Hare Krsna -All glories to Srila Prabhupada !
Yesterday my wife dug up one dandelion root plant. As you can see in the picture below, the root is about 3 feet long !! We had no idea that the simple weed called dandelion root could be so looong.
Anyway, it got me thinking about what it says in the Sastra about how chanting the Hare Krsna Maha Mantra will uproot all the dirty things in our hearts (weeds) and allow the real plant of bhakti yoga to grow instead. But as we all know, when you water your plants, you also inadvertently water the weeds too. So sometimes the weeds will grow longer and better than the plants we are trying to cultivate.
I remember back in the early 70’s when I began chanting Hare Krsna mantra. I thought, this is really easy to do, and I will become liberated in this lifetime. Until we are liberated (where our original constitutional position with the Lord is revealed, by that Lord [siddha deha] ), we are still under some sort of illusion-Maya. As it turns out this heart house cleaning process requires real effort if we want to produce a nice place for the Lord in our hearts to sit down and converse with us.
Srila Prabhupada describes the act of chanting Hare Krsna as having three phases of purification. The first is the offensive stage where we may not even know the 10 offenses or even actively try to stop making them. Included in this stage is when we actually do know the list by heart, and can say it daily, but still willfully or in ignorance commit any or all of the 10 offenses.
The Second stage is when we seriously enter the shower of sadhana bhakti yoga and actively try to eliminate these 10 offenses while we act in devotional service. This is called the clearing stage in which our bhakti is still contaminated, by anarthas, and ignorance of the true nature of the Holy Name,but we are trying to get purified. And the third and final stage is when we arrive at the shores of pure bhakti thru pure chanting, in loving service to the Supreme Lord, and pure Love of God manifests within our hearts by this chanting process..
Please consider some of the following points made by Srila Prabhupada and other great souls.
LA June 27 1975
Santoṣa: “The rare person who has completely adopted unalloyed devotional service can uproot all the weeds of sinful activities simply by discharging that service, and there is no possibility that the weeds will grow again. His devotional service is just like the sun, which can immediately dissipate fog simply by its rays.”
Prabhupāda: So we have been discussing for the last few days how to become free from the reaction of our sinful life. That is real problem. But people, they have no knowledge what is life, what is sinful life, what is pious life, why we are put into this condition that “We have to do this; we haven’t got to do that.” This is real philosophy of life. The āsuras, as we were discussing in this morning walk, they do not know it. Āsurās… Pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca na vidur āsurāḥ janāḥ. We are living… In the ordinary life also, we live a little carefully so that we may not fall sick. For that purpose there is very vigilance in the immigration department that in Australia we had some nice mangoes brought from Bombay, and they did not allow to take it. They thought this mango is more dangerous than the dry meat. They will allow importation of dry meat, three hundred years old, (laughter) put into the refrigerator, and that is imported. That is not infectious. But mango, very nice mango, fresh mango—we started in Bombay at night, and we came in the morning, it has become poisonous. So we are so much precautious that not any germs, infectious disease, may enter. That is there. But what is that infection which has caused me to accept this material body again and again? That they do not know. That they do not know. They do not believe in the next life, and therefore āsurāḥ janāḥ. This is, the symptom or characteristic of the āsurāḥ janāḥ. You should be precautious. That is natural. We become precautious, that “We should not do this so that I may not fall sick.” But we do not know what is our real sickness. That we do not know.
That is being presented by Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā, that “This is your sickness, real sickness.” What is that? Janma–mṛtyu–jarā–vyādhi–duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]. You are trying to be unaffected by all kinds of sickness, but your real sickness is this material disease: you take birth, you die, you become old, and you suffer from diseases. This is your real sickness. But who is caring for this? Where is the scientist who are investigating how to stop death, how to stop birth. They are, of course, investigating how to stop birth, but still, birth is going on. This sort of stopping births, by killing the body, is not stopping because the body is not the person. The real person is within the body, within the body. Dehino ‘smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]. We have explained. That they do not know. They are taking… No. By killing the body or by protecting the body, that is not the solution. The solution is that the living entity has infected itself with the material disease. It has to be cured. That is the whole purpose of Vedic civilization, how to cure your material disease.
SB 2.2.30 purport-
There are three stages in chanting the holy name of the Lord. The first stage is the offensive chanting of the holy name, and the second is the reflective stage of chanting the holy name. The third stage is the offenseless chanting of the holy name of the Lord. In the second stage only, the stage of reflection, between the offensive and offenseless stages, one automatically attains the stage of emancipation.And in the offenseless stage, one actually enters into the kingdom of God, although physically he may apparently be within the material world.
To attain the offenseless stage, one must be on guard in the following manner.
When we speak of hearing and chanting, it means that not only should one chant and hear of the holy name of the Lord as Rāma, Kṛṣṇa (or systematically the sixteen names Hare Kṛṣṇa, HareKṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare), but one should also read and hear the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the association of devotees. The primary practice of bhakti–yoga will cause the seed already sowed in heart to sprout, and by a regular watering process, as mentioned above, the bhakti–yoga creeper will begin to grow. By systematic nurturing, the creeper will grow to such an extent that it will penetrate the coverings of the universe, as we have heard in the previous verses, reach the effulgent sky, the brahmajyoti, and go farther and farther and reach the spiritual sky, where there are innumerable spiritual planets called Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Above all of them is Kṛṣṇaloka, orGoloka Vṛndāvana, wherein the growing creeper enters and takes repose at the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the original Personality of Godhead. When one reaches the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa atGoloka Vṛndāvana, the watering process of hearing and reading, as also chanting of the holy name in the pure devotional stage, fructifies, and the fruits grown there in the form of love of God are tangibly tasted by the devotee, even though he is here in this material world. The ripe fruits of love of God are relished only by the devotees constantly engaged in the watering process as described above. But the working devotee must always be mindful so that the creeper which has so grown will not be cut off. Therefore he should be mindful of the following considerations:
(1) Offense by one at the feet of a pure devotee may be likened to themad elephant who devastates a very good garden if it enters.
(2) One must be very careful to guard himself against such offenses at the feet of pure devotees, just as one protects a creeper by all-around fencing.
(3) It so happens that by the watering process some weeds are also grown, and unless such weeds are uprooted, the nurturing of the main creeper, or the creeper of bhakti–yoga, may be hampered.
(4) Actually these weeds are material enjoyment, merging of the self in the Absolute without separate individuality, and many other desires in the field of religion, economic development, sense enjoyment and emancipation.
(5) There are many other weeds, like disobedience to the tenets of the revered scriptures, unnecessary engagements, killing animals, and hankering after material gain, prestige and adoration.
(6) If sufficient care is not taken, then the watering process may only help to breed the weeds, stunting the healthy growth of the main creeper and resulting in no fructification of the ultimate requirement: love of God.
(7) The devotee must therefore be very careful to uproot the different weeds in the very beginning. Only then will the healthy growth of the main creeper not be stunted.
(8) And by so doing, the devotee is able to relish the fruit of love of God and thus live practically with Lord Kṛṣṇa, even in this life, and be able to see the Lord in every step.
The highest perfection of life is to enjoy life constantly in the association of the Lord, and one who can relish this does not aspire after any temporary enjoyment of the material world via other media.
SB 4.9.11 purport-Anyone who is trying to be aloof from this Krishna Consciousness Society and yet engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is living in a great hallucination, for this is not possible. From this statement by Dhruva Mahārāja it is clear that unless one is associated with devotees, his devotional service does not mature; it does not become distinct from material activities.
letter Rayarama Oct 22 1971
So this Krishna consciousness society is especially meant for giving people the opportunity to associate with devotees. Devotees means who are following the regulative principles. One cannot be independent and at the same time become a devotee because all devotional activities are based on surrender. So in the association of devotees we learn this important item—how to surrender, but if we keep our independence and try to become devotees, that is not possible.