by purujit dasa
“Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by the simple chanting of this Mahamantra, or the great chanting for deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum.”
(from “On Chanting Hare Krishna”)
So Hare Krsna mantra is not some artificial formula pushed on you from outside, although in the beginning it might appear just like any other sound vibration. If you look around, if you look at the people in the morning bus, everyone is being constantly distracted by externals –newspaper, weird looking guy getting on, cold weather outside, a person who stares at you and you know it, but won’t look at him. And if it’s not these, then there’s plenty of stuff in the mind: What is it going to be at work today? How will I get rid of this guy? I gotta meet John tonight. What am I gonna eat? That was a funny movie yesterday. These too are, when you think about it, distractions from outside –only they are happening in the past or in the future. We’re planning things for the future and we are remembering things from the past –both are however inspired by impulses from outside. So, you’re being constantly engaged in thinking about all these things which are being presented to you by life. This is the situation of our mind. Are you in control? Hardly. Yeah? Then think of a red ball and nothing else for more than 1 minute. Hard? Ok, then try 30 seconds. Ok, ok, then 10 seconds. 5 seconds? Not even?
So the Hare Krsna mahamantra actually although appearing just like another distraction from outside is the ultimate vibration to connect you to yourself. I mean… it seems so ridiculous doesn’t it? Connect to myself? What are you on about? But yeah, man. We have become so trained up, that we have forgotten who we are.
“We are now in forgotten state. This conditioned material life means we have forgotten our real constitutional position. I am thinking, "I am this body," but I am not this body. I am spirit soul; ahaṁ brahmāsmi. But we have forgotten it. We have forgotten our relationship with the Supreme Lord. This forgetfulness is also due to the influence of the Supersoul. Because we wanted to act... Just like a very first-class dramatic director, he instructs the player in such a way that sometimes he forgets. The more he forgets he plays very nicely. Similarly, we wanted to enjoy this material world, so unless we forget completely that "I am spirit soul, I am not this body", actually I can not enjoy. So that forgetfulness is also due to the Supersoul. He is giving us full chance. But His advice that "Do not become entangled in these material activities." Therefore his instruction is sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. That is His instruction. But we do not want that. We want to forget and entangle ourselves in these material activities. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, by the agency of his māyā, illusory energy, helps us in forgetting. But if we want to revive our original consciousness, then also Kṛṣṇa helps you.”
(Bhagavad-gītā 13.17 -- Bombay, October 11, 1973)
Krsna helps you if you simply make an experiment with this mantra and the way how the Hare Krsna mantra works is following. The red ball example was to show that if we want to control the mind, we should focus it on one point. This is called meditation. However, the thought of a red ball is very hard to keep in the mind for long. That’s why in this age of Kali, it is recommended that you force the thought by sound. Just like when you try to read a book and there’s many people in a room and they talk, it’s hard to concentrate and you start reading aloud. Similarly if you audibly pronounce Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, it’s easier. The mind has to listen. Another problem with the red ball is that it is a material object. Anything material is temporary. Therefore ultimately there will be a point when you become fed up with that stupid ball. You’ll throw it away and kick on it or throw it in the face of that bogus yoga instructor who advised you to follow such a stupid meditation technique. Not with the maha-mantra though. Because Hare Krsna mantra is completely transcendental being non-different from Krsna, who is the reservoir of all pleasure, the bliss you derive from it never stops. You can go on chanting for hours and you’ll never be tired of it. It is ever-fresh. Just like we the devotees chant day and night the same Hare Krsna Hare Rama, can anyone do this with a material sound? Can you? So in this way, if you chant Hare Krsna, when you become accustomed to chant whenever you can, you can very nicely awaken your true self, which has nothing to do with white, black, man, woman and so many others, but is full of bliss, eternity and knowledge. And when you do that, you can have an actual direct experience of God and the more you chant that experience becomes more and more lucid and then you realize that your life actually has a profound meaning and that everything you were going through was just a means for you to get to this realization. So if there’s so much benefit, why not try?