, they cannot understand that without spiritual touch, matter cannot work.

( SP Lecture, Hyderabad, 26th November, 1972)

Devotees and meditation!

For a devotee, being situated in the heavenly planets and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither in heaven nor in hell but with Kåñëa in the spiritual world. The secret of success for the devotee is not understood by the karmés and jïänés. Karmés therefore try to be happy by material adjustment, and jïänés want to be happy by becoming one with the Supreme. The devotee has no such interest. He is not interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the world, where he teaches people Kåñëa consciousness. The Kåñëa consciousness movement was started for this purpose. We do not teach one to meditate in a secluded place just so that one may show that he has become very much advanced and may be proud of his so-called transcendental meditation, although he engages in all sorts of foolish materialistic activity. A Vaiñëava like Prahläda Mahäräja is not interested in such a bluff of spiritual advancement. Rather, he is interested in enlightening people in Kåñëa consciousness because that is the only way for them to become happy. Prahläda Mahäräja says clearly, nänyaà tvad asya çaraëaà bhramato ‘nupaçye: “I know that without Kåñëa consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy.” One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, one can get the clue to Kåñëa consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life. The members of the Kåñëa consciousness movement are not at all interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest, where one will only make a show of meditation, nor are they interested in opening many schools for yoga and meditation in the cities. Rather, every member of the Kåñëa consciousness movement is interested in going door to door to try to convince people about the teachings of Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, the teachings of Lord Caitanya. That is the purpose of the Hare Kåñëa movement. The members of the Kåñëa consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Kåñëa one cannot be happy. Thus the Kåñëa conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists.

(SB 7.9.44p)

Krishna teaches us practically by meditating Himself (on whom?)!

After rising from bed, Lord Kåñëa would wash His mouth, hands and feet and would immediately sit down and meditate on Himself. This does not mean, however, that we should also sit down and meditate on ourselves. We have to meditate upon Kåñëa, Rädhä-Kåñëa. That is real meditation. Kåñëa is Kåñëa Himself; therefore He was teaching us that brähma-muhürta should be utilized for meditation on Rädhä-Kåñëa. By such meditation Kåñëa would feel very much satisfied, and similarly we will also feel transcendentally pleased and satisfied if we utilize the brähma-muhürta period to meditate on Rädhä and Kåñëa and if we think of how Çré Rukmiëédevé and Kåñëa acted as ideal householders to teach the whole human society to rise early in the morning and immediately engage in Kåñëa consciousness. There is no difference between meditating on the eternal forms of Rädhä-Kåñëa and chanting the mahä-mantra, Hare Kåñëa. As for Kåñëa’s meditation, He had no alternative but to meditate on Himself. The object of meditation is Brahman, Paramätmä or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kåñëa Himself is all three: He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavän; the localized Paramätmä is His plenary partial expansion; and the all-pervading Brahman effulgence is the personal rays of His transcendental body.

(KB, chapter 70, Lord Krishna’s daily activities)



Cultivation of spirituality does not mean sitting down idly for meditation, as some pseudo-yogés teach. Such idle meditation may be good for those who have no information of devotional service, and for this reason it is sometimes recommended as a way to check distracting materialistic activities. Meditation means stopping all nonsensical activities, at least for the time being. Devotional service, however, not only puts an end to all nonsensical mundane activities, but also engages one in meaningful devotional activities.

(NoI, verse 3p)

Sitting in silent meditation means stopping undesirable activity, but acting in Kåñëa consciousness is transcendental. The cessation of nonsensical action is not in itself perfection. We must act perfectly.

(Path of Perfection, chapter 2)

So, as practitioners of Bhakti-yoga, we should have firm faith in the words of scriptures, our acharya & our guru. And we should endeavor hard to practice chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra with confidence, enthusiasm, patience and, more importantly, with care & attention. We have received a Cintāmaṇi (wish-fulfilling) jewel in our hand. There is no other better meditation for the suffering humankind.


All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

O Holy Name!

Hare Krishna.

17th November, 2016. Gurgaon

Holy Name



Even when a person becomes an offender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he can still be delivered simply by taking shelter of the Holy Names of the Lord: Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare. In other words, the chanting of Hare Kåñëa is beneficial for eradicating all sins, but if one becomes an offender to the Holy Names of the Lord, then he has no chance of being delivered.

NOD Ch. 8



My tongue has taste for so many sweets but it has still not developed a taste for the sweetness of the Holy Name.

I push my family for savory food but do not push my mind to relish the Holy Name.

My ears are always anxious to hear melodious sound but alas they have no such anxiousness to hear the melody of the Holy Name.

I have developed so many worldly affections but still not developed any attachment for the Holy Name.

I say sorry when I hurt someone but I never uttered sorry to the Holy Name after chanting a bad round.

I strive not to harm others but I have done so many offenses to the Holy Name. 

O Holy Name, indeed I am very fallen,

but you are known as the savior of the most fallen,

this way we have a relationship.

Invoking that relationship, I beg you to be merciful on this most insignificant shameless beggar.

O Holy Name I am begging you to please maintain me under your lotus feet.

Forgiving my past offenses,

I beg you to please give me a taste to chant your Holy Name.



And the remedy..

Hari he! tomäre bhuliyä  (from Çréla Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura’s Çaraëägati)

hari he!
tomäre bhuliyä,  avidyä-pédäya,
pédita rasanä mora
kåñëa-näma-sudhä,  bhälo nähi läge,
viñaya-sukhate bhora

O my Lord Hari! Because of forgetting You, my tongue has become embittered with the disease of ignorance. I cannot relish the sweet nectar of Your holy name of Kåñëa, for I have become addicted to the taste of worldly pleasures.*

prati-dina jadi,  ädara koriyä,
se näma kértana kori
sitapala jeno,  näçi’ roga-müla,
krame swädu hoya, hari!

If I sing that holy name of Yours aloud every day with warm affection, then as sugar candy taken medicinally destroys the very disease which makes it taste bitter (jaundice), so Your holy name, O Lord Hari, will cure my spiritual disease and allow me to gradually taste Your sweetness.

durdaiva ämära,  se näme ädara,
nä hoilo, doyämoya!
daça aparädha,  ämära durdaiva,
kemone hoibe kñoya

How great is my misfortune that I feel no appreciation for Your holy name, O merciful Lord! In such a lamentable state, how will I be freed from committing the ten offenses to the holy name?

anudina jeno,  tava näma gäi,
kramete kåpäya tava
aparädha jä’be,  näme ruci ha’be,
äswädibo nämäsava

If I sing Your name every day, then gradually by Your mercy the ten offenses will disappear, taste for Your holy name will grow within me, and then I shall relish the intoxicating wine of that name.


All glories to the most merciful Holy Name.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada