Is the holy name transcendental or immanent?

by Chaitanya Charan dasAugust 14, 2014
Transcribed by: Argha Maji

Question: Is the holy name transcendental or immanent?

Answer: As a sound vibration, the holy name is transcendental. As a manifestation of divinity, the holy name is immanent. What this means is, the word has different meanings in different contexts. So, when transcendental, the word is applied to sound vibration, then it simply emphasises the point that this is a sound vibration, which transcends, goes beyond ordinary sound vibrations. So, ordinary sound vibrations are uttered with material mouth and they are nothing but material sounds. But although this sound may be uttered with material mouth, actually it is Krishna descending in response to the call of the seeker or devotee and Krishna manifesting through the sound. So here the word transcendental when applied with sound vibration is simply meaning that which is beyond the ordinary. That goes beyond the range of ordinary sound. So here transcendental doesn’t have any relation with immanent.

So the word transcend is often used for simply to go beyond. He transcended the normal bodily performance. Some athlete does a superhuman performance. So it is said, he transcended. Now, there is no immanence over there. Transcend here means to go beyond the ordinary. As a sound vibration , the holy name is transcendental in the sense that it goes far beyond the ordinary.

But if the reference point is not the sound vibration, if the reference point is God, then God is manifesting through sound. So, the sound we are uttering with our tongue, using our material tongue and we can hear this sound. So, at some level, there is a material aspect to sound also. So God is manifesting through the material sound. Just as Krishna manifests his form in matter as deity, similarly Krishna manifests in sound as holy name. We say at one level, the deity is transcendental. But at the same time, the deity is transcendental in the sense that it is not ordinary matter. But when Krishna manifests in the deity, that is the immanent manifestation of God.

When the reference point is material object, then to emphasise that it is not ordinary material object we use the term transcendental. When the reference point is God, then we understand that this is an immanent manifestation of divinity. Holy name is transcendental sound vibration and immanent divinity. So it is sound which comes from spiritual world, golokera prema dhana , harinama sankirtana . From the spiritual world , it has descended. But in manifesting to us, when we sing with our material tongue and hear with material ears, so there is this transcendental sound manifesting at the material level, so in that sense it is immanent divinity. Thank you. Hare Krishna.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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