Seeing King Mucukunda eager to know about His identity, Lord Kṛṣṇa answered smilingly as follows: “My dear King, it is practically impossible to tell about My birth, appearance, disappearance and activities. Perhaps you know that My incarnation Anantadeva has unlimited mouths, and for an unlimited time He has been trying to narrate fully about My name, fame, qualities, activities, appearance, disappearance and incarnations, but still He has not been able to finish. Therefore, it is not possible to know exactly how many names and forms I possess. It may be possible for a material scientist to estimate the number of atomic particles which make up this earthly planet, but the scientist cannot enumerate My unlimited names, forms and activities."
God has got unlimited names
- 1 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 2 Lectures
- 3 Conversations and Morning Walks
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Why do you not make an experiment and see by chanting? That is our request. Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. One may object, "Why shall I chant your Hindu Kṛṣṇa's name?" So we don't say that Kṛṣṇa, or God. God has got many names. That we admit. It is not... God is unlimited. Therefore, He must have unlimited names. But this Kṛṣṇa word is very perfect because it means all-attractive. You can discuss, "God is great." That's all right. How He's great? That is another understanding. So if you think that "Kṛṣṇa is the name of Hindu God, why shall I chant this?" So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, "No." If you have got a name, another alternative name of God, then you chant that. Our only request is that you chant the holy name of God. If you have got any name of God, you can chant. You'll be purified. That is our propaganda.
Kṛṣṇa's another name is Madhusūdana. Madhusūdana means He killed one demon whose name was Madhu. Therefore God's names are different according to different activities of God. God has got innumerable names because He has got innumerable activities. Suppose we are part and parcel of God. We have got innumerable... We cannot remember how many activities, how much activities we are engaged in, that, from our childhood up to this time. So just think about God. He is unlimited; therefore His activities are also unlimited. So He has got unlimited names also. Kṛṣṇa, of course, is the chief name, but He has got many other unlimited names also. So one of the names of Madhusūdana. Madhusūdana means He killed a demon, a very great demon. Therefore since then, His name is Madhusūdana. So what is the purpose of "Madhusūdana"? Why he is addressing... He could address, "Kṛṣṇa," directly because he is more known to Kṛṣṇa as friend, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. Why he is asking, why he is saying, "Madhusūdana"? That means this mind is as a big demon, just like Madhu. If it is possible to kill the demon, then we can attain yoga. You see? That, the particular purpose of Madhusūdana, that "You are a killer of Madhu demon. Now I think my mind is stronger than this Madhu demon. So if You can kill it, then it is possible for me to accept this yoga system." The mind is so agitated.
Kṛṣṇa... This is to be understood, that everyone thinking that He is born in the Yadu family, He is born of Vasudeva, or He is the son of mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja. This is Kṛṣṇa's pastime. When the impersonalist says, or there are many philosophers, that "God has no name," actually that is a fact. God has no name. But He has name according to His activities. Just like when He acts as the chariot driver of Arjuna, His name is Pārtha-sārathi. When He plays as the child of mother Yaśodā, He is called Yaśodā-nandana. When people say that He is born of Nanda Mahārāja, He is called Nanda-nandana. When people say that He came to protect Vasudeva and Devakī, He is called Vāsudeva, or Devakī-nandana. Or when He is in the Yadu dynasty, He's said as Yādava. In this way, Kṛṣṇa has unlimited pastimes and unlimited names. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam (Bs. 5.33). Ananta. Ananta means unlimited. He has got unlimited because so many devotees, not one devotees, and He has to satisfy everyone, as Nanda-kumāra, as Yaśodā-nandana, as Vāsudeva, as Yādava, as Pārtha-sārathi. So in this way, when one becomes bewildered that how many names He has got, so one should understand He has unlimited names or no name, but because He has to act unlimitedly, therefore He has got unlimited names.
Whatever you do, you take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, or God. "Kṛṣṇa" is the most explicit term for God. God may have many names. Kṛṣṇa is the perfect name. God has no name; some philosophers say like that. No name means that His name is understood by His different action. Just like Kṛṣṇa is sometimes called Yaśodā-nandana. Because He has accepted mother Yaśodā, to become her son, therefore Kṛṣṇa's name is Yaśodā-nandana. Kṛṣṇa's name is Pārtha-sārathi. Why? Because Kṛṣṇa has accepted to become a chariot driver of Arjuna. Pārtha means Arjuna, and sārathi means chariot driver. So Kṛṣṇa's name became Pārtha-sārathi. Kṛṣṇa used to steal butter from the stock of His mother's butter stock; therefore Kṛṣṇa's name is Mākhana-cora. So in this way Kṛṣṇa's name are varieties. Kṛṣṇa has unlimited number of activities, and according to such activity He has got unlimited names. But the primary name which is applicable in all circumstances is "Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa means "all-attractive." Kṛṣṇa attracts everyone. Otherwise how you're attracted? If Kṛṣṇa is not all-attractive... From the beginning of your life you never heard of Kṛṣṇa, neither you knew about Kṛṣṇa. Why you are attracted? Huh? So Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive. That is the perfect name of God, "Kṛṣṇa." Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa has got many names, sahasra nāme, thousands of names.
When you employ your tongue in the service of the Lord, then he becomes revealed. The tongue's business is to glorify the Lord, chant the holy names of God. That is specially recommended in this age. You cannot follow all the rituals in any scripture. That is very difficult. We are now so fallen it is not possible. Therefore the general regulation is that you chant the holy name of the Lord. It does not mean that we are requesting you to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. We believe that Kṛṣṇa is the name of God, but if you have got another name... God has many names. God is unlimited, therefore He has got unlimited names. So if you chant the holy name of God, it doesn't matter, if it actually meaning... Just like "water." Water, if somebody says jala, he means water. If somebody says "water," he means water. If somebody says pāni, he means water. So actually, if the word you use as the name of God, if it's actually real name of God, then by chanting that holy name, you realize God. Therefore tongue is the beginning of realization.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1971 Conversations and Morning Walks
Guest (1): We are giving names; therefore we become confused because in our God incarnation...
Prabhupāda: No, no. If there is name why you be confused? If your name is Mr. such and such but you do not know the name, that is the confusion.
Guest (1): Because so many names have been given to these same things...
Prabhupāda: But that is in the śāstra it is said, "There are so many names of God. Out of all of them, Kṛṣṇa is the principal." God's name is given... Just like Kṛṣṇa appeared as the son of Vasudeva; therefore He is called Vāsudeva. Kṛṣṇa played in Vṛndāvana as the son of Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā; therefore He is called Yaśodā-nandana. Kṛṣṇa acted as the driver, chariot driver Arjuna. Therefore He is known as Pārtha-sārathī. So His name... All these names are according to His different activities. So He has got unlimited activities, and therefore He has got unlimited names. So out of all these names, Kṛṣṇa is the supreme or the prime because Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. So God, if God is not all-attractive, He cannot be God. So one God is attractive for me, another God is attractive for... He is not supreme God.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: And His being Absolute, His name is not different from Him. The name and the form and the quality of God, they are all Absolute. Therefore chanting His name means associating with God. So when one associates with God, gradually He becomes godly. And when he is fully purified, then he becomes associate of God. (German)
Pater Emmanuel: (German)
German devotee: (translating for Pater Emmanuel) But we can understand the name of God only in a negative way.
Prabhupāda: No. God has unlimited potencies, and therefore He has got unlimited names.
Pater Emmanuel: Yes, but we are limited.
Prabhupāda: We are limited, but God is not limited. Unlimited. And because He is unlimited, therefore He has got unlimited names, not one or two but unlimited names. There is a Sanskrit book, Aṣṭottara-sahasra. There are 1,008 names of God. So 1,008 is also limited, but because we are limited, the God's names are given to us as far as we can understand. Otherwise He has got unlimited potencies, unlimited names. And each and every name is God because He is absolute.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: It is not, we are not recommending that you simply chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the name of God, but if you think that "Kṛṣṇa is Indian name or Hindu name, why shall I chant it?" No, you have got your God's name, you chant that. You chant that. We recommend that you chant. God's name must be. Then you'll be purified.
Atreya Ṛṣi: Authorized name of God.
Prabhupāda: Yes, name means authorized. Name means authorized. Not fictitious. If you chant fictitious name, that will not be effective. But if you chant real name of God, then you'll be purified. So if you have got name of God, chanting, there is no question of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. You chant. If you have got the name, real name of God, chant it. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ. God is unlimited, therefore He must have unlimited names also. But the name must be God's name; then you chant, you'll be purified. So there is no question of sectarianism in this movement. We are recommending that you chant the holy name of the Lord. Do it. Is there any objection? Suppose you say that you are Muhammadan. If I say you chant the holy name of God, have you got any objection?