By Kadamba Kanana Swami
The essence of the process that we are following in this movement is the chanting of the holy name. This process is the yuga dharma – the dharma (religion) for this age of Kali. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has made this chanting of the holy name widely available to us and also added his extra mercy. The holy name has been chanted widely throughout the millennia but in this particular millennia, there is the added mercy of the Lord himself. Therefore, now it is very easy and quick for us to chant Krsna’s name and attain the results.
It is described by Rupa Goswami that in other Kali yugas, there are also incarnations of Vishnu who teach harinam sankirtan. But because Vishnu is not the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot invest the name with the special mercy by which prema (love) is very quickly attained. So in those yugas, the chanting is going on, but it is difficult; the progress is slow. But now, the progress is very quick as the added mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is rapidly invoking Krsna prema.
In the first initiation, the main focus is the holy name – that is the essence! The spiritual master chants on the beads first to invest them with his blessings and the blessings of the entire parampara (disciplic succession), coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is then that he invests his special mercy on us. Therefore, even though one has been chanting before, where the mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is still available to all, the spiritual master invokes the entire parampara’s prayers during an initiation, which is very powerful!