By Purushottam Nitai Das
Chanting the Hare Krishna maha – mantra isn’t a mundane activity but is in fact a means by which we can experience exponential spiritual pleasure.
Chanting connects us to Krishna provided we chant with utmost sincerity and seriousness. One of the most important requirements of chanting is that we should pronounce each syllable of the maha – mantra clearly and loud enough so that we can hear what we chant.
But many a times we the spiritual seekers chant inattentively without bothering if we are calling the names of Krishna with clarity or not. That the ability to chant Krishna’s name is a gift given to us by Krishna to re-establish our relationship with him is totally forgotten.
Have we ever bothered to ponder what if this gift, the gift of speech, is taken away from us one day?
Recently I underwent oral surgery and realized what it means not having the ability to speak.
The surgery which lasted for more than 2 hours was quite complicated and very painful. After surgery my mouth and gums were swollen and it was almost impossible for me to open my mouth and speak. Now as per the vow taken during initiation we are supposed to chant 16 rounds of Hare Krishna maha-mantra daily irrespective of any circumstances and so I tried to comply with the vow.
But chanting became a herculean task. With great difficulty I was able to pronounce each syllable of the maha – mantra and in spite of the efforts I was not able to utter the holy names with clarity. And the chanting was so feeble that I had to struggle to hear what I was chanting. Somehow I was able to complete my 16 rounds. But the excruciating pain during chanting forced me to remember those days when I had the ability and opportunity to chant with clarity but I rarely bothered to do so. During those days my mouth just uttered the words, the ear remained oblivious to those words and my mind mostly wandered recklessly taking me into different worlds. I rarely chanted with love and devotion, rarely thinking that the ability to chant Krishna’s name is also a gift given to me by Krishna. And never ever thought what if this precious gift is taken away from me one day. Although Krishna being so kind has not taken this precious gift from me. But the temporary ailment at least made me realize that how casual I have been in my chanting.
Inattentive chanting is the root cause why we do not excel in our spiritual journey. Most of us make multiple material plans but seldom make plans to grow in our spiritual life. We do not realize that our ephemeral body is deteriorating day by day. When we are hale and hearty then we have more opportunity to be Krishna conscious. But sadly we waste those moments pursuing sensual goals. But if we utilize such precious moments in practicing spirituality then result will be phenomenal, we can attain Krishna.
So next time when we have beads in our hands and we are ready to invest time in chanting Hare Krishna maha – mantra then we should invest all our consciousness in it and chant clearly, attentively and reverentially and enjoy the transcendental sound and feel Krishna’s presence in our heart. Hope when I recover fully then I too will become more serious in my spiritual journey.