Hari-kathaArticlesThe Importance of Harinama-sankirtana

The Importance of Harinama-sankirtana

Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga

If we remember, hear, and narrate Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila at every moment throughout our lives, then we will attain the association of Guarahari’s bhaktas who distribute the nectar of harinama-sankirtana. And by this, we will get entrance into Mahaprabhu’s sweet pastimes.

Apart from nama-sankirtana, this age of Kali is an ocean of faults and miseries. But who has the desire to be continuously engaged in nama-sankirtana? It is very rare. One who is always engaged in nama-sankirtana does not get touched by the destructive influence of this age. Kali Maharaja bribes those who try to engage in nama-sankirtana. He has five properties that he presents to the bhaktas to cheat them. He teaches, “There is no need for you to chant nama-sankirtana. You have to take care of the temple, publish books, distribute prasada, and preach everywhere. Don’t do harinama. I give you wealth and helpers, and I will arrange many musical performances and dramas for peoples’ entertainment. You should also teach yoga and health exercises to keep peoples’ digestion strong. I will give you everything, but don’t chant nama.”

When we accept these bribes, we will always be busy and have no time for harinama. Mahaprabhu and His followers do not do anything without first performing nama-sankirtana. Afterward, they do everything else. If there is no nama-sankirtana, nothing we do is of no value. Sukadeva Gosvami explained to Pariksita Maharaja the qualities of kali-yuga, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and our Gosvamis and Guru-varga all taught the importance of harinama-sankirtana. People in this age are full of faults and anarthas, but if they take up the congregational chanting of harinama, then everything will be auspicious. Whatever we do, without chanting nama first, will result in punishment for us. We will not get sukrti, but only punishment. We may try to follow bhakti, but will only acquire more anarthas. Wicked people will come to you and with their immoral behavior will pollute the place and turn it into a recreation center. But if we first perform nama-sankirtana, everything becomes favorable. If you put a one before the zeros, the number gets value, but without the one, there are just zeros that are as good as nothing.

Mahaprabhu does not look at or meet with somebody who has no relation with nama. Such a person will not have any help and everyone will be his enemy. Therefore the previous acaryas would invite the devotees in the temple to sit with them and chant after mangala-arati. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered the bhaktas to first chant 64 rounds before drinking or eating anything. Now the prescribed amount of rounds has become less and less until the bare minimum of 16 rounds is required to be done, but not even this can be accomplished within the entire day. Why are you wasting time maintaining your body and mind, or helping others? What will they give you? You may help millions of people, but what benefit will you get from them? They only give you stool. They take everything and what they discharge they give you as a gift. They give their anarthas. They say, “I am sick. I am weak. My brain is damaged. Maya is catching and holding me.” Every day they offer slow poison as gifts. When everybody starts the congregational chanting of the holy name, then all poison becomes neutralized. Hari-katha is food for the soul, but other food is poisonous and makes us fools.

The first one must chant harinama before doing anything else. If you cannot wake up in the morning, you have no sakti. Where does sakti come from? Who gives this? By the execution of nama-sankirtana, sakti comes, and the soul establishes its relation with svarupa-sakti. Mahaprabhu arranges this. If you have a desire for nama, nisanta-lila and the secrets explained in Bhajana-rahasya will appear in your heart. But if you do not chant harinama, then where will such realizations come from? You may hear classes, again and again, meet with maha-bhagavata Vaisnavas, or live in the waters of Radha-kunda like the fish and tortoises, but if you do not chant harinama, all your endeavors will not only be futile, but will cause anarthas to come to you. There will be no paramartha.

Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, again and again, requested all the bhaktas and everybody He met to do harinama-sankirtana. He advised us, “yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa—tell whoever you meet to follow the teachings of Lord Krsna. Bolo krsna, bhajo krsna, koro krsna-siksa.”

Without harinama you can try again and again to acquire strength and willpower, but there will be no success. You may take protein injections, drink milk and juice, eat fruits and boiled vegetables, or do so many other things to increase your physical health, but sakti will not come by such means. Only harinama bestows this sakti or power. First, the soul has to be nurtured by harinama, and then you can do anything else. Asat-sanga will cause us to fail in our practice. Asat-sanga-tyaga—ei vaisnava-acara.

The Vraja-devis never forget Krsna, krsna-nama, and the service to Him. They never distance themselves from Krsna, and therefore they never lose their sakti, or power. They are always connected with the powerhouse.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates, again and again, instructed everybody to do nama-sankirtana throughout the Caitanya-Bhagavata. How many bhagavatas where present with Caitanya Mahaprabhu? Whoever follows His orders and instructions is a bhagavata. If you remember the glories of these bhagavatas and follow their footsteps by praying and chanting harinama with them, then you will never take unfavorable association. You will then have the strength to stay away from whoever does not chant harinama. Srila Gurudeva told us to jump in the ocean if we cannot chant harinama. Otherwise, we should enter a fire. A disciple who does not chant harinama and guru-mantra is useless. They lament that they cannot wake up in the morning. They are constantly sleeping in Maya devi’s lap. Maya devi gives them big bodies and embraces them all the time.

Sincerely try to chant in the association of the bhagavatas and pray sincerely to them. Then you will get a taste for harinama and when your soul starts to get nurtured it will be connected to the flow of svarupa-sakti. Then you will never have any problems and whether you dance, move around, or talk to people, you will never forget harinama. Nama-sankirtanam yasya sarva-papa pranasanam—the congregational chanting of harinama destroys all sins and invokes all auspiciousness. But we do not have taste for harinama. We have taste for everything else but not for nama. We think, “When I finish this task I will chant.” Our tasks will never come to an end. The desire for prestige holds us and eats and digests us. Many people do many types of businesses. You should first think about yourself and then about helping others. If we cannot follow anything, but go to help others, this is like someone who doesn’t know how to swim going to rescue somebody drowning in the ocean. Both of them will drown. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu advises us again and again to engage in nama-bhajana and not in maya-bhajana.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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