Sri Harinama Yoga


Lord Caitanya finding ecstasy in the temple of Gundica
Lord Caitanya finding ecstasy in the temple of Sri Bindu Madhava

In recent times, the Sanskrit word yoga has become very popular especially in the western countries. The literal translation of Yoga means “to connect” or “union” but connecting or uniting with who or what?  Yoga can only be rightly applied to God or the Supreme Absolute truth. Therefore, yoga means the science of one’s relationship with the Supreme being.

There are many commercial yoga practices more or less based on speculative formulas or watered-down versions of their original form. Although they may be helpful in keeping the body fit and healthy, they offer no clear information about spiritual life or the practical means by which self-realization and God-realization can be achieved. The result being that practitioners of such quasi-yoga systems remain unaccomplished.

That being said there are a number of authentic yoga systems such as: bhakti-yoga, karma-yoga, sankhya-yoga, kundalini-yoga and ashtanga-yoga. All of which proportionately yield varying degrees of spiritual realization and attainment. Bhakti-yoga as confirmed in some of the most authoritative texts has been established as the original and chief yoga system and the most natural to the self. It is most suited to the present day and age where there are already so many disadvantageous conditions (making it difficult for the average person to realize God and the self). The bhakti-yoga process is divided into nine different limbs (as will be explained in more detail in this website). Of these nine limbs, the chief limb or practice has been unanimously confirmed by spiritual stalwarts to be kirtanam which means to glorify God. Such glorification is done primarily through the regular chanting of His holy names. This can be performed with or without the accompaniment of musical instruments, alone or in a group. It can also be practiced on a rosary. The understanding is, articulation of the transcendental sound vibration of God’s names, has the most powerful effect in cleansing the heart or mind of material contamination. With purification of our consciousness, we can evoke our original dormant consciousness as spirit souls. This awakening is called self-realization; with the attainment of self-realization comes a clear understanding of our eternal relationship with the Absolute truth, Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such realization grants us the boon of the elixir of immortality, an attainment that is rare (though quite possible) to achieve.

It is said that God is unlimited and therefore he has unlimited names such as Krishna, Hari, Christ, Allah, Jehovah etc… The chanting of these names of God are meant for achieving the ultimate objective of pure love of Godhead. Amongst these many names of God, the mula-nama or original name has been clearly revealed in the Vedas (which are the oldest scriptures known to mankind). The original name of God is KRSNA (pronounced as Krishna) Krsna means “the all-attractive Supreme person”. Krsna is often called Hari which means: “He takes away all inauspicious things from the devotee’s life and that He attracts the mind of the devotee by awarding him transcendental love of Godhead.”

This brings us to our main purpose of this introductory explanation of Sri Hari-Nama Yoga. This Sri Harinama-yoga is therefore synonymous with kirtana and is therefore the chief practice of bhakti-yoga which is to chant the holy names of Lord Krsna [God] especially the great chant of deliverance:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

It is known as the yuga-dharma or process of achieving self-realization and God-realization in the present dark age of quarrel and hypocrisy called kali-yuga. There are no hard and fast rules for this great chant for deliverance. It is open for one and all without discrimination of age, gender, caste, creed, race and religious denominations.