Saturday, May 26, 2007

Japa Retreat (Part I)

I'm still working on a post (or two) summing up my experiences and realizations at the japa retreat. In the mean time I thought I'd share some of the things I quickly jotted down* right after the weekend so that I wouldn't try to remember them two months later and find that they had long since left me.
  • I am not my mind. My mind wants fireworks, but while that may distract me for a time, it's not satisfying to the heart/the self/the soul. My heart is satisfied by things that are much deeper, and far more subtle, not simply flashy and impressive.
  • To love someone means to pay attention to them (and) if we pay attention to someone, we will come to love them. In the same way, developing love for the Holy Name only requires our enthusiastic attention.
  • Sankirtan means: everyone goes back to Godhead together. (Ravindra Savrupa Dasa)
  • My chanting is a personal time to associate with the Lord/the Holy Name (which are not different). When chanting I should be giving the Holy Name my full attention. This applies to application (how well I am concentrating) as well as attitude (how have I arranged the environment? how eager am I to get on to something else?).
  • My chanting is not a courtesy to my spiritual master (completing my rounds merely in order to fulfill a vow). My chanting is an offering to my spiritual master. As such I should chant as well/as attentively as I possibly can desiring to please guru and Krishna, but I should be detached from the results. I should expect nothing in return for my chanting, but should simply be satisfied with the chanting itself.
  • Japa is a purificatory process by which we express our love for Krishna. Kirtan is an expression of love between devotees. One requires the other: the heart must be purified in order to express love for the devotees. (Varsana Swami)
  • nirvisesa sunyvadi pascatya desa tarine... Srila Prabhupada saved us from impersonalism and voidism by giving us the Divine Love of the Holy Names: you can try to love the void, but it won't love you back.
  • Chanting is going on all the time...

*I copied this almost exactly as it appears in my notebook, with only a minimal amount of editing. It's abit awkward here and there. Also, many of these reflections are the direct result of things I heard in classes from the many exalted Vaishnavas who participated. I have noted those places where I have quoted someone directly.

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