About Soulful Japa
How it all started?
A few years ago, I had gone on a ten day visit to the Hare Krishna Farm on an exclusive spiritual retreat to be away from organisational matters. It happened by the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda and was totally unplanned. Spiritual retreat for devotees is either spending time in more reading or chanting. This trip I had decided to 108 rounds every day for ten days. During that trip I got a simple, uneducated, garden labourer to successfully chant 16 malas the very day I met him for the first time. And, I was able to get him to chant 16 rounds for the next ten days I stayed there!!
During this ten-day period, I experienced some serious paradigm shifts in my mind about my own japa by simply observing and analysing how the gardener, as the first time chanter, did 16 rounds of japa attentively much more easily compared to the struggle with which I was chanting attentively my 108 malas. Though I had been chanting then for over 30 years, the fact that the gardener so easily did the attentive japa, made me contemplate deeply on the process of japa. Soon I was sucked into a new dimension of understanding truths about japa though that truth was always ‘right under my nose’ all these years, hidden within Srila Prabhupada’s writings.
I was overwhelmed by a flood of realizations on japa, one after another, the most important one being on how most of us have jumped the gun without training our mind with mind-skills of basic japa. I will reserve the rest of the story of the gardener as we go along, in the subsequent modules.
Ever since that incident, and in the last decade of my practice of the above understandings of japa, the Lord has bestowed upon me extremely useful, simple truths or open secrets, principles, and practices and techniques of offering good attentive japa connection with the Lord. I scrutinisingly studied the statements on the holy name in the compilation ‘Harināmāmŕta’ by Śrīla Prabhupāda and tried to practice them over the last several years and found a tremendous difference in my japa. One can say that this book is practical implementation of the instructions and directions from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s book Harināmāmŕta. 7
Now, I have been able to connect all these individual dots of transcendental realizations I had in the last decade since my experience with the gardener. By the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda and the holy name , this self-tutoring guide in the form of modules on japa has emerged as a synergy of these humble efforts of myself trying to repair and improve my own japa.
I have been sharing my realizations and discoveries with many devotees in a series of two-day seminars lasting 12 to 14 hours each day, with the help of PowerPoint presentations. Many participants have got back to me saying that their quality of japa connection with the Lord has changed significantly from the very next day of applying these principles. Although they have been chanting for decades, they found new energy in their spiritual life after the seminar, on a day-to-day basis.
However, they all came back to me after a week and said that their new-found energy lasted for only about a week and their japa fell back to the old pattern. All of them had the same common question–How to form and sustain the good attentive japa habits?
Many of them wanted a copy of my presentation as a resource to refresh their memory and requested me to publish the presentation. On such command of vaishvavas, I decided to share these transcendental paradigms of japa in the form of compilation of these modules largely as a support to those who serious about transforming inattentive japa not only to fully attentive but even beyond into soulful japa.
I also felt that if I had scrutinizingly researched systematically all that Śrīla Prabhupāda had said about japa earlier in my spiritual life, I would have discovered these simple paradigms of japa in the initial days, four decades ago, and it would have been a different experience/journey. Or, maybe not! Everything has its own time, as decided by the Lord for each one of us. He decides when and how and to whom to gift such mercy. I pray that these truths in this book will strike each reader’s heart at least as they struck me and changed my spiritual fortunes. The basics slipped my attention for decades in spite of chanting everyday goes to prove that only by the mercy of the Hare Krishna Nāma Prabhu, can a seeker chance upon these open secrets of good japa connection with Lord Krishna. Now, I am grateful to Srila Prabhupada and the Perosnality of holy Name making me realize these truths, after years of mistake of 8
doing ‘thinking japa’ that prevented me from spiritually touching the Hare Krishna Nāma Lord, for decades.
Once I started writing, the experience was amazing! Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gītā that He is the intelligence of the intelligent and from Him comes knowledge, remembrance, and forgetfulness; He is the ability in each one of us. Over these last seven years, I was blessed with the ‘Eureka!’ experience of uncountable interventions of infusion of intelligence from the Lord in my heart, beyond my capacity, to shape this writing. And whenever I found myself stuck, I began to chant a few rounds by applying the very principles discussed here seeking His mercy; then every time Hare Krishna Nāma Prabhu directly released the directions within me to get unstuck and proceed. On each day of my writing, practically continuously, the reciprocations by Hare Krishna Nāma Prabhu were countless! Śrīla Prabhupāda and Hare Krishna Nāma Prabhu alone have not only generated the dots of realizations in my intelligence but also connected them beautifully to shape this work. The contents of these modules have become an inspiration for me too to regularly read and reread continuously to perfect my own japa.
One of the most comprehensive and intense realisation and practices on Hare Krishna Japa to help chant soulfuly for all the japa practitioners both beginers and advanced across the world.
na nāma-sadrsham jnanam
na nāma-sadrsham vratam
na nāma-sadrsham dhyanam
na nāma-sadrsham phalam
There is no knowledge equal to my Nāma. No vow is equal to My Nāma. No meditation is like Nāma. No result is like Nāma.