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  • Loving Search for the Lost Servant - Chapter Eight

    Loving Search for the Lost Servant - Loving Search for the Lost Servant - Chapter Eight

    Author: Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj Cycle: Loving Search for the Lost Servant Uploaded by: Radha Raman das Created at: 19 November, 2012
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    Chapter Eight

    The Holy Name

    Śrīla Rupa Goswāmī

    Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhupada says that Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and eternal associates – everything about Him – is not mundane, but purely spiritual. It cannot be perceived by our gross senses. Simply by vibrating the sound kṛṣṇa, our tongues cannot produce Kṛṣṇa, our noses cannot catch the transcendental fragrance of His body, our eyes cannot have a vision of His beautiful figure which is supramental. This is true not only for our physical senses, but for the mind also. Our minds cannot conceive of Kṛṣṇa. He is transcendental and supramental. His existence transcends all the knowledge in our possession.

    If it is to be effective, the sound of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa must have a divine quality. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa which is infinite can do away with everything undesirable within us; but the name must be invested with a real spiritual conception. It must not be a mere physical imitation produced only by the help of the lip and tongue. That sound is not the holy name. If it is to be genuine, the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, Hari, Vīṣṇu, or Nārāyana must be Vaikuṇṭha-nāma: it should have spiritual existence, divine backing. That principle is all-in-all in vibrating the holy name.

    We are concerned with sound vibration that has spiritual depth. The physical imitation of the holy name is not the name proper; it is not śabda brahma, divine sound. Only imitation sound may come from the plane of mundane conception. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa means divine sound; it must have some spiritual background. Something spiritual must be distributed through the physical sound.

    In the case of a capsule of medicine, the capsule is not the medicine; the medicine is within. Externally, one capsule may look like another, but within one capsule there may be medicine and within another there may be cyanide. The capsule itself is not the medicine. So it is not the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s name that is Kṛṣṇa: Kṛṣṇa is within the sound. The holy name must be surcharged with the proper spirit, not any mundane sentiment.
    Even the followers of the impersonal Śaṅkara school have faith that the name is not confined within the jurisdiction of physical sound. They consider it to be within the mental plane, within the plane of sattva-guna. Unfortunately they think that the holy name is the product of māyā, or misconception, and so they conclude that the names of Hari, Kṛṣṇa, Kāli, and Śiva are all one and the same. The RamaKṛṣṇa Mission and the Śaṅkara school both preach in that way. But that conception also has its origin in the plane of misunderstanding.

    Divine Sound

    The divine sound of the pure name (śuddha-nāma) must have its origin beyond the area of misconception or māyā. The extent of māyā is up to the highest planet in the material world, Satyaloka. Beyond Satyaloka is the Virajā-river and the world of consciousness, Brahmaloka, and then the spiritual sky, Paravyoma. The pure name of Kṛṣṇa must have its origin in Paravyoma, the spiritual sky. And if we are to examine it further, the holy name of Kṛṣṇa really comes from the most original plane of all existence: Braja, Goloka. According to this understanding, the sound must have its origin in the highest plane of the spiritual world in Vṛndāvana if it is to be considered the genuine Kṛṣṇa name.

    The mere physical sound is not the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. A true conception of the holy name is necessary, not only to free us from this world of misconception, but also for the attainment of service to Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. Only that true name of Kṛṣṇa which has its origin in the plane of Vṛndāvana can lift us up and take us there.

    Otherwise, although the spirit is within the name, if the sound we vibrate is based on any other conception, it may only take us to that layer of conception. This is quite scientific; it is not unreasonable. The mere word kṛṣṇa is not the holy name. What is important is the meaning of that sound and the depth of meaning, the deep conception of the meaning of the name. That is everything – it is all important in serving our purpose.

    There’s a nice story that illustrates this point. When our spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, was a young boy, both he and his father, Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, went to visit the holy place of Kulīnagrāma, which is located in the Hooghly district near Calcutta. Kulīnagrāma was a village where the great devotee Haridās Ṭhākur, as well as other famous Vaiṣnavas, used to live, and was the home of four generations of devotees.

    A Haunted Temple

    They went to visit that ancient holy place, and just on the outskirts of Kulīnagrāma, as they were entering the village, they passed by an old temple. Suddenly a man came out of the temple and humbly asked them, “Please stay the night here. In the morning you may enter the village and take darśana of all the places there.” Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur and our Guru Mahārāj, who at that time was a young boy, stayed the night in that temple house.

    Just after nightfall, as they were resting, Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur experienced something unusual. He found that brickbats were being thrown about from different directions. He thought, “How is this happening and why? Who would throw big brickbats like this?” Then he had some apprehension that there might be ghosts living there, creating disturbances. He began loudly chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. After some time, the disturbance disappeared, and Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta passed the rest of the night there peacefully.

    In the morning, they entered the village and began visiting different holy places. After some time, one of the local gentleman noticed them and said, “You entered our village early this morning. Where do you come from? And there did you spend the night?” Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur explained, “We stayed in that temple just outside the village there.” One of them said, “Oh! How could you stay there? So many ghosts live there and throw stones and bricks at anyone who passes by that place at night. How could you stay there?” Then Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur said, “Yes, you are right. But when I found such a disturbance there, I began to loudly chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, and subsequently the problem disappeared.” The men of the village then asked Bhakti Vinod, “Who are you, and where are you coming from?”

    Then they came to know that he was Bhakti Vinoda Ṭhakur. They had already heard of him, and some of them had read his books. They welcomed the two of them, and showed them all the holy places they had not yet seen.

    At one point,they said to Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, “The gentleman who was formerly the priest of that temple was transformed into a ghost after his departure. Since that time, we have regularly seen the disturbances caused by that ghost. Why did he become a ghost? As the priest of that temple, he used to regularly chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. We are witness to that fact: we have all heard him. Why was he turned into a ghost? We cannot understand this. Please explain.”

    Lip-Deep Sound

    Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur told them that the priest must have only repeated the syllables of the name, the nāma-akṣara. What he was producing was only a mayik sound, a physical, lip-deep sound. It did not have the spiritual essence; the life of the name was absent when he was chanting. It was nāma-aparādha, offensive chanting.  Bhakti Vinod asked them, “What was his character?” They said, “He was not a good man. He committed many sinful acts. That we know. But we can’t deny the fact that he used to chant the name of the Lord almost always. How could he become a ghost?”

    Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur explained that the physical sound of the name is not the name proper. The priest had been committing offenses to the holy name (nāma-aparādha), and as a result became a ghost. They asked, “Then how can he be released from that wretched condition?” Bhakti Vinod said, “If he meets a bona fide sādhu who has a genuine connection with Kṛṣṇa, and he hears the real name, or the proper explanation of Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam from his lips, then he may be released from his ghostly condition. It is mentioned in the scriptures that this is the only way to become free from the entanglement of material nature.” After this discussion, Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur and Bhaktisiddhānta Sarawati left Kulīnagrāma.

    From that day on, all the troubles caused by the ghost at the temple in Kulīnagrama ceased. The villagers were astonished. One of them said: “That priest who had become a ghost must have been released from his ghostly condition after hearing the holy name chanted by Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. When the trouble began, Bhakti Vinod loudly chanted the name, and gradually, by hearing the holy name of Kṛṣṇa from his holy lips, that suppressed soul has been liberated from his condition as a ghost.”

    After that, many people journeyed to see Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. They would tell him, “We are confident that you are a great Vaiṣṇava – after hearing the holy name of Kṛṣṇa from your lips, a ghost has been released.” This story was published in the newspapers, and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Prabhupād used to recount this story of his own experience with Bhakti Vinod Ṭhakura.

    The point is that simply the external sound of the name is not the real name. The most important thing is the spiritual realization backing the name – that is the real name. Otherwise, a tape recorder can pronounce that holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Even a parrot can pronounce the name – but the physical sound is not the thing itself. In the background there must be spiritual truth, which is conscious. That super-knowledge is beyond the knowledge of this mundane plane.

    Supramental Nama

    This understanding is confirmed by Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu in his verse:

    ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
    na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
    sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
    svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

    He says that Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and eternal associates – everything about Him – is not mundane, but purely spiritual. It cannot be perceived by our gross senses. Simply by vibrating the sound kṛṣṇa, our tongues cannot produce Kṛṣṇa, our noses cannot catch the transcendental fragrance of His body, our eyes cannot have a vision of His beautiful figure which is supramental. This is true not only for our physical senses, but for the mind also. Our minds cannot conceive of Kṛṣṇa. He is transcendental and supramental. His existence transcends all the knowledge in our possession.

    We cannot be the subject and make Kṛṣṇa our object. He is the subject. He exists beyond both the ātmā and paramātmā. We should never forget that. We should always be mindful of the plane in which He exists. As finite souls we are taṭasthājīvas – the marginal potency of the Lord. The tiny soul can think and know only those things which are more gross than himself. But in trying to know that which is more subtle than himself, he is helpless. A connection with that higher spiritual realm in only possible when the higher area wants to bring the lower up into that plane. Therefore, to understand Him is possible only through surrender (sevonmukhe hi jihvādau).

    Divine Slavery

    If we can accept the current of surrender – if we can die as we are and surrender our innermost self at His disposal – His will can easily carry us up to the spiritual platform. Our soul will become as a blade of grass in that current, and so be carried up into the center of the infinite. It is not that we can enter there and walk proudly as we do here in this gross material world. Here we walk on our feet, but there we shall walk with our heads. Only by the Lord’s grace upon our heads can we attract that plane to take us up.

    Everything there is qualitatively higher than our own existence. The substance of that divine realm, the atmosphere, the air, the ether – everything there – is higher than any value we might have. Only those with a sincere spirit of service may be allowed to enter there. And there they will be taken to the highest position of divine love by the residents of that plane, who are venerable, generous, affectionate, and filled with good wishes.

    We have as our prospect the chance to go there, but always as a matter of grace – and never as a matter of right. We must accept this creed from the beginning. Still, the atmosphere there is so happy and loving that no one there feels any distinction between slave and master. A slave there has no sense of being a slave. Everyone is family. Having attained the state of divine slavery, one should consider: “I am a slave – the generosity of Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates is my wealth.” But by the power of Yogamāyā, those who are taken up into that plane forget that they are slaves. That is the greatness and magnanimity of that atmosphere where love is intensely flowing. It is really by their love and not by our own fortune that we may somehow gain entrance into that high and noble land.

    But to realize this we must realize the spiritual position of Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, and eternal associates. Kṛṣṇa’s name is not material. We cannot capture the name of Kṛṣṇa simply by vibrating the syllables of the name with our tongue. Rāvana wanted to capture Sītādevi and thought that he had done so. But the fact was that he could not even touch the holy body of Sītādevi.

    What Rāvana captured was only a mundane representation of Sītādevi, a material double, an imitation which was like a statue of Sītādevi. Sītādevi herself is another thing; she is not made of flesh and blood. For a person here in this world, Sītādevi and her divine plane is not at all approachable. A mundane person cannot see, feel, or enter that plane – what to speak of the possibility of snatching Sītādevi and taking her away. The scriptures have explained that Sītā’s capture was all show. Rāvana was cheated. Of course, the apparent kidnapping of Sītā by Rāvana was done to serve some purpose, to teach something to the people of this mundane world. But in the real sense, no Rāvana can come in connection with any of the eternal associates of the Lord who are living in Vaikunṭha. In the same way, no mundane person can touch the Vaikunṭha name simply by imitating its sound.

    Recently I was asked about a young boy who had been killed in an accident. I was told that he shouted the name of Kṛṣṇa at the time of death. I was asked “What was his destination?” I explained that whether one is young or old in the plane of flesh and blood is no qualification for spiritual attainment. One’s mentality must be examined. According to the particular time and place and the conception of the person involved, that sound may be the genuine name, or it may be nāmābhāsa, the shadow of the real name.

    National Nama

    When Gandhi was shot, he cried, “Rāma! Rāma!” He was shot int he chest, and his spectacles were thrown into the street. Within half an hour he passed away, but he pronounced the words “Rāma! Rāma!” He was on his way to deliver a religious lecture, but his mentality was full of thoughts of national progress, so in his case, the vibration of the name may have worked in the plane of nation-building. To understand a person’s destination at the time of death, we must ask, “What was his mentality?”

    Sometimes chanting the name may result in nāmābhāsa – the shadow of the name. Whether or not it is śuddha-nāma, the genuine name, depends on the mental system of the person chanting the name. It depends on his relation towards Kṛṣṇa, his attention.

    “Gopī, gopī, gopī!”

    A few days before Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa, He was chanting “gopī, gopī, gopī.” Hearing this, a tantricbrāhmaṇ came to give some advice to the Lord. “Pandit,” he said, “You are a scholar; You know the scriptures. Still, You are chanting the name gopī, gopī? What benefit will You get from that? The scriptures say that if You chant the name of Kṛṣṇa, You may get some benefit. You will find this in many places in the scriptures, especially in the Purānas. Why then do You chant gopī, gopī?”

    Angered at the brāhmaṇ’s ignorance, Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, in the mood of a follower of the gopīs, picked up a stick and began to rebuke him. “You have come from the enemy camp to convert us into followers of Kṛṣṇa?” He ran after the brāhmaṇ to beat him with His stick. In this example, we find that Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu was chanting “gopī, gopī” and neglecting the name of Kṛṣṇa. Apparently He was advised to take the name of Kṛṣṇa and became enraged – but what is the underlying thought there?

    If we are to understand the effect of someone’s chanting of the holy name, we must examine his underlying purpose. Sometimes his chanting may have some effect, but not always. Still, Jīva Goswāmī mentions the following example as evidence that the holy name may have some effect even if one is unaware of its full meaning.

    Once, a wild boar attacked a Mohammedan, and the Mohammedan cried, “Hārāma! Hārāma!” Hārāma means “that abominable hog!” On the other hand, Ha Rāma means “the Lord,” who has allowed a hog to attack me. Somehow, Lord Rāma was invoked, and the holy name had a divine influence on the Mohammedan, who attained liberation.

    Another example given in the scriptures is that of Valmīki. Before becoming a saint, the sage Valmīkī was a dacoit. But the great saint Nārada had a plan to benefit him. Nārada thought, “This person is the most notorious and heinous dacoit I have ever seen. Let me experiment with him to see the potency of the holy name, I shall ask him to chant the holy name of Rāma.” He tried, but Valmīkī could not pronounce the holy name of Rāma. Then Nārada told him to chant mara – the word for “murder” – instead. The dacoit said, “Yes, I can do this. This is just the opposite of the name of Rāma.” He began to chant “mara-mara-mara-mara-rāma-rāma-rāma-rāma.”

    In this way, after some time, mara became rāma. Valmīkī began to chant the name of Rāma, and gradually his mental attitude changed. So it is possible for the name to have an effect on someone even if he has no proper conception of its meaning. This is called nāmābhasa: the shadow of the name. It can effect liberation. But a real devotee is not interested in liberation. He wants to enter the domain of divine service.

    The sound and its effect depends upon the attitude we accept, and the quality we can conceive, because the actual Vaikuṇṭha-nāma is infinite. In that plane, the divine name is equal to the substance named. When the sound aspect is one and the same with the original aspect of the thing, that is Vaikuṇṭha-nāma. Here in this world, a blind man’s name may be Padmalochan – lotus eyed – but really he may be blind. The name and the figure may be entirely different. But in Vaikuṇṭha, in the infinite world, the name and the named are one and the same.

    Yet to experience the Vaikuṇṭha-nāma, one must avoid both nāma-aparādha, offenses to the holy name, and nāmābhāsa, the shadow of the holy name. By nāmābhāsa, we get some relief from this worldly bondage, and by nāma-aparādha, we become entangled in this mayik world. But the ordinary physical sound cannot represent the real name, which is supernatural.

    It is said that one name of Kṛṣṇa can remove more ignorance and sin than a man has the power to commit. But what is the quality of that one name? We may chant the physical name of Kṛṣṇa so many times without getting the result of even one real name. There is a great difference between the ordinary sound of the name, the superficial mayik name, and the pure name. The pure name is one and the same with Kṛṣṇa, but that descends down to our level only by His grace. We cannot vibrate it simply by dint of our moving our tongue and our lips. The pure name of Kṛṣṇa is not lip deep, but heart deep. And it ultimately goes beyond the heart and reaches the land of Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa comes down, the name Kṛṣṇa comes through the heart and moves the lips and tongue. That vibration is the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa-nāma.

    Negative Power

    When Kṛṣṇa in the form of sound descends from the transcendental world into the heart, and from the heart, controlling every aspect of the nervous system, comes to the lips and begins dancing there, that is kṛṣṇa nāma. The initiative is in the transcendental world. That sound is not produced from the physical plane. The spiritual sound has to come down into this plane; He can come down, but we cannot so easily go up there. He is the Super-subject; we are an object to Him. We cannot interfere with His independence. Only by the negative power of surrender can we attract the Supreme Positive to come down to our level.

    And so the holy name is not a production of our senses. It can be realized only when we approach Him with a very intense serving attitude. At that time, Kṛṣṇa Himself may come down by His grace, being attracted by our serving nature. Then He can influence this element and produce transcendental sound and dance within the mundane plane. That is the holy name, the Vaikuṇṭha-nāma, the real name of Kṛṣṇa. We cannot produce it with our lips. The sound we create with our physical or mental production is not Kṛṣṇa. He is independent from whatever sound we may produce, and yet, because He controls everything, He can appear anywhere, in any form, in any plane, in any sound.

    And this is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (4.6). Kṛṣṇa says, “When I come here by the power of My internal potency, I remove the external potency’s influence and appear anywhere and everywhere.” The mundane wave is forced back, just as a plane rides in the sky and pushes back the influence of air and wind as it forcibly passes. By removing the influence of the material waves, He appears within this world by the strength of his own force.

    The Lord says, “I have My own potency, and by the power of that potency, I remove this gross material energy. And so I live and move here in this world.” The laws of material nature cannot apply to Him. He has special power. And with the help of that special power, He subdues the laws of material nature and comes here. He does whatever He wants with His own potency. Wherever He goes, the laws of material nature withdraw from that place and give Him His way. In this way, He can appear within the realm of sound as the holy name.

    The real importance of the name is not to be found merely in the arrangement of its syllables, but in the deep meaning within that divine sound. Some scholars argue that in the Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad, Lord Brahmā says that the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra is properly pronounced only when the name of Rāma precedes the name of Kṛṣṇa: “Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare.”


    In the Kali-santaraṇa upaniṣad, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra is given in that way. But to say that the name of Rāma must precede the name of Kṛṣṇa in the mantra is a superficial understanding. It is said that because it comes from the Upaniṣads, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is a Vedic mantra, and therefore, because the ordinary people may not have any entrance into Vedic mantras, Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu readjusted this mantra by reversing the order of the words. In that way, it is said, the concern that it is a Vedic mantra is thereby cancelled, and so Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu gave it to all without breaching the injunctions of the Vedas. Some devotees in Uttar Pradesh who have great affection for Śrī Chaitanyadeva like to give this opinion.

    But our faith is that the mentioning of “Hare Rāma” first is only superficial. It concerns the idea that since the Rāma avatār appeared first and the Kṛṣṇa avatār afterwards, the name of Rāma, “Hare Rāma,” should come first in the mahāmantra. A deeper reading will consider that when two similar things are connected together, the priority will be ordered not on the basis of historical precedent, but in consideration of the most highly developed conception. The holy name of Kṛṣṇa is higher than the holy name of Rāma. This is mentioned in the Purāṇas: three names of Rāma equal one name of Kṛṣṇa. The name of Kṛṣṇa is superior to the name of Rāma. Where the two are connected together, the first position should be given to the one that is superior. Therefore, the name of Kṛṣṇa must come first in the mahāmantra.

    This is one point. Another point is that within the eternal plane, everything is moving in a cyclic order. In an eternal cycle, which is first and which is next cannot be ascertained, and so, in the eternal plane of līlā, it cannot be determined whether Kṛṣṇa is before Rāma or Rāma is before Kṛṣṇa. So from that consideration also, since the names of Kṛṣṇa and Rāma are eternal and unrelated to any historical event, we may begin the mantra from any place.

    Rāmā Means Kṛṣṇa

    But above these considerations, our sampradāya has given another, higher consideration. A deeper understanding will reveal that the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is not at all concerned with rāma līlā. In the name of Rāma within the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the Gauḍiya Vaiṣṇāvas will find Rādhā-rāmana Rāma. That means “Kṛṣṇa, who gives pleasure (rāman) to Śrīmatī Rādhārāni.” In our conception, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is wholesale Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not Rāma consciousness. Śrī Chaitanya’s highest conception of things is always Svayam Bhagavān, Kṛṣṇa-līlā, Rādhā-Govinda-līlā. That is the real purpose of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu’s advent and teachings. In that consideration, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra does not mention the Rāma-līlā of Āyodhya at all. There is no connection with that in the highest conception of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

    And the inner conception of the mantra is responsible for our spiritual attainment. When one pronounces the name Rāma, if he means Dāsarāthi Rāma, his attraction will take him there, to Āyodhya; if he means Pārasūrāma, he will be attracted to another place. And if Rāma means Rādha-rāmana Rāma, he will go to Goloka. The inner conception of the devotee will guide him to his destination.

    My original name was Rāmendra Chandra. When I was given initiation, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur gave me the name Rāmendra Sundara. I asked him, “What is the meaning of Rāmendra?” He told me, “In our consideration, Rāma does not mean Dāsarāthi Rāma or Lord Rāmachandra, the son of King Dāsarātha. It means Rādhā-rāmana Rāma – Kṛṣṇa, the lover of Rādhārāni.”

    The name “Hare” may also mean different things according to one’s conception. That the meaning of the word Hare in the mantra is taken to mean Rādhāranī is also determined according to the spiritual development or qualification (ādhikāra) of the chanter. When one is firmly established in conceiving of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the background of everything – when one finds svayam-rūpa the original form of Godhead, underlying of all sorts of conceptions of all things good – then only will he find that sort of meaning and nothing else.

    For beginners, the word “Hare” in the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra can be conceived to mean Hari. That is one meaning. It may also mean Nṛsiṁhadev. And just as “Rāma” can mean Dāsarāthi Rāma, “Kṛṣṇa” may refer to different types of Kṛṣṇa. There is also a Kṛṣṇa in Vaikuntha, where the vaibhāvas, or extensions of the Lord, number twenty-four. In Vaikunṭha, first there is Nārāyana, and then four extensions: Vāsudeva, Śankārṣana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. Each of these four has five agents, making twenty-four in all. One of these is the Kṛṣṇa of Vaikuṇṭha. Then there is the Kṛṣṇa of Dvārakā and the Kṛṣṇa of Mathurā.

    In this way there are various conceptions of Kṛṣṇa. But the highest conception of Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana: Rādhā-Govinda. When one cannot remove himself from that plane, he will conceive of divinity only as Hari-Harā. He will see nothing else but Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Those who are completely and perfectly installed in madhura-rasa – who have the highest kind of divine vision – cannot come down from that plane. If they do, it is only for the interest of Rādhā-Govinda. In that case, the devotee may go anywhere, but his real interest is under lock and key in Vṛndāvana. Only on behalf of the service of Rādhā-Govinda will a devotee leave Vṛṇdāvana.

    For those who are followers of the Vṛndāvana line, “Hare” in the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra can only mean Harā: Śrīmātī Rādhārāni. Harā means “Radhā, who can even snatch the attention of Kṛṣṇa, Hari.” The word harana means “to steal.”One who can steal the mind of He who is most expert in stealing – who can steal even the mind of Kṛṣṇa – She is Harā. Stealing in its highest capacity is shown by Rādhārāni. And “Kṛṣṇa” means “He who is most attractive in the absolute sense.” They are both represented in the mantra.

    Rūpānūgā Nāma

    The followers of the Rūpānūgā-sampradāya can never deviate from that consciousness in their chanting of the mahāmantra. And with this conception, they go on with the service of Hari-Harā, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. They absorb themselves in Rādhā-dāsyam. They cannot think of anything else but that. And once having fully attained that plane, they can never come down from that level, from the interest of Rādha-Kṛṣṇa. They cannot allow themselves to be out of that circle.

    That is the position of our highest aspiration, and according to a devotees’s ādhikāra, or spiritual qualification, that sort of meaning will awaken in one’s mind. It will be awakened, discovered by sādhana. At that time the covering of the heart will be removed and divine love will spontaneously spring up from the fountain of the heart as the inner function of the soul.