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Crying for Krishna with Feeling

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*Maharaja told a story of seeing a beggar's intense facial expression and gestures of need and desperation in the middle of a walkway at a busy train station in India. This inspired him in his chanting to call out for Krishna with feeling, expressing his urgent need for Krishna's mercy.
*There is a difference in hunger between a rich and poor man. A rich man's hunger is mild, as his stomach is at least semi-full, whereas a poor beggar is always hankering for a meal and visualizing food. Are we hungry for Krishna, or only religiously chanting?

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I just returned from attending a "Japa Weekend" similar to the japa retreat though held for fewer days and not at a secluded retreat center. Less days, yet still very powerful. I will share some highlights.

Generally there is one or two facilitators and at least one sannyasi sadhu. Mahatma Prabhu and my wife were the facilitators (my wife filled in for him, as he was a day late due to airline problems). They did an excellent job of guiding us through exercises and important principles and techniques to help us improve our japa. I will list some of them.

In addition we had the good fortune to hear from HH Purnachandra Swami who returned to the USA after preaching overseas for the last 18 years. He is a very authentic, humble devotee, with deep knowledge of scripture and realizations. He shared many helpful, endearing and humorous stories to help demonstrate the points he was making.

About thirty-five devotee attended. A very respectful, serious group of devotees, though with a good sense of humor. Many were from the Hillsborough Temple, and it felt we were all very connected to each other and to the speakers who gave us insightful, useful guidance.

An important topic, repeated stressed, was the power of setting intentions before chanting, as opposed to mindlessly picking up the beads out of habit or duty.

Here is a list of my written intentions that reflect much of what we learned over the weekend:

Daily Preparation for Chanting

--Prayers to Prabhupada and my Gurus, the previous Acharyas, six Goswamis, Haridas Thakur, Shri Shri Gaura-Nityananda, [and your Temple or personal Deities] and the Holy Name or Harinam Prabhu.
--Creating a place in my heart for Radha and Krishna to sit.
--Seeing my japa as a relationship to Radha and Krishna.
--Chanting for their pleasure without letting anyone else in (thoughts are like other people in my heart or mind).
--Setting my intention to hear every mantra.
--Chanting with feeling.
--Continual prayer for help.
--Thinking of the mantras meaning.
--One mantra at a time (keeping in the present moment).
--Seeing or visualizing the mantra.
--Expecting chanting to be blissful.
--Practicing gratitude for the gift of the holy names.
--Praying for tears of hankering for Radha and Krishna's service.
--Lamenting my fallen condition as impetus for taking refuge in Krishna.
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Points to share:

*We need to give our energy and focus to the holy name instead of trying to figure out our whole life during one round.
*Just thinking of a number to finish in chanting misses the point of chanting with attention and feeling.
*Courtesy Japa is a disconnect from Krishna, a side channel of our mind, distracted, official--we chant to get done, and move on to our more important activities.
*JADD (Japa Attention Deficit Disorder) has become an epidemic in the ISKCON society of devotees.
*Our "Blueprint" is our unconscious habit of japa, which needs to be changed to improve our spiritual life.
*How would we act and feel if we knew without any doubts that Krishna is taking care of us?
*Story of Prabhupada and his disciple, Trivikrama Swami:
Prabhupada stopped Trivikrama Swamis' japa and asked him if he was hearing the mantra. Yes, was the answer, to which Prabhupada replied that listening to each syllable of the mantra is the essence of the philosophy.
*Answer the question: "What is the holy name to me?"
*Three kinds of evaluation: A lessor person will judge a person by his past. An average person by his present, and a superlative person by the highest ideal he is striving for.
*Prabhupada said that the power of the holy name is increased by chanting with feeling.
*In the ultimate sense, the only rule of K.C is love--all the rules are to facilitate bringing this out. If you really want something you cry for it as does a child.
*From HG Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu: Krishna is everything, while the holy name represents Krishna. Therefore the holy name is the ultimate in information compression.
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One lecture by HH Purnachandra Swami was tittled "Crying for Krishna". Here are my notes from that moving, insightful talk:

*Maharaja told a story of seeing a beggar's intense facial expression and gestures of need and desperation in the middle of a walkway at a busy train station in India. This inspired him in his chanting to call out for Krishna with feeling, expressing his urgent need for Krishna's mercy.
*There is a difference in hunger between a rich and poor man. A rich man's hunger is mild, as his stomach is at least semi-full, whereas a poor beggar is always hankering for a meal and visualizing food. Are we hungry for Krishna, or only religiously chanting?
*If your heart is full of desires, then it will be difficult for you to really be absorbed in chanting; but if we are free from material desires we can fully take shelter of the Name. [This is a continuum, and we will likely fall somewhere in between, though we keep fixed on the goal of pure devotion].
*If we are empty like Krishna's flute then he can use us as his instrument.
*As he travels from poor countries to rich countries he finds that generally rich people are more proud.
*Krishna is the possession of the materially impoverished (Queen Kunit's prayer in Shrimad Bhagavatam)
*The power of the Holy Name depends on the quality of feeling.
*The ideal is to feel bereft of all other shelter, calling out for help (like child for mother).
*The mood of prayer: "Please help me dear Radha and Krishna to become a real devotee; you are the only ones who can make me a devotee. I am absolutely dependent on you, as I have nothing to call my own.
*Great devotees never think they have obtained Prema, and thus always feel the great need for Krishna's mercy, whereas some new devotees are full of themselves, thinking they know so much.
*With the humility of thinking I don't have Prema, comes the increasing desire to obtain Krishna's mercy which fuels ones endeavor in Bhakti.
*When we understand our ineligibility and fallen condition then we can cry for grace---we need it desperately like we need the air to breathe.
*Our survival depends on Krishna's mercy.
*Krishna says in the Adi Purana: "If you are crying before me, it is the only way to obtain me."
*We have to create a vacuum in our hearts, so we can call Krishna to fill up that space within us; ex: Krishna waited till Queen Draupadi exhausted all means of support, and then called exclusively on him--then he helped her.
*A parrot can chant Hare Krishna, but there is no feeling.
*We can try to chant not with our mouth, but with our heart--our voice may fall us at some point, so we have to be ready to call out to Krishna in any circumstances.
*Prabhupada to Malati Prabhu in 1968: Your tears of love will help you to advance more and more.

Combined comments from old site

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 12:24 — milan
Dear Karnamrita, If I may

Dear Karnamrita,

If I may notice, in your recent blogs you are very profound and you go very deep in essence. Whatever you do and whatever your intention is, please, do not stop with writing. My material chains are heavy as well, but during absorbing of transcendental wisdom, I cope with them easier, effortless and I don't give them importance, at least for a while.

Dear Karnamrita, since our friendship in Krishna.com has started, I can't say that I advance for I can not estimate myself, but I feel much better. At least my service is significantly improved. Last few months (9) have been, and they still are, in some way very difficult, filled with storms and wind, disturbing my mind and losing my KC. Thanks to Krishna.com and few devotees that supported me on my devotional path, finally I may say that negative trend seems to be stopped. At least for a while...

So thank you billion times, my dear Karnamrita, for your impact is very significant! Thank you for all your unselfish instructions!

Sincerely,

Milan


*Reply*

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 14:06 — Karnamrita.das
If the Lord desires

I am awed by your appreciation, and I am grateful that you have shared your journey with me, and how my writing is helpful. I live for that! You know you are always welcome to contact me, and just check in.

Somehow to keep on keep on, taking shelter of Krishna in all circumstances, seeing that Krishna is there in both materially happy or distressful situations. There are many encouraging statements in the scriptures and in Prabhupada's purports to give you strength to continue K.C. in any situation.

Chanting attentive japa on beads, kirtana and bhajana, reading scripture, hearing devotional lectures, and rendering devotional service to and with devotees will help you deal with the reverses of material existence.

Here is a very important verse for devotee to remember from the 10th Canto among the prayer to Krishna by Lord Brahma:

"My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim."

PURPORT
Srila Sridhara Svami explains in his commentary that just as a legitimate son has to simply remain alive to gain an inheritance from his father, one who simply remains alive in Krishna consciousness, following the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga, automatically becomes eligible to receive the mercy of the Personality of Godhead. In other words, he will be promoted to the kingdom of God.

The word su-samiksamana indicates that a devotee earnestly awaits the mercy of the Supreme Lord even while suffering the painful effects of previous sinful activities. Lord Krsna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that a devotee who fully surrenders unto Him is no longer liable to suffer the reactions of his previous karma. However, because in his mind a devotee may still maintain the remnants of his previous sinful mentality, the Lord removes the last vestiges of the enjoying spirit by giving His devotee punishments that may sometimes resemble sinful reactions. The purpose of the entire creation of God is to rectify the living entity's tendency to enjoy without the Lord, and therefore the particular punishment given for a sinful activity is specifically designed to curtail the mentality that produced the activity.

Although a devotee has surrendered to the Lord's devotional service, until he is completely perfect in Krsna consciousness he may maintain a slight inclination to enjoy the false happiness of this world. The Lord therefore creates a particular situation to eradicate this remaining enjoying spirit. This unhappiness suffered by a sincere devotee is not technically a karmic reaction; it is rather the Lord's special mercy for inducing His devotee to completely let go of the material world and return home, back to Godhead.

A sincere devotee earnestly desires to go back to the Lord's abode. Therefore he willingly accepts the Lord's merciful punishment and continues offering respects and obeisances to the Lord with his heart, words and body. Such a bona fide servant of the Lord, considering all hardship a small price to pay for gaining the personal association of the Lord, certainly becomes a legitimate son of God, as indicated here by the words daya-bhak. Just as one cannot approach the sun without becoming fire, one cannot approach the supreme pure, Lord Krishna, without undergoing a rigid purificatory process, which may appear like suffering but which is in fact a curative treatment administered by the personal hand of the Lord.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.14.9

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Wed, 11/19/2008 - 02:38 — DBB
Excellent Excellent Excellent

Hare Krishna, dear Karanamrita Prabhu,

Such an excellent blog.

I am very lucky. Yesterday I learned the following for the first time in my 3 month's life in KC:
sri rAma rAma rAmeti rame rAme manorame
sahasra nAma tat tulyam rAma nAma varAnane

(As stated by Lord Siva to PArvati - if you just chant the name "RAma", it
is equivalent to chanting the 1000 names of Sri MahA Vishnu")

So, 1 word Rama=1000 names of Mahavishnu and
3 words of Rama = 1 word of Krishna.

Such an amazing truth which was hidden from my mental warehouse all that time.

And this morning comes your excellent blog. All you mention here were very urgently necessary for me.

My chanting was far less for the last several days.

1) Sri Rama Rama Rameti.............. inspired me.
It brought tears in my eyes.

2) Again, your excellent blog will help me to come back to "chanting" and make me consistent.

Amazingly these two things happened after my prayer to Krishna for my success in KC.

Sorry, I stole your blog by copying it into MS Word and saved it in my PC . But if I have to forward it to anyone, I will clearly mention the source (http://connect.krishna.com/node/4587) and your name as the writer.

Once again, thank you for sharing such an important knowledge and hope that we will be fortunate of such things in future as well.

Hare Krishna,
Durga


*Reply*

Wed, 11/19/2008 - 12:11 — Karnamrita.das
No worries

Send it to your heart's content. What I shared was my notes of the Japa Weekend, with only a few of my thoughts. My daily intentions are really a summary of the main points which I am incorporating into my personal daily sadhana.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita