Gems and Realizations You May Gain from Japa
Hare Krsna to all devotees. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
My wife and I had recently completed the Potomac Temple Japa workshop with Mahatma Prabhu. Going there during the Labor Day weekend last year was the best decision we made. We learned a lot about how to properly do Japa and the importance of Japa in Bhakti. Japa is so important that one must be willing to rearrange their lives to include it.
Here are some of the gems we collected from the exercises and lectures at the Japa workshop:
- The Holy Name is a treasure that must be appreciated as one would the Deity and the Holy Dham.
- Japa is worship of Radha and Krsna. Therefore we must put our fullest efforts into Japa
- Krsna reciprocates intent and effort. The more we have of each, the more He will reciprocate. This, by the way, is an exponential process. Krsna is more eager than us to have a relationship with us.
- Chanting is not a process. It is a relationship. While we chant, we are mending a broken relationship with Krsna. Therefore we must approach Krsna from the standpoint of remorse and surrender. We always surrender to Krsna, but we must feel remorse for having turned our back to Him for lifetimes. We must realize that while we don’t have the right to ask Him to accept us, we ask anyway. Krsna, being the loving father that He is, will accept us as long as we continue to purify ourselves and avoid the offenses.
- The difference between offensive chanting and offenseless chanting is effort. Effort is the bridge to Prema Bhakti. The offenses cease to be when we put continuous effort to avoiding them when we chant.
- The number of rounds is less important than the quality of the rounds. If you have quality the number will automatically come. If you have numbers, the quality may not come.
- Chanting your rounds should never be a matter of “I have to” but a matter of “I want to”, “I get to”. If you feel obligated to chant, then it is better not to do it at all. We must never feel obligated to have a relationship with Krsna. If we do, He will reciprocate accordingly.
- When you chant, chant. Do justice to the Japa. Be present while you chant. If you are sincere, the environment itself will rearrange to provide the maximum time for Japa.
- Chanting the Holy Names is really my all-time favorite activity. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. While I am chanting, the material world can wait.
- You cannot have Krsna and mäyä at the same time. Krsna will disappear if you allow material distractions to take over, both in chanting and in life. Therefore, when chanting, remember to choose Krsna and reject mäyä in all her forms.
- In choosing between Krsna and mäyä, only the greatest fools will choose mäyä. Even scientifically speaking, it is better to choose Krsna over mäyä. With Krsna, the return for your investment in time and effort is reciprocated exponentially. Even minimal sincere efforts get a very large return. With mäyä, returns of investment in time and effort are not guaranteed. Returns vary depending on the individual’s karma.
- The Holy Names are our ticket back to Godhead. As with any ticket, we can choose to take the scenic route with many stopovers, or we can choose the direct express route. If we were talking about flights or train rides, the time wasted in the scenic route can be measured in hours or days. In the case of our trip back to Godhead, the time wasted can be measured in lifetimes and in some cases millions of lifetimes. The more our sense of urgency to get back to Godhead, the more direct our route will be. I hope all will choose the express path.
- Krsna’s names protect us from mäyä. Any bodily discomforts and mental predilections that prove to be obstacles in our path to Krsna are really nothing in the face of the sincere chanter and devotee. Krsna, being attracted by sincerity, will Himself protect us from anger, frustration, envy, and other bad qualities that come to us from material nature, as we chant.
- Many people are devoted to the demigods. In my own family, demigods are worshiped to gain knowledge, wealth, and other material items. It is very important to note that demigods are content with a business relationship with us. We give them something and they give us something back. On the other hand, Krsna wants a deeper relationship with us. He wants something that goes beyond a give/take relationship. He gives us pure, unconditional love. We must give Him the same.
I hope that this will give all of you the impetus you need to improve your chanting or start chanting as the case may be. Please remember that inattentive chanting is not chanting. Hare Krsna.