pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
A person is empowered by just a little bit of hearing a specific sound. Having spent so much time in despair, misery and doubt, suddenly everything changes. All that was tried previously didn’t work. The solutions had temporary effectiveness, but after a while the previous state was again found. The Bhagavad-gita explains this to be the result of work in the mode of passion.
rajo rāgātmakaṁ viddhi
tan nibadhnāti kaunteya
“The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this one is bound to material fruitive activities.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.7)
What exactly is the mode of passion? The best example is illicit sex life. There is desire from both parties. There is mutual attraction. That attraction then leads to something. It is said that the entire material world is built on this attraction. Men and women visit the gym, strive for improvement in social standing, purchase expensive items from retail outlets, and look for increased means of enjoyment. This is all for the purpose of remaining attractive to the opposite sex.
After experiencing the height of enjoyment, what comes next? What is the end result? The entire process must be repeated. Likely the same enjoyment won’t be there the next time; the law of diminishing returns. Today I feel like eating pizza for lunch, but it is not guaranteed that I will want the same tomorrow. If the exact same kind of pizza gets cooked and presented to me day after day, after some time the enjoyment won’t be the same.
The mode of passion leads to a neutral state, while the mode of ignorance brings regression. Think of playing video games. That is pure passion. Then when there is anger and frustration, you break the controller. That is ignorance, since the act doesn’t lead to anything good. You need a controller to play. Now you are without one, which means you have regressed.
The human being is meant to ascend to at least the mode of goodness. This is where things start to turn around. In the mode of goodness you learn that you are spirit and not matter. Through practical steps, you realize the spiritual equality of all forms of life, including those outside of the human species.
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)
Goodness, passion, ignorance, reincarnation, impersonal, personal, all-pervading, material nature, internal potency, illusory energy - who has time to go into these topics in depth for proper understanding? In the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy, just chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Just a little bit of progress along this path does so much. At the very least, there is time sacrificed for meditation. If you’re chanting properly, really hearing the sound vibration, then for that time period you are free of thoughts in passion. You are not angry and looking to do something foolish. You are even above the mode of goodness for a short time, as there is no desire for improvement.
In a material existence, the living entity is riddled with fear. This only makes sense, as every outcome is uncertain. There is certainty in death, but there is no way of knowing exactly when it will arrive. It is like something is hiding behind the door, ready to strike at any moment. Things can be calm and peaceful, but in a second the situation is liable to change.
Just a little chanting, with some faith and under the guidance of an authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, goes a long way towards improving the experience through life. Imagine, then, what a lot of chanting will do. The success of the process is due to the holy name itself. That special sound vibration is empowered with the direct presence of the Supreme Lord, who is above goodness, passion and ignorance. He brings the same transcendence to those who associate with Him regularly. That association is available to everyone, as it can come through something as simple as sound.
Just a little of mantra hear,
To be saved from greatest fear.
Modes of material nature three,
But none totally of karma free.
Goodness going up, passion the same,
Regression when in ignorance the name.
Of such complicated study no need,
Be liberated from maha-mantra indeed.