In the last article, “Who is Lord Chaitanya,” we saw how Lord Chaitanya, although Krishna Himself, played the part of a devotee of Krishna just to teach the world how to live a genuine spiritual life. Nowadays, there are so many spiritual practices out there. But if we want to know how to truly connect to the Lord, we have to take it from the Lord Himself. And Lord Chaitanya has given us the simple process of chanting Krishna’s holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Lord Chaitanya established this chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra as the yuga-dharma, the prescribed method for self-realization in this age. In fact, He said that Krishna had descended in the form of His holy names and that whoever sincerely chants Hare Krishna will quickly awaken their innate love for the Lord and experience ever-increasing transcendental happiness.
In the world today, such happiness is in short supply. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought disease and death to every door. Social isolation and economic uncertainty have caused unprecedented anxiety and depression for millions of people. We have seen the stark reality of the world we live in. From one day to the next, everything can collapse. Even without a pandemic, the greatest civilizations will rise and fall because the nature of the material world is that everything is temporary.
Yet, as eternal beings, we yearn for beautiful things which last forever, for loving relationships which never die. In essence, we long for the spiritual world. Out of His infinite mercy, Lord Chaitanya has brought the spiritual world to us in the holy name - golokera-prema-dhana harinama sankirtana. The holy name is a lifeline. If we just hold onto it – and what else is there to hold on to? – it will open up the doors to the spiritual world and pull us in. It will enable us to realize our eternal relationship with Krishna.
No matter what changes happen in our lives, the holy names are there for us. No matter how dark and scary it looks outside, we can bring ourselves in the presence of the Supreme Lord at any moment by chanting Hare Krishna, and we can feel the warm light of His love. By chanting Hare Krishna, we experience a refreshing shift in perspective and a huge lift in our consciousness. We gain spiritual strength and inner resilience so we can weather any storm – not just weather it, but, seeing it as Krishna’s mercy, we can dance in it!
Chanting Hare Krishna every day with care and attention creates a special sweetness in our lives. Because Krishna is transcendentally sweet, His names are similarly sweet, and the more we chant, the more we will taste that sweetness. Gradually, we will come to the stage of nama-ruci where our attachment or taste for chanting is so strong that we cannot imagine our lives without the chanting of the holy names. This attachment makes us eager to chant Hare Krishna, to serve Krishna, to love Krishna. Such intense eagerness is our ticket back home, back to Godhead.
All we need to do is chant: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, and we will experience eternal joy and love in relationship with Krishna and His pure devotees. This is Lord Chaitanya’s gift.