In Sri Siksastakam, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu describes the glories of Hare Krishna Mahamantra which frees us from sufferings & gives us bliss.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu propagated the sankirtan movement in 15th century. Sankirtan means congregational chanting of the holy name of Krishna i.e. the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Holy name of Krishna can be chanted publicly or individually, the benefit is the same.
In the first verse of Sri Siksastakam, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu talks about the glories of performing śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam i.e. chanting the names of Krishna – the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
“Glory to the sri-krsna-sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.”
Let us discuss in detail the six glories of the holy name of Krishna i.e. the Hare Krishna Mahamantra from the first verse of Sri Siksastakam.
1. Cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years
Dust of lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, illusion and false ego pollutes our heart and keeps us away from Krishna. It is because of these impurities that we suffer in this world. Unless we purify our heart of these contaminations, we won’t be able to lead a pure life of peace and bliss. There is no material pill in this world which can cure this disease of our heart. By our own efforts it is almost impossible.
But when we chant the holy names of Krishna then Krishna who is supremely pure purifies our heart of all the dust which is accumulated in our hearts for years. When sun shines darkness flees. Similarly, when Krishna’s name illuminates our hearts the vices which is polluting our hearts just disappears.
Sun is so powerful that it even cleanses the filthy places and remains unaffected. Krishna who is the source of the sun cleanses all the impurities from our hearts and remains completely pure.
In fact, we become pure like him when we remain under the shelter of his holy names.
2. Extinguishes the fire of conditional life of repeated birth and death
You do not want to die. I do not want to die. Ask a 90 year old person, he too does not want to die. We all fear death. We try our best not to die but the cruel laws of material nature do not allow us to live forever.
As long as we are in this material world we will have to die again and again and be born again and again. This is how this material world functions.
Krishna confirms this in Bhagavad Gita 8.16, “From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place.” But Krishna does not stop here. He further says in the same verse to Arjuna that “But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.”
So, if you and I do not want to die then we have to go to the abode of Krishna, the spiritual world. Chanting the holy names of Krishna cleanses our hearts, helps to develop and deepen relationship with Krishna and ultimately helps us to attain kingdom of Krishna.
In that spiritual kingdom no one has to die again and again and be born again and again. So, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is saying that chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra extinguishes the fire of conditional life of repeated birth and death.
3. Holy name is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon
We struggle hard for existence in this world. Our efforts to lead a happy and peaceful life again and again gets defeated. It leads to frustration and lamentation. Life’s uncertainty leads to fear. And fear causes stress and anxiety.
It appears as if we are caught in the midst of a forest fire. We find ourselves helpless and gradually become hopeless.
To save the humanity from this precarious situation the holy name of Krishna appeared. The holy name is like the soothing rays of the full moon. It calms our restless mind, pacifies our agitated heart and brings hope in our life.
So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, “It is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon.”
When Krishna plays flute in Vrindavan all the brajvasis spontaneously get mesmerized by the mystical music. Similarly, the holy name of Krishna which is non-different from Krishna automatically captivates the hearts of the suffering soul and fills their heart with transcendental melody. Holy name is a great benediction for us, we should be grateful to the holy name.
4. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge
The purpose of Vedas is to know Krishna. Krishna says, “By all the Vedas, I am to be known.” Bhagavad Gita 15.15. The final conclusion of all Vedic scriptures is that we are parts and parcel of Krishna. We are spirit souls currently in a material body made of bone and flesh. Our real identity is that we are spiritual beings and are meant to live with Krishna in Krishna’s kingdom.
In this material world because of material impurities our knowledge gets covered and we forget our relationship with Krishna. When we chant the holy name of Krishna then layers of material coverings gets removed and the ray of transcendental knowledge enlightens us. It reveals to us our real identity. We begin to realize that we belong to Krishna.
That is the ultimate goal of all transcendental knowledge. Holy name helps us to achieve that coveted goal. So, holy name is the life of all transcendental knowledge.
5. Holy name increases the ocean of transcendental bliss
As soon as we move closer to Krishna by chanting his names, we start experiencing drops of bliss pouring in our hearts.
Every being has been trying his best to enjoy the life of bliss in this world. But the material nature is not capable to satiate our heart. As the water of the ocean cannot quench our thirst, similarly things of this ephemeral world cannot bring joy to our heart. We are spiritual beings, so our soul longs for transcendental pleasures and not worldly pleasures.
Krishna is the source of all transcendental pleasures. When we connect to Krishna by chanting his names, Krishna who is ever eager to grace us with all happiness begins showering transcendental joy upon us. The more we become serious in our spiritual life, the more we become eager to chant the names of Krishna, our bliss too begins increasing.
We soon start floating in the ocean of transcendental bliss and start experiencing unlimited joy.
6. Holy name enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious
The holy name is as sweet as sugar candy. Better to say sweeter than the sugar candy.
The holy name is full of nectar and has appeared to fill our life with nectar.
Due to ignorance, we may fail to comprehend the immense potency and purity of the holy name of Krishna. But once we get attached to the holy name, we forget all our misfortunes and just want to chant the names of Krishna. In fact, our misfortunes lose its relevance because it gets driven away by the holy name.
We delight in tasting the name of Krishna which is full of nectar.
Srila Rupa Goswami was so captivated by the holy name that he used to pray to the holy name to give him millions of mouths and millions of ears so that he could chant millions of times the holy name and hear it millions of times.
The holy name is the ambrosia for all sufferings. It helps us to taste the nectar for which we are always anxious and it bestows upon us complete perfection.
The glories of holy name discussed above should inspire us to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It will make our life auspicious. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabbhu an incarnation of Krishna appeared in this world to make us understand the benefits of chanting the holy name of Krishna. So, we should take shelter of the holy name by regularly and sincerely chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.