Chanting Hare Krishna and the original problem.
Sacinandana Swami: As practitioners that chant the holy name we all know how difficult it is to connect the mind with the holy name because by definition, the mind is only able to grasp material things. The mind can think of holidays at the beach or any other material subject. It is especially attracted to think about how to increase one’s wealth and how to engage in sexual activities. These are things we can easily think about because the mind is shaped like this. It wraps itself around money and the opposite sex very easily; it’s made like this, it’s a perfect material match. but the mind has great difficulty to stay with Krishna. Since we have come to the world, this is our problem: we have turned our back to Kåñëa, and this bahir-mukha, being outwardly faced, especially manifests when we try to chant the holy names. In other words, our basic envy of god, our feeling ill at ease with the lord manifests to a very obvious degree when we chant the holy name.
As long as you turn away from Krishna, you cannot chant his holy name. You can try to concentrate, but after some time you can’t stay with it any longer. The mind will go back to the material subjects it is made for. Chanting the holy name is therefore only possible if you turn back to Krishna, in other words, if you chant with a sense of a relationship. Therefore we say during kirtana, when you chant – call out for Krishna! Without overcoming this tendency to turn away from Krishna there is no way that you will learn to chant Hare Krishna There is no way if you remain a bahir-mukha, an outward looking person. You can make kirtana which has a nice melody or rhythm or which is sung by a nice voice, but after some time you will give it up. You will switch it off like you switch off music that you have heard for too long. Only if you learn to get away from these external distractions, only if you learn to chant with your heart for Krishna, you will chant throughout the evening and the night. It’s that serious. You have to become a god-lover in order to love the holy name, or you have to love the holy name in order to love Krishna When we talk of the holy name, we talk of a love affair with god. Just as a lover will always think of the beloved, the devotee who engages with the holy name will always think of Krishna and therefore he will repeat the names of the Lord again and again. It will not be mindless repetition; it will be a loving journey. So this one offence, turning away from Krishna, is the root cause of all other obstacles. It is the primeval disease. Haridasa Thakura says about this, “Even if one successfully overcomes all the other offences in chanting and even if one chants the name continuously, prema or love may still not appear. The reason for this is that if one commits the offence known as pramada or inattention the progress to prema will be blocked.” (Hari-nama-cintamani, ch. 12) You may respect the devotees, you may respect lord Vishnu, you may respect your guru, you may respect the sastra, you may do all the other things, but as long as you have still turned your back to Krishna and are not thinking of Krishna while you do all the other things, you are still in the material world. Therefore, you must turn to Krishna, you must correct this one primeval, original problem of turning away from Krishna