When chanting doesn’t feel blissful, how can we make it always blissful?
Question : Sometimes I feel blissful while chanting, and sometimes we don’t at all feel blissful what should we do at that time? How can we always feel blissful while chanting?
Answer by Chaitanya Charan Prabhu : Actually chanting itself is always blissful, but our mind comes in the way. It’s like say, somebody is drinking delicious mango juice. While they are drinking mango juice, somebody else comes and pushes them out of the way, and all the mango juice spills away. He can’t drink it, and not only they push him out of the way…. oh… they are drinking that, why don’t you get that? ‘I am drinking something nice’…. ‘No, you go and get that.’ He will leave that and go there. Then what happens? By the time you go there, that is also over. (laughter) He will come back here, the mango juice is spilled away. So, like that actually when we say that we don’t find chanting blissful, what is happening? If we are able to connect with Krishna, if we are able to concentrate on Krishna, then chanting is peaceful, chanting is joyful, but our mind distracts us away, ‘hey, why don’t you do that? That has to be done. Why don’t you get that?’, and then when we are distracted, we start thinking about that, we start worrying about that, we start craving for that, and then we are not able to connect with Krishna.
Sukhena (cannot find the verse)…. that when there is Brahma samsparsa, when there is contact with Krishna, then there is joy. Atyantam sukha, there is ultimate happiness. So, but if the contact with Krishna doesn’t happen… when we are chanting the holy names, the holy names are not just to be chanted with the lips. They are actually to be heard with the mind… to be relished with the mind, piba mana Sri Krishna divya aushadam. Kulasekhar Maharaj says that the holy name is like a medicine, but it is to be… it is medicine not just to be taken with the mouth or the ear, It is to be taken by the mind. So, if the mind doesn’t focus, then we can’t relish it. So, at our stage we have to understand that because the mind is restless, because the mind is wild… So, it will interrupt in our connection with Krishna, and that is why we don’t feel blissful. So, what do we do?
So, the chanting works in both levels. At one level it is nectar. Not just chanting… the whole process of bhakti, sometimes it is nectar that we feel so joyful when we are chanting, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like nectar at all. Almost it may feel like poison. I don’t want to do this. So, at that time we have to use our buddhi, we have to use our intelligence, and understand that this chanting…even if doesn’t feel like amrita, at the very least it is a ausadhi, it is a ausadhi, it is a medicine.
So, the mind which is just getting restless… going here and there… because it is distracted, so I am not able to taste the sweetness of Krishna. But, still if I keep taking the medicine, keep taking the chanting of the holy names as a medicine, this very chanting will cure the mind, it will purifying the mind, and as the mind becomes purified, it will become less restless, and as it become more calm, more receptive, the we will be able to relish more and more…
Yat tat agre visham iva,
pariname amrita upamam
That which tastes like poison in the beginning will taste like nectar in the end. So, we may have to tolerate the poison to get to the nectar, and that’s why if we find that our mind is getting too agitated… we are just not able to taste the sweetness of bhakti, at that time we have to use our buddhi.
Jiva Goswami says in the Sandharba’s that for the siddha bhaktas, those who are perfected devotees… it is their priti that keeps them in bhakti. They love Krishna, that’s why they are always practicing bhakti, but for us sadhakas, we don’t have so much priti. So, he says what will keep us in bhakti is not priti, but buddhi. Buddi is intelligence. So, we have to use our intelligence. Yes, chanting is not blissful right now, but still it’s working, still it is a medicine, it is purifying me, and if with this buddhi we keep chanting then gradually as the mind gets pure, the taste will come. As you penetrate through the poison, the nectar will come. So, that’s why along with chanting it is also very important to study the philosophy, to hear classes regularly, because through studying sastras and hearing sastra our buddhi gets pusthi, our buddhi gets nourishment, our buddhi gets strong. That’s why we will see we are coming from good association, we are hearing classes, and then when we try to practice bhakti we are enthusiastically practicing bhakti, and then our japa will also be better.
So, the way to make our bhakti, make our chanting regularly blissful is to stay purposeful even when we don’t feel blissful. Stay purposeful. Purposeful is, this is chanting, it is not blissful right now but my purpose is purification, and this chanting is like a medicine that will purify me..
kāyena manasā buddhyā
kevalair indriyair api
yoginaḥ karma kurvanti
In 5.11 Krishna says, that the yogi practices yoga for the purpose of atma sudhaye, for the purpose of purification. So, even when we get no satisfaction, when we get no joy in bhakti we can still practice it for purification. Then gradually the satisfaction, the joy, the ecstasy, will surely come.
Thank you very much.