Bhaktivinod Thakur on the holy names

Bhaktivinoda Thakur1) The path of bhajan displayed by the previous mahajanas is to constantly chant the holy names of Krishna with firm determination and show compassion to all living entities.

2) Chanting the holy names of Krishna is the only sadhana. Other limbs of sadhana are only support of the chanting of the holy names of Krishna.

3) Apart from the time of resting which is necessary for keeping the body and soul together one should always humbly chant the holy names of Krishna.

4) One should start with four rounds of chanting the holy name and gradually increase the number to sixty four rounds. That will make a prescribed number of one lakh holy names. By gradually increasing the number to three lakh holy names, one will spend his entire time simply in chanting the holy names. All previous acharyas have attained perfection by following this order of the Lord.

5) Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructs us to fill our lives with chanting Krishna’s holy names. There is nothing permanent and real in this material world except the holy names of Krishna.

6) The holy name is the first contact which the living being can have with Krishna in this material world.

7) Of all the instructions in the Vedas, the best is “Chant the holy names of Krishna”.

8) Actually one who has attained the science of the holy names there is nothing left for him to be attained or known.


Bhaktivinoda Thakur was a magistrate. He was a judge under the British rule of India in the later part of the nineteenth century. He was so disciplined that every morning he would rise several hours before sunrise and chant japa on his mala for several hours; then he would study the scriptures and write transcendental literatures; then he would have kirtan before he went for work.

He was the most prominent magistrate in all of Bengal and Orissa. When he wanted to retire so as to dedicate his life completely in spiritual activities, the British government said, “The work that you do in one day can be compared to the work of ten magistrates in a day. How can we let you to go? It is not possible. You are the most qualified, you are the most efficient, and you are the most perfect.” From the material point of view, Bhaktivinod Thakur was un-paralleled and from the spiritual point of view, even the greatest saddhus and sannyasis  from all over would come and sit at his feet to learn from him. This is how much he was respected in both material and spiritual circles. (From a talk given by Radhanath Swami)

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