Recently while chanting japa I got a nice realization that looking at the watch, while chanting japa is one of the greatest attacks of maya. What does it mean to look at the watch?
Imagine you are sitting with the most important person- the person you claim to love the most- and have a chance for a heart to heart conversation with him or her for the next two hours. Right from the beginning of the meeting, you start looking at the watch and are restless. For a moment, just imagine what the person will think? Imagine somebody did that to you. How insulted and insignificant we’d feel if someone while talking to us constantly looked at his watch. Similarly by being watch conscious, we are telling Krishna that I have more important things to do after my two hour meeting with Him. We are thus losing an opportunity to be Krishna conscious by thinking of how many rounds I can finish by what time.
For this malady one solution is being firm in refusing to look at a watch while chanting. However tempting it is, we should restrain our tendency to look at the time while chanting. It makes no sense to look at the watch. What can we actually do if we look at the watch? Are we going to increase the speed of our chanting if we realize that we are late for office? Or are we going to plan the next round and the remaining day depending on the time? Both these attempts are an offense to the holy name. While chanting we are simply supposed to listen to the sound vibration, nothing else. But then the mind may protest that our responsibilities are real and are pressing. The solution then is to plan the day well in advance. On a Sunday evening we can plan for the upcoming week.
When the mind conjures up ‘important’ proposals, we can patiently tell the mind to listen to the mahamantra and also reassure him that after the japa session you shall certainly address the issue. Before we sit to chant, we can resolve to chant a certain fixed number of rounds in that sitting. Say for example you resolve to chant six rounds without a break. Till the six rounds are done you should then refuse to look at the watch or put things on the planner. Whenever the mind protests, just reassure him that after the six rounds are done you shall certainly work on the concerns expressed by the mind. This way we are showing Krishna that we are valuing our session with him and are not looking to end the meeting.
Chanting japa session is after all the exclusive time of the soul with Krishna. It’s the time when we can depend on Krishna and promise Him that whatever we are doing or are planning to do is for His exclusive pleasure. Radhanath Swami offers a sobering thought,
“ In whatever we do in our lives, we’ve to use our God given intelligence to analyse, what I speak, what I do, what I think, is it perpetuating my material enjoyment or is it purifying me; is it taking me further away from God or is it bringing me closer to Him”
Therefore let’s chant with a desire to come closer to Krishna and not get further away from Him by giving importance to our time.