(Kadamba Kanana Swami, October 2014, Mayapur, India, Siksastakam Seminar: Verses 1&2, Part 1)
It was here in Mayapur, quite some years back, that once I chanted sixty-four rounds. It was probably a festival day and it was not easy because there were devotees everywhere who wanted to talk to me so I was avoiding everybody quite a bit – when I saw a devotee, I quickly went in another direction. Okay, I made it; sixty-four rounds got done!
Then, there used to be a reception in the Long Building, 111. I walked through the reception after my sixty-four rounds, and I saw a newspaper and my tendency was to go read the newspaper! And I go like, “What’s this? I just chanted sixty-four rounds and the first thing I want to do is to read the newspaper!”
Because to chant those sixty-four rounds was so much stress for my mind, for all those hours I had basically fixed the mind on chanting that afterward, I felt like relaxing and reading a newspaper or something. So, it is not so simple to just chant and chant deeply out of love for Krsna, that is very exalted but at least, by chanting in a regular way, we get some grip on the forest fire (of material desires) and we can contain it. It is still burning… it is not put out yet… day and night, it is still burning in the heart… all these desires are still there burning, blazing and still pushing… but we keep them contained with boundaries around them. Just like a forest fire, sometimes they clear areas around the fire and dig trenches so there is no fuel to go further and it stops there and continues to burn.
So, this is how we build trenches around our ashram. Even varnashram – finding a service that can absorb us. For many of us, it has been service that has been the saving grace over the years. Yes, chanting our rounds was there – a minimum of sixteen and most of the time that is what is was, just a minimum, and ashram and so on… but then the service. If one has a lot of service, that service forces us to sacrifice our personal desires.