Would that work?
I mean these two comedians, Key and Peele, had a sketch where Peele is boasting about his sexual escapades, runs out of words, and starts simply making up sounds, which leads to this krishity-krishna crushed it.
Would that give him liberation? And to Key as well, because he was also there. Actually, there is about a dozen people credited with writing and directing that episode and there were numerous other people engaged in producing it, and there were hundreds in studio audience and about a million and a half people who saw it on TV. Would any of them achieve liberation? Have achieved liberation?
While the context of the sketch is sexual no one was actually thinking about sex when Krishna’s name was pronounced. Well, some people always think about sex but let’s focus on those who had no visible material motivations and were either doing their jobs or simply being in front of the TV when they heard it.
Would this unintentional chanting of the Holy Name give them liberation?
Once Lord Chaitanya asked Haridasa Thakura how to deliver mlecchas and yavanas and in response Srila Haridasa gave him an explanation of the potency of the Holy Name when it’s pronounced even by non-devotees (CC Antya 3.50-65).
Many things were said there and many verses quoted, but, apparently, the name works regardless. Most often cited is the example of Muslims shouting “harama” which for them means “abominable” or “condemned”, according to Srila Prabhupada’s explanation. There’s this wikipedia entry on it here. Srila Haridas states that even when they pronounce the Holy Name while thinking of sin and abomination it still liberates them.
I should note that there’s an apparent discrepancy between what was said by Srila Haridasa and Srila Bhaktvinoda regarding separating the syllables. In Chaitanya Charitamrita Srila Prabhupada gives an explanation by Sanatana Goswami to a verse from Padma Purana (CC Antya 3.60).
Suppose one is using the two words halaḿ riktam. Now the syllable ha in the word halam and the syllable ri in riktam are separately pronounced, but nevertheless the holy name will act because one somehow or other utters the word hari. Similarly, in the word rāja-mahiṣī, the syllables rā and ma appear in two separate words, but because they somehow or other appear together, the holy name rāma will act, provided there are no offenses.
The verse itself is pretty straightforward:
If a devotee once utters the holy name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that holy name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts…
Srila Bhaktivinoda, however, writes the following in Harinama Cintamani:
Chanting should be free from any form of disruption because this will result in offenses against the holy name, which in turn pose an insurmountable obstacle on the path to success. Vyavadhan or ‘disruption’ is of two kinds. The first type is known as varna-vyavadhan or disruption in the syllables. For example, in the Bengali word ‘hathikari’, ‘ha’ and the last syllable ‘ri’ can be put together to form ‘Hari’, a name of Krsna. But because the syllables ‘thi-ka’ are inserted in the middle, the repetition of ‘hathikari’ will not give actual benefit. Yet the Islamic word ‘haram’ is not perverted by such disruption of the syllables or varna-vyavadhan. The syllables comprising the holy name ‘Ram’ are uninterrupted; hence, speaking the word ‘haram’ gives liberation because it is namabhasa.
I’ll leave it to the acharyas to sort it out, as Srila Prabhupada once non-chalatantly said that there’s no reason for acharyas not to occasionally disagree with each other on minor points, and now I wish I noted down where I saw that quote.
The point is – the only obstacle to being liberated by the sound of the Holy Name is offenses, and there are many kinds of those, but if it works on Muslims killed by a boar who have no intention of calling Lord Ramachandra (CC Antya 3.56), why wouldn’t it work on these two comedians and anyone else who witnessed it?
What about common words like panorama that has the name in them?
If we take explanation by Srila Haridasa literally, the entire English speaking world would have been liberated already, why is it not happening? Or would it work only if “Rama” was said at the moment of death? That would explain the example of a Muslims dying while struck by a pig, because otherwise haram is their common expression. Maybe it’s the dying that makes all the difference.
Similarly, Ajamila was liberated on his deathbed when he called his son, Narayana. I’m sure he called his son many times before but no Vishnudutas appeared then just as they don’t appear every time we say Narayana or Krishna.
Makes you wonder what is so special about death, because Krishna started Bhagavad Gita with making it into practically a non-issue. Of course remembering Him at the moment of death has always been the key to entrance into His abode but making this success dependent on one offhand word means death is not just like changing of our clothes.
Srila Haridasa Thakura didn’t mention death specifically anyway, he repeated again and again, with variations, that “the letters of the holy name have so much spiritual potency that they act even when uttered improperly” and he was speaking about benefiting yavanas in general, not only those who happen to die at the hands of a pig.
So, would either Key or Peele or both achieve liberation for casually inserting Krishna’s name in their sketch? It came to them for a reason, they remembered it, and, ironically, Krishna is an expert in all kinds of sexual conquests, though not with any of those “half Ethiopian half Chinese” girls Peele was talking about.
Personally, I can’t help it but look at these two clowns differently from now on. Who knows when they’ll remember Krishna next, it seems He is permanently etched somewhere in their memories, and that makes them into devotees even if they don’t know it yet. It’s just a matter of time anyway.