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Good chanting- how do you know?

“Everything else can wait” is the realization one gets when he or she’s chanting well.

The moment you hear the holy names, you are with Krishna; you are connected to Krishna.

And how do you know you’ve heard the holy names? Simple; how do you know you are happy with your lover and feel blissful in his/her company? You wouldn’t care for the time. While chanting the holy names, the clock ticks in the background, but your heart beats in the foreground, with gratitude and happiness.

Unfortunately however, for most practising devotees these real moments are rare, and most often it’s not Krishna’s presence that we feel while chanting, but it’s the ugly reality of our mind’s association that repeatedly haunts us. The mind drags us all around the universe. Wrestling under its vicious grip, when I do manage to free myself by listening to the holy names, I suddenly feel loved by Krishna. Mind’s abuses seem inconsequential; life seems beautiful.

Those rare and precious moments when we do hear the holy names, we’d feel, ‘Wow! This is wonderful’ and one intuitively knows it’s not mental, rather it’s for real. ‘Shelter’, ‘care’ ‘belongingness’- these are some of my feelings during those occasional, precious moments when I am ‘connected’ to Krishna during my Japa session.

What do I do now to make my chanting successful? When does my chanting become good?

We could do the same thing a heroine does during the climax of a thriller movie.

A desert or a forest scene. A lover kidnapped by the villains, grapples under their grip, and as she struggles to free herself, she wishes her chivalrous hero comes to her rescue. And as predictable the flicks are, he comes down jumping from a chopper, and single- handed takes on twenty of them, and sure enough emerges victorious. Then the couple unite in a loving embrace, and the girl cries in gratitude for being rescued.

You could dismiss the films for their surreal plots and feel cynical about your own humdrum life. But are we not under the vicious clutches of our mind and senses. Just as we begin chanting doesn’t our mind urge to call someone for an important work; don’t we suddenly feel hungry; or is the room stuffy or maybe the legs are hurting or the body needs rest. Do you suddenly feel angry at someone while chanting even as negative emotions flood the heart?  The list of excuses is endless. The mind tries its best to keep us away from Krishna.  And often a chanter doesn’t even realize he’s been dragged away from Krishna. And that’s precisely why our ‘hero’ Krishna doesn’t appear during our chanting. We are happy without Him.

But the moment we chose to struggle against the villain’s hold; the instant we decide our chastity is exclusively for Krishna, and not for my mind, Krishna reciprocates with His love. He descends from the spiritual world into our deserted hearts, and to our terrible forest like mind.

Our attempts to call out to Krishna during chanting doesn’t go waste. Krishna hears, and responds. And we can know Krishna has heard our call if we first try to hear the chanting. Our ‘trying’ is enough.

Now as I sit to chant again I needn’t worry about my feelings. They will come and go. Let me just focus on listening to Krishna, and He surely wants to tell me many wonderful things.

Everything auspicious will follow if I make this simple choice of being present with Krishna.

Comments (2)

  1. Jugal says:

    I try to chant the way you have recommended. I too feel the feelings you have described. Though I dont yet feel the feeling of ‘belonging’but i do feel shelter and care. Recently while chanting I was attentively hearing the holy names. At one particular moment i felt some strange feeling in my chest (nice feeling) and then spontaneously I felt like laughing. As i was surrounded by people I tried not to laugh but it was hard to control and I had to try really hard to not laugh. I stopped my chanting and sat there and with difficulty he feeling went away. Now let me tell you I dont know how that feeling arose because I genuinely just listening attentively to the holy names. At that time I wasnt thinking of anything or did my attention was somewhere else. I say this with all honesty. There was no cause for the laughter to rise. So I just want to know if this was due to the chanting or something else. I am not on any kind of advanced stage of devotional service and therefore I cant say it was some ecstatic symptom because i know it can only come to the pure devotees who are attached to the lord. But still this remains a mystery. Can you tell me what was it?

  2. vraja bihari dasa says:

    thanks Jugal for such a candid description of your chanting experiences. to be honest i find these feelings also a mystery. however i trust you and believe that krishna loves you and reciprocates with your sincerity.
    thanks again for sharing
    ys
    vraja bihari dasa

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