Can the fleeting clouds ever cover the dazzling sun? No, still to our vision the sight and effect of the sun can be blocked by a tiny cloud. Similarly the Holy Names of Krishna are resplendent like the noon day sun. Just as the sun is by far the most important source of energy for life on earth, the Holy Names alone sustain the life of devotees in Krishna consciousness; our nourishment and strength comes from regular chanting of Holy Names. Yet when this radiant sun gets covered by the cloud of our neglect and offenses, we can’t experience their benefits.
Inattention or neglectful vibration of the Holy Names is a small cloud; its existence can be evaporated away in no time. One just needs to be attentive to the present by ignoring all the past and future that the mind tends to oscillate to. Yet if we ignore this small but critical step, the clouds of ignorance could get thicker and then unfortunate things happen.
The first is a relatively common type of inattention; our mind drifts away to myriad thoughts and sleep. And we gently but firmly pull the mind back to chanting. Silently persevering in our efforts we undo the covering of the clouds. Despite our occasional inattention, our purpose is fixed and hence the effect of the light and heat of Krishna is there for us to experience. Light refers to faith in Krishna and heat the experience of Krishna’s presence in our life. Even if clouds of inattention hover on the horizon of our consciousness, we remain fixed and happy while practicing the process of Bhakti.
However, when the clouds get thicker, the light of the sun is visible but the heat is inaccessible. That’s like the offenses rising as a result of which we may still believe in Krishna but the ‘heat’ of Krishna’s experience is lacking. We wonder why Krishna has abandoned us and why He doesn’t fill our hearts with joy.
But the worst is when the clouds get so thick that we feel neither the heat nor the light of the sun. As darkness sets in, a cyclone could be on the way, and the cold winds and sandstorm could even blind us. That’s akin to our disregard of the Holy Names reaching its lowest where we not only lack the experience of Krishna’s presence in our lives but we can’t even see the ‘light’ of Krishna; that is we lose faith. This is the stage when devotees despite practicing the process of Krishna consciousness for years turn to be atheists; they wonder if Krishna really exists. They can’t see the gigantic sun of Krishna behind their own petty clouds of neglect and self-deception.
That’s how inattention could degrade us. From apparently harmless oversight one could reach the lowermost degrading point of doubting God’s existence.
The solution is simple; wherever we are, we just need to be present to the chanting. Just a small step of being mindful to our daily chanting, and the clouds make way and the beautiful, ever shining Krishna is visible to us. We can then bathe our consciousness in Krishna’s loving presence, and feel the endless warmth of His love.
But the key is ‘attention’. Be there, or to put it better, ‘Be here and now!’