Increasing Our Prayer Time: 64 Round Day

It is a blessing
to be able to sit
and chant 64 rounds
with all arrangements
taken care of--
nothing else to do
in a most Sacred Space
Prabhupada's Palace of Gold.

Apurva Prabhu's
healthy, delicious Prasad
(vegy spiritual food)
a talking fast
"mauno vrata"
so no conversation required
minimizing eye contact
or gestures
even during meals
we sit in silence
relishing the taste of Krishna Prasad
listening to silence and chewing
thinking about chanting.

Everything to facilitate taking
the sacred Holy Names
in reverence and honor--
the foundation of our
spiritual life
given a new sparkle
a fresh perspective
changing paradigms
to avoid over familiarity
in an ubiquitous practice
so close like glasses
not appreciated till
they come off.

The Holy Name of
Radha Krishna
so close and spoken of
like a known quantity
shared with others
to "save" them
while we don't
often really hear it.

In truth its
so far away
only the shadow or
reflection of the Pure Name--
how ironic that
a practice we've
dedicated our life to
(some for decades)
is mechanically done
not looked at objectively
to improve
or go into deeper
as it IS Radha Krishna
dancing on our tongue.

We must search out
offenses or "anarthas"
that have kept us stuck
in "courtesy japa"
or same old, same old--
not the nectar we
hanker for
but will bring us
many more births.

Now the Japa Retreat
has come to shake us up
and out of complacency
to remind us of our
incredible good fortune
the most valuable
though neglected treasure--
we don't have to remain stuck
or marooned on a desert Island
of pitiful tasteless japa
far from ecstatic symptoms.

Striving and praying
for excellence
is so much better
then just squeaking by
getting our rounds done
but mediocre.

Taking the Name
with new enthusiasm
appreciation, focus, urgency
not settling for mindless
repetition while we focus
on innumerable other things
that are only like smoke--
not lasting, and soon gone.

Now to create
new habits for perfection
making chanting hours
our special time
with Radha Krishna
where we employ
many tools to hear
the Name, avoiding distractions
meditating on the meaning
sitting up straight
realizing our sorry
material plight
chanting the Name
with fervor, concentration
and new urgency
as our salvation
in the company
of others advanced
in pure devotion.

Let us make a point
to go forward
since spiritual life
is about positive
change, transformation
or waking up from
our illusory dream
of so-called sense pleasure
fully taking up
Shri Gaura-Nitai's
clarion call to
chant Hare Krishna
in pure love with feeling.

Combined comments from old site

Mon, 04/13/2009 - 16:11 — Go-Seva
I pray to have this realization some day....

You are so incredibly fortunate, kind prabhu, to have this opportunity and subsequent realization. It makes me cry to read it, as I feel so pitiful myself about chanting and my lack of it. It also makes me hopeful that someday before I leave this body I can have the blissful realization that Radha Krsna are really dancing on my tongue. I will then die a very happy person.



Thu, 04/16/2009 - 21:11 — Karnamrita.das
To be inspired

I understand that one reaction to this poem could be discouragement as you have expressed. At the same time we acknowledge our lack of spiritual practice we can want to improve and pray for taste and a deeper relationship with the Name. That is progress. We have to start where we are. If that means one concentrated round then so be it. Then one can build from there.

The main thing is not be think one will never improve and give up in sadness or complacency. There are many ups and downs in our progressive journey. With good association and making the vow to keep on keeping on--no matter what--one will rise out of no taste or only few rounds to increasing one's chanting with more and more taste. As you do your service pray to go deeper into your sadhana. Our service purifies us. Chant while you serve and hear lectures that inspire you in your practices. Step by step you will go forward with patience, determination and prayer.

Your friend in Krishna,



Tue, 04/21/2009 - 12:58 — shikha



Tue, 04/21/2009 - 15:54 — Karnamrita.das
Meaning of association

One of the meanings of devotee association is to help each other improve our spiritual practices. Japa is our most essential though sometimes neglected spiritual practice. We have to go deeply into our chanting to go beyond the shadow or apparent Name. I highly recommend anyway you can improve your concentration and prayerfulness while chanting--the Japa Retreat is one way. There is a saying from Bhaktisiddhata Sarasvati Thakur which I have shared before but can't say too often: "Chanting should not be lip deep, but heart deep."

Chanting is actually an activity of the heart--not the mind. Though we may start from where we are, we have to pray to learn to call out Radha and Krishna's name like a child for their mother....we feeling and absolute dependence. If we understand our difficult situation in the land of birth and death, we will take our medicine. First the holy name is our medicine and eventually it will become our food or sustenance that we can't live without! When will that day be ours?

Your friend in Krishna,