Power of Association - Part 24

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In our last offering on the story of Mrgari, we learnt how the hunter devotee enthusiastically served the two saints with very minimum paraphernalias but both Narada muni and Parvata muni were extremely pleased with his great devotion. Let us continue to meditate on further lessons from the story today.

24. The Power of Holy Name: The hunter washed the feet of the two saints with water and blissfully sprinkled it on his and his wife's head. Then he began to chant the holy names of the Lord as taught by Narada muni in the previous meeting. 

"When the hunter chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra before his spiritual master, his body trembled and tears welled up in his eyes. Filled with ecstatic love, he raised his hands and began to dance, waving his garments up and down."

This is the real success of spiritual life - to relish chanting the holy names of the Lord. If only we can relish this one service, then we will get taste for all other services. Another beautiful episode in relation to this point is in CC where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains how his spiritual master Sri Ishwara Puri initiated him with the holy names. Ishwara puri described the potency of the holy names to Mahaprabhu and instructed him to always keep this verse in his throat while chanting the holy names:

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

We have heard this verse so many times but its importance is taught to us by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's spiritual master. When we realize that chanting the holy names is the only way to obtain Krishna prema and there is no other way than this, then there is hope for us to get the taste for holy names. 

Then Ishwara Puri advised Caitanya Mahaprabhu, "Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord."

Srila Prabhupada writes beautifully in his purport, "When one realizes that the holy name of the Lord is identical with the Supreme Person, he becomes completely eligible to chant the holy name of the Lord. Such an ecstatic chanter and dancer must be considered to have a direct relationship with the Lord."

He further emphasizes, "The holy name and the Lord are identical. One who is completely free from the clutches of māyā can understand this fact. This knowledge, which is achieved by the mercy of the spiritual master, places one on the supreme transcendental platform."

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then started chanting the holy names as instructed by his spiritual master and he began to experience great ecstasy. He lost himself, laughed, cried, danced and sang like a mad man. Thinking that something must be wrong with him, he went back to his spiritual master and described his experience. Ishwara Puri laughed upon hearing these symptoms and said, "It is the nature of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Kṛṣṇa. It is a characteristic of love of Godhead that by nature it induces transcendental symptoms in one’s body and makes one more and more greedy to achieve the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. When one actually develops love of Godhead, he naturally sometimes cries, sometimes laughs, sometimes chants and sometimes runs here and there just like a madman."

As a shastric evidence Sri Ishwara Puri then reveals the Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.2.40 to Caitanya Mahaprabhu: 

evaṁ-vrataḥ sva-priya-nāma-kīrtyā
jātānurāgo druta-citta uccaiḥ
hasaty atho roditi rauti gāyaty
unmāda-van nṛtyati loka-bāhyaḥ

When a person is actually advanced and takes pleasure in chanting the holy name of the Lord, who is very dear to him, he is agitated and loudly chants the holy name. He also laughs, cries, becomes agitated and chants just like a madman, not caring for outsiders.

It is important for us to understand that there is no short-cut to attain these symptoms artificially. Srila Prabhupada sounds a warning to such mundane imitators in his purport, "Lord Caitanya never tried to be the master of the holy name; rather He taught us how to be servants of the holy name. If one chants the holy name of the Lord just to make a show, not knowing the secret of success, he may increase his bile secretion, but he will never attain perfection in chanting the holy name."

Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us the most vital lesson to us by his personal example when he presented himself as a great fool in front of his spiritual master, even though he was a renowned scholar by then. He simply followed the orders of his spiritual master with unflinching faith. Similarly we see that the hunter also presented himself as a complete ignorant in front of Narada muni, followed his instructions cent-percent and thus achieved success in relishing the holy names of the Lord in such a short time.

Let us fervently pray at the lotus feet of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to bestow upon us the taste for chanting the holy names sincerely.

Krishna willing, we shall meditate on further lessons from the story of Mrgari in the next offering.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das