The 4 step japa mala technique
Step 1 – Make a sankalpa to hear ONE mantra.
A sankalpa is a resolution or determination to do something. So the 1st step is to tell the mind to resolve to just hear one hare krishna maha mantra.
The idea is that it is a doable request. If we tell the mind to hear 16 rounds of mantra, or even 1 round….the mind is to powerful to heed such a big request. But if we tell the mind "Just hear this one mantra…" we have it in our power to force the mind to comply to at least this small request.
If the mind is really going wild and it won’t even heed this small request, make a resolution to hear one half of a mantra. So request the mind to hear one (or a half) of the maha mantra…and that means to hear EVERY word in that mantra with no distraction.
Once this has been completed (the hearing of one whole mantra, hearing every word of the mantra), repeat. Again tell the mind "hear just one mantra". Hear every word. Once this is done, repeat. Eventually the mind will succumb and it will hear one mantra after another. The mind will get absorbed in the sound vibration of the holy name.
Step 2 – Neglect the mind
As the mind starts to become absorbed in the sound of the holy name, it will periodically rebel and try to drift to some other topic. So you must now neglect the attempts of the mind to deviate from the task of japa. It is like a child who wants something at the store…it will cry and cry, but the stern parent just ignores or neglects the misbehaviour.
In due course the child will get the message and calm down. Similarly the mind will introduce so many ideas and rationalizations for thinking something else, but one must just neglect the mind and force it back to japa.
Step 3 – Take shelter of the Holy Name.
Now the mind is absorbed in the sound of the holy name. One's whole existence is only the holy name….there is nothing else to be conscious of. So realize that the holy name is in fact Krishna Himself and surrender completely to Him, and accept Him in the form of the Holy Name as everything and all that we really ever will need.
Step 4 – Obtain Krishna's Mercy
If the Holy Name so desires, being pleased by our endevor He may bestow His mercy upon us and give us a glimpse of real bhakti and the sweetness of His loving friendship.
1. Make a sankalpa
2. Neglect the mind
3. Take shelter
4. Await Krishna's mercy.
It really works! Hari Nama Ki Jay!