Attention-means steady application of the mind, or focusing the consciousness on a particular subject. Whatever one focuses his attention on becomes deeply impressed in the mind. Although the mind can move from one object to another with fantastic speed, Vedic sastras and modern science concur that the mind can only do one thing at a time. This is called the "single idea" principle of the mind. For example, if one is reading an exciting book with full attention, he will not hear the sounds in the surrounding enviroment.

Attention is related to interest or attraction. There is full attention in a pleasing object, but little attention in a tasteless object. It is difficult for the mind to focus on an uninteresting object. For example, it is hard to pay attention, what to speak of stay awake, in a Bhagavatam class wherein the speaker sits like a statue with sealed eyes, mumbles in a monotone, and gives a "parrot recital" of a long list of Bhagavad-gitaslokas to support some basic point. It is easy, however, to pay attention to a speaker who looks at the audience, uses vibrant phrases and dramatic tones, and tells exciting, animated stories with expressive hand gestures.

It is often very difficult to keep one's attention on the holy name while chanting japa. This is because the mind is not trained to bear prolonged attention. It gets bored with the monotony of japa and runs to more pleasing things. By increasing one's interest or taste in japa, one will be able to chant attentively.

"O Krsna! ThakuraBhaktivinoda has warned us that inattention is the main door into the house of aparadhas. O Krsna! Please let me taste some pleasure in Your names, so I can focus my full attention on chanting. May Your holy names become deeply impressed in my mind."

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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