“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)
नाम्नाम् अकारि बहुधा निज-सर्व-शक्तिस्
तत्रार्पिता नियमितः स्मरणे न कालः
एतादृशी तव कृपा भगवन् ममापि
दुर्दैवम् ईदृशम् इहाजनि नानुरागः
nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ
Friend1: Do you know any people who are into astrology?
Friend2: Define “into.” A general interest or an obsession?
Friend1: They like to read the horoscopes. Nowadays you can get internet videos of the same. Some of these sound pretty legitimate. I know in the Vedic tradition the alignment of the planets is one stated cause for a bad situation, such as with the onset of disease.
Friend2: Oh, for sure. The planets work in conjunction with kala, which is time. Sita Devi mentions something similar in the Ramayana. When speaking to Ravana one time, she remarks that when a person’s end is approaching, they end up following actions that essentially effect that outcome.
Friend1: Oh, as in Ravana was engaged in despicable acts because kala was influencing him to do so?
Friend2: Yes. That is one way of looking at it.
Friend1: I know about the concepts of kala and desha. Time and place. If you’re going to get married, choose an auspicious time. Don’t conduct ritualistic activities in an improper place. If you go to the right location, your efforts will bear fruit more quickly.
Friend2: Absolutely. Goswami Tulsidas dedicates a significant number of verses in his Dohavali to time and place. When to do certain things and when to avoid them.
Friend1: Reconcile this for me, then. There doesn’t seem to be many rules related to chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend2: It is the yuga-dharma. Who actually follows the prescribed rules and regulations of religion today? Who is interested in right and wrong? Who doesn’t succumb to the desires of the senses at every moment of the day?
Friend1: Chanting is therefore recommended.
Friend2: If you can say any of the three names in that mantra even once, you are very lucky. If you can repeat the mantra one time in your life, you are most fortunate. Just imagine the auspiciousness associated with regular repetition, especially in a combined way with other like-minded aspiring transcendentalists.
Friend1: What about time and place, though? Why is that suddenly not important?
Friend2: Because of the nature of the names involved. You can take Shri Krishna’s appearance in this world as an instructional point. The appearance is on the eighth day of the lunar cycle in a particular month of the year. You could argue whether or not that is auspicious, but since Bhagavan chose that specific time, the conditions automatically become auspicious.
Friend1: With Mathura, too, which is the place associated with the event.
Friend2: Exactly. He turns the inauspicious into auspicious. You can try it for yourself. If you are in trouble, if you are suffering through some misfortune, if you are in danger, if you are concerned over a specific outcome in the future – just focus and say the names of Krishna and Rama. You will see a change, there is no doubt. You can look back on that time later with fondness. What you initially considered to be difficult and bothersome turned into something sweet and joyful. That is the power of bhakti, which is identical to Krishna.
Attention to time and place,
Hoping conditions not to erase.
The benefits accumulated,
By behavior unregulated.
Not principle the same,
With chanting holy name?
Direct potency in process invested,
So as if before me manifested.