(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 10th June 2012, Bhaktivedanta Manor, London, UK) Lecture: Part 1 seminar – Higher taste
I must admit that when you are a Swami then they always give you a tulsi leaf. And sometimes you get the caraṇāmṛta and they go through all the trouble:
‘The Swami must have a tulsi leaf, and that’s an absolute must.’
In Mayapur it’s two or three tulsi leaves and it’s like having a salad in the morning! The scripture says that you are not suppose to chew on tulsi leaf and that you are suppose to swallow them as they are, which I have tried and it gets stuck in the throat. So sometimes I think:
‘Here comes the tulsi leaf.’
But then I remember the Padma Purana, and remembering yes what great fortune. So on the one side we have the external side of devotional service, that the tusli leaf can get stuck in the throat, and that there are devotees who cannot sing and who are leading the kirtan, and it hurts. But what to do? Sometimes the auspicious incense that has been offered to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada is so strong that it agitates the sinuses and then the nose starts running and so on. So these are combinations of the amazing transcendental mercy, then the routine experience of everyday spiritual life. When we are in a routine experience then it all doesn’t look so transcendental.
Therefore hearing is so essential and that is one thing we rarely do – hearing we rarely do. Chanting, okay we have to do…So we are locking ourselves out from the taste by performing devotional service mechanically! We are doing that to ourselves. The taste is there. I like the example of inattentiveness not only in chanting, but in anything. We are inattentive to the taste. It’s like eating without tasting, we are eating but we are distracted. You eat a lot and then you pile it; you eat a plateful but never taste anything. In this way we are doing so many transcendental activities of which each of them has the taste, but we are not exploring the taste!