Vanity thought #1388. Limits of the Name

There aren’t any, right? The Name is identical with Kṛṣṇa, what possible limits could be there? And yet my Saturday marathon experience tells me otherwise. How so?

I wanted to chant a gazillion number of rounds on Saturday and I thought the Holy Name would help me to get through but it didn’t. I don’t mean I blame the Name for not finishing the gazillion (though that kind of help would have been nice), I mean that I didn’t feel the Name cooperated with me at all.

It’s not the number of completed rounds that I was really after, I just wanted to spend the entire day with the Name, in Name’s company. Just sit and listen and be together. It usually works, but not this time. Of course there are days when my mind is too disturbed to listen and my heart isn’t in the right place but these distractions are usually temporary, like clouds in the sky. I would have accepted having one, two, maybe three bad hours, but this time it even felt differently, it was as if my mind was disturbed on purpose and not by myself.

I tried very hard to shut it off and find my place but it was impossible. Even when I ignored what was going on there and listened only to the sound it didn’t go away. I would even say that my heart was in the right place, I knew what I wanted and I tried very hard not to give in to mind’s temptations, but some other forces were at play, too. Did they limit the Name? I think so.

Actually, I think it’s not some external powers interference but the limits of the Name Itself. It just couldn’t do what I wanted it to do or what I expected it to do.

Btw, I decided to use a neuter pronoun “it” for the Holy Name because that’s how I naturally see it. If the day comes when Name’s personal form is revealed to me the I will address it accordingly. It would be weird for me to talk about the Name as “He” at this point, it might be technically correct but it doesn’t feel right and it doesn’t reflect the reality as I see it, and I’m talking about MY experiences here, so I’m just being honest.

So I was wondering why the Name appeared so cold and distant and not comforting at all. Usually It reciprocates with however we want to relate to It – in practice it’s really up to us how to feel about the Name – that’s how reliable Its reciprocation is. This time it didn’t work.

And then it hit me – the Name is fully contingent, fully dependent of the guru’s mercy. It’s the guru who limits Its power. The guru is the boss and the Name has to comply. As far as we are concerned, the Name has no separate existence.

Of course it does exist – I heard It, It was there, but It won’t reveal itself without guru’s permission, which is as good as being non-existent because it’s the relationship with the Name that matters, not Its existence per se.

Basically, what I’m saying is that if the guru tells you to dig you can’t chant your way out of digging. You have to do what guru says, there’s no alternative.

In my case the required minimum number of rounds per day is sixteen. We can certainly chant more than that but we have to follow guru’s other orders, too, we can’t neglect them. Of course we don’t have specific todo lists posted for us each morning and all other tasks are general, not daily requirements, but still.

I mean guru tells us to read books – in general, though sometimes some disciples get an order to read minimum two hours every day. I don’t think it applies to me, though. Or maybe it does, I’ll get to that later. Guru tells us to preach or to distribute books but it’s also a general advice, it doesn’t mean that if we have other engagements on one particular day the it means we fail to follow. I guess if one has a deity to worship then he can’t skip on that service but I don’t have a deity, no deity in His right mind would ever entrust Himself into my service, that’s just how it is.

So, if all these orders are general and it wouldn’t be an offense to skip on them on one occasion in favor of something else, particularly chanting, why didn’t it work? Well, for one thing, reading everyday IS a standing order, I might not remember a specific occasion it was given but I know it’s expected. However, there are days when I don’t read and nothing happens, so that must not be it.

I believe the offense was of a different kind – we have a standing order not to imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura and I tried to. I didn’t mean to, I just wanted to chant whole day – what’s wrong with that? The assumption that it is possible for me to do so in a proper service attitude, I guess.

All the other things I do everyday might not be as spiritually pure as chanting but when they are assigned to me by my karma and under Kṛṣṇa’s supervision it means they are meant to be done as service. There’s a whole Bhagavad Gīta to explain how everything must be done as a service to the Lord, no need to go into specifics.

What I did instead is ignore these naturally coming, and actually pre-arranged opportunities and decided to do my thing in my own way instead. AFAIK, neither Śrīla Prabhupāda nor my guru, nor any spiritual master in ISKCON wanted their disciples to chant non-stop, they’d rather have us working on purifying our material desires first, and I neglected this duty. Well, I didn’t have any particular material desires on that day, nothing that required immediate attention, but the point still stands – it is our duty to utilize material facilities provided by our bodies according to our nature to purify our consciousness. Attending to bodily needs does not have to be the source of bondage but we should turn it into a source of liberation.

Another argument could be made that since everything that happens to us happens with permission of the Lord, then how could my attempt to chant was any different? Wasn’t it arranged by the Lord for my purification, too? And if it did, how could it be seen as a transgression?

The answer is this very post – if I didn’t screw up my Saturday marathon I wouldn’t have realized the power of the guru and that the Name cannot be expected to act independently of him.

Of course Kṛṣṇa can do whatever He wants but in our relationship with Him He acts through our guru and only through our guru, and we wouldn’t want it any other way, considering that our goal is to be a servant of the servant of the servant. If Kṛṣṇa reached us directly, over and around our guru’s head, it wouldn’t be the relationship we want to have with Him or meant to have with Him, so He doesn’t.

Just think of all those manjaris in Vṛndāvana, if they had a bit of spare time, would they want to go and have a look at Kṛṣṇa on their own or would they have considered it as a betrayal of their commitment to facilitate relationships between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā? They don’t want Kṛṣṇa for themselves, they want Him for Rādha. This is true not only for manjaris, too, very few people get to relate to Kṛṣṇa directly and on their own there, everyone else does so in the context of being subordinate to other devotees.

One more thing to clarify – by guru I don’t mean only the physical initiating spiritual master but the guru principle in all its aspects.

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Vanity thought #1308. Nam-e

Some insist on making the difference between the name and the person it refers to, between nāma and nāme. It’s a subject I feel utterly confused by. We are always told how Kṛṣṇa and His name are no different but the arguments for the difference are compelling, too.

If there was no difference then gopīs, for example, wouldn’t be able to talk about Kṛṣṇa without making Him immediately appear. Forget the years when Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana, it would have been very inconvenient for making their usual secret plans. I mean they talk about Kṛṣṇa all the time but still have to go and meet Him in person, how could it be possible if there was absolutely no difference between Him and His name?

Or how about this. Gopīs meet Kṛṣṇa, somehow one of them utters His name, does it mean that the second Kṛṣṇa immediately pops up out of nowhere? Of course not. From all we know about life in Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa Himself and the sound of His name are not one and the same, they act pretty much like in the material world, nāma and nāme are clearly different.

So what about the basic tenet of our philosophy then? Perhaps the difference is there but it makes no practical difference for us. In our conditioned state the name has enough power to accomplish whatever is necessary and nuances start to matter only in the spiritual world. I haven’t seen any of our ācāryas explain this matter so there might be another explanation, it’s a bit confusing, as I said.

I remembered this subject, however, when reading the currently most commented article on Dandavats. One devotee wrote about corruption of Rāma into Rāmo during kīrtanas. As far as I can see, everybody does that. There’s also the point that Śrīla Prabhupāda once interrupted such kīrtana and asked “Who is this Ramo?” There’s also the argument that while Rāmo might be a popular pronunciation in Bengal the mahāmantra is not Bengali but Sanskrit one. If it says Rāma in Sanskrit then that’s what we should sing.

Still, everybody does that, I can’t imagine we all got it wrong, including devotees who are quite strict about unauthorized mantras.

As far as I can remember, there are two counterarguments. One time Śrīla Prabhupāda said that pronunciation doesn’t really matter because Kṛṣṇa knows who we are calling.

Right, yes, He knows we are calling Rāmo, question is – does He know who that is?

This counterargument is totally unacceptable to me. It implies that we sing from the heart and our hearts are pure and so there’s no one but Kṛṣṇa there. No matter what we say, our sincerity will always evoke only Kṛṣṇa Himself.

That’s not how vaidhī bhakti works at all.

For any sincere practitioner on the stage of vaidhī bhakti it should be clear that our hearts are full of anarthas and cannot be trusted. We accept external instructions as superior, not the other way around.

“Kṛṣṇa knows” argument basically says that our hearts are pure and absolute and we can do no wrong while the instructions of guru-sādhu-śāstra are relative and subject to interpretation according to time, place, and circumstances. Quite a hellish attitude to possess.

Yesterday I mentioned that Śrīla Prabhupāda once stopped an extravagant kīrtana and said that it was simply singing for sex life, the infamous “Hari Bowl” competition in Māyāpura. I remember Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī making a similar comment, too.

Perhaps Kṛṣṇa knows who that “Rāmo” is – the god of subtle sex enjoyment! Maybe there’s no such god at all but it works – whoever sings his name gets fame and adoration as an expert kīrtanīyā and tons of female admirers.

Another argument for “Rāmo”, or at least against strict “Rāma”, is pronunciation. Śrīla Prabhupāda might not have sung Rāmo but he often pronounced only Rām, without the last “a”. As far as we, his followers are concerned, this should be accepted as legitimate. Can we explain it, however?

Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra is said to have 32 syllables, if we cut the last “a” in Rāma we would also cut four syllables from the mantra and it should greatly reduce its potency. For all we know about Sanskrit, we have no freedom to mess with mantras and mistakes can lead to very unexpected and unwelcome results.

The only thing that comes to mind is that last “a” might not count as absolutely necessary to form a syllable. Unlike in English, syllables are not counted strictly by vowels in Sanskrit and a consonant might count as a syllable even if not explicitly followed by a vowel, I don’t know enough to state this with any confidence, though. “M” at the end of Rām is also last in the group of labial consonants, meaning that it can be made with lips closed, meaning you can make the sound without letting air out and thus producing a vowel anyway – looks like a syllable on its own to me.

Some say that if you listen to Prabhupāda’s chanting very carefully you’ll notice that there’s always a short “a” at the end of what initially appears as “Rām”. I don’t know, I haven’t tried myself. With these tests people tend to hear what they want to hear anyway, their brains automatically adjusting raw information coming from the senses.

Another part of the “pronunciation” argument is that everybody does it, it’s only an accent, and, in one case, someone said that Indians say “Devki” instead of “Devaki” and therefore this is correct. I beg to differ, we are not obliged to follow Indians in these matters, we are not Hindus.

Lord Caitanya made fun of East Bengali pronunciation, for example, it’s not sacred. We don’t even know His own accent because it has likely been corrupted through time, and there’s no one Bengali accent anyway, among the variations it’s impossible to say which one is authoritative as far as mantras are concerned.

As for the rest of Indians – they don’t speak Sanskrit, they have corrupted it first into Prakrit and later into Hindi. It’s safer to assume that whatever their pronunciation is, it’s NOT how the words were supposed to be pronounced originally. Hindi might be infinitely closer to Sanskrit than English but it’s still a different language so we can’t insist on accepting Hindi pronunciation of Sanskrit words just as we don’t insist on English “name” instead of Sanskrit “nāma” – clearly the same word.

By corrupted I don’t mean changing only the pronunciation but all sorts of corruption that happens when one deviates from unalloyed devotional service, which was well hidden even from Sanskrit purists. It’s not just the language they corrupted, it’s the service to the Lord, and therefore it should be unacceptable to us.

Śrīla Prabhupāda said lots of good things about Indian culture but it’s still only somewhere half way between our total degradation and Śrīla Prabhupāda himself as a pure devotee. They are better than us but not as good as our ācāryas, any lessons we take from them must be taken with a grain of salt and run against the standards set by our sampradāya.

So, is it okay to chant “Rāmo”? I think not, but as long as we are not doing it to impress others it would not be the end of the world. Is it okay to chant “Rām”? I think it should be generally acceptable, following Prabhupāda’s example is the safest way for us and he, apparently, sometimes said “Rām”.

Vanity thought #1249. Illustrations

I’ve had a couple of episodes demonstrating the truths spoken in Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta’s article in the eighty year old issue of the Harmonist. Nothing special, I just want to look at them from the perspective offered there.

First, an unrelated case – about a week ago I dreamt about Vṛndāvana. Seriously. I didn’t see much, all I remember is going down the slide which felt like one of those old playground slides made of metal, except this one was decorated with lots of flowers. Lots. It was more like sliding through a tunnel of flowers, that’s how many were there. I have no idea what they were called but they are big and bright. I don’t remember any smells, though.

As far as I remember, I was testing this slide for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, just checking how it works. They were not present themselves, in fact no one else was present there at all, I was all alone and that worried me – what’s the point of being in Vṛndāvana without association with devotees there? It didn’t feel special in any way at all, save for those astonishing flowers.

I don’t believe I had a glimpse of actual Vṛndāvana in any sense, just a mental concoction, and I didn’t even like it very much. I remember I was upset that I was doing the testing myself and it was like I was actually enjoying the dhāma, not serving it.

The reason I mention it at all is that I was fairly pleased with my attitude – no enjoying the facilities, and lack of association as a big bummer. It was all in the dream, I wasn’t consciously directing it, maybe my mind finally learning something useful.

The dream I woke up from this morning, however, was directly related to Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta’s article. I had some altercation with a couple of Muslim guys, there were those big, curved Muslim sabers waved and a lot of stabbing that somehow wasn’t fatal. The Muslims had finally had it with me and tried a new tactic – they converted me to Islam right on the spot and then called on their friends to kill me for rejecting the conversion.

I don’t remember what the ritual was, but, apparently, my consent wasn’t necessary, they just recited some hymns and I was a Muslim. When I protested they called for help in enforcing no denouncing rule. Now I had a whole mob on me and I had no time to explain anything, not that anyone was going to listen. Death was all that was on their mind. I didn’t feel any kind of animosity towards them but I ran for my life as fast as I could.

That’s what Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta called “latent partiality for untruth”. Being protective of one’s life is an all-pervading instinct that is bound to manifest in all kinds of dangerous situations. I was really scared in this dream. Petrified. And I hadn’t had a single thought about Kṛṣṇa or not being this body or about anything, just primal fear. I ran and ran and was about to get away when alarm rang.

I have it on sneeze, however, so I postponed it and went back into the same dream. Situation changed somewhat. I was watching a football match with players and spectators from the same Muslim mob. It wasn’t played in a stadium, just a field among the trees, and it was televised. Then I saw myself as a sneaky figure dressed in all black, from head to toe, hiding in a hollow of a large tree.

I was caught on camera, everyone watching TV saw me, and I wondered how long before the mob was informed of my whereabouts. Somehow I was watching it on TV, too, while absolutely sure that I was also inside that hollow. I really felt for myself while watching from outside. Then the alarm rang again and I had to get up.

The point is that unless we relinquish this animalistic attachment and false self-identification we won’t be able to perceive spiritual reality of any kind. This horrifying dream reminded me how much work is still ahead.

The last episode was more positive. I think I got some kind of food poisoning, probably bad oil or something. My stomach has been battling with it whole day and there’s no end in sight yet. My body temperature shot up to 100 Fahrenheit or 37.7 degree Celsius. It stabilized now but when it was going up I was out of commission, cuddled under a blanket and wanting to fall asleep.

Chanting in this condition is never good, mind was absolutely out of bounds, and I had no willpower to control it.

On one hand it showed again how difficult it is to overcome my “latent partiality for untruth” but I realized something else, too – sickness affects only my body and my mind but not the Holy Name.

My every thought was somehow colored by discomfort but the Name stayed pure. Nothing can touch it. Even if the sound coming from my mouth might be affected by pain, the Holy Name stays transcendental.

One way or another, I had moments when I was above the pain and there was nothing between me and the Holy Name. Nothing as in no love and no devotion, but that it still better than appealing to Kṛṣṇa from the bodily platform.

There were moments when I stopped being myself and just listened to the Name, and in these moments I realized that nothing can possibly affect our relationship, if I manage to eventually build any.

Material nature cannot come between the soul and Kṛṣṇa. She will always be on the outside, unable to touch the Lord. The Lord never gets covered by her illusion and we can see Him with all clarity if we stop looking at the material world.

We can forget the Lord ONLY if we identify ourselves with matter, for it will be out of our hands – whatever is on TV would occupy our minds instead. Free from this false identification, however, the Lord is always there, pure and transcendental and completely unaffected by whatever seems to be troubling us in our material existence.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that the Lord will automatically reveal Himself, for that we need genuine devotion and all the help we can get form our ācāryas. Without it all we have is the sound of the Holy Name, which isn’t very different from what we hear in everyday life, we just have learn to treat it with a bit more respect and have full faith that eventually it will reveal more of its transcendental nature.

Source (p34)

Vanity thought #1205. Cart before the horse

It occasionally happens that I don’t finish my rounds in the morning and so when it’s time for me to sit down and type up these posts I have unfinished japa. What should I do first?

At first I thought it was an easy question – japa, of course, but why? If we are busy we can finish our rounds before going to sleep, no big deal if there are only two or three left, so there’s no reason for me to “misuse” the window I have for writing this blog. I mean I can chant any time anywhere but typing ties me up to a computer and requires concentration. I can’t just stop mid sentence and then resume five minutes later, mind doesn’t work that way, it’s not a japa bag you can just pick up and start counting.

So far I’ve always finished my rounds first, though, and the main reason I tell myself is that while chanting I pray that my mind gets properly engaged when I sit down to write later. I need this help, I can’t do it on my own. I mean I can but then it’d be just garbage. Astute observers will note that most of it comes out as garbage anyway but I want to reduce the noise.

Writer’s block is a real thing and I can’t allow myself get stuck, I sort of made a promise to post something every day. There’s also average length to my posts and if it isn’t reached I feel like I’m slacking. Hmm, mathematically speaking I can’t reach an average everyday but you get my drift.

So I need help and therefore I pray, or at least I chant hoping that the Holy Name purifies my mind, and also puts in a clever thought or two while I am at it. So far it worked and I keep my fingers crossed but then I realized that there’s another consideration here, too – I should live to chant, not chant to live!

I should not use the Holy Name to serve my other interests, no matter whether they are legitimate or not. Holy Name is not means, it’s and end. I should rather arrange my life so that it leads to perfect chanting than to chant so that it leads to perfect life.

I’m not sure it’s possible for me at this stage but at least I’ve become aware of the goal. We all start with praying to the Holy Name to get something out of it. Some chant for material benefits, some chant for purification, some chant to spiritual benefits, but everybody wants something.

Everybody says things like “Kṛṣṇa, please do this thing for me so that I can become a better servant.” Sometimes we really mean it, often we are not entirely sincere, sometimes we simply negotiate the terms of our surrender, but we all do it, that’s where every conditioned living entity starts, we can be sure that Kṛṣṇa is not surprised.

In all these situations we look at the Holy Name as means, as I said, we chant to get something else we don’t have yet. Japa becomes our currency, the more we chant the more we expect to get in return. What happens to ahaitukī, causeless service? Well, we don’t forget about it, we want chanting to give it to us, give us bhakti. There’s hardly anything wrong with this approach but it can’t be called mature, it’s still not causeless.

Can we engage in causeless service if we are not purified enough yet? I think not, pure devotion starts after liberation, until then we must be motivated by desires of our false ego.

Chanting, however, is special. The Holy Name is absolutely pure even when it comes off our imperfect tongues. When we chant we are already perfectly engaged, the only problem is our minds not appreciating the situation. Yes, we want something besides chanting itself but that doesn’t mean chanting lacks in anything.

If we learn to do it right the need to ask for anything else will disappear by itself. We will be perfectly situated and fully satisfied, as long as our chanting is uninterrupted, apratihatā from the same verse (SB 1.2.6).

Why should we pray for something to effectively interrupt our chanting? Why do we ask Kṛṣṇa to engage us in doing something else if chanting is all He ever wants from us? One reason is guru’s orders but I’m talking about situations where we make these kind of decisions ourselves. Our gurus can’t babysit us forever, we need to learn to serve the guru independently – when to chant, what to preach, when to offer prasādam etc.

The reality is that we ARE going to do other things beside chanting and so there’s nothing wrong with begging Kṛṣṇa not to leave us out of His sight while we are attending these other needs. The trick is not to turn it into trade and stop asking Kṛṣṇa to provide things in exchange for service.

What about asking to provide service in exchange for chanting? There’s nothing wrong with asking to be engaged in service, of course, but then we should be honest that it’s the service we really want and not a phone that can be used in service, among other fascinating things.

Hypocrisy doesn’t fly with the Lord and it shouldn’t be acceptable to ourselves either. Who are we going to fool? It’s not like we share our prayers with anybody else, we are lying only to ourselves and should be smart enough not to believe our own BS.

With that in mind, I should probably admit that when I chant before typing I want my blog to look better, whatever it means to me. I don’t particularly care about how it would look to Kṛṣṇa or how useful it could be to Him, only that it looks better in my estimate. This has to stop.

I should rather write things that help me to chant, not the other way around, that’s what I mean by putting the cart before the horse. Whatever I do with my life when I’m not chanting is not important and should take lower priority. Holy Name must always come first.

Ideally, I should finish these posts being fully energized and eager to pick up my japa bag and chant like crazy, that would be perfection.

Or, put it another way, we should try to make our chanting directly pleasing to Kṛṣṇa instead of adding unnecessary steps like in “chant -> get money -> buy a new computer -> build a new website -> make it popular -> use it for preaching -> please Kṛṣṇa”.

Once again, it’s hard to find anything wrong with this kind of chain when this is really what we want and there’s no “install games” branch hidden somewhere there, but I sense a need to reconsider our fundamental understanding of how we should relate to Kṛṣṇa to make it really work. I’m not going to start a new topic now, though.

Vanity thought #1096. Krishna – real name for imaginary friend

As I was saying yesterday – it’s not really clear what or who Kṛṣṇa is for most of us, conditioned souls. His devotees, real ones, have some sort of direct perception of His form and qualities but all of that is hidden from us, we have to rely on our our imagination instead.

One could say that we have authoritative descriptions of practically every aspect of Kṛṣṇa’s personality but having heard about Him and seeing Him for real are two very different things.

Look how it works – we read somewhere that His face resembles some campaka flower and His eyes resemble lotus petals and His lips resemble bimba fruit, now go and draw it. How?

I mentioned campaka because it’s the only flower I remember off the top of my head, I don’t think it matters because I’ve never seen it, nor have I ever seen any of other flowers usually mentioned in our literature. I don’t even know what lotus petals look like, the ones I’ve seen made no impression on me, I expect Kṛṣṇa’s eyes to be much more beautiful that that, and don’t even start on bimba fruit.

The color of tamal tree is also a mystery. One can easily google it, of course, but none of the pictures really helps. Personally, I wouldn’t use any of them to talk about actual person’s skin color.

When Śrīla Prabhupāda was here devotees just asked him if their paintings of Kṛṣṇa were correct and that was good enough, but good enough is not enough to say that this is exactly what Kṛṣṇa looks like. We still only imagine Him, and even within our ISKCON history we can see evolution of our imagination.

Early depictions of baby Kṛṣṇa showed Him looking like an angel or even Cupid of western pastoral tradition. Latest ones, however, are blue copies of contemporary CGI animations while others are clearly inspired by computer game graphics.

The point is – we do not know Kṛṣṇa, we only imagine what He looks like and we use our material standards to describe or draw Him. Can we surrender to such pictures?

Well, yes, as long as they are approved by our guru, but I don’t think any of us is weird enough to actually equate our mundane drawings with Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental nature. We are not surrendering to colored lines on paper, we surrender to…, I don’t really know what. A concept?

There are also deities, those are non-different from the Lord and we can surrender to them as if they are actual persons, they just don’t move like the rest of us, but even in that case we do not surrender to metal or carved marble, material elements making up a deity are not Kṛṣṇa per se, even though inseparable from Him.

Deities are like bodies – someone creates them and then the Lord enters them, and at some point they get destroyed and merge with the rest of material elements while Kṛṣṇa lives on. Without Kṛṣṇa’s presence they are just dead statues, but what is this “Kṛṣṇa” thing that makes them alive?

There’s also the Holy Name, which is non-different from the Lord in every respect. It’s not a material vibration even though it sounds like an ordinary audio wave. We can record it, amplify it, put it through an equalizer and apply all kinds of effects, material form will change but Kṛṣṇa won’t. How? Is the material sound of the Holy Name material?

Obviously it is – it needs material sources to create the vibration. It comes from our tongues and mouths. In the spiritual world it exists on its own, I suppose, and sometimes it can manifest independently of material carriers even within this universe, like when Lord Brahmā heard it in meditation, but generally we deal with clearly material vibrations.

Can we produce them artificially? I suppose we can – we can get Siri to say Kṛṣṇa’s name and even chant the entire mahāmantra but would it make it into a Holy Name?

To become transcendental sound the Holy Name must come from the right sources, or it would become poisonous like milk touched by a snake. Does it mean that if a devotee makes Siri to say “Kṛṣṇa” then it will be Holy, and if a non-devotee does it than it will be just an ordinary sound?

On this point – we shouldn’t take poisoned milk analogy too far – what will be poisoned is our relationships with the Lord, the Name itself cannot be affected, and, if you think of it, ALL instances of the Holy Name in this world are authorized. They might be corrupted by non-devotional attitudes but the name Kṛṣṇa doesn’t have any other source but Kṛṣṇa Himself. Even the generic word kṛṣṇa has its source in the Lord.

Atheists can think up their own names for God and those won’t be authorized but they can’t change the origin of names like Kṛṣṇa or Govinda, these names will always be non-different from the Lord.

Does it mean they are real and not imaginary like our drawings?

That opens up another aspect of Lord’s representation in the material world – even if the name itself is fully spiritual, we do not perceive it as such. It might be objectively real but it doesn’t feel like it to us, and so what is the use of its reality?

We can’t avoid disrespecting the Holy Name if we don’t see it as Holy. If the sound of Kṛṣṇa is non-different from any other sound and we’d rather listen to a neighbor spreading some new, juicy gossip, what’s the value of the name being non-different from the Lord?

It’s not the lack of Lord’s presence that keeps us from His association, it’s something else.

So, arguing the material or spiritual nature of the Holy Name misses the point. Whatever we decide as the best outcome of this debate won’t change how we perceive it, it won’t reveal Kṛṣṇa’s real, spiritual form.

Can we surrender to the Holy Name? I guess we can, but what do we actually do when it happens?

For kids it’s easy to surrender to their parents – just trust your father, he’ll make everything alright. When we grow up we surrender to our teachers, then we might surrender if we join the army. We surrender to politicians and political parties, we surrender to the governments, we surrender to our partners and families.

It always requires a personal touch and reciprocation, even with large, impersonal entities like the army or the government. Without feedback surrender makes no sense, we at least expect a peace of mind in return.

How do we surrender to the name? How do we surrender to the sound? We don’t see it as a person and we don’t expect the sound itself to offer us protection or solve our problems. Kṛṣṇa does that, and even if He is non-different from the sound, He exists separately from it, too. We can just think of Kṛṣṇa and surrender to Him in our mind. Is His mental image in our heads imaginary of real?

In my head it’s not an image at all, just an awareness, a concept, something that I assume to be God. It has no shape or form, it doesn’t talk, it can’t be defined, it can’t be compared to flowers or fruits. It doesn’t feel like anything in particular.

When I tell myself “always remember Kṛṣṇa” there’s nothing really to remember – unlike anyone else I know, I’ve never seen Him, never experienced Him, I have no memories of Him. What’s there to remember? Even if I had some warm memories that I attribute to His mercy, I can’t invoke them at will, I don’t even remember them exactly.

What is real about this Kṛṣṇa and what is not? What am I supposed to surrender to? A product of my imagination? An actual sound?

It’s the second day in a row and I’m nowhere near the answer. Maybe it will come to me in the future.

Vanity thought #1073. A Tangled Snarl

We generally accept that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is easy, or at least simple. We have a pretty straightforward program and great books that explain everything in detail for those who want to know more.

The first thing we learn from books is how easy devotees have it – Kṛṣṇa always protects them, always helps them overcome their obstacles, loves them more than He loves Himself, they are all perfectly adjusted and never have any problems. It’s easy to be a devotee.

When we first decide to surrender we think that we will immediately join the club and that we will immediately start reaping the benefits, too. That doesn’t happen, we get just enough to get by and that’s for those who stay, plenty more simply give up or at least postpone their serious push towards Kṛṣṇa. It’s just too much for very little return. No matter what the books say, people’s first hand experience always wins.

Our enthusiasts of “I’m alright, Jack” variety always easily dismiss their concerns because they are simply not doing it right. More hard hearted say that those who “blooped” simply don’t have enough devotion, haven’t fully surrendered, and dismiss them out of hand.

With time we, as a society, have matured and do not say such things in people’s faces anymore but that’s not much of a progress – we simply learned to be polite in our smugness. We still have no answer why Kṛṣṇa consciousness doesn’t work for so many people. We can’t just say “it’s all their fault”.

Besides looking at other people’s problems – what makes us so confident in our own situation? Do we really think that we are Kṛṣṇa’s recognized devotees? We can say that following four regs, chanting, reading books, or even residing in holy places qualifies us for the title but does it, really? Does it really makes us qualitatively different from those who “blooped”?

I would be the first to say that our stalwart, exemplary devotees should get more recognition and be treated as the core of our movement but that is a political consideration – it would give wider spectrum to our hierarchy so that we can have more rungs for the bottom dwellers such as myself.

It still does not answer the question why we do not make any visible progress. Bhakti Rasāmita Sindhu is supposed to be devotees’ guide book but it clearly wasn’t written for us, we still stand only on the shore of that ocean of devotion. We aren’t really devotees by that book standards.

It doesn’t discourage us, of course, we can easily find justifications and explanations and rationalization for our own lack of progress, humans are great at finding excuses, but it still doesn’t solve the problem. The problem that shouldn’t even be there – there are no examples of devotees in our books who struggle with their lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

If we forget about self-adoration for a moment and sit and think how we can make actual progress we’ll discover that it’s not easy and it’s not simple. Let’s look at the typical chain.

We obtain love of Kṛṣṇa by the mercy of Lord Caitanya. He gives it freely to everyone, right? Well, obviously not to us, so there must be conditions attached. Us being born five hundred years later probably explains it but doesn’t give much of a hope.

If we can’t get Lord Caitanya’s mercy straight from the source, we can obtain it by the mercy of Lord Nityānanda, who is super merciful, more merciful than Lord Caitanya Himself. Problem with this solution is that we are still five hundred years late to claim it.

Our next step is Śrīla Prabhupāda – we can obtain the mercy of the entire paramparā and all the Lords at the top if we please him, right? Well, he had many thousands disciples, they did everything right, distributed books, preached, saved so many souls, yet for those who are familiar with their lives they look rather ordinary, not like devotees from Caitanya Caritāmrta or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Many of them seem to be bent on destroying ISKCON for unclear reasons so instead of using them as roles models we should avoid their association instead. Great help, right?

Most of us, however, are second and third generation devotees, we don’t get to serve Śrīla Prabhupāda directly so no mercy for us. It’s fashionable now to worship Śrīla Prabhupāda and even call him one’s own guru but that’s just fooling oneself. One must accept a living spiritual master and treat him as representative of God, as good as God Himself. We don’t get to pick departed ācāryas as our gurus. Guru picks a disciple and saves him, not the other way around.

So, all we need to do is to please our guru, right? Why is not working then? First answer is that our gurus suck, they are all neophytes and kaniṣṭhas, as we’ve been told. This is not correct, of course, but they aren’t obviously mahā-bhāgavata personalities from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam either. We can argue that we can’t see mahā-bhāgavata devotees but we should be able to see a self-effulgent ācārya, on that we all agree, and that ācārya hasn’t come and saved us yet.

We look at our gurus or gurus of our fellow devotees and we don’t see them as good as God Himself. We can try, we can learn to behave accordingly, but we just don’t see it. How do we solve that problem?

We can also say that they are not very difficult to please, maybe not all the time but we have plenty of examples of great service that surely must have been pleasing to guru and Kṛṣṇa but after a while things always get back to normal again. Mercy just doesn’t stick.

Pleasing one’s guru is also tied up to one’s material abilities. It could be offering great service, it could be offering great material support. It could be offering support to guru’s disciples, which should be a super easy way to please him, it still doesn’t work, and very few people have been born to do great things.

Should we admit that devotional service is not for everyone?

Do we have any other steps? Of course we do – we should just chant and rely on the mercy of the Holy Name which heals all wounds. If we managed to offend our guru or other devotees and do not have enough humility or guts to apologize and beg forgiveness or simply do not have the opportunity – we have to seek shelter of the Holy Name.

Ultimately, our guru is an external manifestation of the Supersoul, so he IS representing the Holy Name, whatever we can’t say to him, for one reason or another, we can tell to the Holy Name and result would be the same.

So, Holy Name is really the only thing we can rely on in our lives, nobody else. It’s the Holy Name that sends us our guru, it’s the Holy Name that arranges the opportunities to serve, it’s the Holy Name that grants us our progress. Easy, right?

We’ve gone full circle, btw – we have started with seeking the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, who is the Holy Name, and ended up with seeking the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, which we found to be particularly difficult to obtain. Did this full circle solve anything? Not really, but this circle has taught us the value of all other persons in our life, the value we didn’t appreciate in full when we “surrendered” at the beginning.

Looking back at it – we didn’t even know what “surrender” meant then. And if we are smart we should realize that this isn’t the end of the road either, that we’ll have more revelations in the future and then we will have more frustrations as well. So why bother?

I don’t know, it’s the material nature, it forces us to want and do things we don’t need and often regret. Perhaps the simplicity of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is in that we can just drop all those considerations and chant the Holy Name no matter what happens. This trick won’t make our lives any easier but maybe the secret is that it’s not supposed to, it’s only chanting that matters, nothing else. Not guru, not the number of initiations, not recognition, not knowledge, not sādhana – nothing. Yes, we have to do all those things as best as we can and when guru comes into our life he should be our only shelter but most of the time it’s between us and the Holy Name, no one else.

Don’t worry, Holy Name does not exclude anyone from our relationships – all the devotees, all the gurus, all the ācāryas – everyone is present there. The more we chant, the better we understand that Kṛṣṇa is non-different from His entourage and His devotees, the Holy Name and vaiṣṇavas are never separate.

Oh, what am I saying? It just complicates things unnecessarily. We should just chant instead of trying to untangle this snarl of our lives

Vanity thought #1060. What’s in the name?

A week ago I wrote about a new TV show that deals with life on Earth after the rapture, after all the good Christians have been taken to heaven. I thought it was an interesting idea and was worth to explore.

This week there was the second episode and I had a look at it. It wasn’t quite what was I expected and the story now centers on two seemingly unrelated cults that grew up as a response to that rapture thing. One cult is just nuts and the other is lead by a guy who relieves suffering by hugging people, for some reason he also has a fetish for young Asian girls.

It’s the first “nuts” cult that is interesting, though. Apparently they believe that they have been abandoned for good. They don’t share in enthusiasm of the mainstream society that God has taken their friends and relatives to heaven, and they live their lives as if God doesn’t matter anymore.

They call themselves “Guilty Remnants” and I don’t know what it means but they spend all their time smoking because they view it as defiance of God’s given duty to maintain your body in good health, or something like that. They also don’t talk, the take vow of silence, they live in communities and they wear all white.

Their mauna-vrata is farcical, as usual. They don’t talk but they communicate through writing, and not only with outsiders but between themselves, too. I guess if you spend whole night chatting and arguing on the internet you’d qualify for their mauna-vrata, too. As long as you don’t swear aloud at your computer you are okay.

I don’t know the purpose of their silence, there appears to be nothing spiritual behind it, they are not out to discover some inner self, they are just angry at the world and silence represents their rejection of the society, I guess.

They usually carefully pick up their “victims” and start stalking them, silently standing outside people’s doors or windows, always reminding them of their presence and of the idea of the futility of ordinary life, I think. When it works the victims start questioning their situation and their life prospects, then they crack under pressure, run away form homes, and seek shelter with the cult.

This is where we can start relating their experiences to ours. We are not a cult but we go through a similar process of re-orienting ourselves in the world. We give up our old values and absorb new ones. We learn to live by new rules, we learn new habits, new prohibitions, we start wearing new clothes – we are not that different after all.

Anyway, first, the victims are placed in “pledge” houses where they undergo basic training. They are allowed to talk and wear ordinary clothes and they are given a series of tests and exercises. If they pass they are accepted as full converts, if not, well, I don’t really know, but they can run away.

Each “pledge” has a tutor, a spiritual guide and mentor, and these “gurus” monitor pledges’ progress and report it up the chain of command. If the progress is unsatisfactory the “guru” is informed and asked to tighten up the screws. Relationships are outwardly personal but there are impersonal rules to follow, too. Pledges don’t really know who judges them and what is being said about them. There are rules and you must obey but you don’t see who is behind these rules, it’s an institution, a machine.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like ISKCON? I guess all cults are alike, after all.

To get to my point today – there was a scene in the show where local policeman came to the pledge house to look for missing persons. He had photographs of people declared missing and he walked up to each pledge to check if they are on the list. Since many of the pledges ran away from home their relatives often don’t know what happened to them and where they are so this kind of police work is necessary.

So he finds this one woman and asks her name. She is a new pledge, still struggling with her commitment, and when she says her old name you can see a transformation in her heart. Saying her old name out loud made her remember who she was and made her feel separate from this new “pledge” identity.

With the old name came old memories, old desires, aspirations, dreams – all her life suddenly came back into her consciousness. She became another person right in front of our eyes. Externally she restrained herself, of course, but the change was clearly there.

This made me think about the importance of our names. Śrīla Prabhupāda often said that Kṛṣṇa plays different roles according to how He is called and gave examples of people who are known by one name at work and another name at home.

Everyone of us is called differently by different people. Family, co-workers, bosses, children, devotees – everyone addresses us in his particular way and we respond accordingly. There grows a tight correlation between how we are called and how we behave. It doesn’t mean that if our bosses start calling us “dada” our position at work would suddenly change but if our kids call us and say “dada” on the phone we’d surely forget where we are for a second or two.

That’s why it’s important for us to get a new, devotional name, or at least add “bhakta” in front of our usual one. This new identity should grow on us, too.

One day we might forget our service and disappear but the name and the associated identity would stay, waiting for us to fill that role once again. Then, maybe many years later, someone would address us as “So and so” Dāsa and suddenly our heart will melt, overwhelmed by memories, and our knees would give in. There’s no feeling like meeting Kṛṣṇa’s service and Kṛṣṇa’s devotees once again.

Sometimes I think it’s worth disappearing again and again just to experience the overwhelming bliss of reunion.

Well, we don’t have to disappear, most of the time we spend in a wretched state of mind so all we have to do is to remember the best moments of our previous service, would be as ecstatic as anything else.

Conversely, if we meet our old friends or partners and they address us by our old names, we might forget about Kṛṣṇa and start reminiscing about our past. It works both ways. Nostalgia is a powerful feeling, we always have some unfulfilled desires and we always have idealized visions of our past so these trips down the memory lane are often sweet, too. We should be aware of this danger when we see the lists of the best bands from the 90s or best movies from the 80s or invitations to high school reunions.

There’s another aspect to this name recollection – how does Kṛṣṇa feel when He hears us calling?

It’s possible that sometimes we both remember our best moments but shouldn’t it also mean that our ordinary chanting doesn’t inspire Him at all? Is it possible that He thinks “Oh, it’s such a drag, do I have to listen to this for another two hours?”

What if we He hears our prayers and thinks “This idiot is asking for that thing again! How many times do I have to deal with this. It’s no good for him.” What if he thinks “Oh, God, this dude is on his trip again, pretending to care about me but in his heart thinking only about his own pleasure. He doesn’t even realize that he’d sell me for thirty pieces of silver if someone offers him a simple relief of suffering.”

Who knows how He reacts when He hears us chanting HIS name. Who knows what memories and identities He associates with that? Considering that we chant so much but nothing seems to be happening He might be actually avoiding us most of the time.

So the question becomes – how to say His name so that His heart melts, too? How to chant it so that it pleases Him? How to chant so that no matter where He is and what He is doing, He’d always find a spare time to listen to us talking?

Honestly, I don’t know. We have the facilities given to us by our gurus and ISKCON but no particular instructions how to achieve that, no magic clues. All we can do is chant and hope that we’ll figure it out with Kṛṣṇa’s help. Eventually He’ll arrange someone to impart us with proper love and understanding, we just have to have faith.

Vanity thought #872. Krishity Krishna crushed it

Would that work?

I mean these two comedians, Key and Peele, had a sketch where Peele is boasting about his sexual escapades, runs out of words, and starts simply making up sounds, which leads to this krishity-krishna crushed it.

Would that give him liberation? And to Key as well, because he was also there. Actually, there is about a dozen people credited with writing and directing that episode and there were numerous other people engaged in producing it, and there were hundreds in studio audience and about a million and a half people who saw it on TV. Would any of them achieve liberation? Have achieved liberation?

While the context of the sketch is sexual no one was actually thinking about sex when Krishna’s name was pronounced. Well, some people always think about sex but let’s focus on those who had no visible material motivations and were either doing their jobs or simply being in front of the TV when they heard it.

Would this unintentional chanting of the Holy Name give them liberation?

Once Lord Chaitanya asked Haridasa Thakura how to deliver mlecchas and yavanas and in response Srila Haridasa gave him an explanation of the potency of the Holy Name when it’s pronounced even by non-devotees (CC Antya 3.50-65).

Many things were said there and many verses quoted, but, apparently, the name works regardless. Most often cited is the example of Muslims shouting “harama” which for them means “abominable” or “condemned”, according to Srila Prabhupada’s explanation. There’s this wikipedia entry on it here. Srila Haridas states that even when they pronounce the Holy Name while thinking of sin and abomination it still liberates them.

Similar example was also given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Harinama Cintamani and Jaiva Dharma and probably elsewhere.

I should note that there’s an apparent discrepancy between what was said by Srila Haridasa and Srila Bhaktvinoda regarding separating the syllables. In Chaitanya Charitamrita Srila Prabhupada gives an explanation by Sanatana Goswami to a verse from Padma Purana (CC Antya 3.60).

    Suppose one is using the two words halaḿ riktam. Now the syllable ha in the word halam and the syllable ri in riktam are separately pronounced, but nevertheless the holy name will act because one somehow or other utters the word hari. Similarly, in the word rāja-mahiṣī, the syllables rā and ma appear in two separate words, but because they somehow or other appear together, the holy name rāma will act, provided there are no offenses.

The verse itself is pretty straightforward:

    If a devotee once utters the holy name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that holy name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts

Srila Bhaktivinoda, however, writes the following in Harinama Cintamani:

    Chanting should be free from any form of disruption because this will result in offenses against the holy name, which in turn pose an insurmountable obstacle on the path to success. Vyavadhan or ‘disruption’ is of two kinds. The first type is known as varna-vyavadhan or disruption in the syllables. For example, in the Bengali word ‘hathikari’, ‘ha’ and the last syllable ‘ri’ can be put together to form ‘Hari’, a name of Krsna. But because the syllables ‘thi-ka’ are inserted in the middle, the repetition of ‘hathikari’ will not give actual benefit. Yet the Islamic word ‘haram’ is not perverted by such disruption of the syllables or varna-vyavadhan. The syllables comprising the holy name ‘Ram’ are uninterrupted; hence, speaking the word ‘haram’ gives liberation because it is namabhasa.

I’ll leave it to the acharyas to sort it out, as Srila Prabhupada once non-chalatantly said that there’s no reason for acharyas not to occasionally disagree with each other on minor points, and now I wish I noted down where I saw that quote.

The point is – the only obstacle to being liberated by the sound of the Holy Name is offenses, and there are many kinds of those, but if it works on Muslims killed by a boar who have no intention of calling Lord Ramachandra (CC Antya 3.56), why wouldn’t it work on these two comedians and anyone else who witnessed it?

What about common words like panorama that has the name in them?

If we take explanation by Srila Haridasa literally, the entire English speaking world would have been liberated already, why is it not happening? Or would it work only if “Rama” was said at the moment of death? That would explain the example of a Muslims dying while struck by a pig, because otherwise haram is their common expression. Maybe it’s the dying that makes all the difference.

Similarly, Ajamila was liberated on his deathbed when he called his son, Narayana. I’m sure he called his son many times before but no Vishnudutas appeared then just as they don’t appear every time we say Narayana or Krishna.

Makes you wonder what is so special about death, because Krishna started Bhagavad Gita with making it into practically a non-issue. Of course remembering Him at the moment of death has always been the key to entrance into His abode but making this success dependent on one offhand word means death is not just like changing of our clothes.

Srila Haridasa Thakura didn’t mention death specifically anyway, he repeated again and again, with variations, that “the letters of the holy name have so much spiritual potency that they act even when uttered improperly” and he was speaking about benefiting yavanas in general, not only those who happen to die at the hands of a pig.

So, would either Key or Peele or both achieve liberation for casually inserting Krishna’s name in their sketch? It came to them for a reason, they remembered it, and, ironically, Krishna is an expert in all kinds of sexual conquests, though not with any of those “half Ethiopian half Chinese” girls Peele was talking about.

Personally, I can’t help it but look at these two clowns differently from now on. Who knows when they’ll remember Krishna next, it seems He is permanently etched somewhere in their memories, and that makes them into devotees even if they don’t know it yet. It’s just a matter of time anyway.

Vanity thought #780. Boys don’t cry

The other day I was looking at the list of 32 rules concerning Deity worship and number 15 caught my attention – one should not cry in front of the Deity.

This is interesting – we all have had our difficult moments and sometimes crying seems to be a natural option, like in the famous Amogha, don’t go! situations. Amogha Prabhu didn’t cry but there are a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to hold back tears if they were leaving the temple for good.

Why can’t we cry?

We have a famous akama sarva kamo va verse – whether one is full of desires (the main reason we want to cry) or doesn’t have any desires one should still worship Krishna. So why can’t we come with our frustration to the Deity?

What about the cases where we cry out of happiness? Well, I don’t think that is what the rule is about. On the page I referred to there’s “cry or howl” in front of the Deity, meaning it’s not shedding tears of joy, it’s about deep unhappiness. In other versions of the same list, in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu and Hari Bhakti Vilasa, it crying or shedding tears, depending on translation but it’s still about being sad.

And herein lies the clue – we can’t be sad in front of the Deity. We should not see the Deity as our benefactor that we can go and submit all our problems to, we should come to attend to Lord’s problems instead. We should remember that it’s not we who go to see the Lord, it’s the Lord who is seeing us, and He likes His devotees happy and content.

How’s that possible, one might say – if we are not happy and content, how can we pretend to be? That would be cheating, that would be hypocrisy.

No, it won’t. Real devotees are always happy and content, so if we have a problem it’s because we aren’t real devotees yet, but that should never stop us from performing our sadhana. That’s right – our visits with the Deities is our regulated service which we should perform regardless of how we feel about it, that’s why it’s called regulated. We could afford to cry or do whatever we wanted if we were on the platform of spontaneous love but a) we aren’t there yet and b) if we were we wouldn’t be crying.

So, as far Deities are concerned – we should bite our lips, smile and dance for Their pleasure, and never try to burden the Lord with our unfulfilled material desires.

What about sarva kama then? How can we express our actual feelings according to that verse? Simple – there’s always the Holy Name. Deities, while being the Lord Himself, are also a very specific manifestation. They are meant to give us the opportunity to engage our external senses in service of the Lord – eyes should look at the Deity, head should bow down before the Deity, and hands should offer the Deity various objects.

The Holy Name doesn’t have any such regulations. We cannot see it, we cannot touch it, we cannot offer it anything, but in exchange it doesn’t restrict us in what we think or feel. We can fully open our hearts to the Holy Name, but with the Deity we can open our hearts according to rules and regulations, so to speak. The Holy Name is the Lord Himself but with the Holy Name we realize we aren’t on the level of direct service yet because we don’t have the required level of purity. Deities give us such opportunity but in exchange we should also behave as if we were perfect, too.

So, whatever we want to say to the Lord, we can say it, He will always hear it, but when we go to the temple we should keep our problems to ourselves and serve the Deity as if we were His servants in the spiritual world, always happy and content.

And we should also remember that holding onto our material desires is an offense against the Holy Name, too, not just the Deities.

Vanity thought #550. Happy New Year

Was cleaning the house today and from a pile of old newspapers fell out a little unsigned “We wish you a happy New Year” note. As I contemplated its origins and people behind it I realized how totally useless it is.

Imagine that I have found its author, went to see him and asked for some real help in making this year as happy as they wished only over a month ago. What would they tell me? To get lost? At best they would apologize for blessings they can’t back up and say it was a spur of the moment wish. Even if they were sincere back then it doesn’t mean anything now.

This is what happens with everything in this world. Even sincere people can’t guarantee anything, there’s no safety or stability anywhere. Every goodwill gesture, assuming you are lucky enough to get one, has a very short lifespan and expires faster than you can extract any real use out of it.

When I grew up I thought my father and my mother were guarantors of my life. That didn’t last long. For a while I believed in government and state power but that lasted only until I learned about politics.

Like a clueless puppy I still happily believe in advertising, at least on emotional level. Every time I hear an offer to solve this or that problem I want to believe that it would actually work. Needless to say it never does, maybe only for a short time and at a great expense.

Now imagine if I found a piece of paper with a “Chant and be happy” message. It would be timeless and it would work perfectly well in any circumstances and its absolutely free. That is the wonder of the Holy Name. Unlike some discount coupon it never expires and even if the person who delivers it to you can’t help you himself the Holy Name has all the necessary powers and then some more.

Even if you go into coma and can’t hear or say anything the Holy Name still can find the way to deliver its mercy. It does not depend even on our mental abilities. Even if we suffer from Alzheimer’s and can’t remember neither names nor faces the Holy Name still can find its way into our hearts because it doesn’t need any material carriers.

Forget happy new years and get well soons, our only need is the mercy of the Holy Name, everything else is a waste of time and a waste of life.