“Spiritual taste is like the ocean in the sense that it is very great. The Pacific Ocean is always tossing, but it is not increasing. By God’s order, the ocean does not extend beyond its limit, and if it extends, there is havoc. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that there is another ocean, an ocean of transcendental bliss, an ocean that is always increasing.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Path of Perfection, Ch 1)
“I have this lasting memory from childhood. It relates to watching television, and it still influences my behavior. That is to say, while an adult today, I still maintain the experience from decades ago.
“The common situation was that I would be watching television for several hours at a time. In those days, we did not have cable service. It might have been available, but it wasn’t so widespread that you would find it in every home. If it was around, our household was not yet subscribing.
“There were several channels available without any additional equipment or subscription. These are known as over-the-air stations. We would change the channels by manually turning a dial. It was no big deal, and one of the sets in the house was in black and white.
“The memory I have is that my mother would periodically make the rounds. It was like she was a security guard on patrol. By the second or third trip, I knew we were in for a scolding. We would be told to turn off the television, that doing too much of one thing is not healthy. We should go find something to study, even if we didn’t have any work for school to complete.
“This stands in stark contrast to the current-day practice of binge-watching. These childhood experiences likely explain why I don’t sit for extended viewing. It is like there is a countdown clock in the background. I know that eventually I should turn off the television or viewing device.
“The guiding principle is that too much of a good thing is bad, which is entirely rational. It is something like overindulging the senses. You can’t party every day. After a while, the partying takes its toll. Not every day can be the weekend. You can’t perpetually be on vacation.
“How does this square with the bhakti tradition? More specifically, we see people chanting the holy names throughout the day. They follow a routine for many years, possibly. There is the recommendation from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of kirtaniya sada-harih.
“We should always be chanting the names of Hari, which is one name for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Will not that be too much? Is there not a limit or ceiling to the bliss from the experience?”
In the material world, there are certain laws which cannot be violated. If you have two slices of pizza, taking away one slice leaves only one. There is no way around this rule. The same applies with addition. If you double the amount that you have, there is only a single valid value for the product.
If an ocean happens to increase in size, there could be disastrous effects. The water has nowhere else to go; it must hit the land. Too much water threatens havoc and destruction in its wake. In this way, we should be thankful that the oceans maintain themselves. Or whoever is maintaining them is doing a great job.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that there is an intelligent being behind the curtain, so to speak. He is the maintainer of all living entities, and so one of His names is Janardana. One way in which He maintains is to keep the oceans in check, where they stay within their designated boundaries.
These are aspects of the material world, but when it comes to turning in the direction of Janardana and seeking His pleasure, the rules soften. You can take away one item and not lose anything. You can keep adding without negative consequences.
This explains how the bliss in spiritual life can continue to increase. Though I have been chanting the holy names for years, I still find renewing enthusiasm with every period of engagement. Though it has become second-nature to me, I still find myself eagerly anticipating the next episode, when I will get the chance to call out to God in a mood of service: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
This swimming in the ever-increasing ocean of transcendental bliss is made possible by Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He showed the spiritual world in truth through both instruction and example. He revealed what is possible within the human birth, where death no longer becomes an inhibiting factor.
The chanting that I do today and its accompanying bliss can continue in the future. There is no ceiling precisely because of the equivalence with God Himself. Devotional activity, for the purpose of pleasing Him, is non-different from Him.
It may be difficult to comprehend in the beginning, as we are accustomed to limitations and clearly drawn boundaries with respect to time and space. But just as time continues infinitely in both directions and space has no real limitations, so the origin of time and space gives the sky and beyond as the limit to the flow of transcendental nectar resulting from true connection in consciousness, in the yoga known as bhakti.
Breaking through rigid bond,
Giving the sky and beyond.
In bliss of bhakti to take,
Perpetual routine to make.
Where not getting tired or old,
Principle of spiritual science told.
Never too much of a good thing,
Where holy names to sing.