“Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.” (Bhagavad Gita 9.14)
“I find the concept fuzzy”, confessed twenty one year old Mohan when he heard me speak in class that if we make pleasing Krishna as our number one priority in life, we’d definitely make spiritual advancement. “How do I know I am pleasing Krishna”, asked Mohan, “besides, is there a yardstick by which I can measure my spiritual advancement?”
We then explored the subject of pleasing Krishna. “Arjuna knew if he was pleasing Krishna or not, because Krishna was right there”, continued the young man, “but for me, I can’t see Krishna and even if I am pleasing Him, I need to hear from Him that He is satisfied by my service”
“And one last thing”, he was brimming with emotion, “I want to lovingly remember Krishna, but I find it so difficult. I can’t see or feel Krishna’s presence, so how do I practically become Krishna conscious daily?”
Although there are a variety of ways we could look into this subject, my instant response was a question, “How does Krishna appear in this day and age?” “He comes in the form of the Holy Names”, said Mohan, for he knew the answer and had been a regular student of our weekly classes. “Then it isn’t vague”, I continued, “We simply try to please the Holy Names of Krishna”
“And how does one do that?” he probed me further. I replied, “By committing to chant the Holy Names, the Hare Krishna Maha mantra, a fixed number of times daily”.
“If you seek to get someone’s love in this world, what would you do?” I asked him. “Serve him, spend time and more importantly be right there, be attentive when you are with him”
“Exactly”, I exclaimed, “to get Krishna’s reciprocation, we simply need to be attentive as we chant, and spend time with Krishna’s Holy Names daily. And that means we are with Krishna. We just spend quality time with Him”
“And if you find it difficult to remember Krishna, you can remember your commitment of chanting. Ask yourself when you are in the midst of an activity, ‘will this action help me chant better?’ For example, let’s say you see a rich feast of savouries and sweets that are offered to you just before you retire at night. As your instinct drives you to gobble it, ask a simple question, ‘will this help me or trouble me in my chanting session tomorrow?’ and if you realize it’s not favourable for your next chanting session, and you give it up, you have pleased Krishna. And let’s say, an opportunity for service arrives at your doorstep. And you ask, ‘how is this going to affect my japa tomorrow’ and as you get an answer and follow it up with action, you’ve practised Krishna consciousness.
“And you can feel it too”, I assured, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Just be enthusiastic and attentive to Krishna’s Holy Names, you’d yourself feel connected and happy. No one else needs to certify it”
For many, thinking of Krishna seems a muddled notion. Yet chanting is a doable, practical activity. If I become chanting conscious, I am Krishna conscious. If I am constantly meditating on how to be more focussed in my chanting, how do I keep my body and mind healthy so I could chant better, how do I balance my job, home and friends so that I could chant the Holy Names, or how best to deal with Krishna’s devotees that would help me get the grace of the Lord to help me chant better, these questions that we ask are a symptom of our sincerity. As we think of executing our Krishna conscious duties, we are coming closer to Krishna.
Therefore enthusiasm to chant the Holy Names of Krishna is non-different from serving Krishna directly, and being with the chanting is the same as savouring the personal association of Krishna.
Let me now invest more attention, and enthusiasm into my chanting, and I also wish to add feelings to my japa.