Every religion has instructed us to chant the name of God. Worshippers from all parts of the world gather to glory the God’s name. But in what mood should we chant the names of God. In his Sri Siksastikam prayer, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us the mood to chant the names of Krsna. These instructs can apply to any name of God. The first set of moods is found in the third verse.
trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harihi
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
The first mood is Humility
Even in the Bhagavad Gita as it is, chapter 13 text 8-12 explians the first step for gaining knowledge is Humility, amānitvam.
“Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. The material conception of life makes us very eager to receive honor from others, but from the point of view of a man in perfect knowledge – who knows that he is not this body – anything, honor or dishonor, pertaining to this body is useless. One should not be hankering after this material deception.” (Purport)
The second mood of chanting is Tolerance
Srila Prabhupada, writes in Krsna Book.
“One’s greatness has to be estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations”
You can show off all your wealth, fame, prestige but the real character is show when you tolerate provoking situations.
The next two moods go together.
One should offer all respects to others and not expect any respect for oneself. Respect is deserved not demanded.
We can go on chanting for billions of years, but if we can not develop these qualities, then our chanting is like a chanting of a parrot (Read: Krishna teaches parrot to recite mantra)
“The practice of devotional service means so that we may be so accustomed to chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra that at the time of death we may remember it. Otherwise… Not like parrot. The parrot also imitates chanting. But when the cat catches, he does not say “Hare Kṛṣṇa.” He says [imitates parrot sound], “kanh, kanh.” So not that kind of… We should be accustomed to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa that whenever the death point is there, he would chant “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa.”
(NOD Lecture Nov 14 1972 Vrndavan)
The next verse also describe another set of mood. The mood of desire. When we chant to names of God we have some desire. When we chant Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare we are chanting for service.
That’s the proper mood.
In his fouth verse Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives us another mood that we should not chant.
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
“ ‘O Lord of the universe, I do not desire material wealth, materialistic followers, a beautiful wife or fruitive activities described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is unmotivated devotional service to You.’
The second set of mood of chanting begin with the desire for beautiful women. (For female it will be a desire for handsome husband). Why? Because attraction to the opposite sex leads to attachement. From attachment lust develops and when that lust is not fulfilled then anger arises. When this happens one attachment for Krsna decreases and when falls down.
Then there is followers. Having many followers increase pride. “Look So many people follow me”. “Prideth comes before a fall”. Lord Caitanya prays not to have many followers so this pride will enter into him.
Having immense amount of wealth also brings pride and sense of false prestige. Wealth will also lead to the spirit of enjoying sense gratification.
Mahaprabhu is also not asking for fruitive activities. Fruitive activities are actions that binds us to this material world. “fruitive activities means you earn something for sense gratification”. If we count, there are eight moods to chant the Holy name of Krsna. Krsna has invested all his potency in these names. So chanting with the proper mood, we reap the highest benefits.