The Holy Joyful, Holy Hopeful Holy Name

By : 
Bhakta Carl Sheppard

nama vinu kali-kale nāhi ara dharm sarva-mantra-sāra nāma ei sastra-marma
Śri Caitanya-caritāmŗta Ādi-lilā, Ch. 7 Text 74

“In this age of Kali there is no religious principle other than the chanting of the holy name, which is the essence of all Vedic hymns. This is the purport of all scriptures.”

Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu

I am often amazed at the vast quantities of hope and joy that the message of the Vedas has brought into my life from so many different angles when it seems as though we are living in a world of turmoil where hope and joy should be the exceptions rather than the rule.

The political reality of the world is that mankind is being oppressed and harassed by an elite few. The environment is also suffering from years of cruel abuse that mother earth has been subjected to. Society is generally disinterested in making changes to their lives which would result in changes to the world’s consciousness and a brighter outlook for all. These situations are understandable as they are well documented and explained in the ancient Sanskrit books of knowledge known as the Vedas.

In the twelfth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadeva, has given many accurate predictions about he types of conditions that mankind faces in this current age which is known as Kali-yuga.

“When there is a predominance of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty, that is the age of Kali, the age of the mode of ignorance…Cities will be dominated by thieves…Political leaders will virtually consume the citizens…Businessmen will engage in petty commerce an earn their money by cheating…In the age of Kali peoples minds will always be agitated…They will become emaciated by famine and taxation…and will always be disturbed by fear of drought. They will lack adequate food, clothing and drink…In Kali-yuga men will develop hatred for each other even over a few coins.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.30-41

“The demoniac person thinks so much wealth do I have today and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now and it will increase in the future more and more. He is my enemy and I have killed him and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am."
Bhagavad-gita 16.13-15

With this type of perverted mentality these wicked rulers have no qualms about the suffering they cause to their fellow man.

“Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done…They say that the world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control…Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world."
Bhagavad-gita 16.7-9

So now you may be asking yourself, “Is this guy nuts? First he says how much hope and joy are in the Vedas and then he quotes descriptions of hopelessness and sorrow.” This is only true until one realizes the fallacy of the illusions of these demoniac rulers and learns of other Vedic truths which entirely allay the fear and sadness which may seem immanent in light of the above quotes on Kali-yuga and demoniac traits.

Once a person gains a broader understanding of Vedic teachings one can do as a photographer does in the dark room when he changes a negative into a positive. The demoniac wrongfully and foolishly believe that there is “no God in control.” When a wise man examines the insanity of such a position he can plainly see that all of the illusions, the “negatives” of the demoniac, are quickly and completely changed into “positives” by the realization of the fact that GOD IS IN CONTROL and, that He is not only in control, He is also currently present on this earth as His Holy Name. He has come, as He always does, to provide shelter to His devotees.

In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna tells us,

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practices and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as the reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear millennium after millennium.”
Bhagavad-gita 4.7-8

So this is where my hope and joy spring from – the fact that Krsna (God) IS HERE, NOW, as His holy name and, as He always does, He will deliver His devotees and destroy the demoniac.

Krsna has unlimited qualities, but of all His qualities, the one that stands supreme is the protection of His devotees. Thus, knowing that in Kali-yuga there would be such a vast rise of irreligion and that the conditions of the age would subjugate His devotees to such dire consequences, He descended as Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu to establish the proper religious principle of this age: the chanting of His holy name. This chanting ensures His presence and the Bhagavad-gita tells us that, “Wherever there is Krsna…there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality.” (B.G. 18.78)

The Bhagavad-gita also tells us that, “All purposes served by a small well can at once be served by a giant reservoir of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them.” (B.G. 2.46)

The verse that opened this essay tells us that in this age of ignorance, “there is no religious principle other than the chanting of the holy name.” So, in this age, this chanting serves all the purposes of the Vedas, which are destined to link one with God.

With these added insights into the Vedic truths in mind, one should be able to see why it is that I am so full of hope and joy, even amidst the conditions of Kali-yuga.

“The holy name is capable of dissolving sins and removing impediments. The name embalms sufferings and diminishes the detriments that are so characteristic of Kali-yuga. The scriptures declare that chanting is the highest spiritual activity. The holy name is omnipotent and benedicts the chanter with unimaginable good fortune. Its very nature is that it elevates one to experience divine bliss.
Lord Caitanya in Preme Vivarta, Ch. 20

Here Lord Caitanya has confirmed the basis for both my hope and my joy. The sufferings and detriments of Kali-yuga are overcome by the holy names. It simultaneously elevates one to experience divine bliss. Ahh…the hope! Ahh…the joy! Krsna is so kind! “The holy name drives away all distresses, sufferings, distressful conditions and inauspicious situations.” (Brhan-nāradiya Purāna)

So, all the inauspicious situations and their resultant distress and sufferings will be driven away by the name.

There is also good reason not to concern ourselves with the demoniac rulers:

“I see that Kali-yuga is like a black poisonous snake with a gaping mouth and fangs. But please be unperturbed dear devotees and listen with faith. Once the holy name of the Lord is being chanted, it is like igniting a forest fire that will burn to ashes the poisonous snakes within the forest.”
Skanda Purāna

This text instructs us to be unperturbed (hopeful) because Krsna has descended and established the chanting of His holy name which will undoubtedly annihilate the miscreant rulers (poisonous snakes).

"In this dark age of Kali-yuga, sincere devotees of the Supreme Lord should leave aside all other means for liberation and take full shelter of the Holy Name. This is their real responsibility and duty. There is unlimited bliss in chanting the different names of Krsna: Hari, Kesava, Govinda, Vasudeva and Jaganmaya. For one who chants constantly with unflinching faith, he remains unaffected by the reverses of Kali-yuga, because his heart has become purified by chanting.”
Brhan-nāradiya Purāna

Again, this passage assures us of both joy in chanting and confirms our reasons for hope, even in this age of ignorance. In fact, the wise devotee is especially pleased to take birth in Kali-yuga.

“The really qualified and intelligent scholar who applies his knowledge by proper behavior and who relishes the essence of the scriptures, appreciate Kali-yuga because it is only in this yuga that one attains the highest perfection simply by chanting the holy name.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.36

So my friend, one need not concern himself with the seemingly terrible developments in this world. Just take shelter of the holy name and experience transcendental bliss. Of course, this chanting should be done with utmost faith in the efficacy of the holy name.

The phenomenal importance of this faith in the holy name and the chanting process was confirmed by Lord Caitanya during a conversation that took place in Kasi Masra’s house. Krsnadāsa humbly inquired from Lord Caitanya with folded hands,

“Dear Lord, I have one other clarification to be made which I place before Your lotus feet. After having heard the wonderful glories of the holy name, I wonder why chanting does not give everyone the same result.” The Lord replied, “Sraddha (faith) is the root of everyone’s spiritual life. Some persons do not get the result of chanting due to their lack of faith. The holy name is the Supreme Lord Himself, residing in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul and He offers success in chanting proportionate to one’s faith. Persons who do not have sufficient faith in the holy name or the chanting process cannot have spiritual progress.”
Prema Vivarta, Ch. 20

So, chant with faith and you will attain spiritual progress which will lead to both heartfelt hope and boundless joy. Both of which are rightfully yours.

Such faithful, hopeful, joyous chanting of the holy name will also result in two of Krsna’s greatest rewards.

Krsna-mantra haite habe samsāra-mocana
Krsna-nāma haite pabe Krsnera carana

“Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna one can obtain freedom from material existence. Indeed, simply by chanting Krsna’s name one will be able to see the lotus feet of the Lord.”

So, I ask you to join me in chanting the holy joyful, holy hopeful holy name.