What Feeling Should We Have in Mind While Chanting The Maha Mantra
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.
– Chaitanya Mahaprabhu siksastaka
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu , the inaugurator of the sankirtan movement in India some 500 years ago, advised that people should chant in a mood of humility and tolerance. This will enable the practitioner become God conscious in his day to day activities.
Humility comes when we understand that that we are a tiny soul, in a vast and complicated universe and that each of us really has no control of anything except his/her ability to worship the Lord. When we understand our helplessness, we can sincerely call out to Krishna to accept us!
While chanting Hare Krishna, the devotee is offering service to God. He prays to be able to render service always. This mood of offering service makes the heart soft and a fit place for the Lord to reveal His grace.
Humility, sometimes misconstrued as a weakness, is actually a power that few people tap. The opposite of humility, makes us crave for honour from others as our source of happiness. When a proud person is disrespected, his lack of freedom becomes appallingly obvious; he is forced by pride to lose his prudence and explode with words and actions, often hurting the other person and even himself far beyond what the situation warrants. Humility, on the contrary, brings freedom from the craving for external honour and empowers us to act for our and everyone’s long-term good. Humility doesn’t mean that we let others trample upon us without protesting, but that we don’t let others’ (mis) behaviour determine our decisions and lives. Humility allows us to calmly consider the cause of disrespect and maturely adopt a principled course of action to clarify the situation and rectify the misdemeanour. This helps the practitioner to always remain peaceful and God conscious.
Tolerance is also a very powerful tool. A relative behaves unreasonably, a colleague speaks impolitely, a power cut upsets our plans, and another vehicle cuts across our path-such daily situations offer rich premiums for the tolerant. Tolerance empowers us to not let irritating circumstances steal our peace of mind. Lack of tolerance makes us a victim of our circumstances whereas tolerance brings the freedom to choose an intelligent response and stay fixed in our values and goals, irrespective of our circumstances.
Humility and tolerance protects us from internal over reactions to externally distasteful situations. They are most essential spiritual bodybuilding exercise that empowers pure and uninterrupted chanting the holy names of God.
Trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtanyah sada harih
There are four important qualities mentioned in above sloka
Trnad api sunicena – one who thinks himself lower than the grass;
Taror iva sahisnuna – who is very tolerant than a tree;
Amanina – who does not expect personal honor;
Manadena – but who is always prepared to give all respect to others;
In this state of mind one can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
Why are these qualities so important for the chanter?
As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja explains, someone who considers himself to be the supreme enjoyer can neither understand his own insignificant position, nor can he be patient. He is not interested in giving up his false sense of distinction, and is strongly disinclined, or even unable, to regard anyone else as equal.
Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami declared “Everyone please listen to me! String this verse on the thread of the holy name and wear it on your neck for continuous remembrance. If one simply follows in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya and the Gosvamis, certainly he will achieve the ultimate goal of life, the lotus feet of Lord Krsna.” Humility is the most essential attitude for proper chanting. If one chants like an arrogant fool or full of lust, there is no way to actually hear the holy name.