Karittka Journal – Japa Thoughts

October 14th, 2008

October 13, 2008
Sri Govardhana

My book, Japa Meditations: Contemplations on the Holy Name, is coming out by the end of the month. It describes over seven years of Karttika “Japa Thoughts”. This year I wasn't planning to focus on another journal for Karttika. “How many ‘Japa Thoughts’ could I come up with?” I thought. Today I got an encouraging request to be updated on my stay in Govardhana. I thus reconsidered my decision. I concluded that if the journal serves as an impetus to others in spiritual life, then I should continue it as a service to the devotees.

 

October 14, 2008
Sri Govardhana

Japa Thought I

Today I visited a friend, a serous sadhaka, who is here in Govardhana for Karttika. He shared his sincere objective for this month “to chant with affection.” He asked my opinion. I offered my humble realization:

“Affection comes from the experience of mercy. Mercy requires humility. If we want to chant with affection we have to beg the acaryas for help and experience their mercy.”

He then shared with me Maha-nidhi Swami's advice to him:

“The Gosvamis wrote astakams (prayers in eight verses) exactly for this reason. They didn't just write them for others. The astakams always end with a benediction that one will get devotion if they were chanted sincerely. Their actual method was to chant these astakams and pay full obeisances with each stanza, imbibing the meaning of the prayer and begging for mercy. That's substantiated in the sixth verse of the Sri Sad-gosvami-astakam where it is described that the Gosvamis ‘were engaged in chanting the holy names of the Lord and bowing down in a scheduled measurement.’ So this was their method for developing affection for nama bhajan.”

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