Five Things I Remember When Chanting The Names Of Krishna

[Krishna stealing butter]“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)

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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

The recommendation is to always chant. Choose from any of the authorized names for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic tradition provides countless names. The source of everything, the original seed-giving father, can never be limited to a single understanding. He cannot only go by a single sound vibration.

सर्व-योनिषु कौन्तेय
मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः
तासां ब्रह्म महद् योनिर्
अहं बीज-प्रदः पिता

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

At the same time, we address people by their name. Perhaps it is the one written on official documents. It may be a name known only to close friends and family. A person has one name they go by within the confines of the home and another name people use for them at the place of business.

To chant the names of God is to connect with Him. This is the primary reason for the recommendation. There are other benefits which accrue simultaneously, such as dedication to a task, establishing a routine, attention to responsibility, and meditation upon sacred sound.

Chanting can also trigger remembrance. If I remember God, it is just like being with Him. After all, the mark of a person’s life is the impression they leave. That is how we know they were here. That is how we know that someone was living at some time.

The impression that Krishna leaves transcends time and place. I simply have to remember, and I am immediately with Him. There are so many things I can remember while chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

1. His instructing Lord Brahma

This was at the beginning of the creation, according to our worldview. Time is infinite in both directions. Whether moving back or fast forwarding, there is always further to go. With respect to what we see around us, in the universe that we currently know, there is the beginning period with the creator, Lord Brahma.

अहम् एवासम् एवाग्रे
नान्यद् यत् सद्-असत् परम्
पश्चाद् अहं यद् एतच् च
यो ऽवशिष्येत सो ऽस्म्य् अहम्

aham evāsam evāgre
nānyad yat sad-asat param
paścād ahaṁ yad etac ca
yo ‘vaśiṣyeta so ‘smy aham

“Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.33)

Shri Krishna is so kind that He gives valuable instruction to Brahma at this time. In the manifestation of the four-handed Narayana, God explains to Brahma that there is only one person who is there before everything. He has no beginning, and so He is known as anadi.

2. His instructing Arjuna

We find this instruction presented in the sacred work known as Bhagavad-gita. It is Shri Krishna showing endless kindness, compassion, and care towards the disciple named Arjuna. The content of their conversation is so valuable that every person can benefit from hearing it. We are allowed to eavesdrop. We get a front-row seat through the Sanskrit verses which carry forward to the present day.

3. His instructing Uddhava

[Krishna and Uddhava]The same Shri Krishna provides similar instruction to Uddhava. Krishna is about to depart for the spiritual world. His manifest lila is about to complete. Despite so much information already available, with ample instruction and guidance for following dharma, Krishna is kind enough to further enlighten someone who is eligible for receiving that highest wisdom.

4. His instructing the gopis

By chanting the holy names, I sometimes remember Shri Krishna and His interaction with the gopis. He tries to offer them praise and instruction, but they are not so interested in listening. They would rather be with Him. They are not after high philosophy or noteworthy repute from practicing spiritual life. Their love for Him is pure.

5. His stealing butter

[Krishna stealing butter]By hearing the name of Krishna I cannot help but remember His pastimes involving butter. As a child in the farm community of Gokula, Krishna intrudes in the lives of the neighbors. He sneaks into homes and steals butter. No one really minds, though they pretend to. They are quite delighted to see the adorable child of Yashoda in that stance, in always staying close by, enjoying what they have to offer.

In Closing:

Through chanting routine,
By the mind seen.

That Vishnu to Brahma giving,
Instruction for further living.

To Arjuna interaction the same,
To Uddhava and gopis came.

And into homes of neighbors for stealing,
Their butter most appealing.

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