6th May 2019
INSTRUMENTS USED IN CHANTING
I am hoping and expecting that your japa is improving day by day. In order to improve, chanting every day is essential. I think you are doing that, at least those who are participating in this conference, I know for them, that they are chanting everyday with me. But I think 'How you are chanting’, that is the crux of the matter.
I had some thoughts which I would like to share with you. They are based on one of the statements of Navayogendra’s. They are addressing to king Nimi, wherein he states how to worship the Lord. They say -.
kayena vaca manasendriyair va
karoti yad yat sakalam parasmai
narayanayeti samarpayet tat (SB 11.2.36)
They say yat yat karoti - whatever we do, that should be offered unto the service of Lord Narayan. That's the one part of the statement. Then he has mentioned, several items or instruments that we use in service of the Lord. They are kayen manasa buddyatmaneva & like that.
He says we should be using all these instruments in service of the Lord. All these means are used to serve the Lord. This is a small list. Take note of this. Either write it down or take mental note, so that you can go back to it & listen to it again.
These instruments which he mentioned that we should use in service of the Lord are also the means, which also should be used while chanting of 'Hare Krishna'. So, here is the list. He says Kayen - we use our body. Vacha - we use speech. Manasa - mind, indriye - senses, buddhya - intelligence & last but most important is atmana - soul. They have said it in Tritiya vibhakti according to grammar, as they are instruments, which we use wherever & whenever, they are used in Tritiya vibhakti.
So all these words are used here in Tritiya vibhakti as they are mentioned as instruments. We have to remember list of these instruments, which are at our disposal while chanting. Not only they are at our disposal, but they are utilised & also to make sure that all of them are synchronized or they are in alignment, while chanting 'Hare Krishna'.
So, Kayen -mind & body - sit properly, not now but while chanting japa. We are japa-yogis. Prabhupada always used to say, ' Sit properly.' It means neck bone, head spine should be straight. That kind of sitting, that posture is favourable for chanting. This posture is favourable for meditation or 'Dhyan' or ‘Dhyan-mudra’. Much more could be said for each of these items.
Vacha - Speech, lips and mouth are also is used for chanting. We don't do mental chanting. We utter chanting. Prabhupada used to remind, we have to use both the lips to utter the holy name of the Lord. Not just whisper like a sparrow. Balen bolo re vadan bhori. Our vaishnav song says, balen you use all your strength, Vadan-bhori - it should be mouthful.
We have to make sure that, intelligence will come into picture. We should hear all sixteen names in the mantra. If we just whisper, we may utter some names & eat up rest of the names. But when we say loudly, using the lips, then all sixteen names are to be uttered clearly.
Manasa - So next mention is of mind. Navayogendra named Hari, is describing this. So this instrument is of prime importance. It has a prime role in activity of chanting. Make it or break it, success or failure, liberation or bondage depends on this item.
So we could only say that, make your mind favourable to the chanting. We should chant & chant. Specially while utilizing this mind while chanting, role of intelligence also comes into picture. This is a next instrument, mentioned in the list by Navayogendra, ‘Buddhya' . Mind & intelligence has to work together, hand in hand.
Intelligence has a major role or only intelligence has a role, to play on governing the mind, moulding the mind, instructing the mind. Analysing what is on the mind. That is why we have been saying this chanting, is one & only activity or even whole sankirtan movement is a job of a 'Buddhiman' (intelligent) & not of a 'buddhu' (dumb). It is a job of intelligent person & not of a dull headed person.
When we sharpen the tools, especially when we will sharpen the intelligence, it will keep an eye on the mind. While we are chanting, mind is functioning, dealing, willing, has to be closely observed by intelligence. Mind function is thinking so mind thinks all sorts of things & runs here & there, as per its nature. So, intelligence has to sort it out & retain only those thoughts favourable for chanting & meditating on Krishna. Even we are sitting properly or not properly, "sit properly?" We have been told like that, so we could use our own brain, God has given intelligence & make sure, whether we are sitting properly or not. So this is about 'kayen'.
What about 'vacha’? Whether we are uttering all the sixteen names or are we skipping some, are we using the list while chanting, to utter the names properly, all this also we should be able to discriminate, with the help of intelligence. Then make the adjustments & alterations accordingly.
So that was 'Kayen' , 'vacha' then comes 'manasa'. We have been told how intelligence has big role to play, governing the wanderings of mind. So, like that we should be preaching to ourselves, if we are intelligent enough, we could preach to ourselves. Not that we wait for someone else to tell, “This is wrong! This is right Prabhu! Don't do this." This help is offered, but how long? We cannot go on spoon feeding from external sources. We should become self-sufficient at some point in our march or progress on this path & should preach to ourselves, rectify ourselves.
Then comes the last & most important item, that we use in the chanting service of the Lord is 'atmana'. Self or spirit soul, our real self ! our being!
We have been told from time to time, original chanter is our soul. The tongue or the lips, body they are not the chanters. 'japa-karta' the doer, the chanter is "the soul". Many times we say, 'I say this from bottom of my heart.' we don't say, I am saying this from 'bottom of my throat' or 'bottom of my tongue'. We don't say that because ultimately, we say it from ' bottom of our heart' & that's where the soul is situated. Soul is stationed within the heart. So when we say this, ' I say this from bottom of my heart' it means 'real me is saying this,soul is speaking.'
Just to summarize or wind up , we could say, from top to bottom all these items have to be activated, motivated or aligned in or during our japa service. Chanting & meditation on the holy names.
I could quickly give one demonstration of how someone was using all these instruments successfully, with the soul during chanting. This is from life of Saint Tukaram.
One early morning, one of the opponents of Tukaram, who disliked Tukaram, he had come to Tukaram's home. He inquired, 'Where is Tukaram? I want to meet him.' He was told, he had gone to the fields. Early morning, he had to take care of body by carrying out excretory functions. So this person was waiting for him to return. When Tukaram returned, while returning he was chanting the holy names of the Lord. "Jay Jay Ram Krishna Hari! Jay Jay Ram Krishna Hari! Panduranga! Panduranga!".
So this fellow, from enemies camp exclaimed, " oh! Tukaram you haven't even taken the bath & you are chanting the holy names of the Lord. You are just returning from toilet & you are Chanting the holy name of the Lord! How offensive it is!" Tukaram said, " I am sorry. But I can't help it. I can't stop chanting, whether it is before bath or after bath. I just keep chanting. It just happens. It is beyond me. If you are able to stop my chanting, you could try. I have tried. But I couldn't. I have failed. If you want to try, you could try."
So this person stepped forward, he held Tukaram's mouth, shut it & held tightly. He was trying to stop other senses. He was trying to close his ears. He was holding his body, so that it doesn't move. But there was no way, he could stop chanting of Tukaram Maharaja. Tukaram Maharaja was not making any extra special efforts for chanting, it was just arousing from deep within his heart. His mouth was still vibrating. His full body was trembling & participating in that chanting, as if his Kayen - his body was chanting his mind was chanting, his lips were chanting, his intelligence was chanting, his soul of course was chanting.
So those who witnessed, Tukaram's chanting as this ruffians was trying to stop, they saw, Tukaram chanting, his whole body was chanting. His 'being' was chanting, just by stopping or closing the mouth, or lips, chanting could not be stopped, because he was not only chanting with lips or mouth but his whole body, his whole existence was chanting.
So these are our heroes, these are our acharyas. They are our goals. We should follow in their footsteps & pray to their lotus feet. We have Namacharya Haridas Thakur, we have Srila Prabhupada, we have Shad Goswamis of Vrindavan. Of course, ultimately Gauranga is our hero-Vaikuntha-nayak, Goloka-nayak. He also chanted & danced & have set all these paths.
Okay, so all this is your homework. What we heard, has to be practised. Tomorrow is Akshaya-tritiya for doing new undertakings. Tomorrow one European devotee, Nityanand who teaches Sanskrit online will address, because I myself want to see all the ISKCON devotees utter the names properly. I also have written a book. Maybe you have seen, " Sanskrituccharanam".
Tomorrow that Nityananda Prabhuji will give you some tips. Ucchar, aachar, vichar follow each other.