Monday Morning Greetings 2023 #17 – Deep Faith, Deep Space, Deep Time, Deep Work, Deep Taste

April 24th, 2023

Deep Faith, Deep Space, Deep Time, Deep Work, Deep Taste[1]

Since Covid, I have shifted more internally in my devotional life. What else is there to do when you are stuck in New Jersey for almost two years? As I am approaching 73, it is also age appropriate to move somewhat more in that direction. I decided to share my realizations in an informal online japa and prayer school. Isn’t that what a teacher of Krishna consciousness is supposed to do, or one of their main duties? Anyway, let me share with you what I think my outline for the course will be.


Deep Faith


No one willingly puts effort into any activity without faith, which arises from the experience and understanding of the worth of our objective or goal. Therefore, if our chanting is lax, likely so is our faith. The first part of japa reform is therefore nāma-tattva, learning the truth or glories of the holy name. I find that if we chant even a few times select verses on the holy name composed by pure devotees who have strong faith, very slowly hearing each word, absorbing those verses will naturally spark within us the faith of their composer and inspire our chanting.


Deep Space


Every object has a potency to influence one to use it for its purpose—a bed will invite sleep, an iPhone will invite chatter, and so on. Chanting thus requires a sacred space, an area at least physically free from any competition for one’s attention. For that reason, I have put more focus into my deities and altar. I strictly sit before them while I chant, at least for the first sixteen rounds. My experience is that if I step outside that sacred space, the objects that I use for other purposes, like my computer, for example, will allure my attention. The powerful effect of environment on our consciousness is a science. It is all clearly outlined in the fourteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā.


Deep Time


As you need a sacred space for chanting, you also need a sacred time for chanting, which means our chanting needs to be regulated as much as possible. Regulation means reserving a certain time for a specific activity that facilitates offering one’s exclusive attention to that activity. When you are not regulated in your chanting, so many obligations and allurements will compete for your time, and they are often more attractive in one’s mind at the time than chanting. The Sanskrit word for worship is upāsana, which literally means “to sit near” (upa: near, āsana: seat). When sitting down, unless there is resolve that this time is only for God, it is never real upāsana—sitting near or absorbing oneself in the holy name.


Deep Mercy[2]


Bhakti is the path of grace. As the object of our meditation in japa is not just a prop for steadying the mind, but mantra, or God in sound, our success or endeavor on the path of bhakti is not limited to our own abilities, but also enhanced by the grace of God. One way to attract such mercy is to glorify of God and His devotees. A few prayers said meditatively to Śrī Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅga, and the Vaiṣṇavas before chanting is essential in my practice to put myself in the proper mood for chanting and to invoke the mercy I need for success in chanting. I absolutely cannot be a successful meditator on my own power.


Deep Work


Scientific studies have shown that after some initial effort in an activity, even if we are sincere, our accomplishments tend to plateau unless we push ourselves somewhat beyond what we perceive as our present level of capability. If we want success in japa meditation, we need to be prepared for some tapasya, which simply means to sincerely put in the required work for chanting despite the irrational impulses of the mind and senses that dictate otherwise.


Deep Taste


Taste in chanting comes from the realization that the holy name is non-different from Śrī Krishna. Such realization comes with practice, which means concentration without interruption, over a period of time, in the right understanding and mood. Whether for just fifteen minutes or four rounds at a time, or completing our vows in one sitting, unless we endeavor to sincerely practice in this manner, there will be no taste in chanting. Unfortunately, without taste we may develop negative feelings for meditation, and our japa will wane or remain mechanical.


Spiritual success means to become deeper in our practice and devotion These are some suggestions how.


[1] I got the basic idea for this organization of how to worship Krishna from a class by Jaya Jagannath where he divided meditation into “deep space, deep time, and deep work”. I am just expanding upon it.

[2] The commentators on the Yoga-sūtras all describe that the benefit of worshipping Īśvara (God) as the object of meditation is the mercy that God can bestow on the meditator: “Devotion to God, according to Vyāsa, involves a particular type of devotion, bhakti-viśeṣa; simply by the yogī’s longing, God bestows his grace upon the yogī. When this happens, the fruits of samādhi become quickly available. As Rāmānanda Sarasvatī puts it, God turns toward the yogī as a result of such devotion and says, ‘Let this that he desires be his!’” (The Yoga-sūtras of Patañjali, translation and commentary by Edwin F. Bryant, p.82)


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