“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 Krishna, which is feared by fear personified. 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?” – Srimad Bhagavatam (1.1.14, 16)
Sincere devotees often regret that there was a time when they had lot of taste in hearing and chanting but now something seems to have gone wrong somewhere in their lives. Why is it that we lose taste in the basic process of hearing and chanting of Krishna’s Holy Names and Krishna’s pastimes and what can we do to revive that taste?
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur, a nineteenth century Vaishnava saint says in his book ‘Harinaam cintamani’ that we begin to lose taste in chanting when we become inattentive in our practise of chanting of the Holy Names. He explains that inattention results in disinterest in the process and it’s an offense to the Lord’s Holy Names. This offensive mentality gives rise to strong desires for wealth, sex and fame. If these desires are growing in our heart, it’s an indication of our offensive mentality and also a lack of taste.
What do we do to remedy the situation? Immediately make a concerted effort to improve chanting and hearing. Faith and determination are the much needed remedy for this. With faith in the words of scriptures which glorify the process and with a determined action plan, we can eventually revive the taste. The taste is not some magic fruit that would drop from the sky while we lazily while away our time. No! We need to put in our heart and souls into the process if we want to avail spiritual benefits from this process.
Especially for those who are suffering due to a prolonged period of lack of taste, a concerted effort is a must. One who is sick and admitted in the hospital cannot immediately demand to jump off the bed and run on the streets happily. He first needs to go through the process of treatment. Similarly we need to first go through a disciplined medication of a regular dosage of hearing and chanting. Only then we can one day become ‘healthy’ and happily practise the process.
If despite years of hearing and chanting one thinks he’s feeling ‘dry’ and lacks any taste, then it’s time for serious soul searching. If a firm is facing serious financial difficulty and is about to close down, the owners would call for a meeting, discuss and chalk out a strategy to solve the problem. Likewise if despite years of practise of Krishna consciousness we aren’t feeling taste in hearing and chanting, it’s time we call for an internal ‘meeting’; we need to make some sacrifice and adjust our lifestyles or services. These adjustments would vary for each person, but essentially it means one has to sincerely search within for answers and more importantly implement the changes.
Once we do that and show Krishna our sincerity, the same Holy Names that appear to be a challenge to vibrate would appear sweet and nectarine.
“The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Krishna 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 (Verse 7)