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|Thursday, November 22nd, 2007|
Japa Tips from His Holiness Umapati Swami
In answer to a request, here are some of the things I do to help me concentrate on my japa (chanting on beads). I can't say they all come from Srila Prabhupada or the scriptures, but Srila Prabhupada said you can judge a thing by the result.
First of all, do not think of japa as drudgery: "Whew! It seems like I've been chanting for hours and hours, and I only have three rounds done. Will it never end?"
Well yes. It really will never end. That's what we want, isn't it? to be calling out Lord Krsna's name forever? So think of japa as eternal, and you will become peaceful and attentive.
Do not think about all the things you will have to do when at long last you finish your japa. If your mind wanders off to your work, remind yourself that thinking about work while chanting does not help either the work or the chanting. And again, remind yourself that japa never finishes.
Sometimes I find it helps to read scripture or meditate intensely on a verse before starting japa. Your mind will become clear, and you will be able to hear your chanting. When your mind does eventually wander, bring it back to the verse and then to the chanting.
Whatever your case, be of good cheer. Japa does become easier as time goes by, and eventually, you won't even think about techniques.
I once asked Srila Prabhupada about chanting and driving, as one cannot chant attentively at the wheel.
"You should always be chanting," Srila Prabhupada answered, "but you should chant sixteen good rounds every day."
I don't chant my sixteen rounds on japa walks. There are too many distractions. You know the old saying: "Japa walk means japa talk."
Nor do I like it when the rounds just zip by like lightning. At the end I realize that I have gone through sixteen rounds without hearing any of it.
It can be painful at first, trying hard to concentrate on a repetitious sound, so we may look for excuses to chant in a distracting environment, where we can go through the motions without really listening.
I prefer to chant sixteen rounds in a sheltered environment where I do not have to look out for cars and traffic lights and dogs running in front of me.
But japa really does become easy and pleasant. I promise! I promise!
|Tuesday, April 25th, 2006|
|Monday, March 20th, 2006|
Krishna's name is where "it " is at
We have to invest more and more our thinking, feeling, and willing into our chanting, not thinking that we will surpass this chanting or that the chanting will lead to something different from chanting. I told this several times to one devotee who said he chanted sixty-four rounds on Janmästami. As he chanted he had this feeling that something was going to happen, that if he chanted enough, “it” was going to happen. But his conclusion at the end was that he was still a rascal, even after chanting sixty-four rounds. Another conclusion is that it’s not by chanting that “it” happens but “it” is happening while we chant. What we have to do is just invest more of our consciousness into it.
An example is the pseudo-spiritual hippie impersonal philosophy that what’s really happening is whatever is happening now. It’s summed up in that phrase, “Be here now.” I had a friend who used to say, “As far as eternal, there’s no afterlife. But there is eternal—eternal means now, what’s happening now.” Actually that philosophy leads to hedonism—the moment, whatever is happening, is all there is, so you have to really get into it. And sometimes they try for spirituality—that everything right now is holy, and this is what is transcendental. You just invest yourself, invest meaning into the temporary life, and that is religious. But that’s bogus because there is another life; there is Krsña, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, beyond this world. It’s not that this is all there is, so you have to invest everything here. We don’t subscribe to that philosophy. But we can take that mentality. We can apply it—“Be here now”—because we have got eternal transcendental life given to us in Krsña consciousness. The chanting is Kåñëa, so for us that is true, that everything is here. “Be here now”—Krsña is actually here in His name. All you have to do is get into it or get with it, that this is Krsna’s name.
So while you are chanting, you don’t have to get to something else or go somewhere else or wait for “it” to happen, but you just have to realize that this is actually Krsna. Then, as you realize Krsña more, you get more into the chanting. You realize that the chanting is simply to chant Krsna’s name, and you want to do it more and more.
Of course, in a sense it is true that the chanting leads to a breakthrough and to higher understanding, but to higher understanding of the same thing—that Krsna is His name, that Krsña is actually His name. And then you realize it more—that actually Krsna is His name. Sometimes we gain a little understanding of it. We say, “You know, I’ve been chanting. I am understanding that actually the name is Krsña.” Or we may be reading and then understand, “Oh, actually the name is Krsña. Krsna is His name, Krsna is so wonderful, and Krsna is appearing in His name.” Improving chanting means realizing this more and more. Just like with the Deity—Krsna is standing on the altar, so we keep going and seeing Krsna. The best way to take His darçana is to get more and more realization that Krsna is actually here. Not that you have to see a light coming from the Deity or see Him move, but He has come in this form. He’s exactly Krsña in this brass form. He’s not brass, He’s Krsna—but exactly as He is. The name is like this. The name is actually Krsña. Not that by chanting—then something else. But the sound vibration is Krsnaa. It’s just a matter of becoming submissive or receptive. Prabhupäda uses the phrase “aural reception.” We produce this sound, and we hear it; this is yoga. Therefore, it’s such a simple process. We can make all advancement.
-p28, The Japa Reform Notebook
~His Holiness Satsvarupa Goswami Maharaja
|Thursday, February 16th, 2006|
What determines our spiritual advancement....
"We have to know, our spiritual advancement is not determined by what position we take in this movement. Because positions are very temporary. Our spiritual advancement is determined by our humility and our desire to serve, and our attentiveness to practice the principles of Krsna consciousness. We know as a fact that if one chants the Holy Name of the Lord offenselessly, he eradicates all sins from the heart, and gradually achieves love of Krsna."
His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj
|Tuesday, February 14th, 2006|
Vaisnava aparadha is considered to be like a mad elephant, the offense that destroys all others. Bhaktivinoda says that the primary quality of a sadhu, or a devotee, is that he sees Krsna as his main goal of existance. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu points out that any devotee who seriously wants to avoid this offense would try their hardest not to offend anyone, because you never know, that person just might see Krsna as his sole shelter. So, given this, what are some of the ways that you keep up your relationships with other devotees?
|Saturday, February 11th, 2006|
So today is Lord Nityananda Prabhu's appearance day. this is supposed to be a time of the year where our spiritual lives can take major steps forward. Lord Nityananda is the original Guru, so today is a great time to pray fervently for Lord Nityananda's mercy, begging Him to help us all act in a way to please our spiritual masters. specifically we can beg for His mercy to improve our chanting, because our first duty to the spiritual master is always to perfect our chanting of the Holy Names.
Nityananda Prabhu is also incredibly merciful. it is because of His mercy that Jagai and Madhai were delivered. these two were the most sinful persons ever, there was not a sin they had not committed. the best way to praise Lord Nityananda on his appearance day is to carry on His mission to save the most fallen, on the order of Sri Caitanya. Chanting the Holy Name, distributing books and prasadam, preaching to everyone.
for myself, i am about to go out on books, then join the harinama in town, then go to the temple to chant for hours with the devotees. and always remember Lord Nityananda -
Nadia godrume nityananda mahajana, pati yache nama hatta, jivera karan
In the land of Nadia, on the island of Godruma, the magnanimous Lord Nityananda has opened up the Marketplace of the Holy Name, meant for the deliverance of all fallen souls.
what are you plans to make the most of this auspicious occasion?
|Thursday, February 9th, 2006|
I really should have posted something in here when i set this up, but i ran out of time.
I've just had a few conversations lately with devotees who aren't that set in their practice, people who are just coming along, or else have spent alot of time on the boarders of Krsna conscious practice. One thing i've been working on with them is setting themselves specific guidelines for their sadhana, for example, setting a minimum number of rounds each day (if they are not yet at 16), and setting a minimum time each day for reading Prabhupada's books. I've kinda realised throught this experience that although i may have a higher standard in this regard in my sadhana, in that i follow my Gurumaharaja's instructions for the minimum rounds, and minimum time reading Prabhupada's books, still i have areas that need improvement, mainly in the quality side of things.
I was wondering if the devotees on here have any specific techinques they find helpful for hearing the Holy Name during morning japa. is there any thing you can think of that you try to do that increases your attentiveness, that you think might also work for others?
|Wednesday, February 8th, 2006|
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