The Opiate of the People

Bhagavad-gītā 18.22 | August 11, 2014 |

English; Zadar, Croatia

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Question: I have been wondering, (1) Why chanting the name of the Lord is considered to be service. How are you serving the Lord by just chanting His name? (2) Why chanting the name of the Lord is considered to be glorification of Him. When are we glorifying him while chanting?… Expand>

Question:

I have been wondering,

(1) Why chanting the name of the Lord is considered to be service. How are you serving the Lord by just chanting His name?

(2) Why chanting the name of the Lord is considered to be glorification of Him. When are we glorifying him while chanting?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami: 

Why is it considered to be service to Kṛṣṇa to chant His names? Because He likes to hear His names chanted and He says to chant. This is His order. So if you follow the order you are doing service. Serving someone means to act, if it’s in the case of a subordinate or an equal, it means to act for their benefit and if for a superior, it means to act for their pleasure. So Kṛṣṇa likes to hear His own name. So chanting His name is His order. That’s mentioned in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, that Vallabha Bhaṭṭa came to Caitanya Mahāprabhu and made the objection that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord, so in that sense He is like the husband of everyone, but according to śāstra the wife shouldn’t say the husband’s name, so you shouldn’t chant the holy name. Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to this rather odd objection that the most important for the wife is to follow the order of the husband. So the order of Kṛṣṇa is to chant His name, so we should chant it.

Where is the glorification? How are we glorifying Him by chanting? It might not seem to be glorification if we just say the name, nāma kīrtana. If we say Kṛṣṇa is powerful, He is beautiful, we can say that’s glorification. That’s specifically called guṇa kīrtana – to speak on the qualities of Kṛṣṇa. But nāma kīrtana is also glorification in the sense that by repeatedly saying His name in an attitude of reverence that’s certainly glorifying Him. That means that we take Kṛṣṇa very seriously and we are asking others to do so also, bringing Kṛṣṇa to others’ attention. So that is also glorifying. We‘re not chanting the name of anyone else. You can go, someone living in the next building, his name might be, for instance, I don’t know the names of anyone living there, but there might be someone there theoretically called Piyush Caudhari. So we are not chanting Piyush Caudhari, Piyush Caudhari, Piyush Caudhari… If we did, it would be remarkable because no one living in the apartment here is so remarkable that we want to chant their names, especially not repeatedly. But Kṛṣṇa is so extraordinary and rememberable, worthy of thinking about – smaraṇīya - that we want to remember Him by chanting His holy name. The very fact we are chanting is glorification, we are chanting His names. It shows His importance.

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