Why chant Hare Krishna
by Sri Prahlada Dasa
“There is no vow like chanting the holy name, no knowledge superior to it, no meditation which comes anywhere near it, and it gives the highest result. No penance is equal to it, and nothing is as potent or powerful as the holy name. Chanting is the greatest act of piety and the supreme refuge. Even the words of the Vedas do not possess sufficient power to describe its magnitude. Chanting is the highest path to liberation, peace and eternal life. It’s the pinnacle of devotion, the heart’s joyous proclivity and attraction and the best form of remembrance of the Supreme Lord. The holy name has appeared solely for the benefit of the living entities as their lord and master, their supreme worshipful object and their spiritual guide and mentor. Whoever continuously chants Lord Krishna’s holy name, even in his sleep, can easily realize that the name is a direct manifestation of Krishna Himself, in spite of the influences of Kali-yuga.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Harinam Cintamani
The Kali Santarana Upanisad
The Kali Santarana Upanisad describes how chanting the maha-mantra is the best thing one can do for the benefit of humanity in this age.
This Upanisad, consisting of 11 verses, is counted as number 103 in the cannon of 108 Upanisads.
This translation is by Swami Gaurangapada.
Hari Om! After travelling all over the world, Shrila Narada Muni approached Lord Brahma (his own father and guru) during the time when Dvapara-yuga was about to end. He asked him, “O Lord! How will all the living entities be able to deliver themselves from the most degraded age of Kali which is about to begin”. 
(Note: According to Vedic teachings dvapara-yuga is the last age, while kali-yuga is the current age – Sri P)
Lord Brahma replied, “You have asked the most important and relevant question for the benefit of humanity. I will tell you now the most concealed secret of the Vedic literatures, with the help of which everyone can easily cross this most dangerous age of Kali. 
“Simply by chanting the transcendental names of the original enjoyer and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayana, all the sins will be cleansed in Kali-yuga.” 
Narada Muni again asked, “Which are those specific names of the Lord which are most effective in Kali-yuga?” 
Lord Brahma replied, “The sixteen words – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare – are especially meant for completely destroying all the contamination of Kali. To save oneself from the contamination of Kali-yuga, there is no alternative in all the Vedas except the chanting of this sixteen-word mantra. [5-6]
(Note: Some versions of Kali Santarana Upanishad have Hare Rama appearing first followed by Hare Krishna. This is possibly a change by followers of Rama who placed Rama’s name before Lord Krishna’s, as in other scriptures that refer to the maha-mantra such as Agni Purana, Sanat-kumara Samhita and Vayu Purana, the maha-mantra also begins with Hare Krishna first. – Sri P)
“This maha-mantra consisting of sixteen names of Krishna is the destroyer of the (16-layered) illusory covering of all the living entities. Only when the coverings are destroyed, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear in the heart of the living entities, just like the sun appears with full intensity when the clouds are removed.” 
Shrila Narada again inquired from Lord Brahma – “What are the procedures and rules for chanting this maha-mantra?” 
Lord Brahma replied, “There are no rules and regulations to chant this maha-mantra. It should be chanted always irrespective of whether one is in a pure or impure condition.” 
When one chants the 16 names of the maha-mantra 35 million times (sardha trikotir), he absolves himself of the sins of killing a brahmana or a kshatriya, stealing of gold or engaging in harmful activities towards one’s forefathers or other living entities. 
By chanting the maha-mantra, one becomes quickly purified from all sins accumulated due to rejecting all of one’s duties in our past lives. Thus the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, is the only means, the only means, the only means of thoroughly and immediately purifying oneself in Kali-yuga. Thus ends the Kali-santarana Upanishad. 
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