Hare Krsna !
Guru Maharaj ,
Please accept my most humble and respectful obeisances at your holy lotus feet , all the glories to Srila Prabhupad , the Vaishnavas and Sri Sri Gaura Nitay .
I hope your health is better. We need you for many more years.
My questions are:
1. With what mental attitude should we chant the rounds?
The answer is in the Siksastakam, the eight prayers written by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The first two verses explain the importance of the Holy names of Krishna and the remanent six teach how we should chant Them.
The verse three say we should chant in a humble state of mind.
trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”
What “being humble” means?
Humbleness is the natural mental state of someone who is in love. If we fall in love with a woman we do not speak or behave with arrogance and bullying her, but our mental state is gentle. We want to make her happy.
Similarly through knowledge, practice of the principles taught in that knowledge and consequent realization, we feel attracted to Radha Krishna, to Vrindavana and to Their wonderful pastimes. At that time nothing and nobody really matters anymore and we become lost in that world of divine love.
That “gentle” and “in love” state of mind is what “humble” means.
Only in that state of mind we can chant the names of Radha Krishna always, without ceasing (sada harih).
And until we are not so lost in love of Radha Krishna and therefore we are not “trnad api sunicena” (feeling lower than a downtrodden grass), nor “taror api sahisnuna” (more tolerant than a tree), nor “amanina” (without being puffed up by false pride) nor manadena (giving respect to all), what should we do?
The explanation is included in the answer of the second question.
2. Is it offensive to have thoughts of wanting to finish them quickly?
Some of us may feel that they have more important things to do in life than chanting the Maha Mantra so while chanting our mind goes to those things. But actually there is nothing more important in life than chanting the Holy name of Krishna.
It’s not nice to go to visit an important person and look at the clock hoping that the time goes by as fast as possible to leave. But Krishna is very merciful and appreciates the effort you are making to chant Hare Krishna and will overlook your lack of taste of His names.
We are at the level of sadhana, which means practice. We are not at the level of spontaneous love. We are not even at the level of love.
Sometimes we feel some pleasure in chanting Hare Krishna but most of the time we do it only because we know that it’s good for us. We have heard so from the spiritual master and we make an effort to do it everyday.
Just like going to a gym to improve our body health. Not always we like to lift weights and things like that but we force us to do it because we want to feel better.
So while it is important that we endeavor to chant Hare Krishna listening to the names contained in the Mantra etc. we should not feel discouraged or offensive if we do not feel enough pleasure to not think to material engagements.
This is our present level. Krishna is in our heart. He knows and he’ll send us ways to help improve.
3. In your personal experience, does the pleasure of doing them develop with time?
The process of Krishna Consciousness definitely works.
No senior Vaisnava is what he was in the past, when as a young man was struggling with lust, pride and anger. Those who are advanced feel a great pleasure in speaking about Krishna, in remembering His teachings and plastimes, in serving his spiritual master and so on and so forth.
The process of Krishna Consciousness works wonderfully and there is no better life than this.
– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
28 apr 2019
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