H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Treasure of the Holy Name

Bhaktivedanta Ashrama, July, 1, 2010 This morning Shrila Gurudeva has given a very beautiful speech on the importance of chanting the Holy Names. We realize ever more that the Holy Name is a Treasure. It is the secret to happiness. “We obtain the highest level of consciousness while chanting the Mahamantra, while our conscience is completely taken by Radha and Krishna’s divine entertainments. Before we can reach these levels, we have to reach some intermediate levels, one of which is remaining fixed in concentration on the reciting and listening of the Holy Names. Through such prolonged concentration we can progressively reach a meditative level while at the same time, the external world begins to fade and the conscience escapes from the illusory strength of the objects of the senses. Serenity, satisfaction, gladness and joy increase and become a constant presence in our lives. We then enter that dimension of the living being where peace is the main state, where the worldly turbulence represented by the duality which generates continuous mood changes diminishes until it becomes null. This exhaustion does not remove joy but does exactly the opposite: it allows joy and inner satisfaction to fully manifest itself with all their force and consequent benefits. Rasa reveal themselves to the conscience. These are the sentiments of the soul that cannot be perceived while a person is subject to the dualities of life. These dualities enter and burst in our conscience when we give them attention and importance. This explanation may appear simple, but indeed the reason for all that happens is funded on a simple truth that is not simpleton, but a clear comprehension of reality. It is not an asura, a perfidious or evil man who injects elements of disturbance in our conscience. We are the ones who inject them, even though most of the times we do it subconsciously. In the end, each one of us is the cause of our bad fortune and our own persecutor. Only we are responsible of the poison that we allow to enter our conscience. After saying this, it is also true that the inner wealth that each one of us has was acquired by our own merit right when we have chosen to connect our spiritual essence to God who is the Origin of all Wellbeing and the Eternal Source of Grace and Mercy. If there are luminous elements in our conscience, we are the ones who introduced them by giving them our attention and taking them to the inner world and by turning ever more toward the Eternal and toward the non-dual world. In his works, Plato speaks of tensions between soul and body. The soul wants to free itself from the body but the body detains it through the psyche. Even Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita XV.7 explains that conditioners hide in our psyche and that we must research for the causes of our personality disturbances and for what leads us to believe that the duality of the world is attractive and that we can even find into illusion the solution of our problems and the joy we are aspiring to. Dreaming of getting happiness from the objects of the senses conceived as to be an end to themselves, ties ever more the body to the soul, multiplies the conditioners and by acting in this manner, the individual fouls himself into believing that happiness must be search out of himself. This is how life passes and exhausts itself by trying to reach that apple that is high up on the tree of desires because we believe it to be the sweetest, however, once we have reached it, picked it and eaten it, we soon thereafter discover that it doesn’t have any flavor and all of a sudden we realize the uselessness of all of our efforts. Even those who have reached high positions in the world, such as prestige, money, power and whatever else, at the end do not find a real and lasting satisfaction. Similarly, even he, who would drink not only a glass but an entire bottle of sea water, couldn’t indeed get rid of thirst, instead, the more sea water he drinks, the more he gets thirsty. We must escape from vanity and research for what can really give us joy. Materialistic people are in love with the immanent aspect of God but, because they do not connect it to His Origin they remain conditioned by the energies of Nature and lose the chance of benefitting from it without remaining tied to it. Spiritualists instead are charmed by the transcendent aspect of God and at the same time they appreciate even his immanent manifestation, but on contrary from the others, when they approach this manifestation they do it not for egoistical enjoyment but with a spirit of service toward the Creator who generated it. He who doesn’t lust after the matter but instead considers it an instrument that can be used for his evolution, will be immune from the conditioner generated by the objects of the senses which in return will lose all their negative potentiality. Shrila Prabhupada explains to us this subject with the following paragon: “ It is like being bit by a snake without his teeth. It would not hurt us because he needs his teeth to inject his poison. The same is for the devotee who works at the service of God and desires to participate in the divine lila even if he lives in the bodily prison. He is however free from conditioners of Nature and this is why he is described in the scripture as jivan mukta: free while still in life. He utilizes his body as a precious instrument to make evolutionary experience and help many people to reconnect with their spiritual essence and to God. To reach this elevated level, there is no practice more effective than meditation on the Holy Names, which becomes particularly powerful if undertaken in the Brahma-muhirta hours, between 4 and 8 in the morning and it offers us the opportunity to realize spiritual dimension. Obviously this result is not achieved by everyone even though many have the chance to obtain it. What hamper such an achievement are the conditioners that have penetrated ones conscience. This is the reason why it is so fundamental, as Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains the practice of ceto darpana marianam, cleanliness of the mind primary by listening to the sadhu who enforce within us the consciousness of the importance of meditation. To favor concentration and meditative practice, we must avoid giving in to distractions. The observance of the four regulatory principles is indispensible to avoid the most vicious distractions. The purpose to achieve is reaching that level of listening of the Holy Names that is not mechanical but felt deep inside. It is at that point that a fast purification is possible. This purification prevents mood swings and lowering of the conscience and leads to an enlightened consciousness. Then the journey becomes really charming, joyful and ecstatic, however, we will reach the goal through intermediate levels of progressive enlightening. One of the major dangers in meditation is falling asleep, that conscience state which is sleeping, drowsy under the effect of tamo-guna, in which one is not lucid nor fully conscious of what he is doing. The effect of rajas is not less harmful because it produces vikshipta or distraction which is the exact contrary of meditation. From a number of lives our conscience is used to carelessly accept everything that comes to us through our senses with the result that this confuse state does not appear to most people as something to avoid but instead a normality. The Acarya and the holy texts allow us to become conscious of this wrong cognition and offer us instruments to improve our conscience level. It is up to us to use them. Chanting the Holy names during the Brahma muhurta hours and trying to concentrate our conscience on the listening to these powerful spiritual vibrations leads to innumerable benefits even to those, having to fight a wild mind, are not yet capable to meditate on the qualities of the Lord, on His Divine Adventures (lila) and on His Divine Forms (rupa). The so called well thinkers, permanently serving pure rationality, could blame this practice by deeming it an imposition, but this practice of containment is indispensible to rediscover our original nature, the face of the Self beyond the masks of ego. Then when we become lords of our psychic home, it will no longer be necessary to fight our rebellious mind because we have reached inner peace, which is not related to the death of the psyche but to the optimum functioning and natural harmonization of the psyche with the soul. He who doesn’t have a good sadhana will be compelled to remain at a superficial level of meditation and his conscience will continue to fill itself with elements not fit for spiritual realization. It is for this reason that sadhana is a sine qua condition to reach spiritual realization. Pay attention: do not fall in the trap of cutting corners and believe too early that you are free or spontaneously in love with God because the contents of conditioners still present on the bottom of your conscience could become lethal. The scriptures explain the importance of never neglecting sadhana because it is a Divine gift that we have received because of the mercy of the Acarya. In sadhana, chanting the Holy Names is a priority. Before dedicating ourselves to you social responsibilities or to the holy seva duties, it is essential to begin the day with Harinama Japa. In devotional service everything is Vaikuntha, but in the Kali yuga the practice of chanting the Holy Name is superior to any other instrument of purification of the conscience. Practice it by trying to pay attention to the quality of your reciting other than engage yourselves for a sufficient long time period. Attentively observe what happens and what sounds inside yourselves, invocate the Divine Mercy and ever more you will discover yourselves to be able to improve you state of conscience.”