If you enjoy swimming in an ocean, you would sometimes face huge waves, and as you swim high on them, you enjoy the experience. However when the waves strike you unexpectedly, you struggle, being dragged down helplessly. We can’t take either situation seriously because it’s a temporary situation; the waves keep changing every moment, but if you are rightly anchored, the waves can’t threaten you. Similarly in life, we face the waves of success, and sometimes the waves of failures and suffering strike us unexpectedly. If we are anchored on chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, we would be sober and peaceful during both situations, and wouldn’t be dragged into extreme display of emotions.
One of Radhanath Swami’s good friends, Hayagriva dasa was a spiritual seeker who came in contact with Srila Prabhupada and assisted him in various services. However due to the power of the illusory energy, he got distracted and left the association, and engaged in many non-spiritual activities. He was lost. However few years later he contracted a deadly, life threatening cancer, and realized he had wasted precious time of his life. He came back, and with other sincere Hare Krishna chanters, engaged in Krishna conscious, spiritual practises.
As the disease got intense, and the pain and sufferings increased, Hayagriva anchored himself strongly on loving remembrance of Krishna and chanting of Krishna’s Holy Names. His deep, devotional mood helped him transcend the misery of cancer. Although externally he was in pain, his regret was spiritual; he lamented not at the terrible pain but on having strayed for some years from spiritual practises. He also simultaneously expressed profuse gratitude for being given shelter of Krishna. He once revealed to Radhanath Swami that during moments of terrible pain, he once got a doubt, “does God really exist? If yes, why do I have to go through so much suffering?” He then asked himself, “If God doesn’t exist, then all our spiritual teachers over the last so many millenniums would be lying, and what about our own loving Srila Prabhupada and the godly traditions that he taught us; would it all be false?”. Then with a beaming smile and tears rolling down his cheeks, Hayagriva exclaimed aloud, “Impossible. All of them cannot be wrong. Krishna is wonderful and He not only exists, He is wonderfully orchestrating events in my life so that I can take shelter of Him. I am grateful to God for being blessed with this cancer.”
If we are in this consciousness of seeking to constantly remember Krishna, then spiritual life appears wonderful. In that state, as we chant Hare Krishna, we would feel Krishna is personally talking to us. Radhanath Swami gives a graphic example to illustrate this point, “Just as a lover feels chills though his body as his beloved whispers loving words into his ear, similarly a devotee feels spiritual ecstasy as he hears Krishna’s love utterances in the form of the Holy Names.”
Therefore it’s important that we anchor ourselves deeply on loving remembrance of Krishna, by attentively chanting the Holy Names.