Sri Namamrta (The Nectar of the Holy Name)

Sri Namamrta (The Nectar of the Holy Name)

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Item Code: IDC296
Author: Swami Prabhupada
Publisher: The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Edition: 2008
Pages: 708
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5" X 5.5"
Weight 610 gm


On June 7, 1977, about four months before Srila Prabhupada Left this world, I wrote him a long letter. Although I had been his disciple already for a number of years, I had written to him only once before, because I felt very timid about taking his time unnecessarily. At this point, however, I felt an urgent need to write to him, because I wanted to propose an idea that had occurred to me while contemplating the possibility that he might leave us before too long. As Srila Prabhupada’s health was very poor at that time, I, like so many of my Godbrothers and Godsisters, felt compelled to deepen my understanding of my relationship with my spiritual master with reference to his anticipated absence. The obvious and compelling question was, “In what form will my relationship with Srila Prabhupada continue after his physical departure?” Taking shelter of sastra, I found this statement in Srila Prabhupada’s commentary to Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.28.47:

The disciple and spiritual master are never separated, because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of vani (words). Physical presence is called vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.

I could understand, therefore, that if I were to always very seriously attend to his instructions, I would always be able to feel enlivened by Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental presence within my heart. This understanding was confirmed when I glanced at Srila Prabhupada’s expression of dedication to his spiritual master in the first volume of the Bhagavatam, where he writes, “To Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, my spiritual master…He lives forever by his divine instructions and the follower lives with him.”

Now, where are those instructions? Those instructions are enshrined primarily within his books. As Srila Prabhupada stated upon his return to Vrndavana from London, shortly before his physical departure, “There is nothing new to be said. Whatever I had to say I have already said in my books. Now you must all try to understand it and continue with your endeavors….” He also stated at around the same time, “If I depart, there is no cause for lamentation. I will always be with you through my books and my orders. I will always remain with you in that way.”

It is clear from these instructions, then, that Srila Prabhupada lives on, in full transcendental manifestation in his divine instructions, and that we can contact him and receive his mercy by understanding and by executing those instructions. Anyone who makes even a humble endeavor to research any particular philosophical point within Srila Prabhupada’s books will discover a cornucopia of transcendental knowledge and insight. The thought occurred to me however, that other than attending temple classes on Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita, few of us, for whatever reasons, undertake a systematic and comprehensive study of Srila Prabhupada’s books, even if we have the opportunity to do so. I began, therefore, to reflect on how Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and future followers might be provided some system for drawing out instructions on specific subjects from his books inn an easy and convenient manner. With this concern in mind, I wrote Srila Prabhupada a letter in which I proposed that some sort of comprehensive, systematic compilation of all of his instructions from his books be executed. I offered to accept that difficult task, even though I felt personally unqualified to do so. Later that month, I received the following reply from Tamala Krsna Goswami, who was then acting as Srila Prabhupada’s secretary:

My dear Subhananda Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. I have been instructed by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada to reply your letter dated June 7th, 1977.

His Divine Grace was very pleased to hear your proposal for systematically amassing a subject by subject encyclopedic compilation of all of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings and instructions as found in his books. Srila Prabhupada said that he knows that you are a scholarly devotee and are just fit for doing this job. He said, “It is a very welcome suggestion.”

Although most often preoccupied with other projects since receiving this order from my spiritual master, I have often meditated on how best to fulfill this instruction and have, at different times, discussed the concept of this project with senior Vaisnavas. The basic conclusion of such meditations and discussions has been that the encyclopedia itself should not be merely a quantitative compilation of all of Srila Prabhupada’s words on every subject (which would be extremely voluminous), but that it should follow the traditional encyclopedia format. Since the publication of Preaching Is the Essence and The Spiritual Master and the Disciple, however, many devotees have urged me to produce comprehensive compilations of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on at least the most important subjects of Krsna consciousness, two of which have already been covered in these two publications.

It therefore seemed natural that the next compilation (I hope to produce one every year or so) should be on the chanting of the maha-mantra, because this is the foundation of the practice of Krsna consciousness. I therefore now humbly offer this book, Sri Namamrta: The Nectar of the Holy Name, to all of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples and granddisciples. All of us should absorb our minds in these nectarean instructions with rapt attention and conscientiously apply their conclusions in our practical spiritual life. Bu studying Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on this most important of subjects, we will become fully convince of the central importance of offenseless chanting of the holy name of Krsna in our endeavor for spiritual advancement.

Sri Namamrta is divided into five principal parts: Part One reveals the chanting of the holy name, the Hare krsna maha-mantra, as the yuga-dharma, the principal and universal religion for this age of Kali. Part Two delineates the wonderful, transcendental attributes and effects of the holy name. Part three offers a wide variety of practical instructions on the practice of the chanting of the holy name, and Part Four deals with the necessity for propagating the holy name throughout human society. Finally, Part Five presents a variety of important instructions on the holy name not included in the other four sections.

With few exceptions, I have not induded general references to sankirtana that do not make specific reference to nama-sankirtana, the chanting of the holy name. I have also decided not to include in this book the numerous descriptive narrations of chanting of the holy name in caitanya-lila (as found in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta). Such descriptions can be found easily enough through the indexes to the various volumes of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. I have decided, thus, to restrict this compilation to specific instructions about the holy name, as such.

At the end of the book, one will find two helpful appendixes: The first is a collection of songs written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, and Locana dasa Thakura on the glories of the holy name. The second appendix lists over sixty of the most important verses from Vedic and Vaisnava literature glorifying the holy name.

A few words of explanation concerning the system of compilation and organization used in this book, as well as about some innovations, are in order here: (1) In going systematically through Srila Prabhupada’s books, whenever I come across a purport dealing with the subject at hand, I have the relevant passage typed on an index card, and then I title it Generally, I include only one central topic per index-card entry. (2) If, within any purport, distinctly different points are made about the subject, separate index-card entries are made, and each is appropriately titled and categorized. (3) In cases where two different but related points are presented in one interwoven discussion, or where one point applies equally to two or more different topic categories, identical entires are prepared and placed within appropriate categories. There is, I other words, a small degree of unavoidable duplication of entires. (In some cases, such duplicate entries will be titled differently, appropriate to their respective categories.) (4) Within any particular subsection, where two or more entries are very similar in content, rather than duplicating exact or near-exact entry titles, I have allowed one entry title to suffice for the consecutive entries. (5) Rather than including Sanskrit or Bengali verse transliterations for every verse cited, transliterations are given only for the most important verses (those included in Appendix II). The transliterations for any other verses can be found in Srila Prabhupada’s books. (6) When I have cited verses that appear, in their original textual context, in conversational form, I have indicated who the speaker and hearer are whenever possible. Further, as is often the case in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, when a traditional scriptural verse is cited in conversation (as, for instance, between Lord Caitanya and Rupa Gosvami), only the original speaker and hearer are given.

In closing, let me say that it is my humble and fervent hope that by carefully studying, absorbing, and implementing the nectarean instructions found within this volume, many, many sincere souls will feel renewed inspiration to take the holy name of Sri Krsna as their life and soul.

Back of the Book

“I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Krs-na’ have produced. When the holy name of Krsna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.”




  Preface xi
  Introduction xvii
  Abbreviations used in this book xxxiv
  Part One  
  The Holy Name: The Universal and Supreme  
  Religion for this Age 1
1 The Prime Religious Practice for the Kali-yuga is the Chanting of the Holy name 3
2 In the Kali-yuga, Lord Krsna Is Worshiped by Chanting of the Holy Name 14
3 The Yuga-dharma Is Personally Introduced by Lord Krsna in His Incarnation as Lord Caitanya 16
4 In the Kali-yuga, Chanting Yields the Results of Other Religious Practices Performed in Previous Ages 21
5 Sankirtana-yajna Is the Only Recommended Yajna for this Age 23
6 In this Age, Chanting of the Holy Name Is the Supreme Form of Yoga 40
7 Chanting of the Holy Name Yields All results of Austerity 54
8 Chanting Versus Other Spiritual Practices (Other than Yajna, Yoga, and Austerity) 58
9 Lord Caitanya Introduced the Maha-mantra to Counteract the Philosophy of Impersonalism 76
10 In This Age, Chanting of the Holy Name Is More Important than Varnasrama-dharma 78
11 The Holy Name Counteracts the Effects of the Kali-yuga 81
12 In This Age, Krsna Appears in His Name is Order to Annihilate the Demons and Protect the Devotees 84
13 The Holy Name Destroys the Demoniac Mentality of the People in General 86
14 The Glories of Namacarya Haridasa Thakura 90
15 The Chanting of Hare Krsna Is Not limited to the Kali-yuga 99
16 Chanting of the Holy Name Is the Easiest Means for Spiritual Advancement 100
17 Chanting of the Holy Name Is the Foundation of Spiritual Life 105
18 Chanting of the Holy Name Is the Most Important Element of Devotional Service 112
19 The Holy Name Is Meant to be Chanted by All Persons 117
20 The Holy Name Benefits All Human Society 121
21 The Holy Name Benefits Even Lower Species of Life 153
  Part Two  
  The Theology of the Holy Name 159
  A. The Transcendental Attributes of the Holy Name 161
1 The Lord Has innumerable Names (to Indicate Different Functions and Dealings) 161
2 “Krsna Is the Principal Name of God 163
3 The Meaning of the Name “Krsna” 165
4 The Meaning of the Name “Rama” 167
5 The Meaning of the Name “Hare” 168
6 The Relative Potency of the Names “Krsna,” Rama,” and “Visnu” 170
7 The Lord and His Holy Name Are Non-different 171
8 The Holy Name Is All-auspicious 179
9 The Holy Name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Is All-auspicious 181
10 The Maha-mantra Is a Spiritual Sound Vibration 184
11 The Holy Name Is Ever Fresh 189
12 The Maha-mantra Is a Prayer for Deliverance, Protection, and Engagement in the Lord’s Service 191
13 The Maha-mantra Is the Essence and the Conclusion of all Vedic Knowledge, Rituals, Hymns, and Mantras 196
14 “Om” and “Hare Krsna” 205
15 Definitions: Japa, Kirtana, Sankirtana, and Sravana 211
16 The Name of Christ 213
17 Other Instructions on the Transcendental Attributes of the Holy Name 216
  B. The Transcendental Effects of the Holy Name 219
1 The Holy Name Reviews One’s Dormant, Eternal Krsna Consciousness 219
2 The Role of the Holy Name in the Progression of Devotional Service 223
3 The Holy Name Frees One from the Reactions to Sins 228
4 By Chanting the Holy Name, the Mind Becomes Controlled 250
5 The Holy Name Protects One from Pride 254
6 By Chanting, One Develops Forbearance 254
7 The Holy Name Eradicates Material Desires and Sinful Activity 255
8 The Holy Name Cleanses the Heart and Frees One from Material Contamination 262
9 The Holy Name Brings Faith in Krsna Consciousness 276
10 The Holy Name Liberates One from the Miseries of Material Existence 277
11 By Chanting the Holy Name One Becomes Enlightened 301
12 If One Chants His Holy Name, Krsna Becomes Pleased and Obliged 315
13 Krsna Helps the Sincere Chanter 316
14 By Chanting His Holy Name, One Can Remember Krsna 317
15 By Chanting, One Associates with the Lord Directly 322
16 The Holy Name Attracts One to Krsna 355
17 The Holy Name Invokes an Attitude of Service to the Lord 337
18 By Chanting the Holy Name, One Achieves Direct Service to the Lord 338
19 By Chanting the Holy Name, One comes to Understand/Realize /See Krsna 341
20 The Holy Name Evokes Love of God 356
21 The Holy Name Evokes Ecstasy 364
22 Chanting of the Holy Name in the State of Ecstasy 378
23 By Chanting the Holy Name, One Returns Home, Back to Godhead 384
24 Even Emproper Chanting of the Holy Name Yields Beneficial Results 394
25 A Devotee Can be Satisfied in Any Condition of Life Simply by Chanting 407
26 The Holy Name Protects the Devotee from Falldown 410
27 The Holy Name Protects One from Danger and Fear 411
28 Other Instructions on the Transcendental Effects of the Holy Name 417
  Part Three  
  The Practice of the Holy Name 423
1 The Three Stages of Chanting 425
2 Offensive Chanting of the Holy Name 427
3 Offenselless Chanting of the Holy Name 450
4 One Must Receive the Holy Name from Proper Spiritual Authorities 463
5 The Chanting of a Pure Devotee Is Especially Effective 471
6 One Should Not Hear the Holy Name from a Nondevotee 474
7 Where and When One Should Chant 475
8 One Must Chant the Holy Name Constantly 479
9 Devotees Must Chant (at Least) Sixteen Rounds Daily 490
10 One Develops a Taste for Chanting by Chanting 499
11 To Be Effective, Chanting Should be Accompanied by the Four Regulative Principles 501
12 Before Chanting the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra, One Should Chant the Panca-tattva Maha-mantra 502
13 One Must Distinctly Pronounce the Holy Oneself 506
14 One Must Chant Loudly Enough to Hear Oneself 506
15 One Must Chant in Humility 507
16 One Must Chant with Respect and Veneration 512
17 One Must Have Faith in the Holy Name 513
18 One Must Become a Servant of the Holy Name 514
19 The Process of Chanting is Very Simple 515
20 The Pure Brahmacariy Engages Fully in the Chanting of the Holy Name 516
21 Householders Can Conduct Chanting at Home 517
22 A Neophyte Devotee Should Not Retire to a Secluded Place to Chant 523
23 One Should Not Concoct Chants and Mantras 529
24 Results of Giving Up Chanting 531
25 Chanting at the Time of Death 534
26 Other Instructions on the Practice of the Holy Name 540
  Part Four  
  The Propagation of the Holy Name 545
1 The Holy Name Should Be Propagated Throughout the World 547
2 The Krsna Consciousness Movement and the Propagation of the Holy Name 556
3 Only One Empowered by the Lord Can Propagate the Holy Name 568
4 Only One Who Is Strictly Following Religious Principles Can Propagate the Holy Name 574
  Part Five  
  Other Important Instructions Concerning the Holy Name 577
1 The Krsna Consciousness Movement and the Holy Name 579
2 Qualifications and Disqualifications for Understanding and Chanting the Holy Name 587
3 Nama-diksa, Brahminical Initiation, and the Holy Name 598
4 Relative Importance of Chanting and Initiation 601
5 Relative Importance of Chanting and Deity Worship 604
6 The Interrelationship Between Chanting and Studying Scripture 606
7 Even If One Cannot Read or Understand the Scriptures, He Can Attain Perfection Through Chanting 609
8 One Chants the Holy Name Due to Devotional Service Performed in Previous Lives 610
9 Anyone Who Chants the Holy Name Is Worthy of Respect 611
10 One Who Realizes that the Lord and His Name Are Identical Is a Pure Devotee and Should be Respected 612
11 Great Souls Chant the Holy Name 613
12 Our Misfortune: No Attachment for Chanting 615
13 To Preach Effectively, One Must Chant the Holy Name 616
14 Chanting of the Holy Name Continues in the Liberated State 618
15 Chanting of the Holy Name in Krsna Lila 620
16 Other Instructions 622
  Appendix I 635
  Songs by Vaisnava Saints on the Glories of the Holy Name 635
  Sri Nama 637
  Arunodaya-kirtana 638
  Arunodaya-kirtana 641
  Radha-Krsna Bol 642
  Kabe Ha’be Bolo 643
  Sri Sri Gaura-Nityanander Daya 646
  Ista-deve Vijnapti 648
  Appendix II 651
  Important Verses from Vedic and Vaisnava Literature on the Glories of the Holy Name 651
I. The Holy Name Is the Universal and Supreme Religion for this Age 651
II. The Transcendental Attributes and Effects of the Holy Name 655
III. The Practice of the Holy Name 667
IV. The Propagation of the Holy Name 669
V. Other Verses About the Holy Name 671
  His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 672
  Guide to Sanskrit Pronunciation 675

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