The ananda which floods the heart comes from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We are very fortunate that we got this chanting of Hare Krishna but often we take it for granted as we got it very easily.
Srila Prabhupada has given the following definition of the chanting of Hare Krishna:
This transcendental vibration--by chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--is the sublime method for reviving our Krsna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter since time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by material atmosphere. In this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in our complexities. This illusion is called maya, or hard struggle for existence over the stringent laws of material nature. This illusory struggle against the material nature can at once be stopped by revival of our Krsna consciousness.
We will try to understand the deep meaning of these words:-
1. Sublime – Beautiful and Transcendental:- Something that is transcendental is beautiful but all that is beautiful is not transcendental. These 16 words are not ordinary material words. These words are spiritual from beginning to the end – Golokera Prema Dhan Harinama Sankirtan. Since we are so conditioned, we don't realize the potency so it is on our ability to come to that point.
2. Reviving of our Krsna Consciousness:-
Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 22.107
nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema 'sādhya' kabhu naya
śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
"Pure love for Kṛṣṇa is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.
It is said in the Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 3.79
koṭi aśvamedha eka kṛṣṇa nāma sama
yei kahe, se pāṣaṇḍī, daṇḍe tāre yama
One who says that ten million aśvamedha sacrifices are equal to the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa is undoubtedly an atheist. He is sure to be punished by Yamarāja.
The Vedic scriptures say:
go-koṭi-dānaḿ grahaṇe khagasya
govinda-kīrter na samaḿ śatāḿśaiḥ
"Even if one distributes ten million cows in charity during an eclipse of the sun, lives at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamunā for millions of years, or gives a mountain of gold in sacrifice to the brāhmaṇas, he does not earn one hundredth part of the merit derived from chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa."
To be able to revive Krsna Consciousness means it is there but dormant i.e it is not active. That absolutely pure Krsna Consciousness is there and some mechanical process cannot awaken it but it can be revived by sravanam – listening to the Nama, Rupa, Guna and Lila of the Lord. For example, if it is night time then we cannot see the sun, but the sun is always present and it's position remains unaffected. Similarly, this Krsna Consciousness is always present, but due to our polluted consciousness, we are unable to perceive this. This can be awakened by reading Srimad Bhagavatam, having Prasadam with devotees etc.
3. Living Spirit Souls:- We are all living because we have a soul which is spiritual in nature. When Krsna talks to Arjuna about the living entity, he is talking about the soul. We are always Krsna Conscious, but some realize it and some do not realize it.
4. Association with matter since time immemorial:- This means that we are associating with matter not in this life but life after life. So Srila Prabhupada is saying that we have to finish this cycle of birth and death in this life itself. Sometimes, we find it difficult to change our nature because this nature has been with us since time immemorial. As the air carries the aroma, so the person carries with itself the nature and because this svabhava is so deep rooted in our consciousness, lot of continuous practice is required to bring a change.
5. Our Consciousness is polluted by material atmosphere:- This pollution happens due to our desire to enjoy separate from Krsna. As we try to enjoy this material world, the more we get pulled into it. The advertisements that we see in the Media, are done for fulfilling the material ends of the advertisers but they make the people feel that they can enjoy this material world. 'I am the Lord of all that I survery' - This very enjoying spirit is the cause of our falldown and suffering. If we can come together and enjoy in the loving devotional service of the Lord, then perverted enjoyment becomes real enjoyment. For example, the rain is pure but when it comes in touch with air, dust or mud it becomes dirty and muddy. Similarly, the soul is by nature pure but by being in contact with the material contamination, the consciousness becomes polluted.
6. Trying to exploit the resources of Material Nature:- Our material education has been directed towards exploitation of the natural resources as ultimately all the wealth comes from nature. As the greed is increasing, the exploitation is also increasing. Srila Prabhupada calls this civilization as polishing the cage civilization - The golden cage is nicely polished but the bird inside the cage is not fed. Similarly, the real spiritual need of the soul is ignored and satisfaction is trying to be obtained by fulfilling the material need's. So,that's why the civilization is falling and deep inside there is no tripti. The satisfaction is only external.
It is said in the Bhagavad-Gita 7.5 The spirit souls are higher and they are exploiting the inferior resources of this material nature.
7.More and more entangled in our complexities:- These complexities are created by us. We often blame God that why there are so many difficulties but actually these complexities are created by us. For example, a silk worm weaves nicely but does not know how to come out of it and finally dies. So our position is like that. Everyone gets absorbed in this gigantic material creation.
mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
tāḿs titiksasva bhārata
O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. (Bhagavad Gita 2.14)
We have made this whole world for our comfort; if there is little heat we want AC – all these demands cause the complexities. So Krishna tells Arjuna not to be perturbed by all this happiness and distress and if we can tolerate that then we will not create so many complexities. These problems will come and go, so we should increase the capacity to tolerate.
8. This illusion is called Maya:- Maya means that which is not.
krsna -- surya-sama; maya haya andhakara
yahan krsna, tahan nahi mayara adhikara
"Krsna is compared to sunshine, and maya is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to Krsna consciousness, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish. (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 22.31)
Maya is also Krishna 's energy and is the superintendent of this world. Maya is performing a thankless task and can be compared to a police officer. If we are not following the laws of Krishna , then Maya's job is to bring us on the right path. Srila Prabhupada comments that 'Krsna bhuliya jiva bhoga vancha kare pasate maya tare japatiya dhare' - Maya means to give sufficient punishment to the living entities who have forgotten Krsna and want to enjoy material life independently.
9. Stringent Laws of Material Nature:- Though we think we are independent, the nature will act. The Laws of Karma are so strict that there is no laxity. Maya is Krishna 's energy so it will act so we have to beaware of the laws of nature which are very stringent.
Krishna also confirms this in the Bhagavad-Gita 9.10:
This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
10. Illusory Struggle against Material Nature:- A fight can only happen between two equals but this fight is one-sided because we never win against maya so best would be to surrender to Krishna.
11. This struggle can at once be stopped by revival of Krishna Consciousness:- Just like the electric fan, it is moving. When we put the switch off, we will find it still moving. But it will stop moving very soon, because the switch is off. Similarly, this struggle can at once be stopped but we do not know how to do it. In the outside world, we will find many cheaters and many who want to be cheated. But if we come to Hare Krishna, it is one place where we will get everything. So, we should take care of our sadhana because this is the only thing that will go with us while leaving this body.
It is said in the Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.51:
kaler dosha-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet
My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
For example, during college times if the question paper is very tough, the teacher reduces the passing marks so that everyone gets through. Similarly, because Kali-yuga is so difficult and full of faults, Krishna made reductions in the standard.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a Vedanta Pandit; That great Nimai Pandit could defeat any big Vedanta scholar in argument, but when He took initiation, His spiritual master told Him that you are a big fool and you should only chant Hare Krishna. So are we bigger than Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Therefore, our conviction and faith in the Holy Name should be unshakeable.
- HG Indra Krsna Prabhu (Damodardesh :: 24.02.2012)