Deity’s existence as and in the holy names

Let us assume that all the gods and goddesses, heavens and hells all exist within us. This would be consistent with the Upanishads, Jung, Campbell and others. Many of Chaitanya’s followers are said to have experienced Krishna within their hearts. Rather than an external, transcendental experience, perhaps we seek an inner, immanent experience of divinity.

There are more dimensions to this universe than we can fully conceive. Surely, one of them is the spiritual dimension. It permeates and sustains everything. All our devotional practices are meant to help us remain conscious of that spiritual level of existence constantly.

Chaitanya and his followers place an emphasis on chanting the names of God-dess, and they have thousands of such names to occupy themselves with constant chanting. Chanting takes various forms such as group singing, individual singing and silent or verbal repetition of mantras. I prefer to mentally chant Om, one of the oldest and simplest names of God-dess, as a meditation that can be done throughout the day.

Chaitanya’s philosophy is known as inconceivable oneness and difference. These names of God-dess are symbols. A symbol is not exactly what it symbolizes, yet it contains something of the nature of what it represents. It is a sign pointing to the ultimate which cannot be put into words. Yet words are what we have to work with.

Different languages have different names for God-dess. These names have the power to evoke God-dess within the mind of the devotee. Therefore, they make an excellent focus for meditation. The congregational singing of the holy names induces a group experience of the sublime.


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