Harer Namashtakam 7: The fruit of service is the increased desire to serve
diyatam diyatam karno
niyatam niyatam vacah
giyatam giyatam nityam
harer namaiva kevalam
It should be heard again and again with one’s ears; It should be uttered over and over with one’s voice; It should be perpetually sung and sung anew—The holy name of Shri Hari alone is everything.
Diyatam diyatam karn, karn is ear; diyatam diyatam is to hear again and again. This Holy name is to be heard again and again with the ears. Niyatam niyatam vacah- vacah is speech, again and again it should be uttered with the mouth; giyatam giyatam nityam, giyatam is to be sung, and it is to be sung eternally. Harer namaiva kevalam, the Holy names of Lord Sri Hari.
Vacah can be said to refer to japa and giyatam can be refered to kirtan. For most of us, who are chanting Hare Krishna, often feel that our sixteen rounds is a duty. They are almost like a burden that we have to lift everyday mentally and we get a sense of relief when the sixteen rounds are over. Then we feel that now I can get on with other things in my life. Once Srila Prabhupada was asked, “How do we know that we have got taste in chanting?”, Srila Prabhupada gave a simple but profound reply. He said, “after we complete our sixteen rounds, if we feel that why should I chant only sixteen rounds, why not one hundred and sixteen, why not sixteen hundred, why not sixteen thousand, then we can know that we have got taste”.
From that standard, all of us feel that we may never have any taste for chanting the Holy names of Krishna. Certainly, we do not have taste like what the great souls have, but surely we have some taste which keeps us going on in Krishna Consciousness. At the same time, the nature of service is that it increases the desire for service, and if that has happened, then the service has been done in a mood of devotion and has actually deepened our relationship with Krishna.
In material life, when we do a job, we expect to get paid for the job, and of course if the person is doing a job, the person gets a promotion. Now promotion often means greater responsibility. But the difference is that in material life, if given a choice, anyone would like to do as less work as possible and get as much payment as possible.
In devotional life also we do a lot of services and we expect certain results for those services. If we go out for distribution, we expect that good number of books should be distributed. If we are going out for sharing Krishna consciousness by speaking, we expect that people become favorable and start practicing Krishna consciousness. And to some extent these fruits are certainly important. At the same time these are the external fruits. The internal fruit of serving Krishna is a strengthened desire to serve Krishna more and more. Actually if we chant prayerfully and sincerely than we will find that our chanting will increase our desire to connect with Krishna again and more through chanting.
If we focus on not just getting the rounds done, but on trying to serve Krishna, who is manifesting as His holy name, and trying to experience Krishna’s presence on our tongue, in our ears, and ultimately in our heart, as we try to call out His Holy names, then that experience will be so fulfilling that we will want more and more of it. We will start looking forward to every opportunity to remember Krishna. When that happens, when we start looking forward for the experience of Krishna, just as in past we might have looked forward to experiences of sense gratification, then we have come on the fast track of spiritual advancement.
So here the Vaishnava poet has sung the harernamashtakam. He is expressing his desire; O tongue! O ear! Keep hearing the Holy name. O tongue! Please keep chanting and singing the Holy names of Lord Hari, as these are the senses which are involved in the process of chanting. Although Krishna’s presence is ultimately experienced in the heart, but the specialty of bhakti, is that bhakti can give us sensory experience of God who is beyond the senses. When we engage our senses, as have been prescribed by the guru sadhu and shastra, to serve Krishna, Krishna by His free will choose to manifest Himself to our senses. Just the utterance of the Holy name, connection with Krishna can be established because we are chanting Krishna’s Holy names and He is non-different from His Holy names. In this way when we chant wholeheartedly, sincerely and with whatever devotion we have then we can invoke Krishna’s presence. The more we invoke Krishna’s presence, the more we become purified. The more we become enlivened by the joy of contacting and connecting with Krishna the more we will feel, I want to invoke Krishna’s presence more and want to chant more. Hence, at our level, everyday when we are chanting our japa we can try to contemplate that I am trying to invoke Krishna’s presence and the purpose is not just to pull down the counter beads on my bead-bag and to get the whole thing over. Rather it is to invoke and experience Krishna’s presence through my senses not for my own pleasure, instead, for the pleasure and purpose of serving Krishna. Thereby naturally as a byproduct we will experience a deeper pleasure. When we start chanting in this way, we will also feel, one day, like this poet feels, ‘I want to chant more and more, let the tongue keep chanting, let the ears keep hearing the Holy names.”. At that point we will become as safe as a child in the lap of his/her mother beyond the reach of maya.