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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Shachinandana Swami > The Nectarean Ocean of the Holy Name > VI. Tips to Improve One's Chanting > 2. The Inner Attitude Towards Chanting

2. The Inner Attitude Towards Chanting 


Taste for Chanting Comes from Chanting


The sounds of the material and spiritual worlds are completely different. Spiritual sound vibration is nectarean and eternal, whereas the sound of the material world is hackneyed and tempo¬rary. The sound of the holy name


Hare krishna Hare krishna krishna krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare


gradually increases the enthusiasm of the chanter. Even after chanting Hare krishna twenty-four hours a day, one will never feel tired, provided one chants purely, whereas the monotonous repe¬tition of material words soon leads to exhaustion. In Vrndavana, we observed EkadasT by chanting more than sixty-four rounds. On that day we completely forgot eating and sleeping. It was a wonderful experience. After pushing through one's conditioned nature—which otherwise chokes down the fire of enthusiasm like stinking wet blankets—one attains a level which finally can be called spiritual.

Once, some devotees asked how they could increase their desire to chant. Srlla Prabhupada answered:

By performing sankirtana. Just like if a man drinks and if he drinks, drinks, then you become a drunkard. [The example amused the audience.] Drink more and you become a drunkard. Similarly, chant more and you become a perfect chanter.1


Weeding in the Garden of Chanting


While the neophyte chants the holy name of the Lord to cultivate the creeper of devotional service {bhakti-lata), weeds might also start to grow.2 They are classified as follows:


1. Nisiddhacara: Actions that are prohibited in the sastras (scrip¬tures) and which must be strictly avoided by a person who wants to attain perfection.

2. Kutindti: Diplomacy and duplicity, like the propensity to find faults or to pretend to be an important devotee. This behavior satisfies neither the body nor the mind or the soul.

3.Jiva-himsa: Killing animals, but also envying other living enti¬ties. Srlla Prabhupada renders an additional meaning:

The word jwa-himsa actually means stopping the preaching of krishna consciousness. Preaching work is described as para-upakara, welfare activity for others. Those who are ignorant of the benefits of devotional service must be educated by preaching. If one stops preaching and simply sits down in a solitary place, he is engaging in material activity.1


4. Labha: The desire for material gain.

5.Puja: Striving for popularity and admiration.

6. Pratistha: The desire to become an important person in the material world, and other material desires as well, as Srlla Prab¬hupada explains:


A neophyte devotee is certain to be attacked by other material de¬sires as well—women and money. In this way the heart is again filled with dirty things and becomes harder and harder, like that of a materialist. Gradually one desires to become a reputed devotee or an avatara (incarnation).2


By summarizing the six weeds in the garden of life, Srlla Prabhupada explains how to distinguish,those weeds from the bhakti-lata:

These unwanted creepers simply present obstacles for the real creeper, the bhakti-lata. One should be very careful to avoid all these unwanted things. Sometimes these unwanted creepers look exactly like the bhakti-lata creeper. They appear to be of the same size and the same species when they are packed together with the bhakti-lata creeper, but in spite of this, the creepers are called upasakha (weed).   A pure devotee can distinguish between the bhakti-latd creeper and a mundane creeper, and he is very alert to distinguish them and keep them separate.1


Chanting in Humility


As mentioned above, most essential is the proper attitude towards the chanting of the holy name: To chant the holy name always, one should be humbler than the grass in the street and devoid of all desire for personal honor, but one should offer others all respectful obeisances. A devotee engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord should practice forbearance like that of a tree. Even if rebuked or chastised, he should not say anything to others to retaliate. For even if one cuts a tree, it never protests, nor even if it is drying up and dying does it ask anyone for water.


One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is al¬ways prepared to give all respect to others, can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord. Raising my hands, I declare "Eve¬ryone please listen to me! String this verse on the thread of the holy name and wear it on your neck for continuous remembrance." One must strictly follow the principles given by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this verse. If one simply follows in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya and the Gosvamls, certainly he will achieve the ultimate goal of life, the lotus feet of Sri krishna.2


In the purport to the above verse 32, Srila Prabhupada explains:

When chanting the Hare krishna maha-mantra, in the beginning one may commit many offenses, which are called ndmabhasa and nama-aparadha. In this stage there is no possibility of achieving perfect love of krishna by chanting the Hare krishna maha-mantra. Therefore one must chant the Hare krishna maha-mantra according to the principles of the above verse. Chanting is very simple, but has to be practiced seriously and humbly. Therefore the author of the Caitanya-caritamrta, krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, advises everyone to keep the trnad api verse always strung around the neck.1 Humility is the most essential attitude for proper chanting. If one chants like an arro¬gant fool, or full of lust, there is no way to actually hear the holy name.


Chanting with Respect and Veneration


Devotees of the Personality of Godhead know that Sri krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, is the Absolute Truth. They do not discriminate between Sri krishna's name, form, and pastimes. One who wants to separate the Lord's absolute name, form, and qualities must be understood to be lacking in absolute knowledge. A pure devotee knows that when he chants the transcendental name krishna. Sri krishna is present as transcendental sound. He therefore chants with full respect and veneration.2


A devotee should chant with respect and veneration. While sitting down for chanting, we should be aware that we receive krishna, first on our tongue and then in our heart, and we should behave accordingly. This results in a practical attitude, because if one respects and venerates a person, he naturally wants to serve him. (Therefore the japa-mala should never be put on the floor, nor taken to a dirty place like the toilet.)


Chanting with Dependence on krishna


Srila Prabhupada said that one should chant in the attitude of a child which is fully dependent on the mercy of his mother. This comparison is very suitable. A mother can recognize precisely the crying of her child. She does not come at every call; only when her baby cries with a certain intensity then she rushes to the scene. Similarly our attitude when chanting is decisive whether  krishna reveals Himself or not. An apathetic chanter who "ab¬solves" his rounds absent-mindedly and without real interest-rather automatically—will not be heard by krishna as much as a devotee who takes complete shelter of krishna while chanting.