An old farmer lived on a farm in the mountains with his young grandson.
Every morning grandfather was up early, sitting at the kitchen table, chanting on his beads and reading his Bhagavad Gita.
His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could have.
One day the grandson asked, ‘Grandfather! I try to chant and read the Bhagavad Gita just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does chanting and reading the Bhagavad Gita do?
The grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, ‘Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.’
The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house.
The grandfather laughed and said, ‘You’ll have to move a little faster next time,’ and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.
This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home.
Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.
The old man said, ‘I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water.
You’re just not trying hard enough,’ and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.
At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.
The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty.
Out of breath, he said, ‘See Grandfather, it’s useless!’.
The old man said, ‘ Do you think its useless ? Look at the basket’.
The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.
‘Son, that’s what happens when you chant and read the Bhagavad Gita. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you chant or read, knowingly or unknowingly you will be changed, inside and out.
This is how Krishna works silently in our lives.’
Moral of the story:
We went through a beautiful shloka from Srimad Bhagavatam (6.2.18) on the strength of chanting the holy name of the Lord.
ajnaanaad athavaa jnaanaad / uttamashloka-naama yat
sankirtitam agham pumso / dahed edho yathaanalah
“As a fire burns dry grass to ashes, so the holy name of the Lord, whether chantedknowingly or unknowingly, burns to ashes, without fail, all the reactions of one’s sinful activities.”
This is the potency of chanting the holy name of Lord Krishna.
We are gradually cleansed of all anarthas from our heart (ceto darpana maarjanam).
All that is needed is patience.
The important translation by Srila Prabhupada to note is the word “dahed” – “burns to ashes without fail”.
We need to understand that the holy name will never fail us we need to have full faith on the holy name and our spiritual master as the cleansing process is very subtle.
Once we realize that we are relishing carrying out our devotional service especially chanting, it is an indication that the anarthas are being cleansed and austerities automatically follows.
Nobody needs to be forced to carry out the prescribed rounds of chanting. We need to understand we are not doing a favor to the Lord by reciting His names rather by His mercy we benefit by getting rid of all the sinful tendencies in our heart.