Initiation into
Chanting of the Holy Name

An initiation talk delivered by His Divine Grace
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
26 February 2012


The sastra told about the religion for different ages—Satya, Dvapar, Treta, Kali. In Satya-yuga, people's religion was meditation, dhyan; the lifetime was 100,000 years, so they did meditation for 60 or 70,000 years. In Treta-yuga, the lifetime was 10,000 years and the religion was yajna, fire-sacrifice. Asvamedha yajna—they would put the horse in the fire; naramedha yajna—they would sacrifice men; rajasuya yajna—they would make big, big ceremonies. That was Treta-yuga's religion. Dvapar-yuga's religion was archan, puja, and the lifetime was 1,000 years.

In Kali-yuga, the lifetime came down to 100-200 years. Krishna Himself thought, "The lifetime in this Kali-yuga is short, so how will they be rescued? They will be rescued from this kind of environment and reach My place by chanting the Holy Name." We are His children—"loving search for the lost service," He is searching for us, "How will our child come back from the illusory environment to our own place?" Only through the chanting of the Holy Name can these kinds of things be attained. Krishna Himself appeared in the form of the Name (Krishna's Name, Beauty, Pastimes, Associates are nondifferent from Krishna) and came as Gauranga Mahaprabhu to distribute this Holy Name, so only He and His associates can distribute it.

Gurudev gives Krishna's Name to the heart, and then it comes to the mouth, tongue. Krishna will dance there Himself (dance means chanting). If you ask me, "Maharaj, can you dance?" I will need some level place. If there are holes, and bumps—some place is high, some place is low—I cannot dance there. If you want to dance, you have to level the place. Tongue is necessary—chanting, chanting, and taking prasadam, then the tongue will be level and Krishna Nam will dance on your tongue. Gurudev keeps, puts the Name inside your heart, but the Name will come to your tongue.

There are some rules and regulations for levelling the tongue—not to say bad things, not to talk so much about nonsense things without Krishna consciousness, only chanting the Holy Name, only preaching. Jive daya (জীবে দয়া, be kind to the souls), name ruchi (নামে রুচি, relishing the Name), and Vaishnav-seva (বৈষ্ণব সেবা, serve Vaishnavs). What your Gurudev or a Vaishnav told you, you have to follow that.

There are also four obstacles to the Holy Name, 32 kinds of seva-aparadh, 10 kinds of Nama-aparadh, and 4 types of bad habits where Kali stays in this age and that you must always avoid because they are very bad for spiritual life. First is dyutam, gambling, playing cards, games, etc.; pan—intoxicants, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, etc.; striya—illegal sex; and suna—jiva himsa, do not kill anything (do not eat fish, meat, and so on).

Food that is just vegetarian is also not for Krishna consciousness. You must take prasad. Monkeys also eat vegetarian food, cows also eat grass, calves drink milk, etc. They are vegetarian, but do they get Krishna consciousness? No. Markata-vairagya—monkeys show so much renunciation, they go about naked, eat only fruit, leaves, but inside they have another material desire. In this world also there are many sadhus, many gurus—they dress as sadhu, show they are sadhu, but inside there is material desire. That is called markata-vairagya. Marka means monkey. If you go to Ganga Sagar Mela, there are many naga sannyasis, walking naked, with no attachment to anything, but they always have some material desire inside—they forcefully ask everyone for money. Everybody pays dandavat to them, but what for? Monkeys also show they are renounced, but inside... If you go with some banana, sweets, fruit to offer to the Deity, they forcefully take it—for their own enjoyment. So, this kind of vegetarian food is not necessary: you have to offer what you eat. If you like singara, samosa, buy and give it to the Deity. After it is offered, take prasad.

And on Ekadashi tithi, Ekadashi day, do not eat rice. Scriptures say that if you take rice on Ekadashi day, it is equal to cow's meat. You can make alu dum, boiled potato, fruits, milk, paneer, some subji, etc. If you are hungry, you can eat 5 kg of boiled potato, it is not a problem. There is no such excuse as "I cannot do that, I cannot follow the rules, so I will not do it," or, "I cannot chant, so I will not chant." No.


This Holy Name has come through the Guru-parampara. It comes from Krishna to Brahma, from Brahma to Narad, from Narad to Vyasadev, from Vyasadev to Madhva Acharya. In this way it comes to Madhavendra Puri, from Madhavendra Puri to Ishwar Puri, and from Ishwar Puri to Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu Himself took initiation from Ishwar Puri. He is the Lord, but He shows that the Lord has to take initiation. He came in the form of a human, so He is showing example to others.

In Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Krishna Himself told Arjun that he had to fight—Krishna is the Guru, Arjun is a disciple, and Krishna is teaching His disciple. First Arjun said, "No, no, no, no," but finally he said, "I believe you!" Faith, strongest faith, is necessary. Gurudev also said that chastity, satitva, is necessary, and chastity is very rare. It means you must follow your Guru. Gurudev gave an example: you are walking and see a snake, "Gurudev, there is a snake, a snake!" "No, no, it is not a snake, it is a rope," and you must believe that—that is called chastity. You must believe what Gurudev says. This is how you should maintain your life.

Also [addressing a male initiate; does not apply to ladies], you should cut your hair short. Long hair is not necessary for your health. What is it necessary for? Nothing. If you cannot have a full shave, cannot shave bold, then keep your hair short. Krishna will accept you—it is not necessary to keep hair to show it to others. I am telling it to you intimately.

So, the Holy Name then comes to Srila Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj, then to Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and then our Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, who is the Founder-Acharya of this Math. In his lifetime he told to Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, "If anyone wants to take initiation, you will give it to them." He got this Holy Name from his Guru, and I got this Holy Name from him. In his lifetime Gurudev said to me, "If somebody wants to take initiation, really wants to chant the Holy Name, you can initiate them." So, in his lifetime also I gave initiation, in 2008-2010—when he was not well he told me to do so.


...So, first chant the Pancha-tattva's name. This big bead on top is called Sumeru. Start your mala from here:

শ্রীকৃষ্ণচৈতন্য প্রভু নিত্যানন্দ ।
শ্রীঅদ্বৈত গদাধর শ্রীবাসাদি গৌরভক্তবৃন্দ ॥

sri krishna chaitanya prabhu nityananda
sri advaita gadadhara srivasadi gaura bhakta-vrinda

Chant the Pancha-tattva's name, ask them for mercy, pay obeisance to them—they have brought the Holy Name to this abode. Without their mercy we cannot chant.

Then start chanting from the big bead of the mala,

হরে কৃষ্ণ হরে কৃষ্ণ কৃষ্ণ কৃষ্ণ হরে হরে ।
হরে রাম হরে রাম রাম রাম হরে হরে ॥

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

In this way, chant bead by bead, from the big beads to the small beads, then turn and chant from the small beads to the big beads (without crossing the Sumeru bead). In this way. Chant 16 rounds or more every day. Chant without offence, and Krishna will reveal in your heart, you will be successful in your spiritual life. If you do not get time, you must chant at least four rounds every day. If you talk much, gossip, etc. and think you can chant only four rounds, that is not good. You are now in the illusory environment, and if you do not take the medicine, thinking, "Oh, I will take it later," you will not come out. This is your medicine [pointing at the mala of the newly initiated devotee].


Additional reading:
The Holy Name and the Offences to Be Avoided
Spiritual Guidance—Rules and Regulations
Chanting Constantly


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