The following is the third and final in a series of 3 articles titled Alignment, about aligning the body, mind, and heart so that one can better chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
This article is adapted from the teachings of His Holiness Sachinanadana Swami, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, adapted for our Chant Now friends and students. For more of the teachings of Sachinanadana Swami, check out his website: https://www.sacinandanaswami.com/
ALIGNING THE HEART
The third and final gate we have to cross is to bring a heart full of devotional
feelings to our practice. How?
We begin by thinking about the divine name we are chanting.
Though as soon as we try to think about Krsna as someone whom we need, we will find other concerns flood into our hearts. Longings for partners, grand homes, gadgets, money, fame, adoration, prestige, and luxury, etc. torment us our whole lives.
But if we churn all these desires to their core, we will find under the surface is the need for love, shelter, sustainability, appreciation, comfort, safety, etc. And underneath these is our true need
for Krishna. He is the only one who can satisfy all these needs. In fact it is our primeval longing for Him that has become substituted for these lesser superficial things. Therefore, we connect to our devotional heart when we understand, ‘Krishna, I only really want You! Only with You will I truly be
Recovering our Lost Heart
We all know about our material heart: the organ which pumps blood throughout our body. We also have an emotional heart: the residence for feelings of friendship, community, happiness, integrity, love, and inner peace, as well as pain and loss. There is, however, a third, and often overlooked heart. This is the most important heart of all: the spiritual heart. It is where our true, eternal self resides.
Unfortunately, during the course of our daily activities in the present world, this heart can easily get covered over. It is as good as lost, and critical to uncover and revive because only with a healthy spiritual heart can our spiritual life flourish. If the spiritual heart is unhealthy we are as good as dead spiritually.
So how to locate and revive our spiritual heart?
We must enter into a devotional relationship with Krishna. The third heart is built to experience and express love in spiritual relationships that are being actively nourished. Mechanical practice, inspired by a sense of duty or fear of what will happen to us if we don’t do all that is described in scripture, will not really help us enter the life-giving realm we long for.
Only a vibrant devotional relationship can impress the Lord to exchange with us and answer our longings. Reaching out to Krishna with feeling will flip the switch to the dynamic life we envision in bhakti, and thus our three hearts are satisfied.
It is from this deepest place within our spiritual heart that we should chant in Japa or kirtana with everything we’ve got, begging the Divine for service. In this way, we can chant sincerely with devotion.
There is a beautiful prayer where a devotee begs for such spontaneous devotional feelings: Just as young men desire young ladies, and young ladies desire young men, my dear Lord, may my mind be attracted to You.” This is the feeling that devotees express when they want to let go of old karmic impressions and desires that infest the entrance to their spiritual heart. We should yearn to clear the passageway into the temple of the heart where we will find our real self-expression and spiritual willpower. If we follow that path Krishna will immediately become attentive, ‘Oh, here is
someone calling out to Me. I must adopt him under my care. He is now mine…
Krishna responds when we call Him with our hearts wide open. Even if our heart is closed before chanting, it will open if we really chant the very best we can from our spiritual heart.
To align the heart means to:
1) become conscious of our need for Krsna
2) revive our spiritual heart by reaching out to Kṛṣṇa in our chanting
3) beg for mercy, and specifically for service and shelter.
A crucial help in aligning the body, mind, and heart is not to interrupt your chanting. No more multitasking during Japa or kirtana. We must rehabilitate ourselves. Can you have a good conversation with someone who keeps interrupting the flow by making phone calls? Impossible…
Therefore, stay with the Divine Names without spoiling the flow. At the very least, finish each
round before you tend to other things. Don’t let the mind steal away our opportunity for spiritual transformation.
Don’t be a passionate achiever; instead, become a grateful receiver. These are the fundamental poles of bhakti practice. Never hesitate to go all the way because the supreme always lies beyond our endeavour. In other words. “Give your best and let Krishna do the rest!’ With our best endeavours we show how much we really care and seek to obtain Krishna’s mercy, feeling completely dependent on His will for divine revelation.