18th February 2020
The Art of Chanting
Hare Krishna. How many rounds have you completed today? Any comments about that? How many rounds should have been completed?We should not be too fast or too slow during chanting. If too fast then there might be a possibility that we might not be listening. Speed might be there, but attention might not be there. If too slow then it takes 15 mins to chant and there are too many thoughts in our head. We take the beads out again and again.Too fast and too slow chanting are the effects of inattentive chanting. Anyone else have any realisation or comments?
When we are chanting in the dhama. it is like a local call. Lord can come in a local call. By going to a nearby temple we can meet the Lord. I was thinking that if the Lord is locally there as this is His place, where would He be now? Gauranga Mahaprabhu has His astakaliya lila like Krsna. If we have to meet Him now then where should we meet Him? How much time will He take to come to us? This is Gauranga Mahaprabhu consciousness. When we are remembering our beloved person then we think where would he be now?Is he in the courtyard, shopping,…Where? We anticipate when will we meet him. When the door bell is ringing then we imagine our husband or children have arrived. When we open the door then someone else is there. It might be Maharaja also. This is meditation.We think whether God Is alone or whoever else is accompanying Him? This is worth remembering in the morning. Thus we are talking about a local call.
Question: Where would He be during the afternoon?
Answer: Gauranga Mahaprabhu goes to Radha-kunda in Rudra dvipa. There is also a place known as Madhya Dvipa where He goes to in the afternoon. He spent a lot of time near the Ganga.
Question: How to avoid offences while chanting?
Answer: If we take care to avoid offences while not chanting then we can avoid offences during chanting.We are more cautious while we are chanting about avoiding offences. We should prepare for chanting one day before. What we ate, drank, whom we met a day before? What should I think or eat now, so that I'll be able to chant attentively at the time of japa? We should prepare for chanting before the actual chanting. If we are not careful about chanting and we eat too much the previous night and sleep late then the next morning, we will face the consequences. We should prepare one day earlier . Prevention is better than cure. If we could prevent them there is less need to cure.
Question: Just hear the chanting and don't even think. Is this good?
Answer: Many people think like this. When we hear, then we should think also. The Name what we have heard will inspire us to think. Sravan kirtana should lead to smaran. The Name only can take us to the Lord. We have come to His abode. This we said a few days ago in Srimad-Bhagavatam class.
Question: We souls are arrows and the string of the bow is holy name.
Answer: Lord sends the arrow and where should that arrow be targeted - at the lotus feet of the Lord. Lord's names takes us to the Lord.
Question: In the 9th offence, we hear that we shouldn't instruct faithless people. How can we instruct someone who is faithless?
Answer: We have been instructed to preach Krsna's instructions to each and every living entity. We preach in a positive manner that a person can take a positive impression and he would like to hear more. If his faith is less and if we hammer down, then he will think that he does not want to have anything to do with Hare Krishna. Faith is a degree. When we say he is faithless, still he has 5% faith. In China the government is preaching to them that they are atheist. When we preach, we don't tell them everything in one go. When Srila Prabhupada was instructing in the West, he didn't speak of the 4 regulative principles. He spoke to them after the first initiation ceremony. First things come first and not the last thing first. Preachers have to be experienced. When you meet them, you will understand their level and then you can speak. Initially, give them prasada. When they visit they may just appreciate the cleanliness in the temple. This is enough in the first meeting. Jesus said, “I've many things to tell you, but not now. I'll come back.” So don't say everything in one meeting. This is the art of preaching.
Question: How to focus on chanting after you are so tired after the end of an office day?
Answer: Sometimes devotees say I've 500 rounds to chant. This is not the way. Best is to get up early and chant Hare Krishna. There are 24 hours. For practical devotional service, you can consider that there are just 22 hours. 2 hours should be untouched and reserved. First thing I was thinking this morning is that I have chanted all my rounds every day. This is my first business of the day. Because it's a busy day, I'll do the business first and then chant in the afternoon. This is not good. We should give priority to chanting.
Pujaris also work with Deities. They should decide when they should chant. If you're not chanting then you're spaced out. If we are not able to do it in the morning then plan your chanting time and let the world know that you are busy chanting. Tell the person, “I’m busy.” I've shared this earlier. In the earlier days, a big business man wanted to meet the temple president when I was in Bombay. I told the president that such and such person wanted to meet him. I saw he was chanting. President told me to tell him, “I’m busy.” I thought how is he busy? He is just chanting Hare Krishna. Then later, I realized that chanting of Hare Krishna is serious business. We need to have that kind of business. We should honour this business. We should chant in such a way that if someone wants to interrupt then one should offer obeisances and beg forgiveness to interrupt his chanting. We shouldn't interrupt the chanter abruptly to ask him to do some service. This is not correct behaviour. It is also an offence to the holy name.
Question: Sravan kirtana smaran happens together or does it intermingle?
Answer: Do you remember Mahatma Gandhi in his old age? What do you remember? His form. So through his name, we remember his form. When you read and study then it comes to your mind. When you remember then assimilation happens. You make that part of your consciousness. Then you become a person with character. When we take the name of any person, that person's face immediately comes to mind. But this doesn't happen in the case of the Lord.
Question: How we can see the Lord?
Answer: We have to go to Mangal Arati and see the Lord. After that when we chant we see the form of the Lord very easily. In English it is said, "easy to cry easy to dry". We see many people are crying while chanting. Such tears are sentimental. But philosophy should also be there. If tears come after hearing philosophy, then they are natural. We have heard that as we progress we will witness tears in our eyes. It may happen that they may come and go. To make them steady, we need religion and philosophy. Religion without philosophy is sentimentalism. Philosophy without religion is mental speculation.
Question: I face the problem of sleeping while chanting.
Answer: This might be some kind of disorder or you didn't take proper rest. May be the atmosphere is not proper like the temperature, air. There are two types of sleeping. One is a disorder and it is occasional. This can be cured by chanting along with some friend. You should have someone who has a water spray with him. You can get up. There is one book "Rising Sun with the Holy Name". In this book, it is mentioned that the mind is affected by different waves in different modes. When we are in sattvic the waves are different. When in rajsic, the waves are different and when in tamsic, the waves are different. Sleep is the effect of ignorance. To get awake we need passion. If someone is sitting then we end up sleeping. If someone is feeling sleepy then we need passion by standing up and circumambulating around Tulasi . We should sit properly. If we sit like a yogi then there is the right flow of energy. If we sit properly then it is also a solution. Prabhupada would always say, ‘Sit properly.’ So these are some solutions for attentive chanting.