(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 April 2013, Stockholm, Sweden, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.1)
Although it is mentioned that harer nāma harer nāma, harer nāmaiva kevalam, kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva, nāsty eva gatir anyathā (CC Adi 7.76), that this chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is the only way by which we can overcome the influence of this age of kali, we see that at the same time, it is the most difficult activity.
It is very interesting that this is the activity that will free us from the age of kali but it is exactly the one thing that devotees find like so difficult – chanting japa! Somehow or other, to chant is the big struggle; very few are chanting japa in ecstasy. Most are just going through it but are experiencing it like a struggle, like a burden. That is interesting.
Reading Srimad Bhagavatam along with chanting will make a huge difference. It is mentioned in the Caitanya Caritamrta, first chapter, that Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda are driving out the influence of ignorance through the Bhagavat. This is interesting that it does not say through the influence of the holy name, it says through the influence of the Bhagavat. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami makes that a major point in the first chapter, emphasising spreading the knowledge of the Bhagavat. So without knowledge it is not possible for anyone to be motivated to chant.
Therefore Srila Prabhupada spent so much time to provide knowledge – not only by quoting from scriptures, not only by translating but by logic and argument – by logically explaining why there is no alternative to Krsna consciousness and why it is the only way.
And Srila Prabhupada never took it for granted that those who had joined the Hare Krsna movement were convinced. We tend to take that for granted, “Oh, you know, he is a devotee.” But Prabhupada did not take it like that. Prabhupada asked his leaders, his best men, “Are you convinced?” And they looked down to the ground. They could not look him in the eyes when he asked that question.
So that was a fact. Now the times may have changed, in the sense that there is more responsibility with the individual. The movement is maybe in a more individualistic era and there is more individual responsibility. So each for himself has to actually take shelter of Srimad Bhagavatam and become convinced. Maybe no one will come to convince us. Maybe no one will knock on our door and asks us, “Are you convinced?” But we will have to convince ourselves if we want to be able to carry on.