Krishna becomes a Sweeper
It is said in the Vaishnava scriptures of the Vedas (like Shrimad Bhagavatam and others) that Krishna is non different from his holy name. We can associate with Krishna personally by chanting purely. Yet it also said that there is one important difference between Krishna and his name.
What is that?
Krishna's holy name is more merciful than Krishna.
How can this be?
He comes in his Nam (name) incarnation even when we are not qualified to be with him personally in his abode, or we can't appreciate his Deity (archa) form. To chant the holy names there are no hard and fast rules as to time and place, or cleanliness, sitting place, posture, dress etc. like in yoga. Of course, there are stages of chanting: the offensive stage, clearing stage, and pure stage. We have to come to the pure or offfenseless stage to really associate with him and receive the ultimate benefit.
Never the less, we can chant the Hare Krishna mantra for whatever reason and still be benefited. If we continue to chant, we will gradually want to improve. Then we will learn to avoid the offences in chanting, practice the regulated principles of freedom in pure association, and eventually come to the perfect stage of pure chanting and Krishna prema (pure love for Krishna).
When we take up the chanting of Krishna's holy name he takes his position in our heart as a sweeper to clean the dust covering our heart. Although he is God, the most worshipable, he also is the most humble and the greatest servant of all.
Our spiritual heart (ceta) is our facility for experiencing our identity. Lord Chaitanya has described in his shikshastakam prayers that our heart in material consciousness is covered with a type of dust which prevents us from seeing ourself as a soul, and as his servant. This dust can't be removed by just being religious and pious. Religion generally means adding something on to our life to make it materially better and more prosperous. Our material identity remains but we color it with a Godly brush. We are a good person, but still ignorant of our soul.
Of course it is good to be pious and religious, yet Shri Chaitanya says we need to go further. We have to cleanse our heart metaphysically or spiritually, which is required to realize our soul. That is what the holy name does.
Material dust on our heart makes us experience our soul as a temporary material body with all its' false designations such as race, color, religion, gender, ethnicity, or as fat, thin, old, young, beautiful, or ugly etc. These material designations are all ignorance for the soul, or our sleeping condition. We are like a person with amnesia, forgetful of our true self and home. So we can wake up and remember our eternal nature through the chanting process.
This is all made possible by the merciful Lord coming as his holy name who acts as a sweeper---and our heart is sooooo dusty and dirty from countless births in the material world. Such love, such compassion, such kindness, to take such a role just to help us be eternally happy and free from material miseries.
We just have to get out of the way and let the Lord do his work of sweeping. Unfortunately, we often prevent the Lord's sweeping by being inattentive in chanting, or committing offenses and sinful activities. After inviting him into our heart we are fighting with him to not sweep our hearts!
In effect the Lord is saying,
"Can I sweep now?" and we say,
"Not now, maybe later."
"Can I sweep now?"
"Not not, my shop is closed, perhaps tomorrow."
And Krishna patiently waits for an opportunity to sweep again to helps us realize our self and the love we yearn for. We have to learn to let him do his merciful work by wanting the goal of Prema or love for him more than anything else. Service is the solace!
Let us not be like the elephant who bathes very carefully, and then comes out of a pond and throws dust all over itself. Let us allow Krishna to sweep our heart clean of all impurities and false conceptions, by learning to chant the holy name of Krishna purely. Then Krishna will always be with us, and our search for the true love of our heart and soul will be over!