The Siksastaka prayers are part of my daily devotional activities. I recite the prayers everyday just to remind myself about the glories of the Holy Name. Each verse is very deep in its meaning; our acaryas have provided innumerable commentaries on the Siksastaka prayers. These eight verses explain Lord Caitanya’s mission, and what He wanted to accomplish.
Below is my understanding of Siksastaka prayers.
Verse 1 glories the chanting of the Holy Name of Lord Krsna (param vijayate sri-krsna sankirtanam). It explains the benefits of chanting; the main benefit is that it cleanses the mirror of the heart. Our heart has been contaminated since time immemorial. As soon as the mirror of the heart is cleansed of all dust, we can understand who we truly are. We can understand that we are not the body, but the spirit soul. This is the beginning of our spiritual life.
Verse 2 explains all the names of the Supreme Lord have equal potencies. It says that there are no hard and fast rules for remembering them, and the Lord is merciful in teaching us the chanting of the Holy Name. But being so materially conditioned, we have no taste for the chanting of the Holy Name.
In response to above, the Lord says in Verse 3 that we can chant by cultivating humility and tolerance, by not expecting respects but to offer respect to everyone. In that mood, we can chant the holy name always (kirtaniya sada hari).
Verse 4 explains that as soon as our heart is cleaned of all material contamination, we come to the understanding that all the material desires that led us to a dirty heart are useless and futile. Thus the prayer says that material wealth, materialistic followers, beautiful wife, or fruitive activities are insignificant. Our only desire is to be situated in unmotivated devotional service to the Supreme Lord life after life.
Verse 5 is a sincere cry to the Supreme Lord to situate us in our eternal devotional position. Our position is that we are eternal servant of the Lord. Here the devotee feels sorry for turning away from the Lord, and begs the Lord to accept him again by considering Him a particle of dust at His lotus feet. Thus this verse establishes the sambandha-tattva.
From here on the mood of the Siksastaka prayers changes dramatically.
To my understanding, Verse 6 shows the symptoms of one in bhava. The devotee realizes that he has no love for Krsna, and hopes to see a day when his eyes will be filled with tears, his voice will falter, and the hairs on his body will stand erect in transcendental happiness as he chants the holy name. We all desire to reach that platform one day.
Verse 7 describes the mood of one is deep separation from the Lord. Because of separation, the devotee considers a moment a great millenium. Lord Caitanya’s final pastimes where He rubs His face against the wall exemplifies this mood of separation.
Finally in Verse 8, the devotee completely surrenders to Krsna. He prays to the Lord, “Do whatever you want. Trample me or break my heart. But You will still remain the worshipable Lord of my heart.”
My favorite verses are 2-5. I like verse 2 (namnam akari…) because it mirrors my struggles with chanting as I have no attachment yet for the holy name. Verse 3 tells me the qualities needed to chant the holy name – humility, tolerance and no desire for personal honor. With that mood, I can hope to chant the holy name constantly. Verse 4 reminds me the futility of material life. My one and only goal is to engage in pure devotional service unto the Lord. Verse 5 reminds me of my true identity. That I am an eternal servant of the Lord. My desire to be master of material nature made me fall into the horrible ocean of nescience where I am constantly drowning. Only Lord Krsna can pull me out of this ocean. Therefore I pray to Him to save me and accept me again.
As for the remaining verses, I am not qualified and advanced yet to experience them. For now, my goal is to appreciate the glories of the Holy Name, develop taste for it, and chant offenselessly. I pray to Lord Caitanya to help me in this regard.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
All glories to Lord Caitanya!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!