9 Keys for better chanting of Holy Names
Based on Sri Shikshashtakam prayers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Key 1) Chant Hare Krishna Maha Mantra:
Just chant Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Srila Prabhupada has recommended us minimum 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra and we should make sure that we are doing them.
Key 2) Listen to ONE MANTRA:
Japa is not a race. The idea of finishing rounds to get relieved is one of the most determental thoughts. Lord Krishna would actually think we are trying to get rid of Him. Chant the mantra slowly when you start the chanting, that way our mind gets a change to connect with each word and will choose to surrender to the Holy Names. You should clearly hear each word when you chant. Dont worry about the mantras that you have missed hearing already and dont think about how well you will be able to increase your concentration on the future rounds, simply just think about the current Mantra you are chanting and listen every word. Even one mantra is powerful enough to attrack your mind and will slow down the mind to concentrate. Be in a atmosphere where there is very less distraction. Choose a place in the house that allows you to concentrate. Dont choose a place where you work most of the day. If you have small children then choose a time in the morning when they are asleep
Key 3) State Your Determination:
Why are you chanting, make this very clear in your mind. Give your mind a simplified task of why you are chanting and your mind will feel peaceful and will agree to listen. Chanting is the time to enter into relationship with the Supreme Personality of Goidhead Lord Krishna
Key 4) Bring the Mind Back:
Mind is always moving and agitated, thats the nature of the mind. Even if your mind chooses to run away, bring it back. The longer it goes away the more difficult it is to bring it back. Bring back the mind and make it hear the Maha Mantra once again
Key 5) Detachment:
When we chant we should detach from the past and the future. The Holy Name you have chanted in the past and the Holy Names you will chant in the future are of no significance to think so just detach yourself and instead concentrate only on the present mantra being chanted
Key 6) Neglect the Mind:
We have to learn on how to not think of anything else while chanting the Holy Names. Dismiss the thoughts which the mind will continue to bring onto you. Mind will also try to convince you how important those thoughts are and why you need to think more about them. Neglect is the easiest weapon which can be used to conquer the mind (SB 5.11.17). When thoughts come just learn the art of letting them go away, just bring back the mind when it wanders. Hear the Mantra.
Key 7) Humility:
One has to chant in the mood of submission to the Supreme Lord Krishna. If should be like the mood of a beggar and not like one who is chanting to conquer Lord Krishna. All we can do is open our heart so Lord Krishna can come and sit in it. We have to clean our hearts so Lord Krishna can sit there. Lord Krishna does not like to sit in an unclean heart! Humility helps us see the dust accumulated in our hearts. We have to learn how dependent we are on Lord Krishna
Key 8) Finding Shelter at the feel of Supreme Lord:
We have to give up all the desires of name & fame and take shelter at the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord
Key 9) Krishna’s Causeless Mercy:
This is the ultimate key we have to depend on to progress in devotional path. All our other techniques will fall short by two fingers length unless we pray to attain Lord Krishna’s causeless mercy. Don’t worry about us not feeling ecstasy while chanting, don’t try to access the sweetness of the holy names, that ecstasy and sweetness will come to us when Lord Krishna decides to extend His causeless mercy