Kartik Journal | Japa Thoughts

November 4th, 2007

October 31 – November 2, 2007
Sri Govardhana

I tried to write a realization about chanting everyday during Kartik. From the beginning I doubted it would be possible. I was right. A few people have come, so the last few mornings I happily took them on parikram. No time for writing.

It’s wonderful – walking and chanting around Govardhana, waiting to see where the doors of the spiritual world open. Today a few opened in the obscure ashrams near Govinda Kund; one, a very sweet twenty-four hour kirtan; the other, a small Jagannatha temple where a pure friendly sadhu pujari welcomed us affectionately. I love sitting with sadhus at these quiet ends of the world, places practically untouched since the days of the Goswamis. I also try to be a sadhu by extending myself to others, but I also at times need to be alone to go deeper in japa.

November 3,2007
Sri Govardhana

Japa Thoughts:

Just as one has different levels of awareness of the world—from fully awake, to half conscious to deep sleep—in chanting there are different levels of absorption. For example, we can be awake to the world (not concentrated), half awake to the world (half concentrated) and fully unaware of the world (fully concentrated). That’s a general analogy, but the point is that chanting means going deeper within and becoming less and less cognizant of the external world. It all depends on concentration. Our concentration relies on many things, most important our sense of purpose (faith) and our determination. I sense that most realizations in japa are about how to enter into deeper levels of absorption. Today, being alone it was easier to go deeper. Some humble realizations came:

We can’t go deeper unless we become frustrated with our present level of attentiveness and feel desperate to go deeper.

The door to the next level is locked. The combination to that lock is our full concentration on each syllable of the holy name. Just one mantra in full concentration opens the door to deeper absorption. It is easier said than done. Even the full concentration on one couplet of the holy name, Hare Krishna, can create the mental disposition to become focused within and gradually remove us from the world of external consciousness.

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