How to Practise Nama-smarana
How should nama be practised? If we pour water on a stone all at once, it will only wet the surface, which will be dry no sooner the water evaporates. But if the water falls on one spot, even drop by drop but continuously, the stone will gradually get worn out and eventually even crack and break. Likewise, practising nama even in a somewhat small quantity, but regularly, at the same time every day, and preferably in the same place, is more effective than much but sporadic practice.
A hand-rotated stone flour mill has two millstones; the lower one is stationary, while the upper one is rotated. However, if both stones go round, the grain cannot be ground, and the effort is wasted. The human body and mind together make such a mill. Of these two millstones, the body, under the influence of destiny, may go about its worldly duties, like the rotating stone; the other, the mind, should be held firmly fixed in the remembrance of God. This, in effect, is what nama-sadhana means. It can be practised by all and sundry, and anybody can succeed in it. However, the poor fail for being preoccupied with poverty; the rich for their avarice and pride of wealth; the learned for pride of their knowledge; and the ignorant because they do not know what to do. No amount of practice of nama-smarana will give contentment if done with a suspicious mind.
A sadhaka will attain his objective if he is possessed of moral conduct, behaviour as laid down in the Shastras, a pure heart, and constant remembrance of the Supreme Being.
We need not be disheartened if evil thoughts throng the mind while pursuing the pathway in spirituality; resort to nama-smarana when they crowd in, and they will automatically be checked. Persist in nama with firm faith. Contentment will spring only where there is attention to duty along with remembrance of the Lord. If you constantly remind yourself that you belong to Him, and live for Him, His presence will become more and more evident, and the ego will proportionately shrink, and the mind will feel disburdened. Let us make it our goal to attain to God, and re-align our life accordingly, that is keep ourselves ever aware of Him.
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