The Vishnu Gayatri shows us that the Lord is everywhere, and the Narayana mantra is the most efficacious of all mantras. But in order to benefit through a recitation of the Narayana mantra, we must have bhakti towards the Lord, K.B. Devarajan said in a discourse.
Suppose there is a tank full of water. There are three orifices in the tank, which are kept plugged. Suppose even one of the plugs is removed, all the water will drain out.
Similarly, in order to get the benefit of the Narayana mantra, there are three holes that we must plug — lack of bhakti towards the Lord, lack bhakti towards one's Acharya and lack of belief in the efficacy of the mantra.
We often lack all the three requisites. We lack bhakti towards the Lord, whom the mantra extols. We lack bhakti towards the Acharya who teaches us the mantra. Or we lack faith in the mantra itself. A mere recitation, without faith, is not going to help us. All the three conditions are essential for us to reap the benefits of the mantras taught by our Acharyas.
Those in samsaric life are in a pitiable condition. They have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten who God is. So they do not serve God. And the saddest part is that they are not sorry to have forgotten God. They are like a man who has lost his property, does not know he has lost his property, and is therefore not sorry about his loss.
The Lord has great sympathy for our plight and is eager to save us, if only we have bhakti towards Him. Bhakti yoga is difficult for most of us. That is why the Lord shows us the path of surrender at His feet. But we do not even resort to this, often. We will resort to surrender only if we have the knowledge about our ‘atma' and about God. An ignorant man does not know that he is imprisoned in a cycle of births and deaths, and to escape from this repeating sorrow, he must surrender at the Lord's feet.
If we understand the Lord's qualities of kindness and willingness to forgive us for our transgressions, love for God will result, and will prompt us to resort to surrender.