Chapter-24: The Importance of Cows and the Holy Name of Vishnu

October 27, 1996

By Indradyumna Swami

Today one of my disciples has told me that she is constantly being harassed by ghosts. Before coming to Krsna consciousness, I didn’t believe in ghosts. But through the Vedic literature, we can understand that they do exist.

Srila Prabhupada writes: “Ghosts and mischievous hobgoblins are also the creation of Brahma; they are not false. All of them are meant for putting the conditioned soul into various miseries. They are understood to be the creation of Brahmä under the direction of the Supreme Lord.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.20.40 purport)

My advice to my disciple was to take shelter of the holy names. This is the remedy for ghosts given in the Vedic scriptures and emphasized by Srila Prabhupada:

“Thus Mother Yasoda began to chant different names of Visnu to protect the child Krsna’s different bodily parts. Mother Yasoda was firmly convinced that she should protect her child from different kinds of evil spirits and ghosts—namely Dakinis, Yatudhanis, Kusmandas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Vinayakas, Kotara, Revati, Jyestha, Putana, Matrkas, Unmadas, and similar other evil spirits who cause persons to forget their own existence and give trouble to the life-air and the senses. Sometimes they appear as old women and suck the blood of small children. But all such ghosts and evil spirits cannot remain where there is the chanting of the holy name of God. Mother Yasoda was firmly convinced of the Vedic injunctions about the importance of cows and the holy name of Visnu; therefore she took full shelter in the cows and the name of Visnu to protect her child Krsna.” (Krsna book, Chapter 6)

My disciple said that some devotees told her that for the holy names to be effective in dealing with ghosts, the name must be chanted purely. But the Srimad-Bhagavatam glorifies the effects of even unconscious chanting of the holy names:

apannah samsrtim ghoram yan-nama vivaso grnan tatah sadyo vimucyeta

yad bibheti svayam bhayam

 “Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krsna, which is feared by fear personified.” (Srimad- Bhagavatam 1.1.14)

There are other references:

“O Harinama, O name sung by the sages, O transcendental syllables that bring bliss to the people, even if You are spoken only once, and even if You are spoken disrespectfully, You at once remove the harsh sufferings of everyone.” (Sri Namastaka, Text 2)

“The Vedas declare that although meditation on impersonal Brahman cannot bring freedom from past karma, O Holy Name, Your appearance at once makes all karma disappear.” (Sri Namastaka, Text 4)