“In yesterday’s lecture, Prabhupāda spoke on the verse that says,
“‘By serving great sages, great service is done.’ He says this means rendering service to a pure devotee, a mahat, one who is serving the Lord twenty-four hours a day. The great soul is under the daivi prakriti, or transcendental nature. We are trying to be under the guidance of Radharani. Those who are materialists take shelter of the material energy. The first stage in devotional service is to hear with faith. This is a development of appreciation. We must take the sword. Prabhupāda said, ‘I started in New York, and I had the sword. But not, “Take the scripture or I cut off your head.” That is another type of preaching. I had chanting and hearing. No one was interested, but now thousands are following. Krishna-bhakti is in everyone’s heart, but it is covered with dirty things.’ The more you chant and hear, the more you will become cleansed of dirty things.
“Chanting japa is an all-around practice. It requires mental and physical alertness. It requires going into the heart and calling to Krishna and Radha. When these things are missing, it becomes anemic. But you always take assurance that the names are potent and that any chanting is beneficial. Take refuge in the fact that you chant your quota and you chant on time.
“Krishna is kind and lenient, and He puts all His potencies in the holy name. ‘But I am so unfortunate that I do not have a taste for the chanting because I commit offenses.’ Lord Caitanya’s lament resonates with us if we do not have a good day. He was so kind to put those lines in the ‘Siksastakam’ and show His compassion and understanding of us chanters. He calls out to be just accepted as an atom of dust at the lotus feet of Krishna. In the ‘Siksastakam,’ He goes on to higher states of chanting, feeling the world all void in the absence of Krishna. These are the sentiments of Radharani. They should enter the mind of the devotee who is properly chanting. The chanting is the yugala mantra, a chant composed of the feelings of Radha and Krishna. In successful chanting, one enters that mood. Staying only with the outer syllables of the chanting is going through the motions: ‘When, oh when will that day be mine—when my offenses ceasing, taste for the name increasing, when will that day be mine?’ Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura takes the position of a struggling chanter and encourages us who are actually in that position. We aspire to improve and to chant with taste and offenselessly. One day we will do it by endeavor and the mercy of the acaryas.
(Writings of HH Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami)