Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 2: Mahārāja Nimi Meets the Nine Yogendras

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.2.39

śṛṇvan su-bhadrāṇi rathāńga-pāṇer

janmāni karmāṇi ca yāni loke

gītāni nāmāni tad-arthakāni

gāyan vilajjo vicared asańgaḥ


śṛṇvan — hearing; su-bhadrāṇi — all-auspicious; ratha-ańga-pāṇeḥ — of the Supreme Lord, who holds a chariot wheel in His hand (in His pastime of fighting with grandfather Bhīṣma); janmāni — the appearances; karmāṇi — activities; ca — and; yāni — which; lokein this world; gītāniare chanted; nāmāni — names; tat-arthakāni — signifying these appearances and activities; gāyan — singing; vilajjaḥ — free from embarrassment; vicaret — one should wander; asańgaḥ — without material association.


An intelligent person who has controlled his mind and conquered fear should give up all attachment to material objects such as wife, family and nation and should wander freely without embarrassment, hearing and chanting the holy names of the Lord, the bearer of the chariot wheel. The holy names of Kṛṣṇa are all-auspicious because they describe His transcendental birth and activities, which He performs within this world for the salvation of the conditioned souls. Thus the holy names of the Lord are sung throughout the world.


Since the holy names, forms and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unlimited, no one can hear or chant about all of them. Therefore the word loke indicates that one should chant the holy names of the Lord that are well known on this particular planet. Within this world, Lord Rāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa are very famous. Their books, Rāmāyaṇa and Bhagavad-gītā, are studied and relished all over the world. Similarly, Caitanya Mahāprabhu is gradually becoming famous all over the world, as He Himself predicted. Pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma/ sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma: "In every town and village on this earth the glories of My name will be chanted." Therefore in conformity with the authorized statement of this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement emphasizes the mahā-mantra — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — along with the Pañca-tattva mahā-mantra — śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda.

According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, this blissful process of chanting the holy names of the Lord without any material conception is called sugamaḿ mārgam, a very enjoyable path. Similarly, Lord Kṛṣṇa has described the process of bhakti-yoga as susukhaḿ kartum, very joyfully performed, and Śrīla Locana dāsa Ṭhākura has sung, saba avatāra sāra śiromaṇi kevala ānanda-kāṇḍa. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's process for worshiping Kṛṣṇa is kevala ānanda-kāṇḍa, simply joyful. In this connection Śrīla Prabhupāda has stated that people in any part of the world can assemble, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, read from authorized books such as Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, and accept kṛṣṇa-prasādam sumptuously, just as Caitanya Mahāprabhu did in Navadvīpa.

To be successful in this program, however, Locana dāsa Ṭhākura has warned, viṣaya chāḍiyā: one must give up material sense gratification. If one indulges in material sense gratification, surely he will be in the bodily concept of life. One who is in the bodily concept of life will undoubtedly have a materialistic understanding of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, by considering the Lord's pastimes mundane, one will come within the category of Māyāvāda, or impersonalism, in which one considers the transcendental body of the Lord to be a creation of material nature. Therefore the word asańgaḥ in this verse is very significant. One must chant the holy name of the Lord without mental speculation. One must accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as He presents Himself in Bhagavad-gītā, wherein He states that He alone is Puruṣottama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that His transcendental form is eternal (ajo 'pi sann avyayātmā).

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has emphasized, yāni śāstra-dvārā sat-paramparā-dvārā ca loke gītāni janmāni karmāṇi ca, tāni śṛṇvan gāyaḿś ca: if one wants to be successful in chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, one must adopt the process as it is coming down in the sat-paramparā, the transcendental disciplic succession. And the sat-paramparā can be identified by reference to bona fide Vedic scriptures. Contrary to the opinion of uninformed critics, the followers of Kṛṣṇa consciousness are not mindless or fanatical. They intelligently follow the system of checks and balances called guru, sādhu and śāstra. That is, one must accept a bona fide spiritual master, who must in turn be confirmed by the opinion of great saintly persons and revealed scriptures. If one accepts a bona fide spiritual master, follows the example of great saintly persons and becomes conversant with authorized literature such as Bhagavad-gītā As It Is and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one's program of chanting the holy names of the Lord and hearing about the Lord's pastimes will be completely successful. As Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):

janma karma ca me divyam

evaḿ yo vetti tattvataḥ

tyaktvā dehaḿ punar janma

naiti mām eti so 'rjuna

"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in the material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has stated that throughout the world the Supreme Lord is known by many names, some of them expressed in vernacular language, but any name used to indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second, beyond the influence of material nature, can be accepted as a holy name of God, according to this verse. That is indicated by the word loke.

One should not misinterpret the word vicaret, "one should wander," to mean that while chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa one may go anywhere or engage in any activity without discrimination. Therefore it is stated, vicared asańgaḥ: one may wander freely, but at the same time one must strictly avoid the association of those who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness or who are engaged in sinful life. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has stated, asat-sańga-tyāga — ei vaiṣṇava ācāra (Cc. Madhya 22.87): a Vaiṣṇava is known by his complete avoidance of all mundane association. If in the course of traveling and chanting the glories of the Lord a Vaiṣṇava preacher finds a submissive nondevotee who is willing to hear about Kṛṣṇa, the preacher will always give his merciful association to such a person. But a Vaiṣṇava should strictly avoid those who are not interested in hearing about Kṛṣṇa.

According to Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, those who do not engage in hearing the astonishing pastimes and holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who do not relish the Lord's pastimes are simply executing mundane, illusory activities or indulging in false, materialistic renunciation. Frustrated living entities sometimes take to dry impersonalism and avoid the descriptions of the Supreme Lord's eternal name, form, qualities, entourage and pastimes. But if one gains the association of a pure devotee, one gives up the path of dry speculative argument and becomes situated on the actual Vedic path of devotional service to the Lord.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that the word dvaita, or "duality," expresses the false understanding that some object has a substantial existence independent of Kṛṣṇa. The Māyāvāda conception of advaita, which lacks any spiritual distinctions, is simply another manifestation of the mind's function of acceptance and rejection. The eternal appearance and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead never contradict the concept of advaya-jñāna, or transcendental knowledge beyond duality.

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