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Discussions specifically related with the various aspects of practice of bhakti-sadhana in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Mental japa - Chanting in the mind



TarunGovindadas - Thu, 23 Oct 2003 21:36:40 +0530
Radhe Radhe!

Wow, i just chanted my first 8 rounds japa in the mind! Incredible! So peaceful and nice. Cant believe!

After so many years, it was tough for me to kill my inner idiot. But i did it and i like it.

Besides, the unlearning goes on! With the help of this wonderful site!

The more i open up to newer horizons, the better and freer i feel.

Thank you

Tarunji the Snapcase
Jagat - Thu, 23 Oct 2003 22:10:10 +0530
Don't listen to the Pranayama nay-sayers either. Not that you have to do actual breathing exercises, but use your breath as a tool to concentrate.

Another thing: Try to avoid too much walking japa. If you are really in the mode of passion, then a japa walk is good. If you have enough sattva-guna to sit down for an hour with your back straight, it is much better.

If I had my own ashram, I would make everybody sit in lines like in a Buddhist Zendo for one hour at least. I would walk around with a stick and make sure no one moved. Mindfulness in japa or whack! with the stick. tongue.gif

(That smiley is actually Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.)
Madhava - Fri, 24 Oct 2003 00:31:31 +0530
QUOTE(TarunKishordas @ Oct 23 2003, 04:06 PM)
After so many years, it was tough for me to kill my inner idiot.

I love this sentence!

We should make bumper stickers, "Kill your inner idiot!"
Gaurasundara - Fri, 24 Oct 2003 03:51:37 +0530
LOL! I like Madhavaji's post! laugh.gif

About your comment Tarunji:

QUOTE
besides, the unlearning goes on!

Yes this is very true. I'm still of tender years but the sort of stuff I've been through in my spiritual life (from birth uptil now) has been such a weird and wacky journey that I sometimes wonder why I am not in a mental hospital. blush.gif
Aside from that, do you think that the process of "unlearning and relearning" is something that may be somewhat painful in a different angle? Personally speaking, I am beginning to tire of switching and I really wish I could just "get the right idea" so that I could finally sit down and practice the path, whatever it may be, and make some actual progress. I think it's fair to say that all or most of us were affiliated with ISKCON/GM at some point, and all will agree that they have learnt so much from the traditional Gaudiya bhakti schools. That's perhaps one of the reasons why I ask so many questions. So many questions, so many, and I refrain from asking most of them for fear of looking like a fool. That's probably it, after years of practising something and then learning that what you have been doing is not exactly "altogether," it really makes one feel a little silly. It becomes hard to distinguish exactly how much progress one has actually made. How to separate the wheat from the chaff, how to accept and strengthen that which can be confirmed and how to reject and discard that which cannot; it seems endless.

That's perhaps why it's good for questions to be asked. At the very least, one will often find how "uneducated" one has been all these years! Asking questions that may seem very elemental could actually be a valuable tool; the questions are not actually silly, but we are just trying to confirm if what we have learnt so far is actually true or useful.

Having said all that, I'm happy to know that you are experiencing wonderful things! smile.gif I hope I can be enthusiastic like you one day.
adiyen - Fri, 24 Oct 2003 11:16:30 +0530
QUOTE(Vaishnava-das @ Oct 23 2003, 10:21 PM)
How to separate the wheat from the chaff, how to accept and strengthen that which can be confirmed and how to reject and discard that which cannot; it seems endless.

I wanted to follow Krishna Consciousness since the 1960s when George Harrison released the London Temple album, which was a hit for a while. I met Prabhupada's disciple Upendra, sent here in 1970 to start the Movement. But I was too shy to join at first.

In 1974 all my friends did Maharishi's Transcendental meditation. It's a powerful self-hypnosis technique based on Hindu Diksha mantras. They promised to give me Krishna Consciousness without changing lifestyle. I got very deep into it, believing fellow TMer's were advanced in Brahman realisation, and able to perform Siddhic feats and communicate with Devas. Many famous people were into it, like Clint Eastwood. At University many of my teachers and a Professor were members of the group. But it was rent with scandals and politics. There was enormous pressure to conform.

Suddenly in 1978, I and about 10 other TMers including some leaders, all sick of Jnan and aching for Bhakti, split to join Iskcon. We were denounced, even by the respected Professor at my University, as 'traitors to Maharishi'. In response we went to TM retreats and did loud Kirtan outside while they were meditating.

We had met one of the 11 'successors' to Srila Prabhupad, and we thought he was very cosmic, that Prabhupad had made him 'realised', and that proved the power of the Iskcon practice, while TMers were not as advanced. Those I joined with gradually left, while I stuck it out for 7 years, and managed to be satisfied with my experiences (some of which were very special), though there was constant upheaval, and at least 5 devotees committed suicide over having their faith shattered.

I joined a non-Iskcon Gaudiya group, and thought my troubles were over. But in some ways it was actually worse! The Sannyasi we were following demanded absolute obedience, was paranoid seeing plots everywhere, eventually raped his disciple in the ashram, took all her money, then said she was a witch and banned us from speaking to her. Luckily he died in a car accident. But there was more politics in the group at every level, factions, breakaways, violence, so-called Acharyas whose behavior was a contradiction.

This website and the devotees I've met through it have for me lifted Krishna Conscious association to its highest level. It's what I've been looking for all along. But looking back I wouldn't have done it any different. Every experience I've had has taught me something. There have been good people and good devotees everywhere. I needed time to absorb everything.

....

What on earth is 'Snapcase'? There I'm showing my age!
TarunGovindadas - Fri, 24 Oct 2003 15:58:45 +0530
Radhe Radhe!

yo, Snapcase are (or were?) a great band who at one point in their lives chanted the Holy Name with much effort.
i happened to meet them on tour and cooked prasadam for one of their gigs.
they are very thoughtful people, though their music is really HARD!
nonetheless, very very nice people!

dear Vaishnava das, i feel like you too.
for me it was a constant switching inbetween chairs. trapped in walls of inner confusion. too neophyte to sort things out...

but something i knew from the point when i met Srila Ananta das Babajis books. something completely strange and wonderful happened.
i was magnetically drawn to those magical spiral-bound "nectarbombs".
but , yeah, now comes the word "Sahajiya", i was called that from people and i started to believe that crap myself!
but strangely enough, i had periods of chanting 32 rounds in front of Babajis picture alone with SriSri YugalKisore and reading his excellent books. only to fall back, listening to the inner idiot, telling me the old tales of switching back and forth.

and one point i took "diksha" from SNM and went along fine. reading still Babajis books, together with the books of SNM.
first his, then Babajis, sometimes parallel versions (Mana-siksa,..).
i felt fine, but not so my so-called-then Godbrothers (arent we all?).
they spit fire hearing of Babaji, and i felt astranged.

then i asked Srila Narayana Maharaja, and one of his sannyasi leaders responded via open-presentation in the net, blaspheming Babaji Mahasaya.

and Swami Van Maharaja bluntly said to my "Sahajiya"-face more rotten things.
how great!
there i was, sitting in a lecture of BV Van Maharaja, after he passed that on me...

i kept "climbing forbidden trees" but only to find myself twisted and torn apart, on the floor, smelling concrete.

then i made the choice to finally try again to follow SNM and giving up the trees...

and again i failed to put my fullforce faith in SNM. something does and ALWAYS has never felt RIGHT.

my girlfriend moni put it in into her words as i gave her a lecture of SNM:
"Tarun, like Sri Vishnupada (Harikesa Swami), i cant listen to this man. no offense, saintly as he may be, i dont feel comfortable. its too unnatural (whatever she means). he sounds to much "pressed".
i get strange negative vibes."

she brought it into her own words, but i felt what she meant. something is not right. for me too.
but im a great pretender, like Freddy.
i kept bowing down, chanting gayatris...

but since soon, i stopped again seeing myself as a disciple of SNM. now for good. whatever the costs.

and i still pray everyday that i may treasure again the wealth of all those nectarean devotees, foremost Srila Ananta das Babaji and all of you, and all those honest seekers.

please bless me in my new-found way, because deep in my heart,
raganuga-bhakti is what im yearning for.

praying for this unpayable "lobha".
like Babaji said: "lobha is the most important".

happy to be in your association

Tarun- unlearning
biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif
vamsidas - Sat, 08 Nov 2003 05:06:39 +0530
QUOTE(Jagat @ Oct 23 2003, 04:40 PM)
If I had my own ashram, I would make everybody sit in lines like in a Buddhist Zendo for one hour at least. I would walk around with a stick and make sure no one moved. Mindfulness in japa or whack! with the stick. tongue.gif

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you wonderful Vaishnavas for inspiring me toward the serious pursuit of mental japa. In just a week or so, it has already made more of a difference (subjectively, at least -- who can say whether I'm assessing myself accurately?) than more than 20 years of vocalized japa! Perhaps this has something to do with the need to remain focused. With vocalized japa, I could let my mind drift, yet still "count" rounds. But with japa in the mind, a slip of the mind means no progress in japa.

What's surprising to me is that even with the mind concentrating on japa, there seems to be "room left over" for awareness of the Divine presence and pastimes even during japa. Not "visions" or any deep phenomenon that an advanced devotee might experience, but a hard-to-quantify sense of closeness to one's beloved and the beloved's pastimes. I'm probably not articulating that very well; nevertheless, even after such a short practice I find it a much more absorbing practice than more than two decades of simply muttering my japa and trying to absorb myself in the sound of my own voice.

I'm noticing a difference not just in terms of the overtly "spiritual" -- I find that my attitude toward my physical surroundings is already somewhat changed. Additionally, I'm a bit less keen to post overly much even here on such a nice Vaishnava forum; there's plenty to read and contemplate, and not so much worth my saying.

I realize that there may be some unwanted pride in my feeling of "accomplishment" that I can now chant 48 rounds even on a "busy" day, and 64 surprisingly often. A few months ago, I would never have envisioned myself as a frequent "lakh-pati" except maybe in some distantly envisioned time of retirement. Now, I'm encouraged that with just a little more persistence and better scheduling, I may even be able to make 64 rounds my standard. And it doesn't feel like an "imposition" or "chore" at all -- I'm finding it a joyful experience that "feeds on itself" and almost pulls me along in the practice in a way that my previous vocal japa never did. Wow!

One question for Jagat: are there any particular statements in shastra regarding the benefits of perfect-posture japa, or are you simply advocating it as an expedient means toward the end of mindfulness? I find that even in my most intense moments of concentration, I tend to slouch. Maybe I should take a tip from some of those old posture training programs, and try to chant with a book balanced on my head? smile.gif
TarunGovindadas - Sat, 08 Nov 2003 21:33:07 +0530
Radhe Radhe!

Congratulations, dear Vamsidas.
i feel very happy for you.

actually, i can second most of your experiences, of course, me, on a much lower level.
after nearly 14 years of loud blasting-japa i also do now silent-manasic-japa.
im in my 3rd week soon and i must say its wonderful.
the inner idiot is about to lose war after war.



in the first two weeks i was chanting more than 16 rounds everyday (which is very good for me) , sometimes up to 32.
lately i was caught up again by my stupid anartha of watching some cool movies ( no no, not ugly ones!) on DVD. i know that watching movies is a waste of time.
im at war with that corner of my addict-mind.
got to become free of that nonsense. it drags me down so much.

but otherwise i feel so much enlivened by mental-japa.
my overall-persona becomes much more peaceful.
i just need more real good sadhu-sanga, meaning being together with like-minded.
hardly anyone here is into raganuga-bhakti.

therefore im very much thankful to be in this "virtual"-sadhu-sanga here.
forgive me if i post too often, but sometimes there`s no one to talk to...

anway, all the best to you, Vamsidas.
keep on doing great!

Radhe Syaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam

Tarunji


biggrin.gif
adiyen - Sun, 09 Nov 2003 02:59:33 +0530
QUOTE(vamsidas @ Nov 7 2003, 11:36 PM)
One question for Jagat: are there any particular statements in shastra regarding the benefits of perfect-posture japa, or are you simply advocating it as an expedient means toward the end of mindfulness? I find that even in my most intense moments of concentration, I tend to slouch. Maybe I should take a tip from some of those old posture training programs, and try to chant with a book balanced on my head? smile.gif

Maybe Jagat isn't around, Vamsi, but have you read
http://www.raganuga.com/literature/sri_gau...na_paddhati.pdf ?

There are a lot of instructions about methods of doing Japa and such in there, under ideal conditions. But I think Jagat was joking. Don't take it too seriously, personally I have such bad legs that I'm unable to sit cross-legged for long.
Advaitadas - Sun, 09 Nov 2003 03:40:36 +0530
As far as my Gurudeva is concerned it is not a joke. In his arcana paddhati he does prescribe cross-legged, straight-backed japa. Of course for sadhakas with arthritis or other handicaps this is not possible, but for healthy sadhakas this is prescribed here.