Radhanath Swami advises us to ignore the mind while chanting Hare Krishna, lest it deludes us and distracts us from the path of spiritual progress:
“In life, some of the most dangerous enemies cannot be seen, we don’t even know they are there; we may even consider them as our friends. That is the way the mind works.”
As we repeatedly hear about the mind’s whimsical nature, we should know all the ideas we get during our chanting session is simply the work of an enemy known as Mind. Sometimes during chanting the mind presents itself as a friend who cares for us and presents ideas that could help us in our job, family life or various services. That’s when we have to ignore the mind as much as when the mind protests and conjures negative feelings towards others. Either way the mind shouldn’t be trusted. Just keep chanting Hare Krishna and moving the beads and focus on listening to the syllables of the Holy Names. As the mind wanders, we shouldn’t get agitated. Just keep chanting; don’t give up the process and eventually the mind cooperates.
A story from Buddha’s life illustrates this point. Once while travelling, Buddha became thirsty and asked his disciple to get some drinking water from a lake nearby. The disciple saw a bullock cart pass through the lake and as a result all the mud stirred up and dirtied the surface. The disciple didn’t want to give his spiritual master the muddy water to drink. He waited for half an hour and then when the mud settled and the lake was once again crystal clear, he fetched the water. Buddha asked him the reason for his delay and on hearing the answer, smiled. The Budhha then revealed, “Our minds are like that. It’s stirred always with bullock cart like thoughts and desires. All past impressions and desires keep troubling us but just don’t give in to those desires. They will eventually settle down”
We can learn an important lesson from this. During the japa session, as the mind howls, don’t give up the chanting. However bad the mind’s demands, don’t give in; let’s keep chanting till we complete our daily quota. The lake of mind will eventually settle down. But be rest assured, tomorrow as you sit for another japa session, the mind will once again agitate. Again the solution is the same; do not react.