Many people may be chanting Hare Krishna, yet not all access the deep benefits of chanting. It’s an open secret. A story may illustrate the point better.
Once one disciple approached his guru and asked for a secret mantra that could help him make rapid progress in his spiritual life. The guru gave him the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. Excited, the disciple went home, chanting the mantra to himself, and feeling assured that he’s discovered a rare and precious mantra. On the way home, he saw young boys chanting the same Hare Krishna mantra while playing. He was surprised that they too had access to this confidential mantra. He continued walking home, and a few minutes later, saw some women washing clothes and also chanting Hare Krishna. As he wondered if it was indeed a mysterious mantra that his guru had given him, he saw fishermen chanting Hare Krishna while pulling their nets. He questioned to himself that if the mantra given by his guru is confidential, why everybody is chanting it. He returned to his spiritual master and sought a clarification.
Instead of answering his question, the guru gave him a stone and said, “This is the rarest of all valuable gems. Offer this to the people you met and ask them what would they trade this for. However do not sell it to anyone. Just enquire about the price they would like to offer.” Perplexed, but with faith, the disciple went out to the same people he had earlier seen and showed them the stone. The young boys found it of not much value in their games and said they wouldn’t trade it for nothing. The washer women said maybe the stone could be useful in washing their clothes and they could spare a few rupees for the stone. The fishermen found the stone too small to tie their nets; hence they too saw no use for it. The disciple returned and reported to the guru that none could value the stone. “Similarly”, the guru said, “the Holy Names of Krishna is like a rare diamond. Even if many have access to it, not all know its value and hence most can’t avail the benefits.” The guru later revealed that the secret of the mantra lies in how we approach the names of God. If we have a casual attitude, the Holy Name remains a mystery and a dry vibration. However if we reverentially approach the Holy Names of Krishna, the Name will reveal to us the most confidential of all spiritual truths.
Radhanath Swami often quotes the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that He rewards people according to the way they approach Him. If we are sincere and prayerful while chanting, a whole new world of spirituality opens up for us. “It’s not our scholarship or memorization of scriptures that reveals God to us. Our love, humility, devotion and surrender reveals the Truth to us”, says Radhanath Swami. “The devotional intent reveals the spiritual content.”