I was kinda in a hurry today and started my daily rounds even before I could go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, I was half asleep. It was nice, actually. My mind hasn’t woken up yet and hasn’t filled itself with all mundane garbage that keeps it going during the day.
It’s in these wee hours that the importance of the Holy Name became clear to me. It is far, far more important than thinking about anything else. The Name is the only thing that matters, period.
Unfortunately this realization didn’t last long. As soon as I got up and went to prepare myself for the day the clarity was gone and I had all kinds of scheduling things, billing things, annoying things, managing things, responsibility things and what not crowding my mind and fueling it up for a hectic day.
Every pause I had since then I was searching for this lost clarity. Where does it come from? Where does it go? Why can’t it be maintained? How can it be restored? How can it be made to last?
Surely it is not simply a consequence of chanting in half awake state. What about the days when I wake up after an engaging dream? Those stay in my head for good half hour.
One thing this clarity might come from is overwhelming love for Krishna. If you got that you can’t physically think of anything else. If you haven’t got it, welcome to the club.
The other thing it might come from is super clear intelligence. If I really understand how this world works and what’s important here and what’s not than I can clearly see the chanting Holy Names cannot be interrupted under any pretexts. Where does this intelligence come from?
It might come from thorough understanding of our philosophy. If I read books very carefully and pay real attention it should be clear to me that I have to give up everything and start chanting instead. Or is there more to it?
I sort of understand this point now, why doesn’t it work? What’s missing? Is there a secret ingredient somewhere? Like in those situations when you can explain our philosophy very nicely to someone and they would look totally convinced but then say “it’s not for me”. Does it happen with devotees, too? Sure happens to me.
Like I was watching this old TV show today and there was this guy who said to himself that he should grow up and behave like responsible adult, but not today.
I think it all comes back to the taste, love, and devotion. Catch 22. You can’t get those without chanting (or any other kind of sincere service), and you can’t start chanting sincerely without some kind of devotion first.
Besides, there was a voice in my head that was telling me that I should chant even if I don’t feel any love, that intensive chanting is all I have to do in this world. Where does that come from? Okay, it could have been Paramatma’s nudge but I can’t count on it at all times to do the intelligence part for me. Not with every round, not with every mantra.
There must be something else.
An easy shortcut is reading books, searching for the mood, not for arguments. If I read books not to prove something to myself but to absorb other people’s devotion, it should rub off on me, too.
Arguments don’t prove anything. Lord Chaitanya could out argue anyone else and when He was done he could argue against His previous opinion and defeat Himself, too. I have observed the same in “real” live – it’s impossible to win a debate against a fully committed person. You can bring a jury and they can declare your victory but that person will still be unconvinced and will not admit defeat.
It’s not the arguments that win the debates, it’s dogged determination, ie arguments do not possess absolute qualities, determination does, because if you have it, the Lord will supply the results and you will win.
Debates is actually a battle of wills, nothing more.
So, when I read our vaishnava literature I shouldn’t be looking for good, rounded, flawless explanations, I should be looking for devotion to the Lord. Forget the structure of the universe or the origin of the soul – it’s a total waste of time trying to argue something like that. Forget searching the vedabase for translations of some Sanskrit words or explanations of some puzzling episodes. That’s a waste of time and resources, too.
What I should be looking for is prayers, what I should pay attention to is glorifying the Lord, either by commentators or shlokas themselves. The value of Bhagavatam is not in its complete explanation of our philosophy, it’s in perfect glorification of the Lord.
It’s not very easy to force my mind to do that but at least I’m not in despair, not for now.
Maybe on the day when just don’t get it I will give it another thought but for now I’m saved and can go to sleep in peace.