I am happy to see so many Nagpur devotees actually as I am in Nagpur. Today I am seeing them personally instead of on the screen. I am happy to see so many children chanting. Any one can take part in chanting. Prabhupad would say that even a dog can take part in it. It is better to chant with family and friends. It gives nice samskaras for children. They could imbibe the spirit and take up chanting from a young age.
All age groups are chanting on this conference. Chanting is ultimately not for the body, but for the soul. Maybe there is some benefit for the body also. I will not highlight that now because main benefit is of soul. We want the soul to chant and hear, and our soul to become nourished and healthy. The 'atma’ will become 'Mahatma’ by sincere chanting. Ultimately the soul is chanting, as we have been talking. The tongue can't chant, or the ears can't hear if there is no soul in the body. There is one real incidence in this regard, I heard this from a reliable source. One elderly Gaudiya Vaisnava was unwell. The doctor arrived and started checking his chest and heart with the stethoscope. He was surprised. He looked at the mouth of the devotee. It was closed, but doctor was hearing “ Hare Krsna Hare Krsna”. The seat of the soul is in heart and the doctor was hearing the chanting of the soul. The soul was praying and chanting.
When you chant on this conference, I am seeing you and you are seeing me. If you are seeing me then you also should understand that I am seeing you. It's good. By seeing each other we can drive some inspiration. When you see me , you may be feeling inspired. I also feel happy and enthusiastic , seeing you all. But our goal on the conference is not to see each other. It is to see beyond this. See Krsna in each other’s presence. Our goal is mantra- meditation. “ Nama-smaran”. We want to meditate on the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord. We want to remember and remind each other of Krsna. Krsna is the topic of our meditation, our japa, our discussion.
You should also be aware that Krsna is seeing you if you are trying to see Krsna. In the beginning you may see something which is not very clear. But that much is enough to understand, that Krsna is seeing you. You are struggling to see Krsna, hear Krsna, remember Krsna. To the degree we succeed in seeing or hearing or remembering to that degree Krsna reciprocates with you.
ye yath mam prapadyante tas tatheva bhajamyamaham. (B.G. 4.11)
Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur was giving a class and in the middle of the class one disciple went to take darsana of the Deities in the altar and came back. He asked the disciple ,” Where did you go? “ He replied “ For darsana”. Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur asked him, “How was your eye exercise?” ( He opened the eyes and closed them while taking darsana which was just like an exercise of eyes) He then chastised him by saying that he was trying to explain in the class how he could take darsana, but that disciple went on his own to take darsana which was not required. You will not be able to take darsana that way.
caksur unmilitam yen tasmay sri gurave namah
The point I am trying to make is that as we are trying to see Krsna, Krsna is also seeing us. For Him it's easy as he is anumanta, saksi (witness). He is seeing us all the time, but He gets pleased and showers his merciful glance on us specially when we are chanting his names, remembering him, calling out to him. Krsna can see, do you agree?
hrshiken hriushikesh sevanam bhaktir uchhyate ( C.C. Madhya 19.170 ) when we engage our senses in the service of master of the senses, that is 'Bhakti-yoga’. Japa-yoga is Bhakti-yoga. We are trying to please Krsna's senses. We are trying to serve Krsna's senses with our senses.
This is atmendriya priti vanca tar bale kam, krsnendriya priri vancha dhare prema nama ( C.C. Adi Lila 4.165) Engaging our senses in the service of the master of senses. That is Bhakti and the Lord is pleased with us. That is Prema. Krsna sees us. Krsna hears us . When we are chanting, we are hearing and Krsna is also hearing. Krsna's ears are not just decoration. Those are functional. They are hearing. Krsna's eyes are seeing. Krsna can smell. When pujari offers incense Krsna smells punyo gandha pruthiyam ca ( I am the fragrance of the earth)) so Krsna sees, hears, smells becomes happy when we touch His lotus feet. The fragrance of the earth reaches the flowers , and when you smell , that fragrance is Krsna. When we are little down or depressed what we should do? Offer a fragrant flower to the Lord and then smell it. Then there will be an experience of enthusiasm and bliss. The Lord only increases our enthusiasm.
HH Sachinandan Maharaja told a story. There was a devotee of goddess Durga who started offering incense. There was also a Krsna Deity. What we understand is that Durga must have realized - bhoktaram yajna tapasa ( B.G. 5.29) So the dhoop being offered by this devotee all started going in the direction of Krsna and It was ending up entering Krsna’s nostrils. This pujari was not happy. What he was offering for the pleasure of Durga was ending up entering the nostrils of Krsna. But the Lord was happy, because the pujari had the realization that Deity of Krsna is real. It was not just a statue. He believed that the Deity could smell, enjoying the fragrance he was offering. Krsna was very happy with such a realization. This was just illustration that Krsna including his Deity can see, hear, eat and smell. He also becomes happy when we serve Him nicely. So while chanting, understand for sure that the Lord is seeing me, hearing me. While chanting when we are saying - Hare….. Krsna , these are all addresses. Samodhan . We are trying to get Krsna’s and Radharani’s attention. We speak our heart to the Lord through the medium of the Hare Krsna mahamantra while chanting. We are communicating with the Lord so he hears. Like that there is a reciprocation between the devotee and the Lord through Bhakti.( Devotion).
We pray to the Lord , I am so fallen, please uplift me. ayi nandtanuj kinkaram patitam ma bhavambudho . (Ref ??) This is the mood, the contemplation, the mission of Chanting.
(Gurudev sees someone sleeping) Oh! If you are sleeping where is the meditation. It's zero. Sleep is the enemy. It's the end of the meditation and end of our session also . I will take darsana of Radha-Gopinath now .