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It's My Life (Thoughts On Chanting Japa)

0

I'm sitting in the dark stairwell of the temple, near the hallway, just outside the kitchen. I'm crying, huddled against the wall, it gives me comfort. The darkness is comforting. I've had a very rough day, and it's now 10:30 pm, and I still have rounds left to chant. I am trying to chant them. It's dark and the lights are out because everyone else is asleep.

I cry a lot these days, when you are 15 years old, and a female, crying seems to be something you do a lot of, at least that's what I'm thinking, because no one else seems to be crying as much as I am. I'm trying to chant while I'm crying, but it's hard. I'm so tired, all I want to do is sleep, but I know I have to finish my rounds. This day has been such a struggle, so many things went wrong.

First, I was three minutes late getting the garland made for the the little Radha Krishna deities. I was racing from some other service I was doing, and only had a few minutes to do it. Our schedules are so packed, there are too many things that have to be done, and not enough devotees to do them. So, though I tried to finish it in time, the pujari was upset with me because it was not on the tray when it was carried up to the alter. I had to hand deliver it, and though it was there when she needed to put it on Srimati Radharani, it was a distraction, having to come off the alter and get it out of the the dressing room. She's the temple commander for the women too, so she is especially upset with me.

Then, I arrived late to do my service for Tulasi Devi. The brahmacari who takes care of her is very strict, and I am his only assistant. I have to be on time. I am late. I think this time, I am late by 60 seconds, but still, I'm late. He has the door locked. I can't go in. I knock and he tells me that I have no proper respect for Tulasi Devi, and if and when I do, then I can serve her, not until. I am crying again. I say to him "I'm only 1 minute late"..... he doesn't answer me. That's final. I stand there crying a little longer. This is my most favorite service, and I want so much to be in there, in the greenhouse with Tulasi Devi, but the door is locked, I can't go in, I have failed.

On Sankitran that day it was also really rough. It was my turn to be dropped off at a shopping mall alone. It's winter time, everyone is doing their Christmas shopping, so it's important to be at as many malls as possible. I'm standing there, in my saffron sari, (which does in fact look like a sheet) handing out Back To Godhead magazines. I have to try get them to give me a donation for them. We have to try get at least a quarter (or even sometimes a dime) because Srila Prabhupad told us they won't value them if they are given away free. I've seen that too, you hand them a free one, and they look at it, then toss it in the trash can further down the sidewalk. This is an outdoor mall, and it's freezing cold. I have a jacket that some kind soul donated to the temple, but it's not all that warm. My feet are freezing, my hands are freezing. It's the winter time after all, and this is the northern part of North America. It's snowing at times today, though not too much. There is snow on the ground though, and the temperature is well below freezing.

The people are streaming by, most of them nasty to me, or mean looks on their faces. No one wants one of those strange "Hare Krishna's" interfering with their shopping. I look for the people that have the most pleasant looks on their faces, and approach them, asking if they'd like a magazine. No one listens very well to a 15 year old girl who looks 12. They ignore me for the most part, or scoff or laugh, or swear and tell me to get out of their way. So, I didn't get very many magazines passed out.

Then the van is late picking me up, and it's getting dark, and colder, and scary. Finally they come, but I have service to do when I get back, so I'm worried. I feel terrible inside as we drive back to the temple, and everyone talks about how many magazines they distributed, and I have not distributed nearly as many. They are all a lot older than I am, mostly 22 to 25 years old, and when you are 15, that seems so much older. So, I'm thinking it's easier for them, but I don't say that (not yet anyway). It's very hard for me, being so much younger than all the other devotees.

Later, when I am working in the kitchen that night, the temple president appears at 9:30 pm and tells me he wants to speak to me in his office at 9:45 pm. That's very scary. When I get there, I find out that the temple commander, the pujari, has reported me for being late on making the garland. I'm in trouble now. He tells me she has told him that I'm always late, this is not the first time. I'm searching my mind, trying to think when I was late before. I try to protest, saying I've never been late before, and telling him that my schedule is too full, and it's not possible for me to get everything done, but he doesn't want to hear it. He tells me that I have to finish the garlands on time, and that I can't make excuses. Just get it done on time, he tells me, or I will have to talk to you about this again. I'm afraid of him, he's gotten very angry (extremely) at a few other devotees, and I don't want to be in his office talking to him at all, again.

So, now I'm on the stairs, after meeting with him, and I'm crying. This is all so overwhelming and I still have rounds to chant. So, I'm chanting. I have found a way to cry and chant at the same time, not easy, but I can make the tears just be silent.

Now I hear someone coming down the stairs. He stops and speaks to me. I hear his voice like a soothing balm. He is one of my favorite devotees. An older devotee, initiated for a longer time, more experienced. He's very kind always, and I like him a lot. He's in a position of authority at this temple.

"Navasi", he says.... "what are you doing here, sitting on the stairs at this time of night?" He's surprised to find me. "I'm trying to finish my rounds" I tell him. He says, "well, it's really late, you should be asleep, not sitting here in the dark trying to chant".

Well, that makes sense.... but, what about my rounds?

"How will I finish my rounds if I take rest now?" I ask. He says "chant them tomorrow". "But tomorrow will be the same as today, I won't have enough time then either, and I know I won't have time to chant extra rounds for sure. This seems impossible, I don't know how do get everything done and also chant all my rounds" I tell him. I'm really hoping he is going to give me some good advice or help me with this problem I'm having.

"Well" he says, "I never have enough time either, so I just don't chant all my rounds". The silence hangs in the air as I let this register. "You don't chant all your rounds?" ... "You don't worry about chanting 16 rounds a day?" I ask him. "Well, it's really just not possible, so what can you do?" he says. "You should go to sleep now, you should not be sitting on these stairs at this time of night in the dark".

Okay, that was more like a command, so I get up and leave, and go upstairs to the brahmacharini ashram, and roll out my sleeping bag, and collapse. I feel so bewildered now. So this is the answer, I think, just don't chant all your rounds. I have no idea how to understand this new advice. No time to think about it either, 4:00 am is coming all too soon, and another day similar to this one.

~ ~ ~

Things were different then, that was a very, very long time ago. We were all just struggling to do the best we could, with not a lot of understanding and even less resources. Still, the challenges I would face, through the years, in getting all my rounds chanted were only going to increase. They would get harder and harder. This situation actually turned out to be one of the least difficult ones. I would get more instruction also, from different devotees, about how it didn't matter if I chanted all my rounds, for various reasons.

It's never easy, no matter who you are, or when you start chanting, or under what circumstances you are chanting. There are always going to be challenges. Some devotees have more challenges, some have less, but to each of us, our challenges seem bigger than the challenges of others (usually) because they are ours. We're the ones coping with them. Over the years, the challenges will change, and increase and decrease, then increase again. Just like a waxing and waning moon.

I may seem very fanatical now, in my views about japa, to some people. It's essential to me to get up very early and chant all my rounds. I don't want to chant during the day, late at night, while I'm driving, a few rounds here, a few rounds there, or any other way.
I want to chant very early in the morning, all my rounds. Before the day gets started. Before the modes are active, before anyone or anything interrupts me.
If anyone asks me for advice or help about chanting, I will tell them the same thing. (with considerations made if they are just beginning of course).

This is never easy, and often I get very overtired. Being very overtired is a detriment to spiritual life in itself, so I struggle with the balance. Still, chanting very early in the morning remains essential to me, and I won't give it up, regardless. On some days, I have to get up a little later, to try to catch up on sleep, but I won't change my schedule or my conviction about it's importance. My life and commitments do not allow me to always go to sleep early enough, that's just something I have to contend with at the moment. (my particular challenge right now, or rather, one of them).

You will hear lots of things about chanting, from all different devotees. Well, you can chant during the day, during the night, while you're driving, while you're doing something else. The holy name is very merciful, and none of us are free from offenses at this stage anyway. We pray to Lord Chaitanya and He gives us special mercy about our offenses to chanting. All this is true. You can chant on a tight-rope walking across a chasm also if you want to. Yes, the most important thing is just to chant.

Not everyone can (or desires) to chant 16 rounds, and if you're just starting, it's not necessary (for a beginner). Some people take years to get to 16 rounds, others make a commitment to it, get initiated, then are unable to keep that commitment. We all have our struggles.

However, the thing to keep in mind while you're considering all the different things you will hear is this:

Chanting japa IS your spiritual life.

It's the most essential thing you can do to make spiritual advancement, to know Krishna, to associate with Him, to understand spiritual topics, to purify your heart, to develop the qualities of a devotee, and ultimately, to get out of the material world.

So, no matter what you hear, or who you hear it from, remember, it's your life, your Spiritual Life, at stake, and it's up to each of us to make the decisions that will give us the strongest connection to Krishna possible. We can all listen to whom ever we want to listen to, but just remember, in the ultimate issue, no one can make advancement for you, or save you at the time of death. It really is your life. It's a good idea to take that seriously.

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Comments
Tue, 09/23/2008 - 18:13 — jaykrsna
jaykrsna's picture
Thank you

Thank you and krishna.com.These are really very helpful.I told many friends about this.I m very keen on your writngs.These are very inspiring fro neophytes like me.
Hare Krishna!

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Wed, 09/24/2008 - 08:27 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Jaya Krishna

Thank you, JayKrsna, for letting us know you are inspired.

I feel so fortunate Krishna has appeared here in the comments to my blog.

: )

He's beautiful. I've always been so attracted to black Krishna. Of course, all forms of Krishna are attractive, and white Krishna is amazing also.

:) :) :)

I guess it's just that Krishna is all-attractive.

That's nice you are telling your friends about Krishna.com and our writings here. I'm so glad what I write is helpful to you.

Jaya Krishna!

Navasi

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Sat, 09/20/2008 - 08:50 — Dhama Rupini
Dhama Rupini's picture
Truly Beautiful

Hare Krsna Navasi Mataji,
What a wonderful and truly inspiring blog! I appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to share your personal experience. It's soul stirring ...It's an endorsement of what I'm trying to practise and I'm sure many other devotees would agree with me.There are so many salient points and lessons that can be learnt from this blog. I'll comment on a few.
The point on devotees' advice I can relate to that but like you've said. It is your choice ultimately.
I really love the phrase that you have used and it's so true, "Chanting IS our spiritual life." It's for this very reason that I try my utmost to prioritize inspite of commitments and the multitude of distractions. I am happy to say for the past few weeks I can feel the difference. I am quite aware though there will always be challenges like you have mentioned. However I am confident with Krsna's mercy I will be able to overcome the challenges. One must always strive to be better for Krsna..after all this is it...this is the way to connect with Krsna.
Almost every Kc book I've read stresses chanting and directly related is unalloyed devotional service. Of course chanting is one of the devotional processes. Krsna is so merciful that he has blessed us with the gift of the Holy names. We are truly fortunate to have this opportunity to connect with Krsna. I am grateful for this gift and I am sure other devotees feel like I do.
Thanks ever so must for sharing your experiences with us. May Krsna bless you.
Julia

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Sun, 09/21/2008 - 00:36 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Always Chanting

Hare Krishna, Julia,

Thank you for your nice comments.

You're right about chanting being stressed. In the spiritual world the main thing they do is always chant the glories of Krishna. That goes on constantly.

Here, we are so conditioned that we have to have "amounts of rounds" and prescriptions of chanting sessions, because we have no natural inclination to constantly chant the glories of Krishna.

Developing a taste for chanting is a lot easier when we're not distracted by a lot of other things.

It's wonderful to hear you've been able to sort out priorities recently and you're noticing a difference in your chanting.

Navasi

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Fri, 09/19/2008 - 09:30 — nikki....
nikki....'s picture
japa thoughts

you brought tears to my eyes ,and a sense of understanding to my heart, thankyou for making me think about my responsibilty to my own spirtual life ,

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Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:14 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Responsibility

You're very welcome, Nikki,

When I know I've helped a devotee with their japa, with their spiritual life, it makes the effort of writing so worth while.

That's all I want to do, is try to instill some of the lessons I've learned the hard way. Maybe someone else will learn them sooner, or easier, from what I write.

I was thinking about what I said there:

"You can chant while walking a tight-rope across a chasm if you want to"....

Really, that's a perfect analogy of what's going on here for all of us, we're walking a tight-rope across the chasm of this material world.

We're very fortunate that we have the holy name, and our japa to take shelter of, but it's good to realize how precarious our situation already is.

A good time to be attentive, I'd say.

Attentive to our chanting practices.
To our chanting.
To Krishna.

:)

Navasi

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Wed, 09/17/2008 - 14:59 — dru
dru's picture
Well said

Hare Krsna,

All i will say is, its wonderful. It's our spiritual life for sure, we have to be the commander and then the mercy follows. Even I'm struggling with these issues, but I've found my own way as it is my spiritual life, though I don't chant 16 rounds yet.

Hari Bol.

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 00:36 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Spiritual Life

Haribol Dru,

I think we all struggle (well, most of us) with these things. It's just part of being a conditioned soul, in the material world.

I was thinking this morning about how we feel so much need to make sure our japa "fits in" to our schedule, and all the other things we have to do in life.

It occurred to me that if we really had faith in Krishna, and faith in the importance of chanting japa, then we would realize that all the things that get in the way of us chanting quality japa, are just "tests" of that faith.

If we believe Krishna can arrange so many things, things we pray about, and depend on Him to help us with, then why would he not arrange for us to be able to chant quality japa?

The only real reason is that our faith is being tested. Usually, instead of being determined to continue to chant quality japa, we think we have to instead decrease the quality/quantity of our japa, so we can take care of our material issues.

As if Krishna can't take care of the material issues... lol

: )

Thank you for your comment Dru, nice to see hear from you again.

Navasi

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Wed, 09/17/2008 - 08:42 — DBB
DBB's picture
Wonderful blog

Hare Krishna!
It was very emotional, really honest and truly inspiring blog. It is certainly an excellent writing. I am very glad I read it.

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 00:28 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Honesty and Emotion

Hare Krishna, Durga,

Thank you for you nice comment.

It really inspires me to write when I hear that I have inspired someone else.

It's very difficult to be so honest, and reveal so much emotion. Not everyone is willing to do that, or able.

It's very challenging in itself, speaking of challenges..

However, I think that honesty and emotion touches people on a deeper level, thus having a more lasting and genuine effect spiritually.

Hare Krishna,
Navasi

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 01:05 — DBB
DBB's picture
Hope and Pray for Goodness

Hare Krishna,
I am very inexperience person. But I really appreciate the effort and courage of bringing out the truth without any fear. At least a Krishna devotee should have every right to speak the truth. So, once again I would like to add the following:
It seems that some of the senior people in temples do lack qualities such as tolerance and understanding. Now and then devotees are being “exploited” so much that they can not even sleep more than 4/5 hours if they want to perform all the requirements including 16 rounds of chanting. Biologically, different people need different amount of hours for sleep. On the other hand, we human beings are not like computer who can be exact and precise. If we are making a garland, we can not guarantee to finish precisely at a given time. So, for example, if a devotee is late by 60 seconds, he or she does not get excused for that minor mistake. What is the amount of 60 seconds? If outside is so cold and we want to put on a jumper, it might take more than that. Unfortunately, a person who in charge of some activities in the temple, can not even consider such things.
In my opinion, a true Krishna devotee is supposed to be calm, polite, considerate and full of kindness. But if the authorities or the senior people in some of the temples are like that they need to learn from the Guru, Srila Prabhupada and His attitudes and at least try to adopt some of His qualities if not all.
I hope and pray that such things do not happen at all, at least from those ones from whom we are supposed to learn.
Thank you very much for listening.

Hare Krishna !

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 01:26 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Senior Devotees

Yes, you are quite right in what you have said here, Durga.

I don't know where it would be like this now days, if you do, then I understand why you are concerned.

I'd like to stress the fact that the "senior devotees" in this story I wrote, were in fact practically children themselves (being 25 years old at most).

The most senior devotee there was at that time, maybe had been a devotee for a few years... like 3 maybe....

It was the early days of the movement, (circa 1970) and, as I said in the story "we were all just trying to do the best we could with the understanding and resources we had at the time".

It's important to realize that we can't expect others to be so patient and understanding, when they are just beginning the path of Krishna consciousness. We were all, at that time, struggling with things.

Even truly senior devotees, even now, are not perfect. We have to see that everyone is trying to do the best they can.

I don't know of any situations in temples now days that are so extreme. Of course, I don't know every temple, but it's just generally not so strict, as far as I understand. That's because devotees do have more understanding of all these factors now.

Thank you for your honest comments.

Hare Krishna,
Navasi

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 01:46 — DBB
DBB's picture
A Relieft

Hare Krishan Mataji,

Reading your next comment made me clear. A sense of relief was generated in me. I am so glad that you clarified by adding some extra details that could satisfy my ingnorant soul. Based on the situations you mentioned, that seems quite possible. But as you said, I have not found any Krishna devotee whom I should even imagine to be like that, let alone being like that. I am very new in Krishna Bhakti but both online and offline, I have found everyone so amzing and great!

Thank you so much for your reply.

Hare Krishna!
Durga

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 08:42 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Sorry :)

I'm sorry, Durga,

That's my fault. I should have realized you wouldn't have any way to reference the time frame I was talking about.

I forgot that I had removed my age from my profile, and also that I had no dates in this blog.

I'm really sorry for the confusion.

I've put my age back in my profile, for people like you who are new here and don't know me at all, or when I am referring to.

We were all just children, some younger, some older, back then, with all kinds of past histories, and we were so new to anything to do with spiritual life, or even goodness, as you said.

Mostly the devotees then were ex-drug addicts and hippies (not that I am referring to anyone specific of course, but generally) and were doing excellent that we were chanting and trying to follow the principles.

Truly, 25 was "old" then for most everyone. I only knew a few devotees that were even that old.

: )

I'm glad we sorted this out.

Hare Krishna,
Navasi

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Wed, 09/17/2008 - 20:10 — Preethi.N
Preethi.N's picture
Japa!

Thank you so much for your inspiring blog.

Coming to devotional service, is causeless mercy of the Lord. Being well situated without falling down, is absolutely the mercy of Guru, and Vaishnavas and of course Krishna, provided we are sincere.
When, i came to the temple, on Nrsimha Caturdasi, after a long time(known ISKCON since a kid, never got attracted, the first 14 years of my life) May be after many years!( this was about 4 years ago, the last visit when i was about 11.) The atmosphere was blissful and ecstatic. I came to temple every single day, for a whole year. I started chanting. I started with 4 rounds in the beginning, then jumped to 8, and on Radhastami made it to 16, since then i have been chanting 16 rounds. Then came Kartik, i began to chant 64 rounds every single day. It went for a few months. Slowly, the enthusiasm, began to die, rounds, went less and less, am glad, it dint reduce less than 20!( Gauranga's mercy!)
Maya is very strong ! I remember, i used to make garlands for the deities, everyday, and it used to get late night. Sometimes, yes, my rounds, were bad, something i had to do just to complete them. It used to be 11 by the time, i returned home. Still tired, and sleepy, i used to chant my rounds. Plus, if i couldnt complete 16, i used to add, the rounds, and plan to finish it off the next day. Same thing happened every single day, one day, i realized, i had 96 rounds in my account! At the same time, the chant for tasting wasn't there as it was in the beginning.
Devotional service, is very ecstatic, slowly, we all lose the taste( as in my case) I wish, i could chant those 64 rounds, or atleast 32 rounds. Services have increased, and still, i am struggling with my rounds,trying to chant as many extra rounds as possible.
Japa, is our personal meditation, with the Supreme Lord. We have to do it ourselves, no one is going to help you! May be they can inspire you!God helps those who helps themselves! Ultimately, its upto you, if your making the effort, and being sincere, and determined, in going back to Godhead, then your sure to make it there!

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 00:23 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Challenges And Struggles

Hare Krishna, Radha Priya,

Thank you for sharing this excellent story of your struggles with chanting.

It's interesting to me how many similarities there are, even though we are such different ages, and talking about different time frames.

Sometimes devotees think they don't want these struggles, or see them in a negative way. However, I can honestly tell you, looking back, that I am grateful for every single difficulty I have ever had.

It's all part of the relationship we have with Krishna, where even the things that may seem like struggles from the material perspective are just part of the nectar. Though not everyone sees that, of course.

Sometimes people have asked me about that, saying "would you do it differently?"... well, my answer is: Never.

: )

Hare Krishna,
Navasi

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 00:42 — Preethi.N
Preethi.N's picture
Experience!

Thank you Navasi mataji for your kind words.

I also remember, the mataji who was given the service of making garlands, had to leave, due to issues in the temple. After that, i was given that service. I remember her telling me a lot of times, that, shes not able to chant, nor do her Gayatri, i always used to think, oh shes initiated, and she says this(!!), well i would say, i was rather proud that i was able to chant.
Then when i got a bunch of services again, along with the garland making and when i struggled to chant, I realized, Oh Lord. How i am struggling to chant 16 rounds. Everybody says, you wont know, until you experience it, and it was so true in my case. Now, when someone is with so many services, and is struggling to chant, i know, how they are feeling.Experience speaks it all. Aint it?

:)

Radha Priya.

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 00:52 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Surely and Certainly

Yes, Radha Priya,

This is so true. Thank you for mentioning this.

It's very easy to look at someone else and find a reason to think they should not be struggling.

However, if we are ever in that position ourselves, it looks like an entirely different situation.

It's good to realize that, as you do. I should hope to do as well as some of the devotees I know who have struggled should I ever be in their position.

(yeah, it's all about experience... for sure ;)

Experience is the greatest teacher. That's why I love all of my experiences : )

Navasi

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 03:18 — uagan chetty
uagan chetty's picture
I am Extremely dissappointed & Upset, however I am Now Fortunate

1.I am Extremely dissappointed & Upset that I have not Known Krishna.Com before and when I did I did not use it to its full potential.
2.I am Extremely dissappointed & Upset that I have offended so many nice, devoted and sincere devotees.
3.I am Extremely dissappointed & Upset that I have not associated with devotees like yourselves.
However I am Now Fortunate to be associated with devotees like yourselves.
An extremely heart warming,honest, emotional and inspiring story. Thank You Thank You.
I am fortunate to be associated with you Navasi and Radha Priya for being so honest. Not everyone will be so forthcoming. You have actually opened my mind to the struggles of the temple devotees. I used to help during festival times decorating the SRI SRI Radha Radhanatha Temple and very often I would see temple devotees chanting and not assisting us at all. Most of the devotees decorating were congregational members. As you can see the word USED was utilised in the above sentence. I am became despondant, thinking that we were doing all the work(service) and these devotees were not helping us when we have so much to do. We used to go home at 2 am sometimes just to finish. Little did I reliase until now 15:45pm GMT 18/09/08 that there is so much to do and each one of us has a service to do. Even if it may seem menial(dish washing, sweeping,picking up litter)it becomes a team effort and when one does not play their part, it is like stone dropped in water(ripple effect) it affects all the devotees. So Mataji's I have decided to get off my high horse, take whatever service I get as mercy. Beg for forgiveness to the devotees.
As far chanting is concerned, I have very good months and very bad ones. I hope to maintain consistency with yourll's mercy ofcourse. Navasi Mataji your rule that you follow; complete them in the morning is the best rule. It is calm and quiet, we are part of the Brahma Murtha hour(auspicious time). Less stress as well. Yes, Yes!!!It is up to us, each one of us to make a difference(improve oneself first) in our own spiritual lifes.CHANTING(JAPA) IS A PERSONAL PRAYER WITH KRSNA FOR SERVICE AND WHEN WE GET SERVICE, WE TEND TO SHY AWAY FROM IT. WE SHOULD BE BEGGING FOR SERVICE BECAUSE IT IS MERCY.
Thank You for an honest and open blog. May Krsna shower you with more mercy than before.
hare krsna
Uagan Chetty

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 08:41 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Humility and Chanting

Hare Krishna, Uagan,

It's very helpful to your chanting when you have an attitude of appreciating the service that other devotees are doing. I know it's not always (or even usually) easy to understand the sacrifices others are making, or have made.

It sounds like you've had some very nice realizations. Appreciation of other devotees and respect for them is very helpful in keeping us humble.

When we are humble (in a genuine way, not artificially) it helps us chant.

It's much easier to get a taste for chanting when you chant early in the morning, and without distraction, as you're saying. Which in turn, helps you to appreciate other devotees more. : )

Thank you for your comments.

Hare Krishna,
Navasi

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 04:45 — Preethi.N
Preethi.N's picture
Thank You.

Thank you so much Navasi mataji.

Yes, unless,we place ourselves in that situation, we wont be able to understand. How true. Experience speaks ;)

Dont worry, better late than never !

Thank you Uagan, for your kind words. Simple services, is very important. I used to clean, the temple, wash and sweep the floor, everyday after mangal aarti, before Guru Puja and it was ecstatic. Cleaning the temple, means cleaning of the heart. I always remember the cleaning of the Gundica temple by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His dear most associates.

I remember one lecture:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu cleaned and washed the Gundica temple, so many times, so that all the little dirt, all the little, stones, are washed away. Signifies, that, all the hiding, six enemies, just be washed away, such as greed, anger, lust, madness... etc. So, we have to clean in such a way.

Similarly, we are all doing ceto darpana marjanam, cleaning of the heart, by chanting.Slowly, we are advancing, by Mahaprabhu's mercy, we will be cleaned, of all the dirt, he will personally, come to clean our hearts, if we do it sincerely :) Imagine how merciful he is ! Gauranga!

We should learn to appreciate every single menial service.

Ys,
Radha Priya

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 06:32 — Preethi.N
Preethi.N's picture
Mercy!

While, thinking of this blog post, made me go back to a few days. I met one of my god brothers at the bank. I have seen him after may be 3 years or more. He had changed a lot. He looked different(of course, not ecstatic or blissful!)
We spoke for quite sometime. He was into business, and he was so busy with it, that, he would have to spend the whole day doing it. The one reason, he was filled with guilt was, that he couldnt chant at all! Although initiated long time ago, he just couldnt chant. He used to feel guilty every single day, and this made him lose taste in devotional service. Slowly he stopped coming to temple, and not taken to any devotional activities at all. Thats the reason i havent seen him since a long time.
I believe that, every initiated devotee, has to chant the prescribed number of rounds. But i was wondering, if they just couldnt, the guilt and fear gripped, them so much, that they feel, leaving Bhakti is the only way. Not only my god brother, for instance, many devotees. They have been devotees since a really long time. But, the point is they cant chant, because they dont have the taste. But more than that, the guilt and fear, of not chanting "kills" them more. Its sad to note. Maya is strong, and many devotees, are leaving devotional service. Of course association is very important. Just, that they cant, what is the solution?
I wonder and was telling Him, to pray to Lord Nityananda's mercy! As soon as i uttered the word mercy, he said, Yes, one needs mercy to chant. If one is thinking, i am doing the chanting, then your wrong. Its the causeless mercy, of Guru and Gauranga, that keeps you going. His face brightened. I felt the need to tell him to "try" to chant. He needed association, he needed encouragement. He needed someone to be with him, and guide him.
I spoke a few words, and he said, 'Can you pray for me?" and i said, why not? He said, he would start chanting. I wish and pray that he does. This instance happens to most of us, especially to "initiated" devotees. When they cant chant their rounds, they think leaving Bhakti would only be the way. Chanting, is the first step to spiritual progress, aint it?
Hope, that mercy, helps us, in chanting more rounds and in being sincere. And lets pray for all those devotees, who are placed in different situations, and are not able to do anything. Lets pray that they come back and just feel from their hearts, "Chant and be happy!!"

Ys,
Radha Priya.

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 08:53 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Guilt And Fear

Dear Radha Priya,

I think it's wonderful that you're so concerned for your godbrother and want to help him.

Sometimes we become critical of others who are not "making it" and that's not helping anyone at all.

"there but for the grace of God go I" ... that's one of my favorite sayings.

We don't know what struggles and problems others are facing. Even if we ask, they may not always be able to tell us.

One thing I think is that all this guilt and fear has no place in Krishna consciousness.

Yes, we have instructions to follow, but if we are so upset with guilt and fear that we can't do it, then what good is the guilt or fear.

One thing you might remind him of if you see him again, is that the only reason we have these instructions at all (chant 16 rounds, follow the principles) is for our own benefit.

It's only an instruction to HELP US

That's the reason for any of the things we do.

So, we are feeling guilty that we can't do the things we've been given a chance to do to help ourselves, is really what that is about.

That's similar to not eating when you're starving and food is placed before you and then feeling guilty for not eating.

You might be able to tell him that, maybe it would remove some of the guilt.

As far as fear... what is it he is afraid of? If he's afraid that he's not doing what he's supposed to do, well how is fear going to help him do it?

Some people are motivated by fear, but usually, it doesn't last. You might try to ask him to think about some of the other things that attracted him to Krishna consciousness to begin with.

What did he like? What does he like? What things really appeal to him?

Those are just some thoughts of course... things you might say to him while you're praying for him.

Hare Krishna,
Navasi

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Thu, 09/18/2008 - 15:39 — Preethi.N
Preethi.N's picture
Pray for mercy!

Yeah, thats so true. I havent met him in ages, and it was the last time. May be i should pray the same. As he said, Mercy, let him get some mercy.
Well, the purpose, of my post, is that, there are many as such, just in Bhakti, for the sake of it !! Yeah true, when i meet him next time, i'll give him the same instructions, or whomever i meet, i'll just tell them.
Thank you for your kind words mataji.

:)

Ys,
Radha Priya.

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Wed, 09/24/2008 - 19:44 — rajeshnitt
rajeshnitt's picture
My experince

hare Krsna navasi mataji,
this is the first Devotional blog i have ever read and it was so wonderful. I started chanting 16 rounds since last two months. I know about this process for 5 years but i didnt clearly understand or i should say i didnt know the importance of this process till alst year. when i hear chanting does miracles in some sites or books i used to think is it really so? but right now im experincing the beauty of chanting. I can feel the mercy i get. its really wonderful. but its more natural that disorders and irregularity creep in. they automatically enter and trouble me a lot. generally i used to throw chanting mostly to the latter part of my day, more like finishing it as a rule than doing it as a service. After two months i saw that my enthusiasm slowly fading out. I was praying to krsna and Prabhupada to give me some inspiration. And it happened to see this blog. Its their mercy. It was really wonderful. its very bad that i even after knowing the greatness of chanting, i dont pay attention to it. this inspired me a lot. i really thank you very much for such a nice one. From now on i would surely note down the points you made and try to develop my chanting with more sincerity and seriousness. Also the answers i found in the bottom reply section were so nice and i can see lot of connections with me as well.
thank you very much
Hare Krsna
:):)
your servant
rajesh

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Thu, 09/25/2008 - 10:16 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna, Dear Rajesh,

It's so wonderful that this is the first devotional blog you've read and you've been so inspired by it.

I am honored that it was one that I wrote.

It's true that if you put rounds off till late in the day, and you are finishing them simply because you are committed to doing it, it will be very hard to maintain (or even develop) any taste for chanting.

Chanting becomes a chore, and a struggle. We have to struggle with our minds and senses enough as it is, when it comes to chanting 16 rounds of attentive japa every day. Why add to that struggle?

You are definitely getting mercy from Prabhupad and Krishna that you have prayed for inspiration about your chanting, and so quickly you have found it.

That is really special. I know you'll take it up seriously now, and keep your taste for the holy name increasing.

The holy name and our experience with it can be ever increasing if we put in the effort. It's unlimited, as it's Krishna Himself. The bliss (eternity and knowledge also) of Krishna is unlimited. It's only us that have limits on our ability to appreciate that, and to appreciate that Krishna is non-different from this sound vibration that is His name.

Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.

I'm also happy to hear the bottom section where we are discussing these topics of guilt and fear were also meaningful to you. That's one of the beautiful things of writing these exchanges in a public forum, we never know who may read it and be benefited.

I am often saying this exact thing to devotees who write me letters, "please let's discuss this on connect, because we don't know how many others may also benefit from this". So, you have shown us here how that happens.

Thank you for letting me know you were inspired and helped by these writings here. I hope to talk with you again here on connect.

We're so fortunate to have this opportunity for so much association, and a chance to discuss all these things.

Hare Krishna,
:)
Navasi