How to conquer sleep while chanting?
Srila Guru Maharaj: This stage of feeling relaxed while doing japa is first stage of advancement. Because it means you are feeling very peaceful! Ha….. Snore…. Ha! Ha! Of course we would like to rise above that stage! To the stage when we feel very enthusiastic. I don’t know if you are getting enough sleep in the night. It is important to sleep 6 or 7 hours usually but some people don’t. But Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Prabhupada said would walk and chant japa. He liked to walk and was a very active person. So some people if they sit down and chant they might feel sleepy so they have to get up and walk and chant. You have seen in Mayapur, some are walking around the deities, some are sitting, so it depends. So initially it is a stage of advancement to be very peaceful and then rise above that and you feel very enthusiastic when you chant. Some people have a distraction that they think of all the things around when they chant. It happened to me as well and I would keep a notebook and write down the thing otherwise the thing would keep coming in my mind again and again. So I would write down and then put it away and then I would just concentrate. At the end of my japa I would see my notebook and see what the points are but during japa I just want to concentrate on that while chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna.
I was reading how Haridas Thakur when he had some thought in his mind he would chant louder. So I would chant louder and louder and louder! At that time I was a bhakta in Montreal with GopalKrishna Maharaj. He was a grihastha and I was a brahmachari and now I believe he has entered here in Cabin 1. Jai Gopalkrishna Maharaj ki jai! So since 1968 we are together! All the devotees went and complained to Prabhupada, this bhakta, Bhakta Jay, he shouts so loud, we can’t listen to our own chanting. Ha! Ha! Because as a young bhakta so many thoughts crossed my mind and I would chant louder and louder! HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA…and that way I disturbed everybody else. So they all went and complained and Prabhupada called and asked me, you are disturbing all the other devotees, what happened? Ha! Ha! I explained and he said, well, that is a good reason. But you can chant in the park. So they exiled me to the park! And when I chanted the squirrels and the birds, they listened! Jai! So somehow I found that I should chant once loud and then stay loud. Any way you could chant different tunes, different melodies of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna (Guru Maharaj sang three different types of Hare Krishna tunes which was ecstatic! Hari bol!) Like that there can be different tunes of japa. So if your mind is off you can change the tune of chanting, of course the japa melodies are very fast but they can also be like a song. Also you can chant the Pancha Tattva mantra, Sri Krishna Caitanya…
HH Jayapataka Swami Srila Guru Maharaj
April 26th 2011, Coimbatore