A: Two of many benefits of chanting the Holy Name can be mentioned:
Chanting of Holy Name of the Lord can have finally only one result: development of love of Godhead. Some may chant in order to gain relieve from pain, some may chant out of curiosity, and some may chant to gain some social acceptance. All these “practitioners of the Holy Name” may be benefited by ajnata sukriti, subconscious benefit, but cannot reach the final goal.
Nevertheless, there are benefits, which can be experienced very quickly when the chanter is serious and ready to receive Krsna’s benedictions.
As reported by the first disciples of Srila Prabhupada who were attracted to His Divine Grace´s pure chanting of the Maha Mantra, when they started to chant, very quickly were lifted above the entrapment of the mind and the other senses. Even chanting in midst of the hellish city of New York, as if being “coated by some protective shield”, they felt the IMMUNITY against constant madness and agitation they were exposed to. Even being in midst of entirely demonic environment, they experienced freedom they never knew before. As if the ghastly scenery surrounding them would become an external stage for theatrical play not concerning them at all.
Even when chanted with offences, the Holy Name has the effect to liberate us from the continuously tormenting grip of material energy.
When gradually becoming purified, the chanter may come to the level of ruci, a spiritual taste, which he wants to experience again and again, despite all the discouragement material energy can offer.
Second effect a sincere chanter can experience is a RISE OF CONSCIOUSNESS. In the way the soul is heavily covered by illusion it cannot perceive the depth of its sinfulness, what to speak of the reactions it may receive due to its obnoxious type of behavior.
Such is the nature of mode of ignorance. As Srila Prabhupada stated, first one has to realize that he suffers before being able to reach out for help. Most of the conditioned souls don’t even know they do suffer, as matter of fact they mistake often suffering to be a pleasure. But when chanting, the aspiring devotee is calling for help, asking Krsna to engage him in devotional service of sravanam, kirtanam, Visnu smaranam, constant glorification and consequent memory of the Lord. Such sincere soul will receive guidance how to be situated in proper way.
Indeed, to realize oneself to be a criminal is not a pleasant realization. Some may become surprised, remembering that they were initially informed that “by chanting of the Holy Name you become happy”.
Yes, indeed, by chanting one becomes very happy, but transcendental happiness can be only experienced after knowledge is acquired via tapasya. Tapasya, renunciation, is described by Srila Prabhupada as VOLUNTARY renouncement of objects of sense gratification. Only when higher taste is gained, to that degree one is able to renounce the lower taste in reality.
Repeatedly it is demonstrated by “religionists”, as Srila Prabhupada called them, those who are fond of religious practice without understanding its meaning. That if not higher taste is acquired, one will be induced by the lower taste to act sinfully. Therefore, there is a Krsna conscious scientific process of gradual purification, starting with sincere chanting and proper placement of the body in a regulated confined situation. Those reaching out for the stars without looking at the road may fall on their faces into the mud material energy so plentifully offers.
Krsna states that only those who know the functions of both energies, material and spiritual, are eligible to return back home back to Godhead, That doesn’t invite an extensive study of the illusory energy of the Lord. Such empiric study is dangerous and leads often to the acceptance of whatever was negated before.
To experiment with intoxicants makes the researcher likely intoxicated himself. Whatever is given by Srila Prabhupada in His books is entirely sufficient, no further empiric studies are needed.
And so immunity against the constant impact of material energy along the rise of consciousness are two instant effects of the chanting of the Holy Name, provided the chanter is sincere and ready to harvest what he saw. Chanting is always beneficial, even when practiced unconsciously, but the effect can be swiftly realized when the chanter is eager and sincere.
Volumes of books were and can be written about the chanting of the Holy Name, but these two primary effects can be experienced by anybody.
Sincere chanting attracts the mercy of the Lord who is in return promising to illuminate the path of such sincere devotee aspirant, even though the spiritual master is not yet physically present in his vapu form, or the chanter doesn’t have the proper sastric knowledge. Such is the mercy of the Lord.
Adi Purana 104-108:
There is no vow like chanting the holy name, no knowledge superior to it, no meditation which comes anywhere near it, and it gives the highest result. No penance is equal to it, and nothing is as potent or powerful as the holy name.
Chanting is the greatest act of piety and the supreme refuge. Even the words of the Vedas do not possess sufficient power to describe its magnitude. Chanting is the highest path to liberation, peace and eternal life. It is the pinnacle of devotion, the heart´s joyous proclivity and attraction and the best form of remembrance of the Supreme Lord. The holy name has appeared solely for the benefit of the living entities as their lord and master, their supreme worshipable object and their spiritual guide and mentor.