Vanity thought #345. What’s a Name?

I was reminded of an important thing today – unless one is fully liberated he can’t serve Krishna directly, he must serve the orders of the spiritual master instead. This makes sense – as long as we see ourselves in the form made of external energy we must serve external manifestations of the Lord, too.

That raises an equally important concern, though – what is the Holy Name? We don’t see or hear it as fully spiritual so what makes it Holy? I think it’s only the words of the spiritual master that fill material sounds “Hare Krishna” that we hear so often with spiritual energy. Of course they are not material, one could say, but I am talking about our perception – we don’t see them as spiritual and they sound just like any other word coming out of our mouths.

Same thing happens with Deities – they are not material but we, due to our imperfection, see them as such. In fact Deities and the Holy Name are non-different. That leads to my today’s question – what is a Name? Is it a sound? Is it a form of the Deity? A form of Srimad Bhagavatam?

The sound coming from our lips doesn’t make it a name, we can repeat it over and over again and it won’t become a Name. With our impure hearts we can also look at the Deity all day long and see only a brass figure, nothing else.

Maybe the only thing that makes the sound or a form truly spiritual for us is the blessing of the guru, and the Name can manifest Himself through any material form, not necessarily through sound. Even washing the dishes could bring us in contact with the Name if it’s done under the directions of the spiritual master.

If the guru tells us to chant Krishna might notice our efforts but if the guru tells us to mop the floors and we ignore the order and start chanting – Krishna won’t be there.

The possibilities are unlimited – our entire lives can be easily connected to guru’s orders. He tells us to read books and follow instructions – and there it says we should perform our duties. So we can’t ignore our jobs and chant instead. It is also our responsibility to maintain our bodies healthy so that they could be used in Krishna’s service. Means we can’t let our bodies rot or develop high blood pressure and get high levels of cholesterol, that would be against the orders of the spiritual master.

With an attitude like this it doesn’t really matter whether we are chanting or not – every action done in accordance with the desires of the guru is as spiritual as chanting Hare Krishna mantra, and conversely, chanting done against the orders of the guru is as useless as scratching our bellies.

The danger is that we can use this as an excuse to do anything we want and claim it’s all for Krishna, but we can’t do anything WE want – the attitude of service to the guru won’t be there and there will be nothing spiritual in our actions.

So, we have to chant sixteen rounds a day and more if we have time but not while neglecting any other of our duties, and no, we don’t come in direct contact with Krishna by simply saying His name, only if we say His name under the direction of the guru, only then it becomes the Name.

Also, there are no spiritually more important things to do and spiritually less important – only our material consciousness makes them so, and if we think that any particular service is less important we are really damaging our spiritual progress at the expense of our bloated material ego.

I haven’s said anything new today but I need to remind myself of these things from time to time, I tend to forget. Easy to remember when you are living in a temple with all kinds of managers always on your tail, not so easy when you are out on your own, in the wild.

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