Nama Mahima - Part 1

16th Jun 2022
Narahari Krishna das

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

In this age of Kali-Yuga, the best method to worship the Supreme Lord is shown in practise by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32 Sri Karabhajana, one of the Navayogendras, while responding to Maharaj Nimi says

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ

 In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.

Our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj in one of his classes very nicely stresses on the importance of always chanting the Holy Names, "It’s not that one minute we do, or one hour we do and then we forget about Him and roam about everywhere. No, as soon as you get up, utter Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. While you are walking, traveling, utter Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Sleeping, you have to utter Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare  Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Who stops you? Who stops you, tell me. who stops you from uttering? And if you really think that this is the only way, according to our scriptures, gurus and everybody, then why are we keeping shut? Who is keeping our mouth shut? Why must we not utter every time? Because we don’t understand the importance of His name"

In this offering we shall try to meditate on some of the glorification of Harinam Prabhu done by various Mahajans. 

In Mahabharata, we see that after the war at Kurukshetra, the Pandavas headed by Lord Krishna approached Bhishma who was lying on the bed of arrows. Yudhishthira asked lot of questions on various kinds of religious principles such as Raja dharma (principles for King), Stri dharma (principles for women), apath dharma (principles to be followed in case of danger or emergency) and Bhishma answered all of them. Finally, Yudhishtra asked the below six questions.

kim ekam daivatam loke kim vāpy ekam parāyanam
stuvantah kam kam archantam pr
āpyur mānavā subham
ko dharma sarva dharm
ānām bhavatah paramo matah
kim japan muchyate jantuh janma sams
āra bandhanāt

Who is the Supreme Deity? Who is the Supreme shelter? Who is to be glorified? Who is the to be offered worship and by doing which humans can attain all beatitude? Which is the Supreme religious principle (highest Dharma) among all kinds of religious principles in your esteemed opinion? By chanting which a person can attain liberation from material existence which is essentially repeated birth and death?

Bhishmadeva beautifully answered the questions and stated that chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu who is the Supreme Lord is the highest dharma. These names are already glorified and chanted by rishis and chanting these names is the highest dharma.

jagat prabhum deva devam anantam purushottamam
stuvan n
āma sahasrena purusha satato’ ttitah
tam eva cha archayan nityam bhakty
ā purusham avyayam
dhy
āyan stuvan namasyamscha yajamānas tam eva cha
esha me sarva dharm
ānām dharmo’ dhikatamo matah
yad bhaktya pundarik
āksham stavair archair narah sadā

By chanting the thousand names of the Supreme Person is who is the master of the universe, Lord of all the devatas, one who is infinite in His forms and qualities, a living entity should elevate himself spiritually. One should worship Imperishable Lord with one pointed devotion. That Lord should be meditated upon, glorified and offered obeisances. I consider this to be the Supreme dharma along all dharmas, by which the lotus eyed Lord is always worshipped and glorified.

Yudhishthira just asked what is the Supreme dharma, and hence Bhishmacharya could have just said that chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu is the Supreme dharma and stopped there. But being a Mahajana, Bhishmacharya has great compassion for all living entities of Kali Yuga. He could understand the living entities in Kali yuga cannot afford to perform yajnas and perform meditation etc. So he not only said that the thousand names of Vishnu is to be chanted but also gave what are those thousand names. The Lord has infinite names and Bhishmadeva chose 1000 names which are glorified by the sages and devotees and gave it to Yudhishthira Maharaj for the benefit of all souls of Kali yuga. This work is called Vishnu sahasranāma (thousand names of Lord Vishnu) and all great acharyas like Shankara, Madhvacharya, Baladeva Vidyabhushana have commented on this work.

And till today thousands of devotees chant this prayer of Bhishmadeva. Still, the people of Kali Yuga are not able to  chant these thousand names due to various reasons. So another Mahajana further simplified it to help the fallen people of this age. We will see it in the next offering, Krishna willing

Thank you very much.
Yours in  service Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna dasa
Chennai