Monday Morning Greetings #10 – Chanting and Boredom

March 7th, 2016

A haiku and commentary:

When you are absorbed
You can never be bored
Chanting the holy name

What is boredom?

It is the listless feeling when we don’t like what we are doing and thus can’t be absorbed in the moment. Our mind moves to the future when hopefully our chore or monotony passes. Time thus slows down.

In the same way, when we are not attentive in our chanting our goal becomes finishing our “rounds”. We lose absorption, become bored, and count the minutes until we are done.

Time is thus relative to our consciousness; It moves quickly when we are absorbed in the moment and becomes overtly oppressive when we are not.

The Bhagavatam describes the relative experience of time when it seems to accelerate or “fly” in relation to the gopis ecstatic absorption in the rasa dance. They are so immersed in the moment of joy that millenniums seem to pass in a moment.

Sri Caitanya describes the exact opposite when time seems to immeasurably slow down or “stop” in relation to the deep feelings of separation of the gopis. Tortured by the absence of Krishna, they lament the moment. Time excruciatingly halts:

“O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more…” (Siksastakam 7)

Back to the meaning of our haiku about chanting: Our faith should not be in the completion of our practice (vaidhi) but our absorption in it (rag). If we chant only to finish our rounds, our practice will invoke time and become boring.

On the other hand if we learn to honor or revere the moment of our practice, where Krishna is fully present on our tongues, and we become absorbed, the oppression of time will gradually be lifted and the joy of devotion will be revealed.

In that regard, I am sharing a link to a short article that I wrote where I discuss different techniques to help us become absorbed and transcend the oppression of time.

The Five Qualities of Effective Mantra Meditation


When you are absorbed
You can never be bored
Chanting the holy name

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