How to meditate Attentively?

Rathin Mandal, 14th December 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Your Lotus Feet and Srimati Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I will like to ask a question about chanting properly.
Sometimes it do happens that some personal, professional, family thought repetitively comes into the mind.
At times it become very difficult to get those thoughts out of mind.

In such condition, please tell me a way how to continue chanting.

your Servant
Rathin

Bhakta Sunil, 14th December 2013

Hare Krishna everyone

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Rathin , during chanting on japa mala please make it a point that during the complete round mind has to be focussed to the transcendental sound vibrations of the holy names of the Lord.  Even if mind gets diverted to other thoughts please  try to bring mind gradually to the transcendental sound vibrations of the holy names of the Lord.  Mind is like a monkey which  jumping from one thought to another. But with proper and determined practice one can control and bring mind to the transcendental sound vibrations of the holy names of the Lord during chanting of the Mahamantra

Regards,
Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 17th December 2013

Dear Rathin Mandal,

Please keep chanting and don’t pay any attention to those thoughts – you are not the mind, so if you don’t give the mind fuel by giving attention to those thoughts, then the mind will eventually stop having a grip on you. Chanting while sincerely trying is the only way to better chanting.

Here are some strategies:

1. When you notice that you are inattentive, congratulate yourself on noticing, and bring yourself back to hearing the Mahamantra as you chant.

2. Keep a little diary – if some thought is really troubling you, then make a note of it, tell the mind see it will not be forgotten, and continue chanting.

3. Mind does not like big big projects, this 16 rounds seems like too much. So tell the mind – just three mahamantras, just three, and focus on them, when done, another three, like this 108, and like this 16 rounds.

4. Make sure that every syllable of the Mahamantra is being pronounced – strive to hear each syllable yourself and speed up when you are sure all syllables are there – if you want, you can record yourself while chanting and hear later to make sure.

5. Chant in the association of sincere and serious chanters.

6.Chant early in the morning.

7. Know that the chanting you are doing, if you can try to please Krishna, is benefiting the entire universe, including yourself.

Above all, please keep trying. To tell you the truth I need so many of these reminders myself, as I am weak little fool and Krishna’s Maya is very strong. Another thing to remember is that if you are thinking you are not chanting very well, there is a good chance you can improve, but if I think I can’t get any better than I am now, then I am a sure-fire candidate for falldown.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rathin Mandal, 19th December 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Your Lotus Feet and Srimati Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much Sunil Prabhu and Mahabhagavat Prabhu for your kind reply and suggestions.

For last couple of days, I have been trying to follow your directions and feel little better than before.

Hope to follow in your footsteps to improve.

your Servant
Rathin

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Can someone chant Hare Krishna purely before initiation?

Sunil, June 5, 2012
Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

In the book “Nectar of Instruction” Text Seven, three stages of chanting are mentioned: offensive stage, stage of lessening offences and pure stage.

Can a person reach the pure stage of chanting before initiation?

Regards,
Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, June 5 2012
Hare Krishna Sunil Prabhu,

Nice question. And we are reading Nectar of Instruction this month in our book club too!

The short answer to your question is “no”.

Evidences:
1. In Nectar of Instruction verse 3, it is mentioned as one of the steps for spiritual perfection,
utsahan niscayad dhairyat
tat-tat-karma-pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
There are six principles favourable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavouring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam [SB 7.5.23] — hearing, chanting and remembering Krsna), (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.

->”(6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas.” – all the previous acharyas are duly initiated, there is not a single perfect individual who is not initiated, even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself received initiation even though He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of His own devotee. So how can we be exempt?

2. In the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya Lila 23.14-15, it is mentioned:
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya
tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat
tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas
tatah premabhyudancati
sadhakanam ayam premnah
pradurbhave bhavet kramah
“‘In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krsna consciousness.’

3. In the Padma Purana, it is stated and quoted in SB 6.3.20-21 purport by Srila Prabhupada:
“sampradaya-vihina ye mantras te nisphala matah”, this means that without disciplic succession any mantra does not yield the end result, the fruit.
The Hare Krishna Mahamantra is undoubtedly powerful, but its full power is perceived through surrender to the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master, when the mantra is received from the spiritual master in disciplic succession. It is not that the mantra is not powerful but that we are powerless to enter into its deepest mysteries without being admitted in by the bona fide spiritual master.

The desire to not surrender unto a bona fide spiritual master is actually an anartha – an unwanted habit. We have spent so many lifetimes in the attempt to be free of the authority, and so therefore, under material spell, we do not want to also take initiation from bona fide spiritual master.

I heard a lecture where this question was asked to Srila Gurudeva, and his answer was that one can reach maximum up to the “sadhu sangah” stage without initiation.

Actually, to be honest, formal initiation alone does not guarantee perfection – initiation is merely the first step, it “initiate”s us. After that there is the spiritual master’s mercy, and only when accompanied by relentless effort to serve the spiritual master and the devotees and trying to chant nicely, is an initiate liberated, as long as the spiritual master’s instructions are strictly followed.

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das