The Power Of Krsna’s Name

Montreal, Canada June 15, 1968:

Chanting the Lord's name purifies our polluted consciousness, the source of all our problems.

Ladies And Gentlemen, this Krsna consciousness movement is meant for reviving our original consciousness. At present, owing to our long association with matter, our consciousness has become contaminated, just as rain water becomes contaminated when it falls from a cloud. Originally the water is pure, distilled, but as soon as it falls onto the earth, it becomes mixed with many dirty things. Similarly, originally, as spirit soul, our consciousness is uncontaminated, but because of our present association with matter, our consciousness is contaminated. Therefore we have so many varieties of consciousness.

Disagreements between one person and another are due to contaminated consciousness. I think some way; you think otherwise. Therefore we do not agree. But originally, your consciousness and my consciousness were one. And what is that "one"? That pure consciousness is to think, "God is great, and I am His eternal servant." That is pure consciousness.

As soon as we want to imitate God or artificially become one with God, the contamination begins. A Bengali verse states,

krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga-vancha kare
nikata-stha maya tare japatiya dhare

"When an individual soul forgets his eternal relationship with God and tries to lord it over the material nature, that forgetful condition is called maya, or illusion." So at present, especially in this age, forgetfulness of our eternal relationship with God is very strong. But by chanting the transcendental sound Hare Krsna, the first result is that our heart or mind becomes cleansed of all dirty things. This is not a theoretical proposition; it is a fact.

Chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is not difficult. Although it is in the Sanskrit language, everyone can chant it. In this meeting we began to chant, and you joined with us. All my students are Americans. None of them are Indians, but still they have learned the mantra very nicely. That is not difficult. And there is no cost.

So what is Hare Krsna? Hare means the energy of the Lord, and Krsna means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So it is a prayer. There are only three words Hare, Krsna, and Rama arranged as sixteen words: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. We request you to take up these three words: Hare, Krsna, Rama. Anyone can learn the mantra by heart and chant it. It is universal.

If you think, "Oh, Krsna is the name of a Hindu god" if you have any objection then you need not chant Krsna, but you must have a name for God. The Muslims call God Allah, the Jews call Him Jehovah. That does not matter. Lord Caitanya says that there are millions and billions of names of God. If you think that the name Krsna is not very suitable, you can accept any name. That doesn't matter. Our proposal is that you chant God's name.

Is it very difficult? It is not at all difficult. Lord Caitanya said that there are innumerable names of God according to different languages, different countries, different societies. And each of the names has the potency of God Himself. God is Absolute; therefore there is no difference between His name and He Himself. In the material world, the world of duality, there is a difference between the name water and the substance water. The name water is different from the substance water. If you are thirsty and you simply chant, "Water, water, water, water," your thirst will not be quenched. You require the substance water. That is the nature of matter. But spiritually, the name Krsna or the name Allah or the name Jehovah is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

You may ask why we specifically chant Hare Krsna. This name was chanted by Lord Caitanya, who introduced this movement five hundred years ago in India. We are following the footprints of Lord Caitanya. Because He chanted Hare Krsna, we chant Hare Krsna. But Lord Caitanya recommended that any one of God's innumerable names can be chanted.

There are no hard and fast rules for chanting. It is not that for chanting you have to prepare yourself or educate yourself or adjust yourself. No. We began to chant, and you were not prepared, but you joined us you clapped with us, you danced with us. There are no rules or regulations. You simply chant. It is very easy. While walking you can chant whatever name you like. We like Krsna. We chant always Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. While walking on the street, while going on the bus, even while working with your hands, you can chant. There is no loss on your part, there is no expense on your part, but the gain is very great. Why don't you try it? That is our request.

The Benefit of Chanting

The benefit will be that gradually you will understand what you are. The whole modern civilization is going on under the wrong impression that "I am this body." In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, "One who goes on in the concept of the body as the self is no better than an ass or a cow." Actually we are not the body. If we chant the Hare Krsna mantra, we can understand what we are.

As soon as I understand that I am not the body, my activities become different. At present I am acting on the concept that I am the body. Because this body was born in a particular place in a particular country, I say, "I am American," or Indian, or Chinese, or German. And because this body has a relationship with some woman, I accept that woman as my wife. There are hundreds of thousands of women, but the woman who has a relationship with this body is my wife. There are thousands and millions of children, but one child who has an intimate relation with this body, I call my son. So if we are falsely identifying with the body, our identification with this world is also false.

Our real identity is, as stated in the Vedic literature, aham brahmasmi: "I am Brahman." That means "I am spirit soul; I am not matter."

The misconception that I am the body has to be removed. Of course, it is not possible for everyone to understand this, but if even a percentage of human society can understand, so many problems will be solved. The solution to so many problems is to understand aham brahmasmi: "I am spirit soul."

The Bhagavad-gita explains how the solutions take place. As soon as this realization is there aham brahmasmi then other things follow. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma: one at once becomes cheerful. As long as we are in the bodily concept of life, we cannot be cheerful. We are full of anxiety. And as soon as we understand "I am not this body; I am spirit soul," we become cheerful. There will be no anxiety.

We are full of anxiety because of the bodily concept of life. Consider a man with a very costly car. When driving on the street, he is careful to avoid an accident that would damage the car. He is in so much anxiety. But a man walking on the street has no such anxiety. Why is the man in the car so anxious? Because he has identified himself with the car. If the car is damaged in an accident, he thinks, "Oh, my car is gone; I am gone."

Although he is different from the car, he thinks like that because of false identification. Similarly, because we falsely identify with the body, we have so many problems. So if we want to solve the problems of life, we have to understand what we are. And unless this question arises in our mind, then we must consider that whatever we are doing brings defeat, because we are doing everything in false consciousness.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, parabhavas tavad abodha-jatah. Abodha-jatah refers to one born a fool. Every one of us is born a fool. Why? Because from the beginning of life we think, "I am this body," although we are not the body. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization one has to take a second birth. One birth is made possible by the father and mother. That birth is considered an animal birth. Janmana jayate sudrah. Everyone by birth is a sudra, or the lowest class of person. Butsamskarad bhaved dvijah: "By reformation, one becomes twice-born." And what is that reformation? One understands what one is. Then, veda-pathad bhaved viprah: "After the second birth, one who tries to understand the spiritual science, the science of God, is called a vipra.Vipra means "quite cognizant." Finally, brahma janatiti brahmanah: "When one understands that he is Brahman, spirit soul, he becomes a brahmana."

Perhaps you have heard that in India the brahmanas are called the topmost men of the society. Why? Because they know, "I am Brahman; I am not matter."

By understanding Brahman, your position will be prasannatma, "joyful." Na socati na kanksati: you will never lament any loss, nor will you hanker after any so-called gain. Samah sarvesu bhutesu: you will see every living entity on the same level.Mad-bhaktim labhate param: in that stage of realization, you can understand God and your relationship with God.

Understanding Our Identity

This Krsna consciousness movement is meant for understanding who we are. The answer, of course, is very simple. The other day I lectured at a Sunday school. I called a small boy forward and, pointing to the different parts of his body, I asked him, "What is this?" He said, "It is my hand, it is my head, it is my leg, it is my body, it is my shirt, it is my …" Then I asked him, "Where are you? You are saying 'my, my, my,' but where are you?"

Everyone can understand what he is. If you ask yourself, "Am I this hand?" you will say, "No, it is my hand." "Am I this leg?" "No, it is my leg." "Am I this head?" "No, it is my head." Then where are you? You are the person thinking within, "It is my hand, it is my head, it is my leg, it is my shirt, it is my coat." But have you seen that person? You think you have seen your father, your mother, your son. But have you seen the real father within the body of the father? Have you seen the real son within the body of the son? No.

Then your whole conception of life and of the problems of this world is false. Therefore this movement is required at the present moment. Ceto-darpana-marjanam: the chanting of Hare Krsna will cleanse your mental condition. Bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam: as soon as you understand yourself, then all problems social, political, economic, everything will be solved. Sreyah-kairava-candrika-vitaranam: and gradually you shall realize your transcendental life.

Your transcendental life is joyful. Ananda-mayo 'bhyasat. That is our nature. We are hankering after joyful life, but we do not know how to get it. Our joyfulness is covered by our material understanding. We have to remove the material understanding; then again we shall become joyful.

The Need for Authority

This movement is very scientific. We have authoritative statements. You cannot defy authority. From the beginning of your life, when you were a child, you asked your parents, "Mother, father, what is this?" You cannot go even a step without authority. You are governed by authority. You are driving your car by authority. "Keep to the right." Why? Why don't you defy it?

We have to obey authority. But the difficulty is, who is the authority? We must learn who is actually the authority. The authority is one who makes no mistakes, has no illusion, does not cheat, and whose senses are perfect. That is the definition of authority. A conditioned soul is sure to commit mistakes. However learned he may be, however advanced he may be, he must commit mistakes. Therefore it is said, "To err is human." And everyone must be illusioned and have the propensity to cheat.

Even a child wants to cheat. The mother asks, "Oh, what is in your hand?" The child says, "No, mother, nothing," although the mother can see he has something. So the cheating propensity is there.

And above all, your senses are imperfect. You are proud of your eyes: "I want to see." What can you see? If the light is off, your seeing power is immediately gone. If there is no sun, your seeing power is gone. We can see only under certain conditions; therefore our power to see is imperfect.

You cannot get perfect knowledge by imperfect senses, by speculative endeavor. You have to accept authority. When you want to know who your father is, the authority is your mother. The mother says, "Here is your father." You have to accept. You cannot do research. You mother is the final authority on who your father is.

Similarly, we have to accept an authority to get real knowledge. And if the authority is not a conditioned soul, if he is a liberated soul, if he is not a cheater, if his senses are not imperfect, if he does not make any mistakes, if he is not in illusion if you receive knowledge from that authority, then your knowledge is perfect. That is the process.

We have authoritative literature: the Vedic literature. You can test it by your reasoning, by your arguments, by your philosophical talks everything. Religion without a philosophical basis, without a scientific basis, is sentiment. Religion based on philosophy and science is right.

Bhagavad-gita is an authoritative book. It nicely answers any question, any inquiry, any doubt. For example, in one place in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says,

sarva-yonisu kaunteya
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir 
aham bija-pradah pita

The Vedic literature says that there are 8,400,000 species of life: aquatics, plants, trees, worms, germs, birds, beasts, and at last, the human species. So Krsna says, "I am the seed-giving father of all living entities." If you can understand this one verse, then you can have some idea of universal brotherhood. If you want to have universal brotherhood, you must find the center the universal father.

Such questions and answers are there in Bhagavad-gita. And we have the education of the science of God: Srimad-Bhagavatam. These books are meant for human society. If you take advantage of the knowledge imparted in them and chant the Hare Krsna mantra, you will see how your life improves, how you become full of knowledge, full of bliss, and how you advance in your eternal life.

Thank you very much.