The greatest treasure in my spiritual life is when I start pondering a question and I usually get an answer even if it takes months (or years). My ponderings on the maha-mantra is one of those where I haven’t found the solution, but I’m still working on it. One of the qualities I have is a tendency to push until I understand the subject in question. Though I must say that understanding what it takes for me to put an effort into japa is the most interesting adventure so far.
Chanting japa steadily requires taste, it requires dedication, a loyalty to practice. But what continues to baffle me is why I find it difficult to do when I like chanting. I find chanting soothing, attractive, it balances me in a way nothing else does. Chanting in a noisy environment with disruptions seems easier than chanting when I’m alone.
I’m wondering if my lack of enthusiasm is the main problem? That I’m in the stage of ghana-tarala? But how do we progress from there. Again I’m meeting the wall where we are urged to keep in good association to progress. It’s almost like I’m breaking ground where I figure out how to progress in spiritual life without association.
I’m urged in all my readings (and by my faithful commentator Syamananda Prabhu) to chant attentively. In other words, I have to work on my practice. Which I do, I will and I will continue to work on it.
Then I though of this funny comment:
But we’re also not totally uninterested in the maha-mantra. Like, when my brother starts to speak about cars, his passion, I just want to die. I’m not THAT uninterested in the maha-mantra.
This is a sign of progress. How have my dedication to chanting improved? The truth is that I haven’t chanted this much and at such steady instability in years.
For every attentive utterance its intrinsic motivation will be rubbed off on me. If I feel discouraged by the time it takes, I can zoom in and look how it converts one atom after another, one storage unit in my citta after another, each attentively uttered name.
I can also say I haven’t been this emerged into krishna consciousness before. Sure I had more enthusiasm before, but what I experience now is deeper and contains more understanding. I understand better now. Where I before just “wanted to achieve the goal”, I know understand that to achieve the goal I have to transform myself. Transformation takes a long time, and it’s a nice process to go through.
And that is the key – I have transformed. There is a difference in me if I zoom in and look at me now vs how I was a couple of years ago. But oh, what a small progress there is. But whatever progress I’ve had is very precious to me.
“nāmāparādha-yuktānāma namani eva haranty-gham – for those chanting with offences, the holy name Himself will gradually remove all obstacles” (Padma Purāṇa)
But what is the cause of this progress? I don’t know. I can’t really say it comes from me. It must have come from my Gurudeva and the maha-mantra somehow rubbing off on me. I have no other explanation.
Though waiting for the maha-mantra to rub off on me even more, so I somehow will chant steadily? Well, I prefer to keep pushing until I found the golden key.