Why do we fail to find taste, why do we lose the discipline to perform chanting and hearing as a daily duty of life? In the Harinama Chintamani, Bhakti Vinod Thakur analyzes this difficulty in regard to inattentive chanting of holy names. He states that if a neophyte devotee is not very scrupulous in taking up the practices of chanting and hearing, he will quickly grow distracted, and this will produce “a type of illusion, causing serious offense against the holy name that are very difficult to overcome.” What happens is the one simply gives up the interest in pursuit of spiritual life and turns his attention to carvings for wealth, sex and fame. “When these attractions cover the heart, the neophyte gradually loses interest in chanting of the holy name.” Realized in this way, the failure to pursue the two main practices of bhakti (sravanam kirtanam) is not due to the omission of a particular detail, and it is certainly not the fault is in ourselves. We have become weak-hearted, and so maya has entered once again and turned our hands. We do not want to chant and hear about the Lord because we are absorbed in sense gratification.
A good beginning for japa and reading reform is to accept this blunt analysis of why we are not interested in sravanam kirtanam. Let me admit, ”I’m not interested in chanting because I have too many material desires. “This is humbling, and it is the truth. I could offer more intricate and psychological reasons, and even circumstantial explanations, excuses and rationalizations, but it is better to reach the bedrock: acceptance of our causeless unwillingness to serve the Supreme Lord. Now we will be in a better position to consider the grave dangers of material life and to recall why we were attracted to Krsna consciousness in the first place.
There will never be clearer analysis of why we cannot chant nicely than the explanations and remedy given by Rupa Gosvami in the Upadesamrta
The holy name, character, pastimes, and activities of Krsna are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidya (ignorance) cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names everyday, a natural relish awakens within the tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root.
– Nectar of Instruction, Text 7
Chapter 3 – Obstacles in Chanting & Reading (Pg no- 43)
Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service
– By H.H. Satsvarupa dasa Goswami