Hard work or hardly working?

Some spiritual practitioners complain that despite many years of practising the Hare Krishna yoga, the chant seems to be a drag. They wonder why there is no taste in the process. Radhanath Swami reveals the cause of this phenomenon to be lack of hard work. He cites the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna tells his student Arjuna that He reciprocates with different people the way they approach Him. If someone approaches Him sincerely, endeavouring to attract the Lord’s grace, the Lord abundantly showers the taste. On the other hand if one utters the mantra in a parrot like fashion and is more keen to get the job of chanting done so that he could get into something else, then the Holy Names reciprocate by helping the chanter just get his or her job done. If we see our chanting session as an opportunity to associate with God personally and offer our heart to Him, we will access the reservoir of pleasure in God’s Names. On the contrary if we ritualistically execute the process, we’d be as far away from the Lord’s grace as a person would be from honey if he only licks the bottle of honey from outside. The opening of the lid of honey can is compared with the shedding of lethargy; to the extent we invest our consciousness, we are right there with Krishna, accessing His divine mercy.

In his talks on Holy Names, Radhanath Swami often quotes the story of cleaning of the Gundica temple. This temple is in Jagannath Puri, Orissa, India, and five hundred years ago, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of God for the present age, preformed the pastime of cleaning this temple. During the annual festival of chariots, Lord Krishna’s deity form is carried in a chariot from His temple in Puri and bought few kilometres away to Gundica. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates would very meticulously clean the Gundica temple a day before the cart procession as an offering of loving invitation to the Lord. While elaborately describing the narration, Radhanath Swami draws parallels and urges us to be sincere in cleaning our heart which is the temple of God. Just as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cleansed all the dirt from the temple, we too need to work hard on our spiritual path. During the cleaning service, all associates of Lord Chaitanya piled up the dust they had collected during the cleaning. However Lord Chaitanya’s pile of dirt that He had cleansed was more than double of all the other devotees’ pile put together. Radhanath Swami draws our attention to this hard work and enthusiasm of the Lord Himself in inviting God into our hearts. There is no substitute for sincerity in our devotional path. “Sincerity means really putting our heart and soul into what we are doing for Krishna”, says Radhanath Swami, “and doing the best means putting all our eagerness and enthusiasm in every aspect of our devotional service.”

Radhanath Swami sums it up beautifully, “To the degree we perform our devotional service with the spirit of enthusiasm and determination, to that degree we will capture Krishna. Krishna is conquered by our sincerity.” Radhanath Swami loves to also quote his guru, Srila Prabhupada, who often said, “Just be sincere”, and this is the mantra next only in importance to the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.

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