Vanity thought #922. Hare Krishna Hare Rama

I believe I wrote about this before but that seems to have been long time ago while the point still stands as important as ever. It’s very straightforward – at the time of confusion or indecision we should simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Practical application, however, does not happen as often as expected. We just don’t comprehend the profundity of the solution. Most of the time we don’t think it apples and when we do we don’t think that it really IS the best choice. Consider the situation described in this meme:

What to do if this happens? It’s not a hypothetical situation, I believe we all have been through variations of it many times in our lives. Devotees are not likely to be so excited about work or study but replace it with service, preaching, and reading books and it suits each and every one of us. Who has never got inspired to turn his life around and become a real servant of guru and Kṛṣṇa?

These are very moving moments, big promises are made to ourselves and to the Lord, tears well up in the eyes and hearts are overwhelmed with humility and devotion. While the rest of the world sleeps in ignorance we think we’ve literally realized that verse from Bhagavad Gita, especially the first part of it (2.69):

    What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.

Should we push on with our inspiration to surrender or should we realize that it’s 1 AM and we are not doing anyone any service by depriving our bodies of necessary rest. It’s probably not the first time either so we know that the morning we won’t feel as charged as expected and that our enthusiasm is likely to be short lived. If we want to do some real service then we should mind our sādhana, which demands being tired at night and supercharged early in the morning, not the other way around. Feelings of devotion are nice but dwelling on them just for our pleasure and, let’s face it, a bit of a pride of being such a great devotee, are not worth a sleepless night. So, should we nurse our scumbag brain to sleep (that’s the meme’s name)?

This is the perfect time to just drop the subject and start chanting, even if only in our minds so as not to wake up everybody else. Would it interfere with our rest? Would it kill our surge of devotion? Would it lull us into sleep? Would it seal the promises we made to the Lord? Answers don’t matter – if we are confused chanting is the best option, let the Lord and His energies sort out the rest.

Think of it this way – as living entities our sole dharma is chanting of the Holy Name, everything else is secondary. Sādhana is important but only as a tool that leads to chanting, not on its own. When we know what we have to do and we have our orders then executing them is the only acceptable course of action because that would lead to better chanting, because guru gives orders to make us into better devotees. If we don’t have any particular orders then we are expected to chant on our own. Sleeping, eating, mating, and defending have to wait.

In this particular case – if we can’t sleep we have to chant, as easy as that. Chanting also helps separate our utsāha-māyī, false enthusiasm, from actual devotion that manifests only through pure chanting, unadulterated with any mundane emotions or considerations. Incidentally, it also helps to sleep.

Other situations might be more serious, like decisions we have to make publicly when people expect us to take charge of things and display knowledge and determination. Can we shirk away from this responsibility and start chanting instead of making a decision? No and yes, absolutely.

We can’t blame our indecisiveness on Kṛṣṇa (we are facing the problem of being unable to make a decision, after all) so we can’t say “Let me chant a few rounds, maybe God will help.” That would be presumptuous and would likely elicit scorn and ridicule, which is not what people should associate the Lord with in their minds.

If we can’t ask for a timeout and we have to make a decision – what’s the best and fastest way? Society teaches us that we should think harder, Śrila Prabhupada teaches us that we should put our faith in Kṛṣṇa’s hands and become totally dependent on Him. This, however, doesn’t mean that we should stop thinking when we need to. So, think or chant?

Chant, even if only in our minds. Thinking is the process driven by the modes of nature and time acting on our knowledge, memories and previous experiences. It’s NOT under our control, if we think so we are delusional, we don’t know our actual position in relation to the world around us. We can’t force time, we can’t change our accumulated knowledge, we can’t change prevalent modes of nature, we can’t change our memories, we can’t change laws of reason and logic that help us arrive at the conclusion – these are all mechanical things outside of our control.

People who observe decision making processes for a living like, for example, teachers or advertisers, know these mechanics very well and with experience they can predict “our” decisions with a hundred percent accuracy. All our decisions have explanations even if not logical but emotional ones which means that the reasoning is already there, we just don’t see it yet but it WILL become visible in the future.

So, what’s stopping us from chanting? Nothing. It won’t stop neither the time nor the guṇas nor the outcome, which is determined by our karma anyway. If our brain is supposed to produce a particular decision, be it based on logic, emotions, or a toss of a coin, we can’t stop it and we can’t make it come any faster, so chant.

Approaching this from another angle – knowledge and remembrance come from the Supersoul anyway, what’s better way to appease Him and elicit His help than chanting the Holy Name?

And, like lulling ourselves into sleep, our chanting is so pathetic that our minds actually work faster and better when we do it rather than when we actually sit and brainstorm solutions, so no loss there anyway.

Oh, and today I saw a band performing on stage (on TV) and they were singing George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord and mumbling Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Rāma in the background though I’m sure they had not a slightest idea what that was about. Sweet.

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