The Innocent Chanter
I find the story of Ajamil very interesting. His tale is very typical. Here’s a man who came from a very decent background; his parents were proper Brahman. He had a loyal wife. His set up was near to perfect. Then one day he came upon the wrong person, the wrong crowd and fell away from decency to succumb to tamas (ignorance) and take to the dark side of life.
In our Bhagavatam discussions for the morning. I asked our small group of monks if they know anyone who “fell from grace” like Ajamil in their personal lives. Its apparent that everyone knows someone who slipped from Satya (goodness) to tamas (ignorance).One of our monks, Hara Kumar, relayed about a doctor in his home town who took to the bottle which eventually led to homelessness except for a tent on the mud flats of a river.
Ajamil led a deplorable life but he did have one saving grace which was his chanting of the name Narayan, a name for the creator. He named his son “Narayan” and that’s what protected him from the god of punishment, Yamaraj.
Our guru, Srila Prabhupada, wrote about Ajamil qualifying him as an innocent chanter of this most spiritually potent name. Although Ajamil knew well about right and wrong he evidentially plummeted to a disposition of ignorance. Over time ignorance could be converted to innocence as one forgets and loses the sense of moral over immoral activities.
I have found in my numerous walks through city streets that it’s the downtrodden that often times have the easiest, spontaneous and most expressive ways of saying “Hare Krishna”. In other words often the elites dare say the name of God. It makes you consider that there is this childishness and even innocence about the down-and-out.
With the passage of time and even the turn over of a new body karma can improve the life of those who try and make an effort-devotionally. Because Ajamil called for his son, the name being auspicious, at his deathbed things began to look up for him.
Ajamil’s story is an account of hope. Hope often arises from faith. He had an honest approach to faith merely because his shelter was Narayan while thinking his shield was his son.