“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 19.151)
ब्रह्माण्ड भ्रमिते कोन भाग्यवान् जीव
गुरु-कृष्ण-प्रसादे पाय भक्ति-लता-बीज
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
“I work on a computer for a living. It is pretty common nowadays, but when I started out years ago it wasn’t. For some reason, at the time I felt blessed. Being rather shy in dealing with others, it seemed that a higher power found the one occupation perfectly suited for me.
“I could sit in front of a computer, work on a variety of problems, and barely interact with others. The work was engaging; I was never bored. The time flew by each day; I could not believe that it was time to go home when the end of the workday approached.
“Recently, while within the daily routine, I accidentally pressed something on the keyboard. I was using a word processing program, and the task was something I have done countless times throughout the years. You would think that I am an expert in this field by now, with the amount of hours I have logged.
“Well, accidentally pressing the key automatically indented a particular paragraph. I use this feature all the time, but I have always pressed a button on the menu bar of the program. In other words, I would take one hand off the keyboard, reach for the mouse, and then align the pointer in the proper place.
“Undoubtedly, many times the mouse missed the mark. I accidentally triggered another feature, which I would have to quickly undo in the aftermath. I never thought twice about the sequence of events; this was the way I did things. If I had to train someone else to follow in my role, I would show them how I was doing it.
“Anyway, using the specific key on the keyboard was way faster. I can’t believe I only accidentally discovered the feature so late into my career. Imagine how much time could have been saved. My productivity would have increased tremendously. I try to use the keyboard as much as possible in every other way; which gives me an advantage over my peers.
“This got me thinking. Is perhaps the sankirtana-yajna an analogous concept, when applied to spiritual life? Instead of doing things manually, working hard in tapasya and austerity, travelling to various destinations to associate with renounced saints, reading this book and that, we can just chant the holy names on a regular basis: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
As the chance occurrence of pressing a certain key led to a significant discovery, so the blessings of the combined force of the spiritual master and Supreme Personality of Godhead effect the greatest improvement in the life of the conditioned soul.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada compares bhakti-yoga to taking the elevator to reach the top floor in a tall building. There are other ways to succeed, but they are more difficult. The elevator may seem like taking a shortcut, but the end-result is the same.
The good fortune of receiving the sankirtana-yajna is due to the mercy of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This method bypasses the need for deep understanding of Vedanta, of strict and difficult austerity, of visiting every holy place and observing every ritual for personal improvement and the general welfare of society.
Moreover, as the chanting of the holy names is quicker to implement, the extra time saved can be utilized for repeated indulgence in the adventure. That is to say, I can immerse myself deeper into the glories and bliss of the holy names, creating and maintaining a strong connection with the Almighty, which is the reason for my existence.
It might be years before I come upon this information. I may have held an improper conception of life prior, fooled by the illusory energy of maya. It would have been ideal to receive such information many lifetimes ago, but here and now I have the mercy of the spiritual master. He came to rescue me, and I will not let him down.
Coming to rescue me,
So that transcendence to see.
Higher knowledge getting,
So down not letting.
Otherwise with repeated mistake,
Illusion for reality to take.
Fortunately the way I’ve found,
Delivered through mantra sound.