Chanting to be Our Life - Part 2

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In yesterday's e-mail I had sent the below past time of Lord Rama.

Once Lord Ramachandra was sitting with Srimati Sita Devi and brother Laxman. Of course, the great devotee Hanuman was sitting at the lotus feet of Lord Ramachandra and was chanting His Holy Names with his eyes closed. Lord Ramachandra asked Hanuman with a smile, “My dear Hanuman, I am here in front of you but instead of looking at me, you are chanting my name with closed eyes. Why is that?” Hanuman opened his eyes and replied “My Lord, by seeing You, many were liberated but many more were liberated just by chanting Your Holy Names”.

From the above pastime, we had discussed about learning from activities of Pure devotees, importance of chanting and today we will discuss on importance of chanting and hearing.

03.Chanting and hearing should be concurrent: Recently during our weekly program, I was discussing with one of the devotees about attendance in house programs. When I told him about our Gurudev’s instruction, “Do not see the number of attendees. The program must go on”. On this point the devotee enlightened me with example of Vidura and Maitreya Rishi. The preaching was one to one. He further stated that even there is no one, we can still speak loudly which will reflect from walls and we will hear the same. That will be double service i.e. preaching as well as hearing. In the purport of Srimad Bhagavad Gita verse 12.2, Srila Prabhupada states “A pure devotee is constantly engaged. Sometimes he chants, sometimes he hears or reads books about Krishna, or sometimes he cooks prasadam or goes to the marketplace to purchase something for Krishna, or sometimes he washes the temple or the dishes — whatever he does, he does not let a single moment pass without devoting his activities to Krishna. Such action is in full samadhi.”

Srila Prabhupada mentioned about chanting and then about hearing as well. When I came in contact with Krishna Consciousness programs, I used to see that senior devotees put one hand on the ear while chanting. I was told that this gives us opportunity to hear our chanting and also helps in focusing our mind at the Lord’s lotus feet. Our beloved Gurudev keeps on hammering us this simple process of chanting. He has given us all possible liberty. He has told us that counting on beads is the best but if beads are not available, count on fingers. If you cannot do even that, just chant, Krishna will count for you. It is really surprising that our dumb minds refuse to accept that fully. How simple it is to chant? One does not require any specific tool, complicated process or preparation. We have to just say “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” using the tongue which is ever ready to speak out all kinds of nonsense which is most of times not only harmful to others but also to self.

Gurudev keeps on telling us repeatedly on two points “Time is short, Please do not waste it.” and “when we get old, we will stop getting support from our hands, legs, eyes, ears. If we have not practiced enough and are not prepared for that, we will not be able to perform devotional service”. If we have practiced very well, the two services we will be able to perform in our old age are Chanting and Hearing. The chanting need not be loud because our vocal chords, teeth and tongue may not support our wish, but our mind can continue chanting if brought under control and if the practice is started at a young age, as Prahlada Maharaj says in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.6.1 (kaumāra ācaret prājño). Similarly, our ears may stop working for physical hearing from outside but if we have trained ourselves, then we will be definitely able to hear our own chanting from inside. Krishna is pleased with any small offering so one will be able to please Him with this small offering even when one is completely disabled.

We can chant all the time without giving excuses. Sometimes we cannot chant loudly when we are in public places. So if we develop the habit on concentrating on Paramatma in our heart and chant loudly in our mind, we can not only engage in devotional service to Him but also will be able to keep away material things which always captures this idle mind which is ready to become a devil’s workshop within fraction of a second. In Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.32, it is said:

śṛṇvatāṁ gṛṇatāṁ vīryāṇy uddāmāni harer muhuḥ
yathā sujātayā bhaktyā śuddhyen nātmā vratādibhiḥ

One who constantly hears and chants the holy name of the Lord and hears and chants about His activities can very easily attain the platform of pure devotional service, which can cleanse the dirt from one's heart. One cannot achieve such purification merely by observing vows and performing Vedic ritualistic ceremonies.

In the purport Srila Prabhupada guides us, “Even if one chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra offensively, one can avoid offenses by continuously chanting without deviation. One who becomes accustomed to this practice will always remain in a pure transcendental position, untouchable by sinful reactions” and “It is better to chant the holy name of the Lord so that one may become fully purified and eligible to return home, back to Godhead. That is the aim of life, and that is the perfection of life.

I came across a song in which the poet writes in ecstasy “My Shyamsundar is with me. Neither I have anything to offer nor I have money to spend on Him. Only what I have is His name which I chant with every breath of mine.

Let us therefore sincerely pray to the Supreme Lord, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev to bestow their mercy upon us, so that we will be able to chant His name all the time i.e. when awake or when in dreams and get as much purified as possible from our sins.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Milind Joshi
Singapore.