harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
hareh nama—the holy name of the Lord; hareh nama—the holy name of the Lord; hareh nama—the holy name of the Lord; eva—certainly; kevalam—only; kalau—in this Age of Kali; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; na asti—there is none; eva—certainly; gatih—progress; anyatha—otherwise.
" 'For spiritual progress in this Age of Kali, there is no alternative, there is no alternative, there is no alternative to the holy name, the holy name, the holy name of the Lord.'
For progress in spiritual life, the sastras recommend meditation in Satya-yuga, sacrifice for the satisfaction of Lord Visnu in Treta-yuga and gorgeous worship of the Lord in the temple in Dvapara-yuga, but in the Age of Kali one can achieve spiritual progress only by chanting the holy name of the Lord. This is confirmed in various scriptures. In Srimad-Bhagavatam there are many references to this fact. In the Twelfth Canto (12.3.51) it is said, kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet: In the Age of Kali there are many faults, for people are subjected to many miserable conditions, yet in this age there is one great benediction-simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra one can be freed from all material contamination and thus be elevated to the spiritual world. The Narada-pancaratra also praises the Hare Krsna maha-mantra as follows:
trayo vedah sad-angani
chandamsi vividhah surah
yac canyad api van-mayam
"The essence of all Vedic knowledge-comprehending the three kinds of Vedic activity [karma-kanda, jnana-kanda and upasana-kanda], the chandas, or Vedic hymns, and the processes for satisfying the demigods-is included in the eight syllables Hare Kisna, Hare Krsna. This is the reality of all Vedanta. The chanting of the holy name is the only means to cross the ocean of nescience." Similarly, the Kali-santarana Upanisad states, "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare-these sixteen names composed of thirty-two syllables are the only means to counteract the evil effects of Kali-yuga. In all the Vedas it is seen that to cross the ocean of nescience there is no alternative to the chanting of the holy name." Similarly, Sri Madhvacarya, while commenting upon the Mundaka Upanisad, has said:
dvapariyair janair visnuh
pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama-matrena
pujyate bhagavan harih
"In the Dvapara-yuga one could satisfy Krsna or Visnu only by worshiping Him gorgeously according to the pancaratriki system, but in the Age of Kali one can satisfy and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari simply by chanting the holy name." In his Bhakti-sandarbha (verse 284), Srila Jiva Gosvami strongly emphasizes the chanting of the holy name of the Lord as follows:
Srila Jiva Gosvami states that the substance of all the Vedic mantras is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Every mantra begins with the prefix nama om and eventually addresses by name the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the supreme will of the Lord there is a specific potency in each and every mantra chanted by great sages like Narada Muni and other rsis. Chanting the holy name of the Lord immediately renovates the transcendental relationship of the living being with the Supreme Lord.
To chant the holy name of the Lord, one need not depend upon other paraphernalia, for one can immediately get all the desired results of connecting or linking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It may therefore be questioned why there is a necessity for initiation or further spiritual activities in devotional service for one who engages in the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The answer is that although it is correct that one who fully engages in chanting the holy name need not depend upon the process of initiation, generally a devotee is addicted to many abominable material habits due to material contamination from his previous life. In order to get quick relief from all these contaminations, it is required that one engage in the worship of the Lord in the temple. The worship of the Deity in the temple is essential to reduce one's restlessness due to the contaminations of conditioned life. Thus Narada, in his pancaratriki-vidhi, and other great sages have sometimes stressed that since every conditioned soul has a bodily concept of life aimed at sense enjoyment, to restrict this sense enjoyment the rules and regulations for worshiping the Deity in the temple are essential. Srila Rupa Gosvami has described that the holy name of the Lord can be chanted by liberated souls, but almost all the souls we have to initiate are conditioned. It is advised that one chant the holy name of the Lord without offenses and according to the regulative principles, yet due to their past bad habits they violate these rules and regulations. Thus the regulative principles for worship of the Deity are also simultaneously essential.
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