Tsunamis, Earthquakes and on the domestic front, a loved one leaving you is all potentially possible. Pain and distress cannot be avoided in our personal lives. And devotees are no exception to this rule of material world. Therefore during such crisis, only our connection to Krishna –experienced through hearing and chanting-can give us succour and hope. While doing the needful to care for the devastated families on the external front, internally devotees offer sincere prayers and encourage themselves as well as others to grab on to the process of Krishna consciousness as a dire emergency. Our absorption in hearing and chanting reflects our sincerity of practise.
The process of hearing and chanting is the most important for Bhakti Yoga practitioners.
To the extent we are submissive and absorbed while chanting the Holy Names and while listening to Krishna conscious class coming in the parampara, we’d get immense spiritual benefits. If we are casual and relaxed while hearing then we hardly get any realizations in Krishna consciousness. But if we are tuned in, and try to attentively listen to each word of the speaker, we’d feel richer after the class. If you lost control of the plane you are flying, and you are receiving messages from the Air Traffic control as your plane is shooting down, how desperately would you receive each instruction from the other side. Similarly in this material world we are riding this plane like perishable body, that’s only going down to old age, disease and death. As the inevitable death is nearing, we need to desperately hold on to spiritual instructions coming from the Srimad Bhagavatam. A sincere devotee is conscious that a disaster is round the corner. That’s how intensely King Parikshit heard the Srimad Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Goswami.
Sometimes we get distracted during class, or feel sleepy and are casual in our hearing. And the worst part is we justify our complacency by thinking, “Well, the class is getting recorded; I shall hear the recording later” Most likely you wouldn’t hear it later, and even if you do, the same pattern of inattention would repeat during the taped hearing.
The attitude of absorption in our practises not only helps us understand and see the realities of this world for what they are, they also smash our false hopes and expectations from this world. And then the process of hearing and chanting also brings positive joy; an experience of shelter of Krishna which fills the heart with peace and contentment.
Some years ago during the Tsunami crisis in Sri Lanka, relief workers were helping the victims but the authorities told Indradyumna Swami Maharaj who lead ISKCON’s relief operations that there is no dearth of monetary relief. But still the emotional trauma of the survivors was palpable, and he asked Maharaj if he had any solution for this. Maharaj lead ecstatic kirtans in each village and people were totally blissful and attached to hearing and chanting. They were crying in gratitude amidst the havoc the tsunami had created; the Holy Names of Krishna filled their hearts with hope even as the world around them had collapsed for ever due to the greatest crisis they would have ever faced in their lives.
Repeatedly we have seen devotees who sincerely chant and hear Krishna’s Holy Names face reversals bravely. Not only they find relief and shelter, they are able to give hope and shelter to others.
As the recent earthquake has bought grief to all of us, let us do what we can help the cause, and also spend time praying for the victims, and encourage everyone to come closer to Krishna, our real friend who awaits us in the spiritual world.