Bhakti Yoga-Devotional Service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna

Bhakti Yoga-Devotional Service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna
Gopis performing Devotional Service to the Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna

Archives

BE MORE CONSCIOUS

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/29/10

Start today to pay closer attention to the things you do.

Be more conscious of how you think and act.

Think about your tasks carefully before you begin.

Identify your most important tasks for a day and concentrate on them single-mindedly.

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

POSSIBILITY QUESTIONS (PQ)

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/27/10

These questions will help you discover new options, opportunities, possibilities and advantages in various areas your life:
1. What are the options for achieving this goal?
2. What else is possible?
3. Who else can help you?
4. What are the opportunities available?
5. How can this be made possible?
6. What will enable you to achieve this?
7. What are the hidden opportunities here?
8. What other resources are available?
9. What strengths and talents can you use?
10. How can impossible become possible?

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

THE REAL INTEREST

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/29/10

The real interest of the living entity is to get out of the nescience that causes him to endure repeated birth and death.

The only remedy is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His representative.

Unless one renders devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, one cannot possibly become completely detached from this material world, nor can he possibly manifest real knowledge.

SB 4.29.36

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Being reunited with the beloved Lord

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Jyoti Pahuja's Facebook Notes by Jyoti Pahuja on 9/28/10

 

 

For a spiritual seeker death is not the end, rather it's a beginning of entrance into a realm of eternity, knowledge and bliss. For a materialist, death is simply the end of everything he or she identifies with. Therefore a God lover doesn't mind getting old or nearing death, because he knows that as the body is coming closer to death, the soul is getting closer to the eternal spiritual youthful form. So it is better to die before you die.

 

In a typical Hindu marriage, the bride cries as she leaves her parents' house. This is because of her familial attachments and the uncertain future waiting to unfold at her husband's home. But if a long courtship precedes her wedding, she silently celebrates the parting from her loved ones. Similarly a devotee constantly associating with Krsna through service and remembrance fills his life with serenity and bliss and easily turns from worldly attachments. Then when the inevitable death approaches, he is excited to be reunited with his beloved Lord.

 

- HH Radhanath Swami

 


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Divine Intervention

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (Hina) on 9/29/10

How can we face things alone? Alone in the world. Alone…it's like no one can be alone. But, one who is with Krsna is never alone, and when we are in a relationship with Krsna, then we are not alone at all! When we are actively trying to please Krsna – then we are never alone, because Krsna is reciprocating. It's not just we are working and working and working so hard in devotional service, and just hopefully there will be a reward at the end. A whole life you have to slave and slave and slave – day and night for Krsna. Get up at an impossible time. Live a real austere lifestyle, and then if you do it very well – then at the end of your life, you get the reward;

"Welcome, you can now return to the spiritual world"

No, that is not Krishna Consciousness. In Krishna Consciousness there is a reciprocation now – there is a reward now, and there is a reward at the end - both simultaneously. Krsna is reciprocating with us now! If you didn't know yet, Krsna is actually with us all the time! And Krsna is actually making arrangements in our life. Oh yes, in different ways.

Have you also had these kind of experiences where Krsna is clearly interfering – some divine intervention. I think sometimes everyone has it. When you open up a book and it just opens up on a page, and the topic that it describes is just what you were talking about 10 minutes ago. And it is just right there – look at that -those things happen!

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 31st August 2010)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

The Spiritual Master Has Different Roles

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/29/10

transcribed by Yamuna Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Croatia, September 2010)

Spiritual master is having different roles.

One role is that he is the representative of Krsna.

He is receiving our service and our worship on behalf of Krsna.

We have to treat Him like that, the representative of Krsna - as good as Krsna.

The Spiritual master is representing the whole parampara.

So he is representing all the previous acaryas.

The Spiritual master takes charge of our life...



I was reading an offering of one of Srila Prabhupada's disciples named Koushalia. She become involved in Krsna Consciousness when she was sixteen years old. She was a hippy girl from the sixties. She was only sixteen years old, but she liked to take LSD. During the initiation Prabhupada asked her not only for the four regulative principles, He also asked her:
"What is the fifth regulative principle?"
And then he said: "No LSD!!!"
Then Prabhupad told her:
"You always looked in life for the smooth ocean; you always looked for the comfortable situation where life will be easier. But there is no such thing!
Sometimes the ocean is smooth but sometimes the ocean gets rough. That is the nature of ocean. There is no such thing as always having a smooth ocean.
But you don't have to worry because you have a very good captain! the captain will take you across!"

The Spiritual master is the captain of the boat of transcendental knowledge who will take us across this ocean of material existence.


So, whether it is smooth or whether it is rough - whatever maybe, we have that relationship with our spiritual master.

It is said that the relationship with spiritual master should also be personal.

He is not only the official representative of the Parampara of Krsna, he is not only the external manifestation of the Supersoul, but he is also our friend!
He is our friend!
Friendship means someone we can trust.
That is important - that we can trust our spiritual master – because then we can take shelter.
Otherwise we always smile. And whenever the spiritual master comes and asks:
"How are you?"
You say:
"Very nice, very nice."

But the truth of the matter is that we are struggling! Truth of the matter is: that is not so easy. Because it is not so easy therefore we must trust and we must take shelter. We must be honest.
Srila Prabhupada will also write his letters and write:
"My dear spiritual sons and daughters"
So, in one sense there is a parental relationship.
The spiritual master is like our father.

Father is always favourable, no matter what children do.

We should understand that the Spiritual master is always favourable.

transcribed by Yamuna Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Croatia, September 2010)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

The Spiritual Master Can Act In Different Ways

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/29/10

transcribed by Yamuna Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Croatia, September 2010)

In Bhagavatam there is the reference to three types of personalities. It is Srila Visnavath Chakravati Thakur whose commentary is making this point.
He is saying that just as the bird is taking care of it's young, the bird is flying up and down. It's really busy feeding the little birds- some spiritual masters are like that. They constantly feed their disciples.

Then there is the other spiritual master who is like the fish. A fish has very big eyes, as you noticed. So, that fish is watching, protecting and watching. And that is the second type of spiritual master.
The third type of spiritual master is like a turtle. She lays the eggs on the beach, digs them in the sand and the sun does the rest. But the turtle is always meditating on the well being of the eggs and the young.

So the spiritual master will act in all three ways...



Sometimes the spiritual master will be like a bird and will shower us with the mercy and attention.

Other times there's no bird flying and there is nothing coming, but then we know that the spiritual master is still there in our life. He is our authority, and we know and we ask Him when we make the change in our life of some significance- and He blesses us. So in this way we are under the supervision and under His protection.

And then of course:
"I have not heard from my spiritual master for three months.
I think I have problem in the relationship with my Spiritual master!"

"He does not answer my email! I am totally broken…"

No, He is still meditating, He is always meditating.

Sometimes the relationship will be like that because the spiritual master is just one person and there are more disciples.

transcribed by Yamuna Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Croatia, September 2010)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

If one is less strong, the other cant keep him in the sky(Birds)

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via .: Prabhupada Letters :. Anthology by letters on 9/20/10

1968 September 20: "Just like a flock of birds - although very intimately related, everyone of them has to fly in the sky by individual strength. If one is less strong, the other cannot keep him in the sky. That is the law of nature."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1968

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Krishna accepts the service equally

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via .: Prabhupada Letters :. Anthology by letters on 9/21/10

1970 September 21: "Be fully engaged in Krishna's service. It does not matter what engagement; Krishna accepts equally the service of a little calf and that of Srimati Radharani. So always be very much appreciative of each other's service."
Prabhupada Letters :: 1970

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Wakefulness, Dreaming, Deep Sleep

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/23/10

(Quotes from the lecture this morning at Cape Town 23rd September 2010)

Kadamba Kanana Swami:



"In our present state many of us are not fully awake and therefore while walking around awake we are still dreaming, like in the middle of the night, you go to the bathroom after waking up from a big dream, and you are still half dreaming while you are walking - and then you go back to bed and you continue to dream where you left off" ...


More Quotes from the Lecture

"Thinking, feeling and willing are the functions of the soul which are temporarily taken over by the mind while we are in the conditioned state."

"Devotional service is touching the soul - it is in devotional service that the soul actually becomes enlivened and therefore devotional service goes very deep"

"Whatever pleasure we are experiencing in devotional service touches us on a very deep level, it is very difficult to walk away from Krishna - it doesn't quite work!"

"The living being is eternally a resident of the spiritual world but when the living being comes into this material world one becomes covered but by the process of devotional service his original consciousness becomes awakened."

"The consciousness has become covered by Krishna's illusory energy and we have forgotten Krishna"

"The benefit of devotional service is never lost"

"The only thing that is meaningful in our life is devotional service"

"At the end of our life, there are so many things that we have done and so many experiences, feelings - they have no meaning if they are not related to Krishna -nothing that we do, even if you take care of your mother and driving her up and down!"

"Our real progress is whatever we do for Krishna, gradually as we awaken we become aware of it:
' Yes , this is the only real thing that I am doing with my life'"
"We must invest in whatever is needed for Krishna"

"Wherever we may be in life in terms of an ashram, one chooses one that is comfortable and then one must engage in devotional service with great force and great vigour and with great input!"

"Sooner or later we all get to the same point where we say only Krishna and nothing for me - All for Him and nothing for me"

"When we think that something in the material energy is good, then we are drawn to the material energy"

"Krishna may repeatedly send us inspirations to surrender but then if we ignore it then..Krishna will help us forget:
'Ok you go and enjoy'
so then He will give us forgetfulness of Himself. Yes so, Krishna gives us rememberance and forgetfulness."

"Forgetfulness, He does not give with pleasure, it's painful for Him, He gives it with reluctance but 'what can He do?
He has gave us independence and if we want to misuse it, what can He do?:
'Then go do it'"

"no dad I have to do it, I'm not going to finish my education, I'm going"
"don't do it son, one day you will need it, listen to your father"
"yeah yeah yeah…old man, here we go again, the same old song, heard it so many times…yeah yeah yeah yea yeah, thank you"
Then we go and And then ten years don the line you then think after we have suffered in the material world and you think that:
'maybe the old man wasn't as crazy as I thought he was, may be he had a point after all, I have to admit it but maybe he did"

"Adolescent rebellion, not hearing good advice!"

"Krishna helps us forget…but not completely, while living in happiness in forgetfulness of Krishna,He makes arrangements for us to remember again"

"One of his (Hayagriva's) final words, before he gave up his body was:
'I wish I had only taken more advantage of what Prabhupada gave'"

"In our present state many of us are not fully awake and therefore while walking around awake we are still dreaming, like in the middle of the night, you go to the bathroom after waking up from a big dream, and you are still half dreaming while you are walking and then you go back to bed and you continue to dream where you left off"

"We are still dreaming, We are walking around like sleep walkers, we are still in maya – we've heard about Krishna, we like Krishna, we know Krishna is the Supreme Lord but we're still in maya at the same time… dreaming state."

"Krishna makes arrangements for our forgetfulness and our rememberance, so it is personal not just impersonal energies"

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Cape Town 23rd September 2010)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Miss The Boat ?

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/22/10

If we are not careful then we miss the boat, it doesn't feel good to miss the boat… "Not at all!"
I have been once on an island and there was suddenly overnight, an army came in and got mobilized and there were tanks everywhere, guys dug into manholes and it really looked like:
"It is now time to get out of here!!!"
But there was no way to get out of there, there was no transport.
So most people just gave up, but there were a few people and I was amongst them and said now "We're going"
And we paid a local to take us through a path, a forest path and then walked right through the jungle! Something like thirty kilometres to the other side of the island!
Then there , there were lots of stranded people at the ports and there were boats and there were some tickets available for the boat still - but they were going for crazy prices!
"I paid the money!"
I paid the money and I was on the boat - and there were others who didn't want to pay the money and the others who first didn't want to walk through the jungle and then the ones that didn't want to pay the money. Those who were misers and didn't pay the money, they didn't get on the boat and we were waving at them as they were standing on the shore!!!

So in another words don't think that we are going to get it cheap, Krishna Consciousness. Don't think we are going to get it for nothing!

(Kadamba Kanana Swami , September 2010, Pretoria)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Atheist Can Have Perfect Morals?

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/22/10

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, University Talk, South Africa)

Kadamba Kanana Swami: It is not easy to avoid cheating because to avoid cheating you must have great modern strength and where will you get that when you are bombarded:
"Come one, just do it , come on don't be square!
Come on come one - come on!"
So how are we going to avoid it? So for moral strength you will have to take up spiritual practices otherwise you can't have moral strength.
If you regularly chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra as we are regularly doing, then you can rise above cheating, otherwise no…it won't work.
Ok, any questions, comments

Student: That 's a very big generalisation because an atheist can have perfect morals and do really well without any spiritual practices.

Kadamba Kanana Swami: Oh you think so?

Student: I think so

KadambaKanana Swami: Well let's get into it…



...According to the Vedic scripture they say that the problems in this world for all living beings is that they are having some fundamental defects on the mental plane and the fundamental defect is that everyone is under attack of lust, greed, anger, madness illusion and envy. So these are explained as influences that attack the mind – and everyone is struggling with that –everyone: atheist, religionists, I don't care who, everyone.
Who is free from lust greed or anger.
Lust I'm talking about , notwhen you're in love with your girlfriend – lust that makes people attracted to other's wives… all kinds of things: lust, when the lust becomes excessive. So a percentage of of society is suffering from excessive lust, a percentage of society is suffering from excessive greed…anger. We have courses on anger management – envy , these are fundamental problems which can not be overcome simply by humanism.
Atheism at it's most moral platform is humanism- like where we try to be perfectly moral at the same time, but humanism alone can not save us from these inner weaknesses that we are fighting.
So that's where these spiritual process can help us more to rise above these inner weaknesses.
So I'm not like trying to attack.. I myself am a man who is trying to rise above these enemies, I'm not saying that I am the angel but I have found that I battle with these things and nothing seems to work and just great ideas… what do I have as an atheist, at best I have great ideas from great philosophers, that the best I can have, I don't have any other way.
How do I rise, how do you rise above the primitive drifts that are just pushing us – spiritual process is the only thing you can do.

Student: Or you could identify with things, like you could identify yourself in two parts, you have yourself a consciousness which you could identify as spirituality and you have your form as ahuman as the ego, and you have all these characteristics and traits that form part of your ego in nature, and by acknowledging and identifyingthese traits you have taken a step further to being enlightened, so just because you don't believe in a higher form or god or soul..as an atheist that is, you can still identify with that and be spiritual at the same time.

KadambaKanana Swami: Yeah but that 's ok. Let's say we have certain qualities that we connect that to spiritualism, selflessness, doing good for others, tolerance, honesty and all these kind of moral qualities and one can identify with them…but one is stillattacked by lust, it is strong – you may be a moral married man and when you get attracted to the secretary, you get attracted to the secretary , what can you do?

Student: Is that wrong?

KadambaKanana Swami: Well, it will hurt your family a lot..
Student: If you act on that impulse…

Kadamba Kanana Swami: If you act on that impulse, and maybe you won't, but maybe you will – because the mind is willing, the flesh is weak..you get a little to close, a spark comes in and it gets out of hand.
Again, I'm not condemning just acknowledging that we are human and we are not strong – and that's why looking at it: an atheist can do his best, a noble person can certainly try to be very moral but:
"Boy , will it be hard to keep it up for a lifetime"
A lifetime is a long time and too never ever let it all hang down, if it's deep inside and you have to fight and fight and fight what's deep inside is very hard.
I know a little bit. In my own life, for one thing, I am a sanyassi, which means I have a lifetime vow of celibacy - so when you go for something like that, well then you realise now the pressure is on – the pressure is on and you start to realise if you would do such a thing only on the strength of self control, moral conviction… on strength of moral conviction I go for self control that is very difficult to maintain over time –
One really has to do it on strength of a higher inspiration - and what will that be:maybe that I will place my life I n the service of mankind, that does give some strength, that does give some inspiration but even that leaves something empty, some emptiness.
So how long can one live with emptiness, so ultimately you will have to fill it with something…maybe the love for a woman: great , "our lovvve"
but then most of these loving relationships turn into something really more down on the ground, that is love but it is not the all overwhelming everything love from the fairy tales – it's a pact, you know. It's an agreement. It's hard to be fulfilled in life.
And only when you are fulfilled can you be truly moral, you can be perfectly moral. So in an atheistic way it is not that easy to find fulfillment, one will remain an empty seeker, looking here and there, found some happiness here for a while, then found somewhere else, somewhere else and somewhere else.
Only a spiritualist can find a resting point, where he can stay.

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, University talk, South Africa)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

There are No Problems

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/22/10

(KadambaKananaSwami , 17th September , Pretoria)

We worry about everything:

'What will go wrong? –what doesn't go wrong?"

"Why isn't it going wrong?"

"Can't be already three days and no problem! Nothing is wrong- There must be a problem! There must be something to be in anxiety about!"

"There must be something to disturb me"

"There must be something, there must be something I urgently need to discuss."

There must be a problem that I need counselling for, there must be - it's urgent. And if it's not here today then something is wrong"

"Can I speak to you, something is really wrong, I have no problems today!! What do I do about that?!"
...

...

Kadamba Kanana Swami:
The key to success in spiritual life is not : so much fighting and fighting with our lower nature, fighting and fighting with our material desires, fighting and fighting with our senses -that's not really the issue.

That we do by regulation, by situating ourselves in a good regulated programme – then the senses and the mind come under control, by being in good association… Our focus is to put as much Krishna or as much service to Krishna as possible in a day – and if we simply do that then that will carry us to the spontatneous platform and that is what is going on.

Therefore there is no need to worry – where am I, how free am I from material desires, this and that…Don't worry about it! Just don't make time for material desires.

Just create more and more opportunities for serving Krishna and everything will come automatically. So there is no need for anxiety. Automatically..(Sanskrit) Everything will be revealed.

There is no problem at all. Automatically attachment to Krishna will come. Automatically taste will come. Automatically the desire for devotional service will increase. Automatically we will become more detached from material things and attached to Krishna.Automatically we will get more and more knowledge and deeper understanding of Krishna. Automatically.There is no need for anxiety.

All this anxiety is an old habit. We bring it from the material world. Instead of being very optimistic we always worry, we worry about everything:

'What will go wrong? –what doesn't go wrong?"
"Why isn't it going wrong?"
"Can't be already three days and no problem! Nothing is wrong- There must be a problem! There must be something to be in anxiety about!"
"There must be something to disturb me"
"There must be something, there must be something I urgently need to discuss. There must be a problem that I need counselling for, there must be -it's urgent! And if it's not here today then something is wrong"
"Can I speak to you, something is really wrong, I have no problems today!! What do I do about that?!"

In this way we are addicted to finding problems, making problems and bringing problems up for discussion instead of saying, you know:
"Forget problems, forget them!"

The best way to deal with problems is to just forget them. Don't bother with them. Let them be, let them be. Be what they are:
"We don't have time for them."

Fixing the material situation…well that may not work so let's just tolerate. If it's really that bad that we do have to do something, well do something quick and get back to serving Krishna.

Don't waste too much time with these material problems. They are not worth it. They won't bring any good result. They will never be solved, just when one is solved another one is already there so then you can talk about that and then all that you do is just talking about problems. So that we won't do.

We are optimistic, we are saying that everything is really nice, everything is really wonderful because all the blessings are there. Everything is here.

We have the Holy Name and surely it will be successful and without a doubt because the Holy name is so powerful, nothing ..Nothing can obstruct it because the Holy Name is Krishna…and what in the world can obstruct Krishna…Nothing!!!

He is Supremely powerful and the Name is non different from Him, so the Name is supremely powerful so what are we worried about:
Chant Hare Krishna and everything will be great!

(Kadamba Kanana Swami , 17th September , Pretoria)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

THE LAW OF ACCUMULATION

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/10/10

Devotional service rendered to the Personality of Godhead never goes in vain. Since the Personality of Godhead is eternal, intelligence applied in His service or anything done in His relation is also permanent. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that such transcendental service rendered unto the Personality of Godhead accumulates birth after birth, and when the devotee is fully matured, the total service counted together makes him eligible to enter into the association of the Personality of Godhead. Such accumulation of God's service is never vanquished, but increases till fully matured. SB 1.6.24 Purport
***
Get better a little bit every single day, and your improvement will accumulate over time to make you perfect.

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

4 STEPS TO IMPROVE

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/19/10

Four different steps you can take to improve the quality of your life and work:

1. You can do more of certain things.
You can do more of the things that are of greater value to you and which bring you greater rewards and satisfaction.

2. You can do less of certain things.
You can deliberately decide to reduce or discontinue activities or behaviors that are not as helpful as other activities or which can actually be hurtful to you in accomplishing the things you really want.

3. You can start to do things that you are not doing at all today.
You can make new choices, learn new skills, begin new projects or activities or change the entire focus of your work or personal life.

4. You can stop doing certain things altogether.
You can stand back and evaluate your life with new eyes. You can then make definite decisions to completely discontinue activities and behaviors that are no longer consistent with what you want and where you really want to go.

Focal Point

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

JUST DO IT!

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/21/10

Don't complain. Don't blame.

Do what you can, with what you have, right where you are.

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

BE MORE CONSCIOUS

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Gita Coaching by akrura@gmail.com on 9/21/10

Start today to pay closer attention to the things you do.

Be more conscious of how you think and act.

Think about your tasks carefully before you begin.

Identify your most important tasks for a day and concentrate on them single-mindedly.

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Going beyond Material Pleasures

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via Jyoti Pahuja's Facebook Notes by Jyoti Pahuja on 9/20/10

 

Call out to God desperately and seek spiritual happiness, rather than being contented with the momentary pleasures, that this world has to offer. As we unleash our passion to acquire different pleasures, the mind points out the as yet unacquired delights. And the more elusive they are, the greater the passion to possess them. The enjoyment of all things material follows the law of 'diminishing marginal returns'- with each successive pleasure derived from an object or person, the taste reduces in greater proportion. A drastic gap occurs in the expectation of pleasure, and the actual enjoyment experienced. To fill the gap then, the mind desperately urges us to spend more, buy more, and go wild. In the ensuing race for happiness, the mind's demands remain eternally unfulfilled. It's like scratching an itch- the minute relief is accompanied by a greater itch, and the more you scratch, more the itch. Repeated scratching only causes agonizing pain, and bleeding.

 

A fish out of water wouldn't be enticed with the best I-pod, succulent cakes or designer outfits. He's desperate to be back in water. Likewise, a soul trapped in the human body and its related complexities maybe lured by exciting relationships, attractive cinemas, and promising career growths. However the soul always hankers for more than all that this world can offer. The soul's water is the spiritual realm where he reunites with his loving Lord, and renders uninterrupted service to Him. This loving service and remembrance of God is the most natural position of freedom for the soul.

 

- HH Radhanath Swami


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

The Whole World Is My Family

 
 

Sent to you by dinesh via Google Reader:

 
 

via KKS Blog by noreply@blogger.com (aatish) on 9/20/10

(KadambaKanana, University Programme, Sep 2010)

Happiness should not just be our happiness, when a human being becomes a little bit more mature:
"My happiness should include the happiness of everyone else."

What if I'm here in this room and just thinking of my happiness:


Put an elbow in his face!
Kick here!
And I grab the camera!
That's a good start and there's a lot that I could do!

I mean after a little while of me behaving like that…after a little while you would all together,You would all grab me, open the window and give me a quick exit! ...


…because we are not going to tolerate it if somebody is totally obnoxious. If I start to call everybody names. How long can I do it before some guy says:
"Ok let's talk about that!"

So that's the way it is…
…One time I was here in South Africa in a programme with kids, not quite kids but boys who were about ten and I was talking about being a vegetarian. So I said being a vegetarian is a good thing, I said:
'Because the animals don't like to be killed - they won't like it if you eat them and that's why we should be vegetarian.'
I said: 'Imagine what would you do if I were to eat one of you."
They all said:
"Then we would kill You!!!!"

I was a little shocked! They were only twelve or ten, they were heavy Kids!
"Then we would kill you!"

Yeah but that's how it is in this world, we will not tolerate such kind of anti social behaviour. So there is something like group dynamics. And we are as a group and some outsider would give trouble to the group, then we are together, we would go together:
"Hey who are you?! Get out of here, this is our group!"

So this is good, this natural but why say:
"This is the BYS, our room, and next door is the SYB"

'We don't talk to those guys, forget it, backward guys, the SYB. These guys are backward. It's all about the BYS, when will they ever get it right!"
Like this we are very judgemental about other groups. Other groups are judgemental about us and we can all become judgmental;
"Those guys from the other side of the corridor, you know. They're nice guys but they are from the wrong side of the corridor!"

It this way we can think of so many things, we can make parties, so many parties. Oh, the blue party, the green party and so on, different colours , different shades, the communist, the pacifist party, the animal party, the vampire party, you name it, every party will go!
In the end we can all look at each other and condemn each other but that is crazy, because the real thing is we are one group, one big group. Why make these partitions. Why say only people from this room are ok and people from this city are ok.
We just saw the world cup, my God, the flags all over the place, you know! And everyone gets into it:
"South Africaaaa!!"

They were finished in the first round! Still got cars driving around with south African flags and all over the world like that …nationalism.
Nationalism is just foney! Borders.:

"Excuse me sir passport, passport yes?'
bribe as well, some country.
"What for?"
"No, No you can't go any further. Sorry you can't go any further here"
"Who's he!" "Who are you" "What have you got to do with this land?"
Stars and stripe and guns.
That means we are excluding people…

…Vasudaivakutumbhakam
The whole world is our family.

"The whole world is my family"
VasudaivaKutumbhakam

Isn't that a nice concept: the whole world is my family, if we could only get there.
It's difficult, the mind does not want to coopperate because the mind does tend to go:
"Oh, I'm not sure about that one"
The mind tends to do that, but if we could overcome the mind….

(KadambaKanana, University Programme, Sep 2010)

 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Loving relationships, communication with devotees; Digest 331-Must Read!!!

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ISKCON DC <ISKCON.DC@pamho.net>
Date: Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 3:15 PM
Subject: Loving relationships, communication with devotees; Digest 331
To:


Digest 331: September 12th, 2010. Answers by His Holiness Romapada Swami
Maharaja
You are invited to send your questions to His Holiness Romapada Swami at
iskcondcr@gmail.com with the word "Question" included in the subject line or
submit your question at http://www.romapadaswami.com/?q=feedback/Question.

Loving relationships, communication with devotees
*************************************************

704) I would like to submit a question regarding devotee relationships. From
my personal experience I notice that while all the devotees are very
wonderfully engaged in service to Sri Guru and Gauranga in different ways,
at the same time they find themselves extremely busy, not having time to
call one-another, inquire about each other's well-being, spend time with
each other in sharing their experiences in Krishna Consciousness etc.

So this sometimes causes me to think back if it isn't true that loving
relationship is the key to our Krsna Consciousness journey.

Personally, I find it very encouraging for my devotional service and
inspiring when I try to keep in touch with all the devotee friends I have,
at least call them, or write to them generally to say Hare Krishna, thinking
they are my family. But I am now beginning to think again if what I am doing
is right. I hope I am not disturbing them by calling them to inquire their
well-being, because everyone other than me seems to be very busily engaged
in services to Guru and Krishna.

May I please request guidance in understanding how I should respond to
situations when very nice devotees say that they have been so busy in
serving Guru and Krishna that they had no time to call or write even 1 line
to other devotees in general? Of course, I am aware that devotees are very
loving  and they always wish for the best spiritual well-being of
one-another in their hearts, but what about expressing the same.


Answer: Loving relationships among devotees is indeed a key aspect of
devotional life. Note that it is also *one* of our services to the spiritual
master and Krishna. Devotee interactions is not to be seen as something
apart from service to Guru and Krishna  -- this understanding is essential
to healthy spiritual relationships. In other words, these loving
interactions among devotees are meant for "Krishna's pleasure". When
devotees lose sight of this understanding, very quickly the interactions
come under the modes of material nature. One may find oneself trying to
'enjoy' one's friendships in Krishna Consciousness, and the mood of
enjoyment (in the material sense) quickly spoils everything, including
loving relationships. A devotee's attention goes exclusively to pleasing
Guru and Krishna even while interacting with others. This is the only word
of caution I would like to offer regarding your observation about the
importance of devotee interactions.

Neglecting devotee relationships also means neglecting an important
component of the instructions of the spiritual master! When one habitually
gives priority to other services without investing in loving relationships,
it can be quite weakening to one's devotion. However, it  is possible that
sometimes 'other' services to the spiritual master do demand much of one's
time and attention and take a higher priority. It would then be a different
variety of 'sense-gratification' to neglect those services and try to enjoy
the company of one another. The key contemplation is to examine one's own
motive for temporarily setting aside other interactions  -- if it is to
attend to an important service to the mission of the spiritual master, then
other devotees should respect and support that - that would be their service
to the devotee concerned. On the other hand, it is also the nature of
material energy, particularly in Kali yuga, to keep everyone too busy
managing things rather than find time for loving interactions -- this is
indeed a prevalent disease in the society at large that has deteriorated
loving relationships between family members, neighbors and friends alike.

We must also be considerate of the reality of the complexities of modern
life which does often leave practicing devotees with very little time to
give attention to the primary activities of sadhana bhakti such as hearing
and chanting. Thus, from time to time you will find devotees juggling their
priorities, and you might face yourself in a similar situation some day, too!

Balance is the key. There is a time for all things.

In determining your own priorities, you can be assured that loving
relationships among devotees is irreplacably significant. I encourage you to
continue to warmly extend yourself and/or seek out the association of other
devotees for Krishna's pleasure -- to such extent as would not encroach into
your basic hearing, chanting and prescribed services. Do so without
expectations, but out of your love for them. Continue to treat them like
your own family, while carrying a proper spiritual conception.

When you find other devotees during a particular time frame to be too busy,
you may find it helpful to keep the above various considerations in mind. Be
understanding, and consider if and how you may be of assistance in enhancing
their service. You may serve them just by your being understanding, and
relieving them of their concerns about neglecting/hurting your feelings. You
could offer your practical assistance in any way they might need so that
they will have more time. You could consult with them about their
convenience and prearrange a fixed time for interaction.

As in all activities in devotional service, association with devotees is
also best regulated (as opposed to the pendulum of extremes). You will find
your exchanges more qualitative, focused and uplifting if they are regulated
both in terms of time and content.

If you maintain a nice mood of service, you will find the inspiration how to
respond in a manner that will both strengthen your mutual relationship as
well as increase your respective devotion to Guru and Krsna. This is, after
all, the purpose of all relationships viz. to strengthen each other's faith
and devotion to our common subject of worship.

**************************
Digests 1-330 are available with subject classification at
http://www.romapadaswami.com/?q=inquiries
Digest 1-242 are included as a PDF file at:
http://www.romapadaswami.com/Inquiries/IITA_full.pdf
Lectures: http://www.romapadaswami.com/?q=audio and http://www.caitanya.com
(username: guest password: caitanyacom)
Brief biography of His Holiness Romapada Swami:
http://www.romapadaswami.com/?q=HHRPS_bio
**************************

Receiving Messages: To subscribe your email address please send email to
iskcondcr@gmail.com with the word subscribe in the subject. Please reply to
this email at iskcondcr@gmail.com if you choose to discontinue receiving
these digests and let us know which of your email addresses you received
messages on. If you have received the "Inquiries Into the Absolute" digests
despite requesting removal in the past, please let us know immediately by
emailing us at iskcondcr@gmail.com.

Contact information for the purpose of "Inquiries Into the Absolute":
Email: iskcondcr@gmail.com
Postal Address: 10310 Oaklyn Drive, Potomac, MD 20854-3932

--------------------------------------------------------
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send an email to:
ISKCON.DC@pamho.net



--
Yours
Dinesh

Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

On Chanting!


On Chanting

By Srila Prabhupada

Chanting the transcendental vibration Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness, or Krishna consciousness.

As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by the material atmosphere, called maya, or illusion. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, he is said to be in illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are becoming ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krishna consciousness.

Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear and chant the transcendental vibration Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, this consciousness is revived.

This simplest method of meditation is recommended by learned authorities for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chant for Deliverance, one at once feels transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum.

In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification, as if we were in the lower, animal stage. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one engages in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find out the supreme cause of all causes, within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind, and intelligence, one is situated on the transcendental plane. The chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is directly enacted from this spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness—namely sensual, mental, and intellectual.

There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of any mental speculation or intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual platform, and thus anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification and dance in ecstasy. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing.

Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed person is very quickly raised to the spiritual platform. When the mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord, it has the greatest effect on hearers, and therefore this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of nondevotees should be avoided, just as one would avoid milk touched by the lips of a serpent because it has poisonous effects.

The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama (which mean "the highest pleasure eternal") are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, and when addressed as Hare in the vocative, She helps us to reach the Supreme Lord.

The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multienergies of the Lord, and we, the living entities, are the marginal energy of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to the material energy. When this superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises, but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the spiritual energy, Hara, the living entity is established in his happy, normal condition.

These three words, namely Hare, Krishna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy Hara to protect the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the grace of the Supreme Father, Hari or Krishna, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

Therefore no other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the chanting of the maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Hear Srila Prabhupada Chanting Hare Krishna: Japa | Kirtana

 

Japa workshop

 

The process, techniques, and methodology

Chanting, while mostly devotional, is also a technical process of meditation. This section will help you to understand more of what is involved and how to improve your japa meditation.

The proper use of beads

  • Chanting a mantra or hymn softly and slowly is called japa and chanting the same mantra loudly is called kirtana.When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kirtana is performed it is for the benefit of all who may hear.
  • Japa chanting is best done on a set of beads. The more attentively and sincerely you chant the names of God, the more spiritual progress, you will make.
  • Japa beads consist of 108 beads strung together, plus one much larger bead known as the Krishna bead.
  • Before chanting, we must first take shelter of Lord Caitanya by chanting the panca-tattva-mantra: jaya sri krishna caitanya, prabhu nityananda, sri advaita, gadadhara, srivasadi gaura bhakta vrinda
  • Start at the first bead and chant one mantra; repeat until you reach the last bead. This is one round.
  • Before each round, chant the panca-tattva-mantra again.
  • Don't chant on or cross the larger bead (Krishna bead). Reverse the direction of your chanting at the end of ecah round.

Pronunciation:

One should note in this connection that chanting involves the activities of the upper and lower lips as well as the tongue. All three must be engaged in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. The words "Hare Krishna" should be very distinctly pronounced and heard. Sometimes one mechanically produces a hissing sound instead of chanting with the proper pronunciation with the help of the lips and tongue. Chanting is very simple, but one must practice it seriously. (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 7.32, purport)

While different tongues pronounce the mantra a little differently and the sastra does state that the holy name is still effective even if improperly pronounced, it is still beneficial to concentrate and practice clear pronunciation.

Typical problems

  • "H" in Hare: sometimes dropped
  • "A" in Hare: sometimes sounds like "O" as in Lorry; should be "uh" as in Hurry.
  • "R" in Hare: sometimes sounds more like "D"
  • "E" in Hare: sometimes sounds like "I" as in Bit; should be "ay" as in Ray.
  • "K" in Krishna: sometimes sounds more like "G" in Grip.
  • "R" in Krishna: sometimes dropped: "Kishna"
  • "N" in Krishna: sometimes dropped: "Krisha"
  • "A" in Krishna: is sometimes run together with the next Hare: "Krishna-ray"
  • Rama: be careful not to call out for Rum!
  • Sometimes with "Rama Rama Rama," you get the "revving-up-the-motorbike" effect: "manar-manar-manar-manarrrr!" (trying to chant too fast)

Note: Both Ram and Rama are OK

Result of poor pronunciation

Odi gish-odi gisha gisha gish-odiyodi
Odi rumma odi rummanar-manar-manar odiyodi !

(hint: try to chant the above quickly and you might recognise it!)

Chanting speed

  • In the beginning you may be slow (around 10 minutes per round)
  • It is important to practice proper pronunciation, but in time you should naturally speed up (about 7–7½ min/round)
  • Ultimately it is individual, but many devotees find that speeding up increases the intensity of their chanting and their concentration level.
  • If your rounds are taking too long, it could mean that you are distracted.
  • Try to maintain good, clear pronunciation with a good speed.
  • Some devotees can chant a round in 5 – 5½ min, but be careful not to lose the clarity of the syllables!

Posture

One's mental and physical state is affected by one's bodily posture and can be altered by changing the posture. You can affect the mind's ability to concentrate by remaining peaceful and adopting a good posture.

Perhaps you have already experienced the difference between chanting sitting in a conventional chair (legs down) and sitting cross-legged. Try sitting cross-legged with a little extra support under your bottom. The back and neck should be erect in a straight line, the head up. Breathing should be deep and rhythmic.

Common pitfalls

  • "Prajalpa-japa": Unnecessarily talking while chanting.
  • "Dive-bomb japa": Falling asleep while chanting (head nodding off).
  • "Radar japa": constantly looking around.
  • "Machine-gun japa": much too fast while shaking the finger.
  • "Jibber-japa": it is just gibberish, no one can understand it.
  • "Day-dreamy japa": not concentrating, following the wandering mind.

Attentiveness

This is the most essential part of chanting: how attentive are you?

Imagine you are driving a car and you have a passenger sitting next to you. The passenger is continually pointing things out and trying to draw your attention to them: "Oh, look there's a shoe sale on! Look at those nice shoes! Ah, look at that guy with the funny hat! Are those your gloves on the back seat? Look out, no, no, turn left! Oh, I thought we had to go left. Look at the TV shop — is that your favorite football team playing? Uh-oh, check this out: there's a guy getting arrested over there…."

If you keep getting distracted by what your passenger is saying, you're going to crash the car.

The passenger is like your mind, and driving the car is like chanting your rounds. However, if someone keeps talking to you and you continuously ignore them, eventually they are just going to shut up. That is the best way to deal with the mind: just ignore it and keep your attention on "the road", the distractions will eventually shut up.

  • An interesting exercise: Keep a list of all the subjects brought up by the mind during your japa and then review it at the end. Usually you can just throw away the whole list because you didn't need to think about any of these things at all. It is a very graphic way of proving to yourself that you don't always need to take the mind so seriously.
  • Concentration exercises: There are some exercises you can try in order to strengthen your ability to concentrate. The mind is like a muscle that needs exercise. These exercises may give you a more constructive way to engage the mind.
  • The big picture: Chanting is just not about getting the technique right. It is just as important to not lose sight of the big picture. We are ultimately not independent of Krishna, and we must always humbly pray to Him and seek His shelter and guidance. We must always see that we have to get to the platform of taste in our chanting and ultimately attain love for Krishna.

Attitude

Your mood, attitude, or mentality is also very important while chanting. Chanting is not just a mechanical process. It must be accompanied with the appropriate feelings, performed for the right purpose, and with proper consciousness.

  • Enthusiasm: One should realize that love for Krishna is the ultimate goal. He should have total eagerness to attain it, even to the point of crying for it, like a baby. That is the price one must pay.
  • Prayer: Remember that the maha-mantra is a prayer. Remember the meaning of the prayer, and offer it in a prayerful mood: a communication between you and God — a very personal experience.
  • Dependence: A devotee feels helpless without the Lord's mercy and dependent on the holy names.
  • Humility and reverence: When we take darsana of the Deity, we must first take our shoes off, ring a bell, bow down, conch shells blow, the curtains are drawn — we are seeing the form of the Lord. The same respect and reverence should be given to the holy name.
  • Service: Chanting is a kind of service. It should be performed in a serving mood, serving the holy name by uttering it. Not that we are the master of Krishna, causing Him to manifest.
  • Gratitude: Be thankful to the Lord for the mercy that He is bestowing upon you and all the fallen souls in the form of His holy name
  • Tolerance: All difficulties and obstacles of the mind must be tolerated. One may not have any taste for chanting or find the process hard to follow. All discomforts must be tolerated for Krishna's satisfaction.
  • Patience: It may take a lot of practice before one gets better at chanting. One must patiently continue to endeavor. We are eternal, so there is no need to panic.
  • Determination: Never become discouraged. Always continue with determination knowing that success is ultimately guaranteed.
  • Remember the importance of chanting: Be conscious of the importance of this chanting process. Remember that it is essential to our spiritual advancement.
  • Faithfulness: We must cultivate our faith in the holy name, put our trust in it.
  • Please let me in: Ask Krishna to allow us to enter into the inner realisations of chanting the holy names.

Further Reading: Japa Reform Notebook by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami.

 

 

The daily schedule

 

 

General Daily Programme:

5:00 Rise
5:30 Chant
7:00 Have arati in the temple room.
Chant a round together and/or read together.
7:30 Breakfast
8:00 Get ready for work

Beginners Daily Programme:

Rise at least half an hour earlier than at present.
Bathe and get yourself ready.
Chant japa for 15 – 30 minutes.
Read Bhagavad-gita for 15 minutes
Take prasadam and prepare yourself for work.

Importance of Regulation

In regulated life only can one understand transcendental knowledge. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.1purport)

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system. (Bhagavad-gita 6.17)

 

 

Hearing and chanting

 

 

Spiritual life begins with hearing and chanting. Together they form the essence of the means of advancement.

By hearing and chanting:

  • one's heart and mind are purified and elevated,
  • one gains spiritual strength,
  • one pleases Krishna.

In the beginning it may be difficult, but with constant practice one gradually develops a taste.

Action

Most people hear and speak about mundane topics.

Result

Their minds become absorbed in mundane thoughts.

Action

Keep the natural tendency to hear and speak, but change the subject to Krishna.

Result

This way, one's mind will become spiritually enlightened.

Hearing

  • The Vedanta-Sutra 4.4.22 says anavrtti sabdat, "one is liberated by sound."
  • Sound is the subtlest element that we can perceive. Therefore transcendental sound can most effectively enter the mind and heart to produce change.
  • When a man is sleeping, he can be awakened by sound. Similarly, the conditioned souls sleeping in illusion can be awakened to knowledge of God by hearing transcendental sound. (1)

Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17)

Chanting

People always want to see God, but we cannot see God with our blunt material senses. However, if we please Krishna with our devotional service, He reveals Himself. The sastra states that such devotional service begins with the tongue: through chanting and taking prasadam. Thus seeing God begins with the tongue - a rather unusual principle! (2)

The yuga-dharma (process of religion for this age) consists of chanting the holy name congregationally (3) (nama-sankirtana) and chanting the glories of the Lord and His holy name (nama-pracara). (4)

Two main categories of hearing and chanting

1. Knowledge and glorification

  • Explanations of Krishna consciousness.
  • Glorification of the Lord.
  • Preaching.
  • Reading or Writing about Krishna.

2. The holy names

  • Private meditation (japa)
  • Singing out loud while dancing (kirtana)
  • Sitting & singing with instruments (bhajanas)
  • Singing the holy names in public (harinama)

When transcendental knowledge is:

1. Received (heard)

  • One learns to see things differently.
  • One's doubts and illusions are destroyed.

2. Given (chanted)

  • One gains deeper understanding and assimilates the knowledge he has received.
  • One gains the special mercy of Krishna.

Two conditions for the proper transmission of spiritual knowledge:

1. Must be heard with the right attitude

  • with humility and respect,
  • open-minded, not challenging,
  • with desire to learn and understand.

2. Must come from the right source

  • from a genuine devotee,
  • not mayavadi or professional speaker,
  • from one who has controlled senses and sufficient knowledge.

Both the hearer and the speaker must be qualified.

Further reading

Bhagavad-gita 7.1 purport, (last two paras), Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.6 purport; 1.2.14 and purport; 1.2.17–18 and purport; 2.1.11; 1.1.14

Chanting the holy names of the Lord

Chanting the holy names of the Lord is the central practice of Lord Caitanya's followers. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya once asked Lord Caitanya, "Which item is most important in the execution of devotional service?" The Lord replied that the most important item was the chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.
(Brhan-naradiya Purana 38.126)

Footnotes:

(1) A pure devotee always engages in the service of the Lord, taking shelter of His lotus feet, and therefore he has a direct connection with the saffron mercy-particles that are strewn over the lotus feet of the Lord. Although when a pure devotee speaks the articulation of his voice may resemble the sound of this material sky, the voice is spiritually very powerful because it touches the particles of saffron dust on the lotus feet of the Lord. As soon as a sleeping living entity hears the powerful voice emanating from the mouth of a pure devotee, he immediately remembers his eternal relationship with the Lord, although up until that moment he had forgotten everything.(Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.20.25 purport)

(2) That devotional service begins from jihva, tongue. This tongue means can be utilised in devotional service in two ways, namely by chanting the holy name of God and by tasting prasadam. If one engages his jihva, tongue, in devotional service by chanting the holy name, Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and tasting only Krishna-prasadam, not anything else, then Krishna, being pleased by his devotional service, He will manifest Himself, reveas Himself. (Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture, Los Angeles, 20 January 1969)

(3) I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age — nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name. I shall make the world dance in ecstasy, realising the four mellows of loving devotional service. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 3.20)

(4) The religious practice for the Age of Kali is to broadcast the glories of the holy name. Only for this purpose has the Lord, in a yellow color, descended as Lord Caitanya. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 3.40)

 

 

The Panca-tattva mantra

 

 


Jaya Sri Krishna Caitanya
Prabhu Nityananda
Sri Advaita Gadadhara
Srivasadi Gaura-bhakta-vrinda

Before chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one must first take shelter of Gaura-Nitai, and Their principal associartes, by reciting the Panca-tattva mantra. This frees one from the reactions of his offenses while chanting Hare Krishna because Lord Caitanya is the most magnanimous incarnation of the Lord and His mercy is easily achieved.

Panca = Five; Tattva = Truths; "The Absolute Truth in five features".

 

 

Hare Krishna Maha-mantra

 

 

Srila Prabhupada once announced, "The chanting of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's name is more essential than the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra." (1) One smart devotee then inquired whether we should therefore chant rounds of the Panca-tattva mantra to which Srila Prabhupada replied, "No — because Lord Caitanya's instruction was to chant Hare Krishna."

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

  • The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is a very simple mantra consisting of only three words: Hare, Krishna, and Rama.
  • Hare means unto Mother Hara (i.e. Lord Krishna's personal pleasure potency, Srimati Radharani).
  • Krishna means the all-attractive Lord.
  • Rama means the source of all enjoyment.
  • When we chant Hare Krishna we are praying: "O energy of the Lord (Hare), O Lord (Krishna and Rama) please engage me in Your service!"
  • Maha-mantra means it is the Great Mantra Of Deliverance.

Lord Caitanya and the Vedas both recommend this process:

hare krishna hare krishna
krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama
rama rama hare hare
iti sodasakam namnam
kali-kalmasa-nasanam
natah parataropayah
sarva-vedesu drsyate

The sixteen words of the Hare Krishna mantra are especially meant for counteracting the contaminating influence of the age of Kali. After searching through all the Vedic literature, one cannot find a better method.

Footnote

(1) There are offenses to be considered in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, but there are no such considerations in chanting the names of Gaura-Nityananda. Therefore, if one chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra but his life is still full of sinful activities, it will be very difficult for him to achieve the platform of loving service to the Lord. But if in spite of being an offender one chants the holy names of Gaura-Nityananda, he is very quickly freed from the reactions to his offenses. Therefore, one should first approach Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, or worship Guru-Gauranga, and then come to the stage of worshiping Radha-Krishna.

One should first take shelter of Gaura-Nityananda in order to reach, ultimately, Radha-Krishna. … It should be noted in this connection that the holy names of Lord Krishna and Gaurasundara are both identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not consider one name to be more potent than the other. Considering the position of the people of this age, however, the chanting of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's name is more essential than the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the most magnanimous incarnation and His mercy is very easily achieved. Therefore one must first take shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by chanting Sri-Krishna-Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadadhara Srivasadi Gaura Bhakta-Vrnda. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 8.31 purport)

 

 

The glories of the holy name

 

 

  • Krishna and His name are non-different. (1)
  • The Lord's name has descended from Goloka. (2)
  • Krishna's name is iInvested with the Lord's spiritual potency. (3)
  • Krishna's name purifies the heart and mind. (4)
  • The chanting process is simple, sublime, and all-auspicious; even a child can take part.
  • It frees one from sinful reaction and material bondage. (5)
  • Chanting "Rama" gives the same result as chanting the 1000 names of Visnu. (6)
  • Chanting "Krishna" once has the same potency as 3,000 names of Visnu.
  • The Lord's holy names are even effective for someone not even aware of their potency.
  • Chanting contains the benefits of all other Vedic rites; to chant is the same as having performed all the Vedic processes of purification. (7)
  • Chanting is the means for attaining pure love of God (Krishna-prema) in this age.
  • It protects you from maya and falldown.
  • It purifies the atmosphere.
  • It yields the same results as the processes of previous yugas.
  • It elevates one even from a low background.
  • Chanters are the most attractive to Krishna.
  • All the Vedic knowledge is contained within the maha-mantra, the essence of the Vedas is to chant, and by chanting one realises the meaning of the Vedas.
  • Chanting is the ultimate means to attain the ultimate success.

Vedic verses glorifying the holy names

By once chanting the holy name of the Lord, which consists of the two syllables ha-ri, one guarantees his path to liberation. (Skanda Purana)

Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit. (Brhad-visnu Purana)

If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear. (Garuda Purana)

Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Visnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord's lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.3.52)

To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.33.6)

My dear Narada, actually I do not reside in My abode, Vaikuntha, nor do I reside within the hearts of the yogis, but I reside in that place where My pure devotees chant My holy name and discuss My form, pastimes and qualities. (Padma Purana)

O King, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.11)

Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.36)

Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krishna, which is feared by fear personified. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.14)

One can refer also to the story of Ajamila.

Footnotes:

(1) The name of Krishna and Krishna are nondifferent, but we cannot realize this intellectually. We have to practice chanting Hare Krishna to realse it. When we actually advance in devotional service and chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra offenselessly, we will realise that Krishna and His name are nondifferent. (Teachings of Lord Kapiladeva p. 12)

(2) Golokera prema dhana, harinama sankirtana

(3)O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krishna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by chanting Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them. (Siksastaka 2)

(4) Glory to the Sri Krishna sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious. (Siksastaka 1)

(5) Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.3.51)

The chanting of the holy name of the Lord is able to uproot even the reactions of the greatest sins. Therefore the chanting of the sankirtana movement is the most auspicious activity in the entire universe. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.31)

(6) If a person utters the name Rama only once, he gets the result of chanting one thousand names of Visnu. And if somebody once chants the name Krishna, he achieves the results obtained by chanting the name Rama three times. In other words, uttering the name Krishna once is equal to uttering three thousand other names of Visnu. (Mukunda-mala-stotra 2)

(7) Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required. "Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.33.7)

 

 

Three levels of chanting

 

 

1. Namaparadha: Conditioned chanting with offences

(aparadha = offence)

This is the level that most people start on when they first take up regular chanting. The ten kinds of offences are covered in the next section. If one's chanting remains on this level, he will never understand Krsna properly, even after thousands of years of such chanting. He remains in the material world.

To attain the next stage one must continue to humbly chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra regularly and repent, "I have committed offences unnecessarily or unknowingly." Then one will attain the next stage called namabhasa (offenceless chanting).

2. Namabhasa: Liberated chanting without offences

(abhasa = morning twilight ; "the shadow of the holy name")
This stage of chanting immediately frees the chanter of all sinful reactions and gives liberation. It has two divisions: namabhasa and sraddha-namabhasa.

Namabhasa: If someone chants the holy name accidentally, or as a joke, in the course of ordinary discussion, or negligently

Sraddha-namabhasa: This is when a completely faithful devotee chants on the liberated platform and avoids all the offences. This is almost on the transcendental platform. Continued chanting on this level leads to the next.

3. Sudhanama: Pure chanting in love of God

(sudha = pure)
The perfectional stage: while the devotee fully relishes the nectar of the holy name (nama), he sees Krishna's form (rupa), realises His qualities (guna), and remembers His pastimes (lila).

 

 

The ten offenses

 

 

Padma Purana
Brahma Khanda 25.15–18
Ten offenses to the Holy Name

(1)
satam ninda namnah paramam aparadham vitanute
yatah khyatim yatam katham u sahate tad-vigarham

To blaspheme devotees who have dedicated their lives to chanting the holy name of the Lord. The holy name, who is identical with Krsna, will never tolerate such blasphemous activities.

(2)
sivasya sri-visnor ya iha guna-namadi-sakalam
dhiya bhinnam pasyet sa khalu hari-namahita-karah

To consider the names of Lord Siva or Lord Brahma to be on an equal level with the holy name of Lord Visnu.

(3)
guror avajna

To disobey the orders of the spiritual master or to consider him an ordinary person.

(4)
sruti-sastra-nindanam

To blaspheme the Vedic literatures or literatures in pursuance of the Vedic version.

(5)
artha-vadah

To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord.

(6)
hari-namni kalpanam

To consider the glories of the holy name of the Lord as imagination.

(7)
namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhir
na vidyate tasya yamair hi suddhih

To think that the Hare Krsna mantra can counteract all sinful reactions and one may therefore go on with his sinful activities and at the same time chant the Hare Krsna mantra to neutralize them is the greatest offense at the lotus feet of Hari-nama.

(8)
dharma-vrata-tyaga-hutadi-sarva-
subha-kriya-samyam api pramadah

To consider the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra to be one of the auspicious ritualistic mantras mentioned in the Vedas as fruitive activity.

(9)
asraddadhane vimukhe 'py asrnvati
yas copadesah siva-namaparadhah

It is an offense to preach the glories of the holy name of the Lord to the faithless.

(10)
srute 'pi nama-mahatmye
yah priti-rahito narah
aham-mamadi-paramo
namni so 'py aparadha-krt

If one has heard the glories of the transcendental holy name of the Lord but nevertheless continues in a materialistic concept of life, thinking "I am this body and everything belonging to this body is mine [aham mameti]," and does not show respect and love for the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, that is an offense.

api pramadah

It is also an offense to be inattentive while chanting.

1. Blaspheming devotees (sadhu-ninda)

A sadhu is anyone who is surrendering to Krishna. One who shows gross irreverence or disrespect to those devotees who have dedicated their lives to Krishna is compared to a mad elephant (hati mata), which comes and tramples the creeper of devotion.

Examples are criticising a devotee because:

  • He has a lower social status.
  • His manners are not yet so polished.
  • He eats too much prasadam.
  • He had previously had very bad habits.
  • He has been weak and temporarily gave up devotional service.

A devotee should be like the honey bee that always looks for the nectar and not like the fly that always looks for stool or open sores. One associates with whatever qualities he focuses on, and thus he cultivates those qualities.

How to counter-act the offence- Humbly approach that devotee, offer obeisances, and ask forgiveness.

2. Names of demigods

  • This applies mainly to India, where many people worship demigods.
  • The demigods are subordinate to and dependent on Krishna. Whatever powers the demigods have and whatever benedictions they can offer are only possible because Krishna empowers them and gives them His sanction.
  • A devotee must know that the name of Krishna is absolute and non-different from Krishna Himself, whereas the names of the demigods are relative and different from them.

How to counter-act the offence: Study the scriptural statements regarding the nature of the holy name and Krishna; take shelter of the holy name and beg forgiveness

3. Orders of the spiritual master (guror avajna)

  • Explicit instructions must be followed.
  • Under certain circumstances the spiritual master may deliver advice or suggestions but leave it up to the disciple to choose what to do.
  • This offence includes having a material conception of the guru or envying him

How to counter-act the offence: Humbly approach the guru, offer obeisances, and ask forgiveness.

4. Blaspheming the Vedic literature (sruti-sastra-nindanam)

  • To disbelieve the Vedic statements.
  • A devotee should accept that his disbelief may be due to his own limited perception. Even if he doesn't understand, he should still have faith in the Vedas.

How to counter-act the offence: Offer flowers to the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita.

5. Considering the glories of the holy name imaginary (artha-vadah)

  • To consider these statements exaggerations just to motivate people.
  • To think that devotees have given artificial importance to the holy name.

How to counter-act the offence: Study the philosophy; take shelter of the holy name and beg forgiveness.

6. Giving some mundane interpretation (hari-namni kalpanam)

  • To think that chanting creates a chemical reaction in the brain and simply produces some euphoric effect.
  • Thinking that Hari means impersonal Brahman, Krishna refers to the mind, and Rama means satisfaction etc.
  • To define the holy name of the Lord in terms of one's mundane calculation.

How to counter-act the offence: Reveal it to the devotees and beg forgiveness.

7. Committing sinful activities (namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhir)

  • To commit sins with the expectation of neutralising the reactions by chanting.
  • Prabhupada often repeated that this is the greatest offense.
  • After taking shelter of the holy name, one should strictly restrain himself from committing sinful acts.
  • Accidental sins don't count

How to counter-act the offence: The only thing that can help is to sincerely repent.

8. Auspicious ritualistic activities (karma-kanda)

  • Karma-kanda: performing religious ceremonies, following austere vows, practicing renunciation, penances and austerities, fire sacrifices in order to gain material benedictions from the demigods.
  • To equate chanting to other spiritual activities, such as meditation, austerity, penance or sacrifice.
  • One should not try to utilise the holy name for one's personal service.
  • Chanting the holy name is meant for attaining love of God.

How to counter-act the offence: Approach the devotees and attain sambandha-jnana from them.

9. Instructing a faithless person

  • To glorify the importance of the holy name, or elevated information of Krishna to persons who have no interest; who are not ready to hear, or who may as a result of hearing become more antagonistic.
  • Pseudo-spiritualists selling the holy name to unqualified persons.
  • When you make this offence, you run the risk of diminishing your own faith.

What about public chanting and preaching?

  • You can get people to chant; by chanting they will be purified and appreciate the holy name. Srila Prabhupada encouraged everyone to chant, but he didn't immediately tell them all the details.

How to counter-act the offence: No recommendation given for counteracting this offense. Just don't do it.

10. Incomplete faith / material attachments

  • Material attachments; to be attached to the misconception of possessing something, or to accept the body as one's self, while executing the process of spiritual cultivation.
  • We must have a service attitude and let go of the attachments.
  • We may be attached but if we are stubbornly attached, one should intend to get free of attachments. We should mark them with 'X' just as a woodcutter marks trees to be cut down in the future.
  • Having complete faith in the holy name means that you feel the holy name is all you need (to be happy, etc). Keeping material attachment means that you still need these things.

How to counter-act the offence: In order to develop complete faith and give up attachments, associate with advanced devotees and chant with them.

It is also an offense to not have complete faith in chanting the holy name and to retain material attachments even after understanding so many instructions on this matter.

  • This is like invitng someone around to visit, and then ignoring them. You are calling out to Krishna, but meanwhile you are distractedd by the mind or by what is going on elsewhere.
  • Examples: While chanting, reading the noticeboard, having a chat, thinking in the mind about different things.
  • To have the full effect, the holy name must enter the ear and make an impression on the mind. The mind must be focused on the sound vibration. This is an association with Krishna. We want to associate as fully as possible.

How to counter-act the offence: Pray to the holy name that one may always chant clearly and hear attentively.

 

 

Concentration exercises:

 

 

Each-mantra-of-each-round:

  • You have to chant and hear each mantra. Right here and now.
  • Focus on this bead you are now holding between your fingers, this mantra that is now being uttered from your lips and now entering into the ear.
  • And then move onto the next mantra, which you must focus on in the same way… and the next… and the next.
  • This may work for 10 or 15 mantras, maybe even 30, and the mind will become diverted again. Then you have to pull the mind back and set to it again.
  • Continue to do this and you will succeed
  • At the end of each round, take stock of how well you did, and resolve to make the next round even better: "This time I am going to concentrate fully on each and every mantra of this round – all 108."
  • The attitude is, "Right now, this is the only round that counts."
  • And so it goes on for each and every mantra of each and every round… You will see steady improvement… And if you practice this each and every day, your rounds in general will steadily improve.

Emphasizing individual words – gradually build up:

  • At the beginning of each round, decide on a particular word or words in your mantra to emphasise, e.g. the first "Hare" of the first half, or every "Krishna", or the two "Ramas" in the last line.
  • You will see how the words you emphasise start to stand out more
  • With each round, add to it: the double "Krishna" and the double "Rama".
  • Again, these words in the mantra will stand out more.
  • Keep adding to it, never take a step backwards, or allow an emphasis you have already established slip away, until finally you are emphasising every word of the mantra.

Reading it:

  • If the maha-mantra is written on the wall somewhere, try reading it while you are chanting it.
  • With each word of the mantra that you are chanting, follow it on the wall with your eyes.
  • This way, you are engaging one additional sense in helping you to concentrate.

Blank the Mind:

  • Take a moment to put the mind in "blank" state and try to hold it in that state while you chant.

Chanting in Unison:

  • Form a group (or pair) and chant a round or two in unison.
  • The strength in numbers and trying to keep the same pace really helps in conquering the minds failing attention span.

Four Steps:

  1. First of all, make sure you are not tired.
  2. Make sure you have proper pronunciation.
  3. Make sure you are not being distracted by anything.
  4. Then fix on your concentration.

 

The Ten Offenses
from Japa Reform Notebook
By HH Satsvarupa das Goswami

There are ten offenses in chanting Hare Krsna. They involve not only the time when we sit down to chant japa, but our whole devotional life. These offenses - disobeying the orders of the spiritual master, committing deliberate sins on the strength of chanting, blaspheming the devotee-have to do with more than correct pronunciation of the names of the Lord. So whether we can carry out the orders of the spiritual master is our test. By the time you sit down to chant, it's already determined by your service attitude you've either already committed the offenses, or you haven't. Both the offenseless chanting and the following are interdependent.

By chanting carefully, you get the strength to follow the orders of your spiritual master, as you associate with Krsna's name. But we know that if you associate without offense, it is much more effective. Following the four rules and living in devotional service assures you of avoiding the ten offenses.

The chanting of Hare Krsna has the power to erradicate all sins, but if you become an offender to the holy names of the Lord, then you have no chance of being delivered.

THE FIRST OFFENSE is to blaspheme those persons who have actually dedicated their lives to spreading the glories of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called vaisnava-aparadha. We usually think first of the guru, guru aparadha, but this offense refers to all devotees, even the so called little devotees with whom we are living.

Devotee means anyone who is actually surrendered to the teachings of God. You cannot indulge in faultfinding or criticizing such a person. One who has dedicated his life to the service of God is not to be considered an ordinary person. And not only should you refrain from blaspheming him, but you should keep his company. When mentioning those things favorable for devotional service, Rupa Gosvami states, sangatyagat sato vrtteh sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati: One should avoid the company of the nondevotee and keep company with the devotee and value his association.

We have been speaking about the community of devotees. So I am one devotee; each of us is one individual. We have to honor all devotees. Whoever chants Hare Krsna has to be mentally honored. Whoever is initiated and is following the rules and regulations, you offer him obeisances. Whoever is actually an advanced devotee, you offer him service. Although one is himself a devotee-he's taken initiation, he's chanting hari-nama- he must think of himself as a servant of the devotees and hold the devotees in reverence.

You cannot chant the holy name and still speak offensively, act offensively, think offensively about others who are chanting the glories of the holy name. The relationships may be different, but in none of these relationships is there neglect of a genuine devotee of God. And if you do neglect, then you will be in difficulty, you cannot chant with the pure effect. You cannot chant on your beads and at the same time be blasphemous or neglectful of the devotees of the Lord. That is like trying to build a fire while throwing water on it. The potency of Hare Krsna mantra is always absolute. But if at the same time you commit such a great offense, it is like that-throwing water on the fire. You will make a great havoc of your devotional life.

All over the world devotees of God are working, in different religions, as followers of Mohammed or Jesus, and the Krsna conscious devotees should not blaspheme these persons. Anyone who is actually a devotee of God is dear to God. They shouldn't be blasphemed.

It is also an offense to the holy name when there is criticism between disciples of different gurus (whether disciples of Prabhupada toward the other disciples or toward the other gurus), or between the gurus or between the disciples of the same guru. They are all preaching, they have all received bona fide initiation, they are all following. So for myself, I should worship my guru exclusively, but respect all other bona fide devotees and spiritual masters in a humble way and try to improve my own Krsna consciousness in relation to my spiritual master. And everyone should uphold the principles of initiation, worship their spiritual master with the right understanding and the right siddhanta, and not blaspheme any of the devotees of the Lord.

If we chant Hare Krsna but don't avoid this offense and the other offenses, then for us it is hopeless. The chanting is so purifying that all other discrepancies and offenses will be washed away. But if in the chanting you are full of offenses, then what can save you ?

 



Share/Bookmark

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati