Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam!

More from Sivarama Swami on chanting the holy name.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Practical Japa Tips

Here's another excerpt from Sacinandana Swami's Nectarean Ocean of the Holy Name. On pages 165 and 166 he outlines eight steps for improving one's chanting. I found them to be quite helpful and thought I would reproduce them here.
1. Preparation: make a resolution the day before – “Next morning , I will chant with
full concentration!” Go to be early.
2. Start very early the next morning. Chant at a place free of distraction, either in
the association of devotees or at a location which offers you maximum solitude.
If the mind starts to flicker, calm it down with prayer, or try some breathing
exercises. [The most effective practice for those unacquainted with pranayama is
to inhale and exhale deeply. Srila Sanatana Goswami recommends in
Hari-bhakti-vilasa that before chanting gayatri-mantra one should perform some
pranayama exercises.]
3. While chanting:
a. Chant your rounds fluently without interruption (control your speed in the
b. Take care of a clear, distinct pronunciation of the holy names.
c. Keep a straight, upright posture. (It is better to sit upright while chanting; this
posture is in the mode of goodness. To lie down would be in ignorance, and to
walk in passion.)
4. Concentrate the mind on the sound vibration.
5. Control the mind:
a. Draw it back when it drifts away.
b. “Relieve” it from the past by not delving on what happened the day before, or
the week before, or the year before!
c. Abandon the planning of your daily schedule. (In case the shopping list or
service schedule repeatedly turns up in the mind, one can shortly interrupt
chanting and write down the points; then the mind will be calm again.)
6. Try to attain the state of mind recommended in the third verse of Sri Siksastaka
(humility, tolerance, pridelessness, respect for all living beings). This attempt
will succeed if you bear in mind that as the soul you are an insignificant minute
part of the Lord.
7. Meditate on the meaning of the holy names while chanting, as it is revealed by
Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas.
8. Chant with a feeling of longing for Krishna.
Here are a few more japa outposts on the web...

A recent podcast by Sivarama Swami deals with Sankirtan. Maharaja focuses on chanting japa.

Umapati Swami just posted some japa tips.

Here's a link to a link to a podcast by Bhurijana Prabhu called "japa therapy", courtesy of Bala Gopal's Mrdanga and ISKCON Melbourne.

p.s. I'm hoping to add some links to newly discovered blogs in the near future, but with a new full-time job and "summer school" in full swing, it may take some time.