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Why do we fail to find taste, why do we lose the discipline to perform chanting and hearing as a daily duty of life? In the Harinama Cintamani, Bhaktivinoda Thakura analyzes this difficulty in regard to inattentive chanting of the holy names. He states that if a neophyte devotee is not very scrupulous in taking up the practices of chanting and hearing, he will quickly grow distracted, and this will produce "a type of illusion, causing serious offenses against the holy name that are very difficult to overcome." What happens is that one simply gives up interest in the pursuit of spiritual life and turns his attention to cravings for wealth, sex and fame. "When these attractions cover the heart, the neophyte gradually loses interest in chanting of the holy name." Realized in this way, the failure to pursue the two main practices of bhakti (sravanam kirtanam) is not due to the omission of a particular detail, and it is certainly not the fault of the process of bhakti itself. The fault is in ourselves. We have become weak-hearted, and so mayo, has entered once again and turned our heads. We do not want to chant and hear about the Lord because we are absorbed in sense gratification.
A good beginning for japa and reading reform is to accept this blunt analysis of why we are not interested in sravanam kirtanam. Let me admit, "I'm not interested in chanting because I have too many material desires." This is humbling, and it is the truth. I could offer more intricate and psychological reasons, and even circumstantial explanations, excuses and rationalizations, but it is better to reach the bedrock: acceptance of our causeless unwillingness to serve the Supreme Lord. Now we will be in a better position to consider the grave dangers of material life and to recall why we were attracted to Krsna consciousness in the first place.There will never be a clearer analysis of why we cannot chant nicely than the explanation and remedy given by Riipa Gosvami in the Upades-amrta:
The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Krsna are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidya (ignorance) cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root. —Nectar of Instruction, Text 7
Rupa Gosvami's verse is worth putting on a 3" X 5" card in a place where we can see it every day— and not just see it, but feel it.