If I honestly examine my daily chanting over the last one year, I can see that my best Japa happened when I carried my Japa ROD.
Those best japa sessions generally began with a resolve. I’d decide to chant the next ten rounds or for the next one hour without interruption or looking at the watch. I’d also keep my phone far away during this period. This resolution is important because it helps me declare my intention and sets the mood before the chanting session. It also acts as a reminder later when the mind goes wild.
As I begin chanting, the mind immediately asks me to get up, go drink water or make a phone call. At such times, a gentle reminder to the mind of my resolution helps come back on the track of chanting. Of course, nothing good comes easy in life. And surely chanting, the greatest gift wouldn’t reveal its magnificence for free. A struggle would ensue, and to help stick to the resolution, the second principle comes to rescue
O-One maha mantra- listen and stay present
Ask any expert yogis or meditation gurus, and they all concur, ‘be present’ in what you do. Let your senses and mind savour the ‘now’ and let all the past and future dissolve in the present. That would give you the best spiritual experience, because past is history, and future, a mystery. And ‘Now’ is a gift of God, and therefore it’s called ‘Present’!
How do you remain present? Try chanting just one maha mantra. Invest all energy on the one mantra that you are chanting now, and not the one that you will chant later and definitely not the 16 rounds that you would be chanting tomorrow. The one that you are chanting as you are presently fingering your beads calls for all your attention and devotion. Bhurijan Prabhu in his super excellent book ‘Japa’ says if we can simply listen to the one maha mantra that we are chanting now, we’d feel spiritually connected to Krishna, and that experience transcends all that we routinely feel through our mind and senses.
D- Determination to stick to the resolve
Come what may, I shall not get up or do anything else till I complete my six rounds or chant for the next hour or whatever else that we have resolved to do before the session began.
This can surely be a humbling experience, for we’d soon realize we have no taste in Bhakti. All our tall claims in Krishna consciousness would be exposed to ourselves. It’s an eye opener to say the least. I often get tempted to look at the watch, or talk to a friend during my chanting but because I have resolved, I have no choice. And when I exercise strong determination to stick to my resolve, I struggle, but at the end I can see Krishna reciprocating with my sincerity. I have often felt nourished and satisfied by my chanting when I practised these three principles. When I failed on these, I’d normally feel ‘relief’ on completing my rounds but adherence to these sacred rules fills my heart with a deep contentment.
I pray and wish I can remember to practise these three golden rules daily. I am sure, chanting session would then be like a never ending party….. Hare Krishna