~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

The Holy Name Part I

October 1927

In this material world there is always difference between the thing itself and its name, form, attributes and action. For example when I say ‘a table’ the word ‘table’ is not the thing itself and is quite different from it; but in the spiritual world it is a veritable truth that there is no such difference between an object and its name, form, attributes and action; or, in other words, they are identical. In the material world this difference between the thing and its name, form, attributes and action etc., is due to the prescence of maya or ‘illusion’. But in the spiritual sphere or Vaikuntha there is no such ‘illusion’ or screen intervening between the object and its name, form, attributes and action. In Vaikuntha the Word is Brahman or God Himself. The word ‘Vaikuntha” means that from which maya or ‘illusion’ is expelled. It is purely spiritual.

From this we can infer that the Name of God, unlike the names of things mundane, is identical wirh God Himself; and God Himself is identical with His Form, Attributes and Actions. This being so it may be asked why is it that we do not feel or realize the presence of God in our hearts when we utter His holy Name? Why do our hearts remain steeped in the darkness of ignorance, instead of being illuminated by the eternal Existence, Intelligence and Bliss - The Nature of Krishna Himself - when we take His holy Name ? Or why do we not realise that we are also self-existent, eternal beings, possess spiritual intelligence and can enjoy transcendental bliss when we chant His holy Name ? The only answer is that it is because we are quite ignorant of the above fundamental difference between mundane things and spiritual.

We do not know the real nature of the holy Name of Krishna. It is thus defined in Padmapurana:-

“In as much as there is no difference between Krishna Himself and His Name, Krishna’s Names like the philosopher’s stone gives the wished - for object of His Servitors, is Krishna’s own Self and is the embodiment of spiritual ecstatic bliss; that is to say, it is not an object of perverted, worldly pleasures because of its being outside the sphere of empiricism and being also incapable of adulteration with maya. Krishna’s Name is perfect that is incapable of being measured by maya. His Name is pure that is unadulterated with illusion as it rejects maya. His Name is eternally free that is beyond the region of maya.”

In other words Krishna’s Name, His holy Image and He Himself are identical, there being no difference between them; and all Three are full of eternal, ecstatic, spiritual bliss. But in the case of the fallen jiva his real nature is quite different from his name given by his father, his physical body, his material qualities and his worldly activities.

“Therefore, Krishna’s Name, Form, Qualities and Actions are never comprehensible by means of material senses. Whenever a jiva actually realises that in his spiritual nature he is the eternal servant of Krishna then only the transcendental Name, Form, Attributes and actions of Krishna spontaneously manifest themselves in his spiritual organs of sense such as the tongue, eye, ear etc.”

Krishna’s Qualities, Krishna’s sports and pastimes, the characteristic traits of His servitors, being eternal, spiritual and full of transcendental bliss, are not comprehensible by the material forms, pleasures, odours, sounds and touch of jiva engrossed in the triple qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas. In other words they are not liable to be enjoyed by the senses of the jiva that are addicted to the enjoyment of the fruits of their activities because they are self-indulgent, eternal, and full of beatitude. There is mutual difference (but no identity) between the name, form, quality and action of material objects situated within the sphere of the triple qualities; but in transcendental Krishna there is no such difference all those being identical.

In this Iron Age the holy Name of Krishna is the only object of worship because God is invisible but manifests Himself as His holy Name which is Krishna's Incarnation as Logos. Hence the Srimad Bhagabat enjoins the chanting of Krishna's Name as the only form of worship of the kali Age.-

"That which in the krita Age results from the meditation of Vishnu, which in the Treta Age is the product of the performance of sacrifice and which in the Dvapara Age is the outcome of service, in the kali Age is the fruit of the chanting of the holy Name of Krishna."

Therefore, in the kali Age there is no other course left for jiva than the chanting of Hari's Name. This is clearly stated in the oft quoted sloka of Brihan-naradia Purana-

harer nama harer nama, harer namaiva kevalam; kalau nasty eva nasty eva, nasty eva gatir anyatha

The above sloka is thus explained in Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita (Adi.XVII.22-28) - 'In the kali Age Krishna incarnates Himself as the holy Name. The whole world is liberated by the chanting of the holy Name. Hari's Name has been repeated three times for emphasis. Knowledge, yoga, austerities, work etc. are prohibited.

He who believes otherwise is never to be saved. The word nasty reinforced by eva has been repeated thrice to signify that the non-believers in the holy Name will in NO case attain salvation - Never, Never, Never.

But every one of us is not fit to chant the holy Name. The qualities the possession of which is essential in order that one may be able to chant the holy Name are thus stated by Mahaprabhu Himself in the following sloka in His Sikshastak:-

"He is fit to chant always the Name of Hari who considers himself humbler than a blade of grass, who is patient and forbearing like the tree and who does not covet respect from others but ever pays due respect to everyone."

Freedom from worldly vanities in their fourfold aspect of (1) humility, (2) patience, (3) absence of pride and (4) readiness to honour others, is the necessary condition for chanting the Name of Hari. The chanting of the holy Name is not possible for those who are given to worldly vanities. The above mentioned fourfold attachment for material objects stands in the way of the chanting of the holy Name. Being liberated from those vanities the purified jiva is enabled to chant always the Name of Hari. By obeying this rule the novice on the path of devotion obtains the holy feet of Sri Krishna as the fruit of Hari Sankirtan. The taking of the Name of Hari by those who are ignorant of this relationship is either dim perception of the Name or an offense against the Name by means of which the love of Krishna, which is the only object of chanting the holy Name by jiva is not gained.

He who chants the holy Name must be devoid of all passions and must not hanker after worldly name, fame, or wealth. He must be above the triple qualities of maya. Krishna does not confer loving devotion upon His devotee unless and until He finds His devotee free from all mundane affinities. Because Krishna, His Name, His devotee and His devotion are all above the triple qualities of maya and are purely spiritual. He is, therefore, unattainable to those who have the least trace of mundane attachment. That is to say the holy Name of Krishna does not manifest itself in the heart of a devotee who has not realized his true self the nature of which we learn from the holy lips of Mahaprabhu Himself in the following sloka -

"The true self of the jiva is neither a Brahman, nor a Kshatriya, nor a Vaishya, nor again a Sudra; neither a Brahmacari, nor a Householder, nor a Banaprastha nor a Sannyasin; but is the eternal servant of the servants' servants of the lotus feet of the Lord of the gopis, the ocean of the nectar of eternal ecstatic bliss."

The true devotee must not cherish a particle of desire other than the loving service of Krishna.

"O! Lord, I ask not for wealth, followers or the gift of poesy; give me in birth after birth only causeless, spontaneous, loving devotion to Thy holy feet."

The chanting of the holy Name of Krishna is the only means of attaining the final object of spiritual existence. 'Prem' (Love) in Krishna is alone the final object of spiritual existence. He who does not know the relationship that exists between Krishna and himself is not at all qualified for taking the Name of Krishna. Without this knowledge of relationship devotion for Krishna does not arise and without devotion love for Krishna is impossible. It has already been said that mere taking of the holy Name without the knowledge of this relationship is either a dim perception of the Name or an offence against the holy Name. A true devotee must first of all understand and carefully avoid both the dim perception and the offence against the holy Name. In order to understand this he must know the distinction between the pure Name and the dim perception and the offence against the Name. We have already explained what the pure Name is and how to take it. The dim perception of the Name can be thus explained. Krishna and His Name are identical and are the spiritual Sun to dispel the darkness of ignorance. The Sun of the holy Name has appeared in this world out of pity for the fallen jivas. The ignorance of the fallen jivas is like the fog and their hankering after worldly enjoyment, frailties and sins are like clouds. These produce darkness by screening the Sun of the holy Name. They prevent the eyes of the fallen jivas from seeing the Sun. They cannot really darken the Sun itself which is very big and self-luminous. The Sun is said to be obscured when the shadow of the clouds obscure the vision of the jivas. The dim perception of the Name is due to the presence of these obstructions viz. ignorance, hankering after worldly enjoyment, frailties and sins which prevent the fallen jivas from obtaining a clear vision of the Sun of the holy Name. As soon as a fallen jiva is imbued with the clear knowledge of the relationship that subsists between Krishna and himself viz. that he is the eternal servant of Krishna and that his final object of life is love of Krishna, the dimness of perception wanes and the clearness of vision improves, his spiritual eye being opened in proportion to his realisation of this relationship.