Hearing is receiving. When we carefully hear a sacred mantra we receive all that the mantra is generously offering. This is explained in one of the most cherished verses of the eight prayers composed by Lord Caitanya, the great teacher of Bhakti Yoga in 15th Century India.
“Glory to the Sri Krishna Sankirtana (the Hare Krishna mantra), which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.” Verse 1, Shiksastakam
It describes that by chanting this mantra on a regular basis, and with affection and attention, we receive a clean heart, relief from suffering, good fortune in our life, soul-knowledge and happiness beyond anything we have experienced before. And, even more than that, it soothes our anxious desire for love.
The chanting of the maha-mantra works like a cloth on a dusty mirror. When the dust is cleared we can see ourselves. The mantra ‘extinguishes the fire of conditional life’. Because we are conditioned to think we are the body and not the soul within, we experience pain and suffering. This is the ‘fire’.
The mantra is like a benediction moon. The moon seems to bless all of us, as it brings grace and warmth to an otherwise dark and lonely night. The mantra brings the blessings of grace into our lives. Transcendental knowledge can be brought to life by this mantra - it takes us out of our head and into our hearts where we feel it, live it, and are more aware and conscious because of it.
Finally, the mantra promises not just happiness but an ocean of bliss. That’s a generous amount of happiness! Along with that, the mantra ‘enables’ us to ‘fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.’ That’s the nectar of feeling our love for Krishna and feeling His love for us. Nothing in this world will satisfy us outside of this and it’s what we are always seeking.
This maha-mantra never stops giving. No matter who chants, or where, or when - if we are sincere we will receive. Open you hands and hearts and take it.