Have you seen the powers of a mantra live?

I have seen the power of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra turning people from being addicted to all kinds of sinful activities, to becoming pure Vaishnavas. I have personal experience of the purifying effect on the mind, the Hare Krishna mantra produces.

Sankirtana means the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna matra, and is the designated yuga-dharma for the present age of Kali. The yuga-dharma was revived in India 500 years ago by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

In 1965 this process was brought to the West by Srila Prabhupada, who acted on the order of his guru - Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Goswami.

Srila Prabhupada was the first person on the planet to tell the whole world who God is.

The following quote from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita (written 500 years ago by Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami) illustrates the power of the Hare Krishna mantra. It was translated by Srila Prabhupada, and explained by his disciple Subaldasa Swami.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says:

Glory to the Sri Krishna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious. —Sri Sri Siksastakam

Subaldasa Maharaja explains:

The conditioned soul is covered from time immemorial by the dirt of the accumulated reactions of his sinful activities. Due to the reactions of his past sins, he becomes further engaged in sinful activities and becomes more and more forgetful of his constitutional position as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.

Due to forgetfulness of his spiritual nature, he identifies himself with the temporary material body and its paraphernalia. Thus, rather than serving Krsna in loving devotion, he is forced to serve maya, the limited mundane potency of the Lord. The living being is never independent in any stage of existence, either conditioned or liberated, but when he is under the control of maya he suffers, and when he is under the control of Krishna he enjoys life in the association of the Lord and His devotees.

The Sri Krishna sankirtana, or the congregational chanting of the holy names of God, is able to immediately cleanse the heart of all the dirt that accumulates there for millions of years. This is the result of just the dim reflection of the holy name. During the night, there is fear of thieves, ghosts, murderers, etc.

In the morning, before the sun even rises on the horizon, it dispels all such fears by its first rays of light. In the same way, before the holy name makes its full appearance, it dispels the darkness of material ignorance and clears away heaps of sinful activities which have not yet manifested themselves. Thus one is freed from karmic reaction and placed on the liberated platform of life. In this way, the door to devotional service is opened.

This sankirtana movement inaugurated by Lord Chaitanya is the special dispensation for this Age of Kali. In previous ages the path of spiritual realization was long and difficult. In Satya-yuga, when men lived for one hundred thousand years and conditions were favorable for meditation, people could attain success by practicing yoga for thousands of years together. In Treta-yuga, when the life span was reduced to ten thousand years and conditions were not as favorable, the recommended process of spiritual realization was by elaborate and costly sacrifices.

In the Dvapara-yuga, when man's life was reduced to one thousand years and conditions were still less favorable, the recommended process was temple worship. Now in this Age of Kali-yuga, when life is reduced to a mere one hundred years and the living conditions are growing worse and worse, the one recommended and practical way of achieving success in spiritual life is by the congregational chanting of the holy name of God.

This is the simplest and most effective means of reaching God. What was achieved in Satya-yuga by meditation, in Treta-yuga by sacrifices and in Dvapara-yuga by temple worship is now achieved in Kali-yuga simply by utterance of the holy name --

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare /

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Therefore, great sages and saintly persons sometimes pray for the advent of Kali-yuga in order to take advantage of this simple and sublime process for going back home, back to Godhead.

Srila Rupa Gosvami prays to Lord Chaitanya as follows:

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna Chaitanya, who is more magnanimous than any other avatara, even Krishna Himself, because He is bestowing freely what no one else has ever given -- pure love of Krishna."

All over the universe, Krishna is worshiped with awe and reverence, but such a form of worship does not satisfy Him. He is actually attracted by the spontaneous loving service rendered to Him by the residents of Vrindavana.

Seeing that He had not bestowed such loving service upon the world for a long time, the Lord came in His devotional aspect of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and bestowed pure love of Krishna upon the world by means of the sankirtana movement. He personally inaugurated this Sri Krishna sankirtana and overflooded the whole universe with love of God.

This movement is carrying on still, and it gives us the highest realization of the transcendental life of full bliss and knowledge in eternity and allows us to enter into the loving exchanges of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna in Vrndavana.

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