The necessity of performing Sri Hari-nam-sankirtan at all social functions.
It is necessary to know why we perform particular functions. We perform functions for the satisfaction of our minds. Indians have one type of customs, Westerners have another type of customs, and Muslims have another type of customs. Everyone follows their respective customs. All types of customs have some rules and regulations and create an auspicious connection. But all functions become super auspicious whenever the Hare Krishna mahamantra is chanted. This is stated in Sri Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which is our topmost regulating guide for all functions. There lastly, one mantram is given:
yadasanga kriya karma janata vapy ajanata
purnam bhavatu tat sarvam sri-harer nama-kirtanat
“I do not know how perfectly I have performed this fire sacrifice or this function, that is, it is not possible to perfectly perform any function. So, I pray that whatever deficiency is present here will be fulfilled through Nama-sankirtan, the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Now I will chant Hare Krishna.” This is the last mantram in every function and sacrifice.
You will see also everywhere that whenever people install something, be it a demigod or something new, or they enter a new house, they always bring a Narayan-sila for the function. Narayan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, we shall worship Narayan. Why should we go to this side and that side? It is not necessary. If anyone wants to worship Durga Devi, the Deity must be installed, but when Durga is to be installed, then it is necessary to bring a Narayan-sila. Otherwise, the installation is not possible. Why? If we have realisation, then we will understand that Narayan is the prana, the life, of everything, so we have to bring the Narayan-sila there and worship Him.
We will realise the matter in this way, but for the satisfaction of people in general and to follow the established customs, we will do what is needed in different circumstances. We will not break the customs. But if we ignore them, we have no problem actually according the laws of dharma.
For example, when a male sudra dies, his sraddha should be held after one month. This is the rule. But if that sudra took initiation from a Vaisnava, then what should be our consideration for him? That is a question, and the answer is that the rule for the day that a brahman’s sraddha should be held is followed. But if we do not follow this, there is no problem. That very day, or the next day, or two or three days later, as is necessary for making preparations, we can make an offering to the Deities, do Vaisnava-seva, and make an offering to that departed soul. Generally in India for anyone from any caste who is a Vaisnava, we are offer a sraddha ceremony on the 11th day following the day of passing. But if you not do a sraddha, no problem will come to you. The example in this regard is what Sriman Mahaprabhu did for Haridas Thakur: He made a festival the very same day.
When Srila Haridas Thakur departed, what did Mahaprabhu do? He did not make a sraddha ceremony or anything like that. He made a festival the same day Haridas Thakur departed. So, you can also do that if possible. It is not harmful. Actually, it is good. Hari-nam-sankirtan is the best thing, and it is not necessary to do anything else except Vaisnava-seva. This was shown by Mahaprabhu. He chanted and danced with the body of Haridas Thakur. Then He washed the body according to some of the brahman’s rules and put the body in samadhi because Haridas Thakur was a siddha-mahapurus [great realised soul]. Afterwards, He came to the Jagannath Temple and begged from everyone,
haridasa-thakurera mahotsavera tare
prasada magiye bhiksa deha’ ta’ amare
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 11.74)
“Today, Haridas Thakur has gone. Please give me something for Vaisnava-seva.”
Everyone respected Mahaprabhu as God, so they tried to give all their Jagannath mahaprasadam to Mahaprabhu, but Mahaprabhu did not take all of it. He took a small portion of all the varieties of prasadam, and still this was a very huge amount. Thousands of people then took that mahaprasadam as Mahaprabhu Himself distributed it. When all the mahaprasadam was distributed to the Vaisnavas, everyone was satisfied. Then, after taking prasadam Himself, Mahaprabhu took some rest,
harsa-visade prabhu visrama karila
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-Lila, 11.100)
[“With both joy and sorrow, the Lord rested.”]
But lastly, Mahaprabhu gave a boon to everyone,
ye iha nrtya kaila, ye kaila kirtana
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 11.91-93)
“Anyone who has seen this holy function, danced here, or chanted here, will certainly get Krishna. Anyone who took prasadam at this holy function will also certainly get devotion to Krishna. This is the mercy, the great influence, of Haridas Thakur, and it is My boon to you all.”
Spoken on 7 June 1992.