“My Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Your holy name there is all good fortune for the living entity, and therefore You have many names, such as Krishna and Govinda, by which You expand Yourself. You have invested all Your potencies in those names, and there are no hard and fast rules for remembering them. My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting.” (Lord Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 20.16)
Like an actor thrust into many roles, some of their choosing and others not, the human being encounters many different situations in their journey through life. One second they must act as an obedient son and the next they are the wiser, elder brother to a sibling. One second they are taught and the next they are teaching. Understanding these different roles, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has instituted a way in which all good fortune can come to any person, at any time. That way is the chanting of the holy name.
Imagine this situation. You’re at a party. It is the first birthday of the son of one of your good friends. You go to the party, taking your wife with you. As is bound to happen, you run into different people. To be polite, you strike up a conversation, telling them a little bit about yourself. Your nature is more to listen, so through this one experience you get exposure to many viewpoints.
The first person you meet is very conscious of the earth’s environment.
“Sustainability is the only way for the earth to survive going forward. Where do I live you ask? Actually, I travel around from place to place. I like to go where the cows are maintained and where they have organic farming. This is the most important service to me. There can be none higher. The cows are so precious, and if we don’t keep our farms eco-friendly, disease will overtake us all soon enough.”
The second person you meet has an interesting hobby.
“I’m an avid art collector. I go to all the showings in the city. I don’t mean to brag, but I think I have an eye for these things. I also sell some of the pieces I buy in auctions. It’s not that I’m trying to make money, flipping these paintings. It’s more that the enjoyment runs its course. I like what I see today, but in a year from now my perspective may be different. I still require the beauty of the visual art, so I never stop collecting. I simply change my focus.”
The third person you meet is into bodybuilding.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but I feel really good. I used to be quite skinny. I couldn’t even do a pull-up. Now I can bench press so much. I notice the other people in the gym staring at me when I bring back dumbbells from the weight rack. I have to eat a lot to maintain my physique, but it improves my self-esteem to have a good appearance. I also like knowing that I am stronger than most people.”
This is but a small sampling of the different desires found in living entities. Each person seeks good fortune, but there is only one means in the present age where everyone will be fully satisfied. That means is the chanting of the holy name. That name is non-different from the person it represents. I can change my name very easily. Perhaps someone gives me a nickname. Earvin Johnson became “Magic” in the National Basketball Association. Ozzie Smith became “The Wizard” in baseball. It is not so difficult to change a name; which means that a name cannot fully represent someone.
That deficiency is absent in the Supreme Lord. His name is Him in full. There is all good fortune thus in chanting that name, as it brings His presence in the nearest vicinity. And who wouldn’t want to be with God all the time? Since there is all good fortune in that holy name, the Lord kindly expands Himself to give so many names. To the environmentally conscious person, He can be addressed as Govinda. This name means one who gives pleasure to the senses and the cows. The cows are happiest when in the presence of Govinda. One can chant “Govinda” over and over again and maintain the vision of the Supreme Lord embracing and caring for the beloved cows in Vrindavana.
To the person interested in beauty, there is the name Krishna, which means “all-attractive.” No one is more beautiful than God. This feature in Him means that He is indeed a person. He is not nirakara, or without form. Nirakara is an accurate description of Him, but the meaning is often misunderstood. “Lack of form” in this sense means “without a material covering.” In the material world a covering is not always beautiful. Its applicability is limited as well. The spiritual form of Krishna is always beautiful. It has no defect; hence it cannot be material.
To the person interested in personal strength, the name “Girivaradhari” is there. This refers to the specific pastime of the lifting of Govardhana Hill, done by the same Govinda in Vrindavana. Girivaradhari is the strongest. As His strength is spiritual, it is impossible for us to fully understand. His lifting of a giant hill while in the visual manifestation of a small child gives us some indication. To those who appreciate strength, this name gives them great pleasure in hearing and saying.
The names of Krishna are too many to count, as the good Lord kindly expands to distribute the good fortune to all the living entities. Through His appearance as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He expanded the practice of chanting the holy names. He gave the formula for peace, wisdom, strength, and happiness. He gave it away for free; not asking for anything in return. And He empowered so many others to spread the same good fortune. Those empowered souls can be easily recognized. They are always chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
One person for art an eye,
Another to clean environment to try.
One in gym lifting weights heavy,
Thus in world interests a bevy.
But fortune to all only one way found,
When holy names of Krishna to sound.
From expansions many names to choose,
Saying with love all gain, nothing to lose.