Srila Prabhupada explains the importance of feeling helpless in his purport to the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.8.26), pointing out the danger of material satisfaction, which may invite pride, complacency and lethargy into our heart:
"Actually the Lord’s holy name has such powerful potency. But there is a quality to such utterances also. It depends on the quality of feeling. A helpless man can feelingly utter the holy name of the Lord, whereas a man who utters the same holy name in great material satisfaction cannot be so sincere. A materially puffed up person may utter the holy name of the Lord occasionally, but he is incapable of uttering the name in quality. Therefore, the four principles of material advancement, namely (1) high parentage, (2) good wealth, (3) high education and (4) attractive beauty, are, so to speak, disqualifications for progress on the path of spiritual advancement."
His Holiness Gour Govinda Maharaja describes an ISKCON temple as a crying school, where we learn how to cry out to Krishna. This nicely sums up the very essence of devotional life: to cultivate helpless dependence on the Lord and His devotees. In a lecture on the Bhagavad-gita (8.21–22.) on 19 November 1966, in New York, Srila Prabhupada explains:
"This meaning of Hare Krishna is ... It is just addressing the Supreme Lord and His energy, Hara. Hara is the energy, and Krishna is the Supreme Lord. So we are addressing, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna: ‘O the energy of the Lord, O the Lord, please accept me.’ That’s all. ‘Please accept me.’ We have no other prayer. ‘Please accept me.’ Lord Chaitanya taught that we should simply cry, and we shall simply pray for accepting us. That’s all. So this vibration is simply a cry for addressing the Supreme Lord, requesting Him, ‘Please accept me. Please accept me.’"
To be accepted by Krishna is not a cheap thing. Who do we think we are to be accepted by Him? Our heart has to be flooded with an intense longing and begging for the position of being accepted and welcomed by the Lord. This mood within our hearts should not only be there in japa, but also in kirtan. We may sometimes hear so many esoteric meanings of the maha-mantra, but the very essence of it is, “I need help...!”
Unless we clearly come to this understanding and chant the holy name with this quality of feeling in our heart, our chanting will not become heart-deep. It will remain only lip-deep.
On the 24th of May I flew to Dallas to join a most blissful event...
Your servant, Devaki dd