Here is a new series of blogs called, Katha at Kalachandji's, talks about Krishna at our temple. In this series I will try to summarize some of the points of the lectures that happen here at the temple.
Sunday feast after Ratha Yatra, Sunday April 26th, 2009,
It is a very beautiful day and we are blessed to have the association of His Holiness Giriraja Swami. Here are some the points of his lecture.
I am sure there are many more stories, but here are the most obvious ones I thought of as a meditation on urgency when chanting (one perspective is to imagine as best we can how we would feel in a similar situation as the devotees in the scriptural pastimes....naturally we won't feel exactly the same, but some idea.) In the picture above the gopis remember Krishna by embracing a tamala tree in their great danger.
When we chant the Hare Krishna mantra in either japa or kirtana there are certain moods that are favorable for getting the most from chanting. The most basic thing is to really hear the holy names, and gradually developing the proper conceptual orientation and feeling of urgency and finally love. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur has instructed us that our chanting should not be lip deep, but heart deep. This means that it is not just moving our lips, but engaging our heart that is the most important thing. With the proper attitude amazing things may happen--even defying gravity!
Considering my childhood history (which I know was arranged from my previous life's unfinished spirituality), becoming a devotee was the natural course of my life. In a sense, there was no other appealing option, so I embraced the life of a devotee as my highest prospect, which included chanting the holy name. In those days we used to do loud street sankirtana (group chanting) for 8-10 hours or more a day and this practice transported me to another world of bliss and intensity--the likes of which I had never know or imagined before.
ISKCON Member Opens Council Meeting With Sanskrit Verse Written by Antony Brennan on 25 Apr 2009
Spending hour by hour
on many days of 2 Retreats
in Prabhupada's Japa Palace
trying to go deeper
in Japa (chanting Krishna's names on beads)
the most basic, yet profound
revealing spiritual practice--
going beyond "normal"
though official rounds
now to increase the quality
through lessons, techniques, prayer
building on 16 to 64 or more
by intention & effort
a special sacred space created
internally & externally
by a spiritual community
of like-minded chanters.