Chanting produces best results when we go deeper into chanting. Standing on the shores of the ocean one can’t access the precious gems and jewels on the bed of the ocean; one will be tossed away by the waves. However if we go deeper into the ocean, we can access the pearls. Similarly by chanting superficially or occasionally, we can’t avail the benefits; we’ll be thrown away by the waves of material energy. We need to go deeper in our chanting to reap the fruits of chanting. What does it mean to go deeper?
A chanter’s life is centred on chanting. To make his life conducive for accessing the Lord’s mercy in the form of His Holy Names, the chanter engages in honest introspection; he asks himself if he’s sincere and is cultivating the right mood to please the Lord. Introspection helps us see our own weaknesses which most often we either deny or are unaware of. Introspection keeps us humble and helps us hear the voice of God within- the conscience- and desire to make important changes in our lives. Taking out time on a regular basis to introspect and examine our motivations and aspirations in our hearts requires hard work. But it’s worth it because such an exercise gives us the strength to initiate lifestyle changes that are conducive for practising the Hare Krishna yoga. A chanter also develops the maturity to realize that lifestyle changes have got less to do with the externals; rather our internal drive is redirected to facilitate better chanting.
A chanter attempts to lead a life according to the qualities of a devotee or chanter described in the scriptures. The scriptures reveal a true chanter of the Holy Names of Krishna to be humble, tolerant and forgiving. The effective chanting of Hare Krishna requires us to offer respect to all others and expect none in return. Radhanath Swami elucidates, “ When we lead our lives centred on the principles of morality, integrity and servitude, then the Holy Names will bring our consciousness deeper and deeper into understanding our own spiritual essence, and our relationship with God, the all beautiful.”
The rationale for this is the Holy Names blossom in a heart that is soft with finer and nobler emotions. Just as a seed will fructify if the soil is fertile, similarly the Holy Names will produce the best results when the heart is rich and fertile with qualities of gratitude, kindness, love and empathy. These qualities don’t develop overnight. A chanter works diligently through honest introspection, sincere prayers and selfless service attitude towards all others.
The cultivation of nobler qualities like tolerance and humility attracts the Lord’s grace. A child once asked his father why he needs to be humble. The wise father replied, “”My child, when you choose the lowly path, there is no place to fall and the only way is up.” We go up because the kind Lord notices our desire to be meek and humble. Cultivating this quality is imperative for good chanting of Hare Krishna.