It's been way too long since I've written and I can feel all the experiences I've had so far this Kartik just longing to tumble out of my fingertips.
This year, Krishna in his most beautiful form of Manohara, has brought me to Vrndavana in a very unique way. I got to skip the grueling traveling of 16 hours + and instead was allowed to come to Sri Sri Radha Manohara's temple in Montreal. Although I would love to be in the physical geographical location of Vrndavana, the mood and consciousness of the dham are being manifested right here in the increasingly cold climate of Montreal.
So far, I have been lucky to go out on harinama almost five days a week. A few sincere and dedicated devotees go out nearly everyday despite rain or shine but always with the attitude of determination to present the public of Montreal with the nectarean sounds of the holy names.
Truth be told, I like harinama. Occasionally. LOL. It's not something that I have ever done on a regular basis, but I'll say one thing. Just like this beautiful Manohara here finds tricky ways to get you super attached to him, it's the same deal with harinama. You get hooked and fast. It's almost like an addiction. The day just doesn't feel the same without going out on harinama.
It's also the most revealing experience on both the internal and external level. On the internal level, just like everything else in devotional service for the neophyte practitioner, there are days when the mind just doesn't feel like it. It will come up with every excuse in the book not to go out. Or even worse is when the enthusiasm to go is there in the beginning and once you are out on the streets it just suddenly fizzles away.
Or if you ever have an opportunity to lead. Wow! If you want to get a good glimpse into your level of devotion, leading a harinama is a good way to find out. My ideal meditation is to dedicate this service to my Guru Maharaja who used to go out on books and do harinama in addition to all the deity service when he used to be at the Boston temple in the early days. His sincere desire to serve Srila Prabhupada is so inspiring. But try keeping that meditation with people bustling past you, horns honking and the ever dreaded making sure the melody you picked is one others can follow.
On the external level it is amazing to see the modes are at work. One can actually see how the material world really is one of suffering. Rarely does anyone look happy as they walk by, unless they happen to catch a smile of a devotee and per chance return one. Everyone looks stressed, tired and worn out. And of those who are driving, many are irate, upset and frustrated at the others who are sharing the road with them.
So in the midst of the chaos and confusion the sweet sound of harinama pierces through the thick curtain of mixed consciousness. It jolts passers by out of their I, me, my worlds and catches them off guard. So the next time someone says, "Let's go on harinama" don't think twice. Just go. Whether it be three devotees or 300 devotees, it's not actually a numbers game. It's the best gift you can give to yourself. This is an addiction you you want to take up.