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

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


Importance of Guru and Initiation

Hare Krishna.

9th November, 2015. Gurgaon

This is the second of lecture of HG Jananivas Prabhu gave on the importance of Guru and initiation. I wrote the first part two weeks back. This particular verse, SB 6.16.28, is from a chapter which continues the story of ‘Citraketu’

Let’s again read the verse which Jananivas Prabhuji explained

O King Parīkṣit, after only one week of repeatedly practicing the mantra received from the spiritual master, Citraketu achieved the rule of the planet of the Vidyādharas as an intermediate product of his spiritual advancement in knowledge. (SB 6.16.28)

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:

If a devotee, after being initiated, adheres rigidly to the instructions of the spiritual master, he is naturally endowed with the material opulences of vidyādhara-adhipatyam and similar posts as by-products. A devotee need not practice yoga, karma or jñāna to achieve a successful result. Devotional service alone is competent to award a devotee all material power. A pure devotee, however, is never attached to material power, although he gets it very easily without personal endeavor. Citraketu received this side benefit of his devotional service, which he rigidly performed in accordance with the instructions of Nārada

Jananivas prabhu stated in the second of his lecture that that one may ask a question that if Hare Krishna mahamantra is so powerful then why does one need a spiritual master?

Prabhuji then quoted the second verse of Shiksastakam to prove the validity of above question.

namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis

( In these transcendental names, you have invested all Your transcendental energies.)

Jananivas Prabhu again asked ‘So what is the need of Guru? Guru shakti is also there. Prabhuji added that it is a fact that the holy name is all-powerful and holy name can reveal everything. We can not say the Holy Name can not give this. Holy name is Krishna. Actually everything is in the Holy Name and you don’t need a guru. But..there is no example of someone who has made it without the guru!

Jananivas Prabhuji said that Srila Prabhupada wrote in one of his purport that at the time of initiation one gets a spiritual body and we have to accept this on the strength of shastras, Prabhupada quoted Sanatana Goswami in Hari-bhakti-vilasa for the same. There the example of bell metal has been given. Bell metal when it is mixed with another metal, mercury, it turns into gold!  Prabhupada said if you know this art then you can do it. The yogis know it, you have to drink the mercury and when you drink it and digest it then pass the urine on the bell metal, it turns it into gold! So the Devotees said O! Srila Prabhupada can we start producing gold? Srila Prabhupada replied ‘first  digest mercury’. Mercury is deadly poisonous, we drink it and we will die. So we have to be powerful enough to be able to drink mercury.   ( Please press here to read the transcription of this very same conversation between Prabhupada and his disciples)

Jananivas Prabhuji continued ‘so they have given this example that Bell metal turns into gold, similarly a persons coming outside the vedic culture, malechas, yavanas, pulindas, etc., if they take this process of initiation,  they can also get the spiritual body. And Prabhupada said you may not notice that all of a sudden you got two more arms when you get initiation, it may not happen like that, but, he said, at least you can see that the subtle body changes. The gross body may not change but definitely you can see that the subtle body change. We didn’t know anything about Krishna few years ago, many didn’t even heard of Krishna and suddenly Krishna comes into our life and suddenly Krishna, Krishna, Krishna… He is everywhere. So the mind has changed.  Earlier the mind was thinking of only sense gratification but now it considers himself as a servant of Krishna and is thinking of Krishna.  This is what happens, everything becomes Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. So we can see that the subtle body has changed. And of the two, the subtle body is more important than the gross body because the gross body is the product of the subtle body. Sanatana Goswami says that we have to accept that at the time of initiation one gets a spiritual body and a spiritual name and Krishna recognises us by that given name!

Prabhuji stated that this is the idea in all these stories in Bhagavatam that one has to meet a devotee.  This is the finishing touch. It’s drop of mercy from a devotee. In all these stories practically one sees, we need a little bit of mercy, half a drop, quarter of a drop, that’s only what it takes…one drop and then everything happens. It is the finishing touch to our devotional progress. Prabhuji reiterated that without initiation into the chanting of the holy names of the supreme personality of Godhead, without performing devotional service, without that little drop of mercy from the devotee of Krishna, it is impossible to get rid of anxiety and lamentation.

Prabhuji stressed that if these stages had not come into the life of Citraketu, he would have been lamenting the whole life and the next life and he would have gone lamenting forever! There is no cure for this lamentation, except performing devotional service and getting one little bit of a drop of mercy. Then that makes everything go. Otherwise we are going to stay in this material world and we must be in illusion and lament, that’s the only thing everyone is doing in this world. If they don’t accept a guru, they don’t accept the process of bhakti, they will be in a state of lamentation and hankering.

Jananivas Prabhuji then quoted Prabhupada who said that all that which goes on this material world for the karmis they are hankering and they are lamenting. Hankering for something they can’t get or they want and lamenting because they can’t have it. This is all what goes on in this world and it will go on forever.  Just taking the shelter of a pure devotee, and the process of devotional service, is the supreme cure for this material world. Otherwise there is no cure  and one must go on lamenting and hankering.

(HG Jananivas Prabhu)

Question: Prabhuji, you said without initiation a person must lament and hanker, what about those devotees who accept Srila Prabhupada as their direct guru but do not take initiation from a living guru, will they be also suffering from lamentation ?

HG Jananivas Prabhuji: Well, here in this verse, it is said that he took initiation and very rigidly followed the principles. So the principle is evaṁ paramparā-prāptam (BG 4.2). If in our sampradaya then we have to accept a guru who is connected to Srila Prabhupada. So why jump over? Jumping over means not adhering the instructions of the spiritual master. It’s okay to say that I am Srila Prabhupada’s disciple but is Prabhupada considering you his disciple? It’s said that it is the spiritual master who decides what constitutes the devotional service not the disciple. If Prabhupada comes to you and connects you that’s okay. If it’s just that I want to take initiation and I will accept his as my guru, that’s okay, but is Prabhupada accepting it? If Prabhupada is there, he comes and accepts then it’s okay. But if he is not then just because I want this particular guru and I am not going through the proper channel, I am not adhering strictly to the principles, then why should there be fruit for my chanting.

This concludes the second and final part of lecture by Jananivas Prabhuji, to read first part of the lecture please press here. To hear and download lectures on various topics by HG Jananivas Prabhuji please click here.

All glories to Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Fourth category of person

I heard a great lecture by HH Bhakti Charu Swami maharaj today on Happiness. He explained that there are 4 categories of people.

1. Those who learn from listening : Like, we hear don’t put your hand in fire it will burn and we don’t do it.

2. Those who learn from others experience :like, we see someone else put his hand in fire and learn not to do it.

3. Those who learn by their own mistakes : Like, we put our hand in fire and realise that it hurts and don’t repeat it.

4. Last category is those who do not learn from their own mistakes and repeat them.

How true, I belong to this last special category. I continue to maintain material desires and still not developed any attraction for the Holy Name

  • Posted by Giriraj Das on April 18, 2013 at 9.30am