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forest to ashes. The faithless non-devotees must constantly tolerate the excruciating burning pain of the flaming forest fire of material existence. But when Lord Krsna's holy name is congregationally chanted in full perfection, the devotees, even though they may dwell in the material world, are never scorched by those flames.

Samkirtana spreads the rays of the benediction moon ---------------------------------------------------

Lord Krsna's holy name imparts the supreme goodness and munificence. Sreyah means benediction; kairava - white lilies; candrika - moon rays or white luminescence. Just as the rising moon illuminates and reveals the whiteness of the white water lily, similarly the chanting of Krsna's holy name reveals the greatest benediction for the entire universe. Human society cannot benefit from material desires for sense enjoyment, fruitive work or speculative knowledge. Chanting Krsna's name blesses all with the greatest prosperity.

Samkirtana is the life of all transcendental knowledge ------------------------------------------------------

The Mundaka Upanisad notes two types of knowledge or education: material knowledge and transcendental knowledge. Indirectly, the chanting of Lord Krsna's holy name is the cause and sustainer of even material knowledge, but primarily it is the life and soul of all transcendental knowledge. Chanting induces the jiva to break free from the shackles of false ego and prestige arising from material education and leads him to understand his eternal relationship with Lord Krsna. The ultimate purpose of transcendental knowledge is to simply chant Krsna's holy name.

Samkirtana expands the ocean of transcendental bliss ----------------------------------------------------

The chanting of the Holy name expands the ocean of transcendental bliss. A limited expanse of water cannot be described as an ocean; therefore "unlimited bliss" is being compared to a boundless ocean. Chanting Krsna's name causes one to relish the sweet nectar of that ocean fully at every step. Because this transcendental experience is unfettered by imperfections, one can always relish full spiritual nectar from the chanting of Krsna's holy name.

Samkirtana awards the cooling shelter of Lord Krsna's lotus feet ----------------------------------------------------------------

The forms and features of Transcendence radiate a tender and cooling sheen that is perceivable through the chanting of Krsna's holy name. In the mundane realm, the body, mind and above them the soul not only become purified by chanting the holy name, but they are gradually and inevitably touched by the cooling tenderness of the spiritual realm, too. The subtle and gross contaminations of the material conception of life and the acceptance of false designations have devoured the spirit soul, but all these afflictions can be ended by chanting the holy name. When the soul finds release from material designations, he becomes eager to reach Lord Krsna. He thus engages in devotional service, taking shelter in the cooling shade of the Lord's lotus feet.

Samkirtana completes all other processes of bhakti --------------------------------------------------

In Bhakti sandarbha 273 and in the Krama sandarbha of the Seventh Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Jiva Goswami writes, ata eva yadyapyanya bhaktih kalau kartavya, tada kirtanakhya-bhakti-samyogenaiva, which means: "Although it is required even in Kaliyuga to practice the other eight limbs of devotional service, they must be performed in conjunction with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord."

References and quotes from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Sri Bhajana rahasya:

*The first perfection: ceto-darpana-marjanam - "The holy name cleanses the mirror of the heart."

The contaminations that cover the mirror of consciousness are swept away by chanting the holy name; the holy name is the embodiment of profound spiritual bliss. For example Srila Rupa Goswami writes in the seventh stanza of the Namastaka:

suditasrita-janartti-rasaye ramya-cidghana sukhasvarupine nama gokula mahotsavaya te krsna purna-vapuse namo namah

"O holy name! O Lord Krsna! You dissipate the sufferings (offenses against the holy name) of Your surrendered devotees; You possess a transcendental form of ecstatic beauty and bliss and You appear as the figure of sublime joy for the residents of Gokula.

"You are therefore a fully spiritual entity of the same spiritual nature as the Vaikuntha planets. I offer my repeated obeisances to You."

*The second perfection: bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam "The blazing fire of material existence is extinguished."

In Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated:

natah param karma-nibandha-krntanam mumuksatam tirtha-padanukirtanat na yat punah karmasu sajjate mano rajas-tamobhyam kalilam tato 'nyatha

"Therefore one who desires freedom from material bondage should adopt the process of chanting and glorifying the name, fame, form and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand. One cannot derive the proper benefit from other methods, such as pious atonement, speculative knowledge and meditation in mystic yoga, because even after following such methods one takes to fruitive activities again, unable to control his mind, which is contaminated by the base qualities of nature, namely passion and ignorance."

*The third perfection: sreyah-kairava-candrika-vitaranam "The moonlight opens the white lotus of good fortune."

A quote from Skanda Purana appears in Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.234:

madhura-madhuram-etan-mangalam mangala nam sakala-nigamaballi-satphalam citsvarupam sakrd-api parigitam sraddhaya helaya va bhrgu-vara nara-matram tarayet krsna-nama

"The holy name of Krsna is the highest benediction above all other benedictions for humanity, sweeter than the sweet honey, the eternal fruit of transcendental knowledge of the tree of entire sruti scriptures. O best of Bhargavas! If anyone chants Lord Krishna's name just once without offence, whether he chants with faith or indifferently, the holy name immediately liberates him."

*The fourth perfection: vidya-vadhu-jivanam "The holy name is the life of transcendental knowledge (the Lord's own wife)."

In the Garuda Purana it is stated:

yadicchasi param jnanam jnanad yat paramam padam tadadarena rajendra kuru govinda kirtanam

"O best of kings! If you are desirous of acquiring that extraordinary knowledge by which the Supreme Goal is realized, then chant Lord Govinda's name with love and devotion."

Again in Srimad Bhagavatam 3.5.40:

dhatar yad asmin bhava isa jivas tapa-trayenabhihata na sarma atman labhante bhagavams tavanghri- cchayam sa-vidyam ata asrayema

"O Father, O Lord, O Personality of Godhead, the living entities in the material world can never have any happiness because they are overwhelmed by three kinds of miseries. Therefore they take shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet, which are full of knowledge, and we also thus take shelter of them."

In S.B. 4.29.49, there is the phrase "sa vidya tanmatiryaya," which means: "real knowledge or education is that realization which increases our attachment for the Supreme Lord."

ye saktite krsne mati kare udbhabana bidya-name sei kare abidya khandana krsna-nama sei bidyabadhura jibana krsna-padapadme ye karaye sthira mana

"That potency which invokes loving attachment for Krsna in the heart is called the knowledge that destroys nescience. The holy name of Krsna is the life and soul of all knowledge and it fastens the heart firmly at Krsna's lotus feet."

*The fifth perfection: anandambudhi-vardhanam "The holy name increases the ocean of bliss."

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, 8.3.20:

ekantino yasya kancanartham vanchanti ye bhagavat-prapannah aty-adbhutam tac-caritam sumangalam gayanta ananda-samudra-magnah

"Unalloyed devotees, who have no desire other than to serve the Lord, worship Him in full surrender and always hear and chant about His activities, which are most wonderful and auspicious. Thus they always merge in an ocean of transcendental bliss. Such devotees never ask the Lord for any benediction."

*The sixth perfection: pratipadam purna-amrta-asvadanam "The holy name gives a taste of the full nectar at every step."

From the Padma Purana:

tebhyo namo'stu bhava-baridhi-jirna-pankasammagna-moksana-vicaksana-padukebhyah krsneti varna-yugalam sravanena yesam anandathur-bhavati narttitaromavrnda

"I offer my respectful obeisances at the feet of that extraordinary personality whose body shivers with sublime joy and horripilates with ecstasy at the sound of Krsna's sweet name, and who is expert in redeeming the conditioned souls engrossed in the mire of the ocean of repeated birth and death."

*The seventh perfection: sarvatma-snapanam "The holy name bathes everyone in the cooling sheen of the Supreme Self."

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, 12.12.48:

sankirtyamano bhagavan anantah srutanubhavo vyasanam hi pumsam pravisya cittam vidhunoty asesam yatha tamo'rko'bhram ivati-vatah

"When people properly glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead or simply hear about His power, the Lord personally enters their hearts and cleanses away every trace of misfortune, just as the sun removes the darkness or as a powerful wind drives away the clouds."

sruta anubhuta yata anartha-sanyoga sri-krsna-kirtane saba haya ta'biyoga yerupa bayute megha surya tamah nase eitte prabesiya dosa asesa binase krsna-nama-asraye cittadarpana-marjana ati sighra labhe jiba krsna-prema-dhana

"All the unwanted things that were heard and experienced (pertaining to this world of nescience) are immediately expelled from the mind and heart by chanting the holy name of Krsna. Just as the clouds that blocked the sunlight are riven by the winds, so the name upon entering the heart destroys the dark nescience within. By taking shelter of the holy name of Krsna the jiva's heart is cleansed very quickly, thus he attains the highest spiritual experiences of love of Godhead."

In the Namastaka, stanza 8:

narada-vinojjivana sudharmi-niryyasa-madhuripura tvam krsna-nama kamam sphura me rasane rasena sada

"O holy name of Krsna! You are the life sustaining elixir of Sri Narada Muni's vina and the exhilarating waves on the ocean of nectar. Therefore I beg You to eternally remain ecstatically dancing on my tongue."

Again in the Namastaka, stanza 2:

jaya namadheya munivrndaeya janaranjanaya paramaksarakrte tvamanadaradapi managudiritam nikhilograta papataham vilumpasi

"All glory to You, O holy name! The sages have always sung hymns praising You, You have now appeared in the transcendental form of the supreme syllable for the pleasure of the entire humanity. Even if one chants those syllables with indifference (i.e. the four types of namabhasa - indirectly, jokingly, derisively, neglectfully) even then You are capable of destroying the most dreadful sinful reactions; thus all of one's sufferings are extirpated. You are always victorious."

In Caitanya Bhagavata, Madhya 23.76-77:

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare prabhu kahe - kahilan ei mahamantra iha japa giya sabe kariya nirbandha iha haite sarba-siddhi haibe sabara sarba-krsna bala'ithe bidhi nahi ara

'Lord Caitanya said, "I am giving you this mahamantra: hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare/ hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare; now go and chant it with earnest enthusiasm. Since by this chanting you receive all the perfections in life, you should continue to chant incessantly. There are no rules or regulations for chanting this mahamantra."'

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