This is a story about a girl who is my friend's friend. This girl is young and was frequenting ISKCON on and off. She was chanting the holy names 16 rounds a day as recommended by Srila Prabhupada. Her parents wanted to get her married. After trying hard to get a devotee groom within ISKCON going in vain, they finally found a match in their own caste. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't work and she returned home quite dejected.
After coming back she resumed her devotional practices and frequented the temple more often. She used to wake up at 4 am and chant the holy names, read Srimad Bhagavatam, serve her Sri Radha Krishna Deities with care and took active part in temple programs.
Meanwhile her parents started looking out for a groom for remarriage. They found a suitable alliance who was again from their own caste. He was a meat eater and was also addicted to intoxication which were against her principles. Nevertheless she got married to him.
His was from a joint family. They lived with his brothers' families and his parents in a big house. After a few months of marriage she has met my friend and told her that she was very sad because she was not able to continue her devotional practices. Her chanting reduced to 8 rounds. Her mother-in-law was constantly picking on her by comparing her with her co-sisters. Her husband was also not very supportive. He does not like her getting too involved in devotional practices.
My friend had asked her to come and stay with her for a couple of days and when she came, my friend and her husband had encouraged her by taking her to the temple and giving her some good advice.
She got encouraged and went back happy. After a few months this girl called my friend and they were chatting for some time as usual. This time she revealed that she is chanting 32 rounds a day. My friend was shocked and asked how could she find time and energy to chant so many rounds living a joint family with an uncooperative family.
She replied that once she had made her mind to do it, she could simply do it. She used to wake up at 4am and chant her first 16 rounds with out the knowledge of her husband. Later in the day she would go to the puja room like the others do in her house and chant and read Srimad Bhagavatam for one hour.
In the afternoon the ladies in the household take rest for two hours. She used to rest for one hour and chant and listen to Srila Prabhupada's lecture for the next one hour. Her husband used to come home late in the night. Untill he arrives she would get some time to complete the rest of the rounds. This way she would chant 32 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra everyday. One round is chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
108 times. Like this she used to chant her amazing 32 rounds day.
Initially she feared thinking that this marriage also should not fail but gradually she became confident that Sri Radha Madhava will take care of everything. The secret for her enthusiasm to chant constantly, she says, comes from the belief that one day Sri Krishna will be pleased with her efforts to chant His holy names.
I was encouraged hearing this from my friend. From the next day I rolled up my sleeves to chant my rounds with sincerity and enthusiasm.