Krishna is present within the sound vibration of the holy name
by Isana dasa
BG 2.72 purport excerpt:
One can attain Kṛṣṇa consciousness or divine life at once, within a second-or one may not attain such a state of life even after millions of births. It is only a matter of understanding and accepting the fact. Khaṭvāṅga Mahārāja attained this state of life just a few minutes before his death, by surrendering unto Kṛṣṇa.
So, let us consider this statement. I think we can safely say that all of Srila Prbhupada’s initiated disciples understand our Krishna conscious philosophy. And if we ask them if they accept our Krishna conscious understanding of the Absolute Truth they would readily assert that they do.
However, my thought is that When Srila Prabhupada uses the word accept, he means more than mental acceptance. Rather he means a heartfelt embrace of our Krishn conscious understanding. And these two categories of acceptance can be millions of births apart.
We are told by shastra and our parampara that Krishna and His name are not different, that Krishna is present within the sound vibration of the holy name, and that the whole spiritual realm exists within that sound vibration. In Sri Harinama Cintamani, Srila Haridas Thakur states more than once that the holy name is fully conscious. Therefore, when we chant the holy name, during japa or kritan, we are in direct association with Krishna, His form, His pastimes, His associates, and His paraphernalia. We are also informed that the reason we cannot perceive Krishna’s presence within that sound vibration is because our senses are not yet sufficiently purified. Nevertheless, Krishna is present in that sound vibration. We have to become more purified in order to have this realization.
Please consider: If we were told by Srila Prabhupada that Krishna was standing on the other side of the door, and if we opened that door we would be directly in Krishna’s presence, and that we were now invited to open that door……just imagine for a moment how excited we would be to open that door and walk across that threshold. Would our minds be distracted by a number of mundane concerns? Would we be thinking that perhaps we should take our breakfast first and perhaps go through that door later? Would we be inclined to succumb to feelings of sleepiness? The answer to these questions is simple. We would be so excited to walk through that doorway that no other thought would enter our minds. Not thoughts of hunger, of thirst, of duties, of sleepiness…..
But we are given this same opportunity by Srila Prabhupada when he tells us that Krishna is present in the sound vibration of His holy name. We can readily say that we understand this. But have we really accepted it? If we really accept that Krishna is present within that sound vibration and that we can be in direct association with Krishna simply by vibrating that sound, would it be possible for us to vibrate the name without having feelings of the greatest excitement? Would we be able to vibrate the name without having feelings of the utmost gratitude? Would we be able to vibrate the name without having an overwhelming feeling of wanting to bow down prostrate in the presence of that sound vibration?
In chapter 18 of TLC Srila Prabhupada writes that when we chant the holy name with the same amount of respect that our spiritual master has for the holy name, that will be “the worship of the holy name”. And when we chant in that way, the holy name will “spread His glories within the heart of the disciple, and the disciple will begin to chant and dance in ecstasy.”
Srila Prabhupada has this realization of the holy name. And he is telling us that Krishna and His name are not different. He says that if we understand this and accept this, we can be Krishna conscious within a second. Therefore, the question arises as to whether we have really accepted this shastric description of the holy name. Certainly, if we put all doubts aside, and whole-heartedly embrace the understanding that Krishna is consciously present within that sound vibration, we will be joyful when chanting the holy name. That joyful chanting of the holy name would substantiate that fact that we have actually accepted, actually embraced the understanding that Krishna and His name are one and the same.
If we are not joyful in chanting the holy name, therefore our acceptance must still be acceptance on the mental platform, rather than heartfelt acceptance. How can we rectify this condition? The answer is simple. If we simply cultivate a joyous mood of the heart when chanting the holy name, because we accept that we are directly in touch with Krishna in that sound vibration, Krishna will begin to reciprocate with us, and we will feel His presence in that sound vibration. Srila Prabhupada encourages us that we can be Krishna conscious within a second. It is simply a matter of understanding and accepting. How much we chant the holy name in a joyful mood is the measure of our acceptance. Everyone is free to make this experiment. Srila Prabhupada talks against blind following. He encourages us not to lick the outside of the bottle, but to taste the honey within the bottle. It is this heartfelt acceptance that enables to have this taste.
Perhaps devotees are sometimes thinking that when we reach the stage of realization, then we will begin to chant in a joyful mood. But joyful acceptance is the key to that realization. Srila Prabhupada says that if we can understand and accept, we can have that realization in only a second.
Actually, my writing like this is preaching to my own mind. After so many years of grim endeavor, this understanding is beginning to penetrate my approach to Krishna consciousness, and it is changing my experience of Krishna consciousness in a very nice way. I have godbrothers who have told me that they have stopped trying to be Krishna conscious because they have not derived a taste from the practice. But Krishna consciousness is about cultivating an open heart, which is the simplest aspect of the process. “Simple for the simple”. That simplicity is easier for the child. Our hearts are guarded because of our reaction to living in the material world. This form of self-protection that has enabled us to navigate through our early years, is counter-productive in our devotional life. It is the “fearing” aspect of animal life: eating, sleeping, defending (fearing) and mating. Some of us have been closed-hearted for so long that we don’t know that our hearts are closed. And we wonder when Krishna conscious realization will come. Being joyful in our practice of Krishna consciousness is the most natural, most understandable fruit of heartfelt acceptance. It is also a symptom of the mode of goodness. We simply have to become innocent and trusting like little children and chant and dance in ecstasy. We are encouraged to be enthusiastic, utsahan, and eager, akuti. As we become joyful for what has been freely given to us, our hearts will become filled with enthusiasm. It is simply a question of understanding and accepting. Joyful acceptance is the key to Krishna consciousness. To sit quietly for a moment, and allow this feeling of joyfulness to enter our hearts, can be a wonderful turning point. This is “not an artificial imposition on the mind”. It is the natural consciousness of the spirit soul.