A culture of scriptural study helps us provide our intelligence with the ammunition to fight the disloyal mind. During chanting, as the mind wanders, we can pull it back to the sound of the Holy Names by internally connecting to the sound of scriptures. The Vedic scriptures are the sound representation of God, and they contain many verses extolling the glories of Holy Names. The more we remember the importance of chanting the Holy Names as enunciated in the scriptures, the more our mind is tuned into the Holy Names, and consequently peaceful and cooperative.
On the basis of these scriptures, one effective way of tackling the mind during chanting is by constantly asking three questions to ourselves- the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of Holy Names. What is the Holy Name; Why should we chant the Holy Names; and How should we chant.
The answer to the first question is given in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya lila, 17. 133: “‘The holy name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions. Krishna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krishna Himself. Krishna’s name is always pure, liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical.”
The more we meditate on the question and answer regarding what exactly is this Holy Name that I am vibrating, we’ll be inspired to chant attentively.
The answer to the second question on Why should we chant is explained in Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi lila, 17. 21-22
“‘In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari. In this Age of Kali, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, is the incarnation of Lord Krishna. Simply by chanting the holy name, one associates with the Lord directly. Anyone who does this is certainly delivered.”
As these words ring in our ears during the japa session, the Hare Krishna yogi finds it easier to pull the mind to chanting.
And the answer to the third question on how should we chant the Holy Names is revealed in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya lila, 20.21: “One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honour but is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.”
There are many more references in the scriptures about the Holy Names. As we cultivate the habit of studying these statements and introspecting on the significance of these verses, we make stronger and deeper connections with the Holy Name. Radhanath Swami has time and again emphasized on the need to study sacred texts and also see the world and its myriad events through the eyes of scriptures. This means a Bhakti Yogi hears the sacred teachings of scriptures from saintly people. This not only improves our understanding of the world and its bizarre events, but it also improves our chanting and brings us closer to God. As Radhanath Swami put it wisely, “A truly learned person does not see through his eyes, but sees with his ears.”