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The Supreme sweetness of Holy Names

The scriptures reveal that Holy Names are the sweetest sound vibrations, and if we chant with faith, we can experience unlimited taste and sweetness. If however we aren’t experiencing this taste at the present moment, then it’s time for us to examine our motives and desire strongly to want to experience the sweetness.  Of course the proof that the Holy Names are indeed sweet is not in our sporadic taste which may come and go due to our flickering mind, but in the revealed scriptures and in the lives of sincere saintly souls who have dedicated their lives for chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.

One such example that Radhanath Swami often speaks about is Haridas Thakur, a fifteenth century saint who chanted Hare Krishna purely and over a three hundred million names of the Lord daily. He was born in a Muslim family and was ostracized by the society due to his chanting the Hindu Names of God. He was even beaten in twenty two market places by the soldiers of the king for having been an apostate. Yet he continued to chant fearlessly. He helplessly begged the king, “even if you are to break my body into a million pieces, I am helpless; each limb of my body will relentlessly chant Hare Krishna.” He surely tasted the unlimited sweetness of the Holy Names.

On another occasion, an envious village leader plotted to defame Haridas; he paid a wealthy prostitute to allure Haridas by her charms and then his men who would be secretly hiding nearby would arrest Haridas and publicly declare him to be a dubious hypocrite. The prostitute approached Haridas in the middle of the night as he was chanting outside his small hut. She proposed to him and displayed her sensuous beauty. Haridas promised to fulfil her desires only after he completed his vow of chanting. Meanwhile as she provocatively displayed the various parts of her body, Haridas remained unruffled in chanting and tasting the sweetness of Holy Names. Few hours passed by and soon the sun rose, and Haridas never finished chanting. She departed and Haridas apologized that he couldn’t fulfil her desire and promised her that the next night he would indeed grant her wish. The following night she again came alone to his dwelling and once again Haridas was absorbed in chanting.  Another night passed with the prostitute unable to bewitch the saintly Haridas; he was after all completely enamoured by the sweet Holy Names and was relishing a much higher pleasure than what she could offer.

On the third night as Haridas was once again absorbed in chanting, the prostitute sat patiently for him to finish. However by the influence of Haridas’s chanting, she got purified. Three nights she had been hearing the Holy Names vibrated purely by the saintly Haridas. Her heart changed and she fell at his feet and begged forgiveness for having nursed such an evil desire in her heart. Haridas forgave her and she began to also feel great transcendental ecstasy chanting the Holy Names. Soon Haridas left the place and meanwhile the former prostitute relinquished all her wealth and settled in a small hut and chanted whole day and night. Soon the word spread and people from all over came to see the dramatic transformation of this lady; all of them left glorifying the miraculous power of Haridas and the supreme potency of the Holy Names.

Historical events such as these give us faith that one day we too can taste the supreme nectar available in the Holy Names. Until then, with faith in the scriptures and the lives of other sincere chanters, we continue to humbly and prayerfully chant Hare Krishna.

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