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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami > Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service > Obstacles in Chanting and Reading > Introduction

3.Obstacles in Chanting and Reading


According to Srlmad-Bhagavatam, all obstacles can be overcome by one who regularly chants and hears the message of the Supreme Personality of God­head:


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. . . Who is there, desiring deliverance from the vices of the age of quarrel, who is not willing to hear the virtuous glories of the Lord?—Bhag. 1.1.74; 16


The Bhagavatam also speaks of cutting the knot in the heart. This knot, hrdaya-granthi, is the total of all our false attachments to the self and the world. If that knot (false ego) is untied by the Supreme Lord, then one realizes the happiness of the self.Srila Prabhupada also used the metaphor of hur­dles which appear on the path. He writes, "The transcendental name of Krsna, even though uttered unconsciously or by force of circumstances, can help one obtain freedom from the hurdles of birth and death" (Bhag. 1.1.14 purport).


Chanting and hearing about Krsna is also com­pared to "switching on the light of pure knowledge within the heart of the devotees." When the Supreme Himself takes charge of illuminating the heart of the devotee, then one cannot remain in darkness. The sastras also compare the removal of material obstacles to cleaning away dirt. This is done primar­ily by the process of sravanam and kirtanam.


Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma (Supersoul) in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the-devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. —Bhag. 1.2.17


Who can fail to be moved by these statements? He must be stone-hearted. Who will not chant and hear the glories of the Lord, after hearing the praises of sravanam kirtanam as given in Srimad-Bhagavatam? His ears are no better than the holes snakes crawl into. His voice is no better than the croaking of the frog, who calls to attract death.


Despite the Vedic promises that Krsna removes all problems when we chant and hear, it is not uncommon for initiated devotees to become slack in these primary practices. Does this mean that the descriptions of the glories of sravanam kirtanam are false advertisements? A sincere devotee will never accept such a blasphemous statement. And yet on a personal basis, devotees sometimes have doubts whether sravanam kirtanam will actually work for them. Despite vows to chant at least sixteen rounds a day, many give it up, or reduce the required quota. The reading of Prabhupada's books is also some­times given up, or reduced to an occasional glance. In cases like these, it is not hard to understand that the obstacles in the path of devotional service are primarily caused by the lack of chanting and hearing. Therefore, the most dangerous obstacle of all is when we neglect the very things that brings us release from the knots in the heart.