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Determination (Thoughts On Chanting Japa)

It takes a lot of determination for devotees to chant daily rounds of japa on their beads.
Some of us are just at the point where we are beginning to think about getting some japa beads, and starting to see about chanting rounds.
Some of us have beads, and we are maybe chanting a round or two.
Some devotees are committed to chanting a certain amount of rounds every day.
Others are chanting 16 rounds every day, and still others are working on improving those 16 rounds so they are the very best quality of japa.
All of this takes a lot of determination.
So, how do we get that determination? Where does it come from? How can we keep what we have and get more of it?
One way is by understanding the importance of japa in our devotional lives. We can read about the importance of chanting japa.
We know it is the process that purifies us from our material contamination.

"It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare) in course of chanting without offenses feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure."
Srila Prabhupad, Bhagavad Gita, 9.2 (section of purport)

We also know it is by chanting this maha mantra that we are able to develop an understanding of Krishna and spiritual matters.

"One cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, or His form, quality or name simply by mental speculation or by discussing Vedic literature. One must understand Him by devotional service. When one is fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, beginning by chanting the mahā-mantra — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — then only can one understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
Bhagavad Gita 7.26 (section of purport)

Reading and understanding these things will help give us determination to pick up our beads and chant.

We can also listen to Srila Prabhupad chanting japa. Hearing him chanting japa can help us develop an attraction to chanting japa, and understand how chanting japa sounds when it's done correctly. This can also increase our determination.

When we chant a certain number of rounds every single day, doing that alone will increase our level of determination also. For example, if we just chant one round every day, that will help us become determined to chant that one round every day, then we can increase to two rounds every day, and we will become even more determined to continue our chanting, and increase the quantity of rounds we chant.
So, just by chanting we become determined to do more chanting.

Then there is also Tapasya to help us, austerity. Austerity is not a bad thing. Austerity done in the right mood, for the right reasons, is very beneficial and helps us develop determination for spiritual life. The main austerity for chanting japa is following the regulative principles. These principles help us so much to develop the determination we need to chant japa.

Determination in spiritual life is so important, and since chanting japa is so important in spiritual life, we really need to do what ever we can to develop that determination for chanting our japa.

One of my most favorite stories about determination is the one of the little sparrow and her eggs.

"As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuḍa, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuḍa was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuḍa at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuḍa.
Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves."
Bhagavad Gita, 6.24 (section of purport)

So, if we just attempt to be determined to the best of our ability, we will be assisted by Krishna.
We can start with only a little determination, just pick up our beads and chant at least one round a day, then more and more from there (and if we don't yet have beads, then start with just getting some).

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

* Navasi's blog
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Thu, 05/22/2008 - 17:59 — GodlySorrow
GodlySorrow's picture
Very Edifying and Encouraging!

We all need such reminding, maya is always calling for us to "get slacking" and stop Chanting so much, But His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada speaks to us and simply says "Chant and Be Happy".

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Thu, 05/22/2008 - 23:40 — Navasi
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Happily Chanting

Hare Krishna, Dear Jarad,

Yes you are quite right, this is the key to our happiness, chanting, and more chanting.

Maya will try to convince us that we have so many other important things to do, and therefore it's not important to chant.

Meanwhile, our lives are going by at a rapid rate, and we're actually only "busy" missing this golden opportunity of the rare human birth to become Krishna conscious.

It's really very simple, as you said, quoting Srila Prabhupad:

"Chant and Be Happy" !

Jai! All Glories To Srila Prabhupad!

Navasi devi dasi

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Thu, 05/22/2008 - 17:52 — krsna_shweta77
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The sweetest nectar

After a long time, Today I managed to get up early during Brahma Muhurt time - and the pleasure one feels after completing quality rounds during the early hours is so great. This far exceeds the feelings experienced by materialists on acheiving some mundane feat. So we need to keep our commitment strong, so that we can partake this sweet nectar of transcendental bliss every moment of every day!

Thank you Navasi Mataji for all your help ;)

Hare Krishna

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Thu, 05/22/2008 - 23:36 — Navasi
Navasi's picture

Dear Krsna Shweta,

This is very inspiring news!

I'm so glad to hear you were able to get up early and chant during Brahma Muhurta!
Also very happy to hear that you can see the difference this makes to your chanting (and everything else in the world! :)
You have the taste for getting up early to chant now, and you know now how wonderful it is... that will keep you striving to achieve that, along with the strong commitment you have to your rounds.

You're doing very well. It's been a pleasure to help you ;)

Hare Krishna!

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Thu, 05/22/2008 - 01:35 — Aruna Locana
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Commited to Chanting !

Dear Navasi ,

One of the topics that made me more enthusiastic on chanting was when I heard you saying in japa room, that we had to commit to our japa the same way we use to commit to other areas in our lives , like job , family , etc . Then after I started thinking ..., if I can get up early to commute to work , why not for chanting... so after this I commited myself to get up early and start chanting everyday , then after I could go to work . By doing this everyday, I got stronger and then could feel more enthusiastic about the other areas in my life that through chanting I could fix day by day.

Thank you very much for your example !

Aruna Locana dd

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Thu, 05/22/2008 - 02:53 — Navasi
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Priorities and Commitments

Dear Aruna Locana,

Yes, I remember the talk you are referring to, it's really one of my favorite subjects, because it's just so true.
No life is free from commitments, we make them all the time about all sorts of things.

When we look at our priorities in this life, how this human form of life (among so many millions of forms) is meant for becoming Krishna conscious, and chanting our japa is essential to that, our priorities about these various commitments begin to shift.

Just like you are saying, you could clearly see that you got up early in the morning to go to work. Well, our most important "work" is chanting our japa, so why would we not get up early in the morning to chant?

It's true that by doing this one thing, you will become stronger and more enthusiastic in your chanting, as well as your other duties and services.

As you of course know, there is always going to be something to demand our time and attention in this material world. It's designed by it's very nature to distract us from spiritual life. So, if we can just get this "head start" so to speak, of chanting our rounds early in the morning, all these other things will become so much easier to deal with.

I'm so happy to hear that you have been able to get up early to chant and that things are going better for you as a result.

Thank you for your nice comments Aruna.

Hare Krishna,

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Wed, 05/21/2008 - 17:52 — mahaprabhucaita...'s picture
Determined chanting

Hare Krishna

Thank you for this inspiring blog entry.
It would be very useful for fallen souls like me to also know what other practical steps would be useful in strengthening this determination.

your servant in Krishna's service
Mahaprabhu Caitanya Das

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Wed, 05/21/2008 - 22:24 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
Strengthening Determination

Hare Krishna
Dear Mahaprabhu Caitanya Das,

I am very happy to give you some other practical things that you can do to strengthen your determination for chanting.

First it's very important to:

Get Up Early To Chant

The early morning hours are the most conducive time for chanting, you will be much more able to concentrate, which in turn improves your determination. Quality japa leads to more quality japa.

In order to get up early you need to go to sleep early, so that's important also. It helps a lot if you don't eat late at night. That makes it easier to wake up early.

Try to finish all your rounds early in the morning this way, before you get all involved in the activities of the day. Make it a special time, just for your japa.

Your determination will be greatly increased if you are very focused while you are chanting japa, so another thing that is helpful is to make sure you are very attentive, not trying to do other things while you are chanting. Just chant, nothing else.

Another practical thing you can do to increase your determination would be to read and get involved in the discussions here on connect in the "forums" section. There is a section there devoted only to Chanting Japa. There are many nice posts there, and you can make comments and join in the discussions, and even post your own thoughts or questions.
Active participation in reading and writing about chanting will increase your awareness of the importance of chanting, and thus also make you more determined.

Without knowing what your chanting practices are like already, I can only make general suggestions, perhaps you are already doing these things...
So, I hope these suggestions are helpful to you.

Thank you for your comments.

Hare Krishna,

The Peter Principle

Hare Krishna, Navasi.

Determination is important. On the other hand there is one concept named The Peter Principle, to remind us that one day every person gets to his or her top limit upon doing something.

In your case, have you arrived to your japa chanting goal? Say, for example chanting 16 rounds either daily or every now and then? I hope so.

In my case, I am doing a particular Japa that I call Japa Typing that consists on typing the maha mantra. And my last record was Typing 7 rounds of maha mantra. However, I have the feeling that perhaps I have just reached my own limit for I'm not sure if I will be able to sit down and type 8 rounds of maha mantra, the next time, which it would take me about almost 7 hours in order to finish. Besides, the stress of the present economic world recession is also pushing me down in order to quit such a personal project of typing the maha mantra, because, perhaps, it seems that I just reached out my personal limit of incompetence.

Therefore, it may be healthier to stay on the mark of my last record (7 rounds) rather than attempt to increase this record with the possible consequence of breaking up, getting exhausted and let go.

Because, when somebody starts making special efforts in order to progress with tapasya, it happens that at the same time the agents of Maya start making efforts in order to stop the tapasya performance of the pretender; and on the other hand, there are cases, when even higher souls like The Devas, also feel upset with a pretender that is doing lots of tapasya, so even The Devas will try to stop the performance of this pretender for different reasons, for example:
1) To avoid competition for their own tapasya performance (kind of spiritual vanity).
2) In order to test the strenght of the pretender to keep him or her as a common pretender rather than a promising new kind of yogi.

Well, only the facts determine if a person reached out his or her own limit upon doing something or not.

Hare Krishna Hare Rama, and finally I will attach the article that I read regarding The Peter Principle on a professional web site:

Web site of “envision software incorporated”

The Peter Principle

Bureaucracy at Work

The Peter Principle concept was introduced by Canadian sociologist Dr. Laurence Johnston Peter in his humoristic book of the same title. In his book, he describes the pitfalls of the bureaucracy in organizations witnessed during his extensive research into business organization and its management.

The Peter Principle book has attained such renown that The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "The theory that employees within an organization will advance to their highest level of competence and then be promoted to and remain at a level at which they are incompetent." ... "In a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their level of incompetence," or, as Dr. Peters Principal explained more simply, "The cream rises until it sours."

The Peter Principle is so appropriate and meaningful a lesson for business, that it has found its way into Masters Degree (MBA) curriculae as a foundation for the next generation to protect itself. But it seems that this hierarchy within companies continues to be the organizational structure of choice for government and big business.

What is the Peter Principle?

Peter Principle Management is the concept that in bureaucratic organizations, new employees typically start in the lower ranks, but when they prove to be competent in the task to which they are assigned, they get promoted to a higher rank, generally management. This process of climbing up the hierarchical ladder can go on indefinitely, until the employee reaches a position where he or she is no longer competent. At that moment the process typically stops, since the established rules of bureaucracies make it very difficult to "demote" someone to a lower rank, even if that person would be a much better fit and happier in a non-management role. The net result of this principle is that most of the management levels of a bureaucracy will be filled by incompetent people, who got there because they were quite good at doing different (and usually, but not always, easier) work than the work they are currently expected to perform.

According to Laurence Johnston Pieter: Work is accomplished by those employees who have not reached their level of incompetence. Thus we can see why organizations still function even as Peter Principled employees accept one too many promotions. Laurence Peter provides an insightful analysis of why so many positions in so many organizations seem to be populated by employees who seem incompetent. This concept is likely to be ignored by most senior managers since to admit one's organization is suffering from this bureaucratic malady is admission that people have been improperly promoted. This, in turn, suggests that senior management might have attained their own level incompetence, and the problem is easily ignored, lest it become suggested that senior management be more closely examined for their incompetence.

An example:

If you're a proficient and effective software developer, you're most likely demonstrating peak competence in your job right now. As a result of your performance, your valuable contribution results in a promotion to a management position. In this new position, you now do few of the original tasks which gained you acclaim. In fact, little of your current job remains enjoyable, therefore your heart is no longer in your work, and it shows. Given this, promotions stop, and there you stay, until you retire or your company goes under due to mismanagement.

Companies will attract and expand on a certain level of incompetence. Once a company forms a culture of incompetence, only the incompetent staff will remain, and the competent ones will tire of trying to soar with eagles while surrounded by turkeys, and therefore leave.