by Sacinandana Swami
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: “Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the Holy Name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.71)
One might ask, “Then why do we hear so many lectures on the Bhagavatam in our movement. Why don’t we simply sing and dance instead of listening to so many explanations?” The answer is: the other eight processes of devotional service support the chanting of the Holy Name.
For example, when you hear or read about Krishna you will know who Krishna is. From this position you will chant to a person, you will connect with Krishna; you will chant with sambandha-jnana. However, if you don’t read the Bhagavatam, if you don’t know who Krishna is, He will not mean anything to you and thus you won’t connect with Him. In other words, your chanting will be ‘shadow’ chanting, without substance. You will only think about material things and it will not be devotional service. Therefore you must hear and learn about Krishna, so that your chanting won’t be a bridge that leads nowhere, but a bridge to Krishna.
For me, chanting means touching Krishna. Here is an example for what I mean by that: at airports smoking is forbidden outside of designated smoking rooms. Especially when many people are smoking in one of these rooms, whoever comes out of it smells intensely – having been so immersed in the smoke – and if the person passes you, you’ll immediately know where he or she came from. Similarly, in chanting you want to be so absorbed that you touch Krishna, that you touch the spiritual world and that when you have completed your chanting you will have a Krishna conscious fragrance or influence around you.
Therefore it is so important that every day you enter this ‘room’ of intense, immersed chanting. Then you can bring something of the spiritual atmosphere into your daily life. That is why we are interested in the other eight practices of devotional services – they support us, and we need this support, so that we can chant with taste and absorption