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Posts posted by raga


    What I would recommend is what the Dalai Lama says:

    you should study your teacher for ten years before you

    make a commitment to him/her and you should spy on


    "Parīkṣā, the mutual testing of between the prospective guru and disciple, is encouraged in the scriptures to ensure that expectations in a guru-disciple relationship will be met. This phase is an aspect of guru-pādāśraya, taking shelter of a guru's feet, the first of the 64 aspects of bhakti in Rupa Gosvami's Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu that precedes diksa, the rite of receiving a sacred mantra."



  2. This was also the example of Sanatana Gosvami, who walked the ocean path to not touch the pujaris of Jagannath by chance, as he feared he might contaminate them. Mahaprabhu was pleased with him, noting -- maryAda rakSaNa haya sAdhura bhUSana, "Observing the etiquette is the ornament of a saint."


    A devotee, by his nature, feels lowly and unfit; if he is forbidden from entering a temple, he feels that justice has taken place as far as he himself is concerned. Then, those who proclaim that "I / we have every right to..." may be missing something.


    Their practice of bhakti does not depend on entering a particular temple. Then, there is no substantial gain in provoking others with "our rights".

  3. If you took a dip in Kusuma-sarovara and were transformed into a bud of a flower yourself, you would then be called... ? :P


    <hr />

    West Coast visit


    In an interesting turn of events, there will also be short program on the West Coast between August 15th-17th in the San Diego / L.A. area. Please drop me a note if you're interested in participating, or even hosting an evening program!


    I was never able to chant quickly with voiced japa and manasik wasn't much different till one day I was chanting internally with more concentration than normal and I realized that I was no longer "speaking" mentally but was chanting the mantra with a different part of my brain. And yes, the whole mantra. That shift was quite a revelation and I can see why the skeptical guest doesn't accept that chanting can be done much faster than he has experienced. However you can experience this yourself so long as you can dislodge the impressions you currently hold as to where the chanting takes place. It also helps to cultivate attentiveness and avoid walking, shaking your beads and all other externalizations that we may have developed in an effort to "help us finish our rounds."

    Thank you for this astute observation. Indeed, the "mental speaking model" does not yield itself to such rapid japa. If a term had to be coined for what you describe, perhaps "present experience model" would be a fit choice. In that, the mantra is no longer formed from syllables -- it is felt as constantly present and still appearing again and again, separating one count of mantra from the next.


    A sensitive chanter may feel the difference between the two as follows: The first, still rather intimately bound with the sensory functions of the sadhaka, is internally spelled heard closer to the area between your ears, in the area of the subtle head where the influences of the vocal organ, the eyes, the nose and the ears intersect. The second, presiding in a state independent from sensory binds, is experienced higher in the subtle head, close to the region known as sahasrara.

  5. The anonymous guest should kindly identify himself. I have directly requested for this in my post, and this is also said in my signature. As a matter of courtesy, please.


    It is so easy to boast and blame from behind a veil of anonymity. I find the tone in your post unedifying, and must wonder if you would speak in the same manner, were we to meet in person. Stand up for who you are, identify yourself and make yourself worthy of being heard.


    I'll comment on your post after that.


    At three hours, they would be chanting one round every 2 minutes 48 seconds. That is near to impossible. By chanting in your mind you may get it down to a 5 minute round with a lot of practice, but not a 2 minute 48 second round.

    Have you ever tried? Have you persevered in the practice of chanting one, two or three lakhs of names while sitting still in one location, uninterrupted? If not, you are not in a position to assess how much it can or cannot take; please do not then speak of things that are over your head. What your mind cannot accomplish is not the standard for the rest of the world.


    If you omit inhalation breaks from your seven-minute round and spend them in doing upamsu or manasika japa while inhaling, your seven minute round has already come down to five minutes and fifteen seconds (assuming you inhale 1 and exhale 3).


    As a matter of curiosity, you may be interested to know that Bhaktivinoda's daily schedule (as found in Mahanidhi Swami's "Gaudiya Vaisnava Samadhis in Vrindavan") allocated only 2½ hours for japa.


    There are also Vaisnavas who have chanted five lakhs of names, or more. Siddha Manohar Das Babaji of Govinda-kunda is told to have chanted seven lakhs at times. I recall hearing Lalita Prasad Thakur was also in the habit of chanting five lakhs a day towards the end of his life. It is not an impossibility.




    At this rate it means it would only take 9 hours to chant the 300,000 names that Haridas Thakur did. This really cheapens his accomplishment. There are thousands of people who chant or worship for 9 hours a day. That's not an impressive thing. That doesnt get you the title 'namacarya'. He wasn't called namacarya because he chanted 9 hours a day, he was given that title because he chanted 24 hours a day. By the time he finished his 300,000 names it was time for him to start the next days chanting. No time to even eat or sleep. So he was chanting the 7 minute round, not the 2 minute 48 second round.

    You'll read of Haridas Thakur going preaching with Nityananda, you'll read of him discussing the glories of the Name in Vaisnava assemblies, you'll find him discussing in the company of devotees.


    The amount of hours does not "cheapen" anything, except in a mundane calculation. He is praised as nama-acarya because he both practiced and preached in an excellent manner -- you can read this in Sanatana Gosvami's words in Caitanya-caritamrita. These two combined made him the acarya, not just the chanting.




    Another perspective, if it took 3 hours to chant 64 rounds, that would mean you would finish 16 rounds in 45 minutes. :) Hahaha. A lot of the new bhaktas who come to ISKCON chant 2 minute 48 second rounds and finish their 16 rounds in half an hour. We used to tell them to slow down and concentrate more on the chanting and make sure they weren't skipping beads. But now we can just tell them they are advanced and ready to become babaji's at Radhakunda, and join the other 2 minute 48 second round chanters.


    If someone is claiming to finish 64 rounds in 3 hours, I would bet my money that they aren't actually chanting the 64 rounds. They may even think they are chanting, but their fingers are moving across the mala faster than they are chanting.

    You are very welcome to come and observe how one lakh of names is chanted in three hours, or how five lakhs of names are chanted in fifteen hours for that matter. I'll keep my mala outside the bag for you to see and tap rhythm for you with my left hand at each half-mantra to keep you appraised of the exact pace. Perhaps after a week of 15-hour daily sessions your mind will catch the pace, too.


    As far as your new bhaktas are concerned, they should not think that quality japa is accomplished at such a speed if they are just getting started. Do send them to Radha-kunda for training though.




    If you reply to this post, please identify yourself while posting if you wish to continue the discussion.

  7. 1. It is established that separation has a higher degree of emotional intensity.


    2. It is established that meeting is what Radha and Krishna strive for in the lila; they do not seek to be separated, in fact they are dead against it.


    3. Though separation is the more intense of the two and hence "higher", it does not necessarily mean that separation should be cultivated.

  8. kmm-banner.jpg


    <i>Kirtan Madhuri Mela is a ten-day gathering in Alachua featuring traditional Bengali devotional music and discourses on the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Narottama Das Thakur. The event is organized to celebrate the beauty of the devotional tradition of the vairagi saints and mystics of Vraja who spent their days and nights in thoughts of Radha and Krishna, worshiping the divine Names.</i>


    <hr />

    <b>-o) KIRTAN MADHURI MELA (o-</b>


    - <i>Alachua, August 4th-13th</i> -


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/misc/kirtan-madhuri-mela.jpg" style="margin-left: 5px; float:right;" /> Kirtan Madhuri Mela is a ten-day gathering in Alachua featuring traditional Bengali devotional music and discourses on the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Narottama Das Thakur. The event is organized to celebrate the beauty of the devotional tradition of the vairagi saints and mystics of Vraja who spent their days and nights in thoughts of Radha and Krishna, worshiping the divine Names.


    The program will last from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th August. The first official program will be held on Friday evening. For latest news, please see <a href="http://www.gaudiyakutir.com/mela" target="_blank">http://www.gaudiyakutir.com/mela</a>.




    The program is located at Braja Gopal's place in Alachua, a few minutes from the local ISKCON temple. We will be able to provide assistance with accomodation, transportation, and prasadation. Exact location at 21511 NW 75th street, third plot south from the NW 218th Avenue crossing - you'll find signs out there to help you find the exact location. For maps, please <a href="http://www.vilasakunja.com/index.php?showtopic=352#entry2573" target="_blank">see here</a>.




    Classes are given by <a href="http://www.myspace.com/madhavananda" target="_blank">Madhavananda Das</a> (<a href="http://www.audarya-fellowship.com/forums/private.php?do=newpm&u=420">send message</a>). Morning classes will be on Narottama Das Thakur Mahasaya's Prema-bhakti-candrika, the aim is to cover the entire text in the course of the upcoming 10 days. Evening classes will feature Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Siksastakam, with emphasis on the examination of the growth of spiritual emotion in the sadhaka's heart.


    <b>Schedule for classes and special days during the event</b>


    <div style="margin-left: 10px; padding: 10px; border: 1px solid #999; background-color: #fff; color: ##339999;"><b>Aug 4th, Fri</b> - Evening program, opening the event. Evening: SAS 1.

    <b>Aug 5th, Sat</b> - Pavitra Ekadashi (Vrata): Much extra chanting. Morning: PBC 1-6 (Introduction, Guru-tattva). Evening: SAS 2.

    <b>Aug 6th, Sun</b> - Disappearances: Rupa Goswami. Morning: PBC 7-10 (Sadhu-sanga, Rupa Goswami). Evening: SAS 3.

    <b>Aug 7th, Mon</b> - Disappearances: Gauridas Pandit, Siddha Manohara Das Babaji. Morning: PBC 11-27 (Suddha-bhakti and Anartha-nivritti). Evening: SAS 4.

    <b>Aug 8th, Tue</b> - Morning: PBC 28-39 (Ekanta-bhajana, Atma-nivedana). Evening: SAS 5.

    <b>Aug 9th, Wed</b> - Rakhi-purnima. Morning: PBC 40-57 (Yugala-nistha and Raga-bhajana). Evening: SAS 6.

    <b>Aug 10th, Thu</b> - Morning: PBC 58-68 (Smarananga-bhajana). Evening: SAS 7.

    <b>Aug 11th, Fri</b> - Morning: PBC 69-78 (Asat-tyaga and Sad-asraya). Evening: SAS 8.

    <b>Aug 12th, Sat</b> - Morning: PBC 79-100 (Surrender at Radha-Krishna's feet). Evening: Open theme.

    <b>Aug 13th, Sun</b> - Morning: PBC 101-120 (Overview and conclusion). Evening: Open theme.</div>

    <b>Daily program</b>


    <div style="margin-left: 10px; padding: 10px; border: 1px solid #999; background-color: #fff; color:#339999;"><b>4:30</b> -> Mangala-arati with kirtan.

    <b>5:00</b> -> Individual bhajan

    <b>9:00</b> -> Padavali-kirtan: Thakur Mahasaya's Prarthana and reflections.

    ~ - - - > Class on Prema-bhakti-candrika


    <div style="color:#993399"><b>17:30</b> -> Kirtan and class on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Siksastakam.

    <b>19:30</b> -> Sandhya-arati and kirtan.

    <b>20:30</b> -> Hot milk and friendly chatter.</div></div>

    <b>Morning bhajan</b>


    The carrying theme in the four-hour individual morning bhajan will be accomplishing a lakh (64 rounds) of names, or as much as fits into four hours. We are eager to see everyone dive deeper into nama-bhajan, and the free time everyone has provides an excellent opportunity to at least do it for a while, if not forever, and gain an experience of what to look forward to in the future.


    <b>Daytime program</b>


    The daytime program is largely improvised. What's in the air is an introductory Sanskrit class, istagosthi discussions and sadhana workshops on themes of choice, bathing in local tirthas, taking prasad – and much more! The two weekends will have a bit of a tighter schedule than the week in between.


    <b>Evening programs</b>


    Some evenings will also see special programs, such as a one-hour non-stop video-parikrama around Radha-kunda with stories of the locations, and possibly a public gathering or two with a broader audience.




    Given that many may not be very familiar with the traditional arati songs and the such, all participants will receive a fine home-made song book that covers all the standard daily songs, as well as most other songs we'll be singing in the course of the event.




    Please let us know in advance if you're coming, we'll put aside an extra plate for you. Contact <a href="http://www.myspace.com/_braja" target="_blank">Braja Gopal Das</a> for information on accommodations, directions and other practicalities at <img src="http://www.gaudiyakutir.com/images/email-4.png" style="position:relative; top:3px;" />.

  9. With a bit of practice, it can take much less than eight hours, too. Most sadhakas I talk with who do it focused at one sitting say it takes three to four hours, maximum five. They do mostly upamsu and manasika. Even in vacika, one can do one of the two others when inhaling. The technique of chanting where chanting is stopped during inhalation makes the flow of names interrupted and takes a good deal of more time. (About 1/3 more -- 8 hours becomes 5½ hours.)


    Lokanatha Gosvami instructed Narottama Das Thakur (Prema-vilasa, ch. 11):


    narottama lakSa nAma laya saGkhya kari |

    nAma laile gaurAGgera sarva-zakti dhari ||


    "Narottama! Take a hundred thousand names while counting; taking the names, you shall bear all the powers of Gauranga."


    Hearing such words, who would not be curious and eager to experience this?

  10. This topic seems to come up every so often, especially thanks to the dedicated efforts of comrad Kailasa.


    There is little chance any of this will be conclusive if people don't first of all do a comprehensive study of Ujjvala-nilamani, which is the book you should be looking at with a discussion like this. Most statements being made and quotes being quoted are so uncontextualized. People are comparing apples and oranges.


    Can you give a brief explanation on japa that is 'upamsu' (muttered)...?

    It's like this: umummuumamamaummmm :P


    The word upAMzu means "whispering" or "in a low voice", as well as "secretly".


    In upAmzu-japa, the chanter moves his tongue and lips, but this does not result in anything very audible. You may or may not exhale through the mouth; doing that would cause a soft murmuring sound, activating your vocal cords.


    I personally prefer to always inhale and exhale through the nose for added clarity of mind. Never inhale through the mouth!

  12. <b>The Age of Saints and Wonders</b>


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/saints/rupasanatana.jpg" style="float:right; margin-left: 5px" alt="" />The age of saints and wonders, the time when devotion flooded hearts, when the sadhakas were enrapt in intense bhajan and attained direct visions of their worshiped deities; when were these blessed days?


    Was it the days when the legends of the Puranas were inscribed, when the sage Narada held his vina and flied across the skies? Was it the decades following Sri Caitanya, the years when Rupa and Sanatana discovered the sacred Vrindavan and Raghunatha Das wept on the bank of Radha-kunda? Was it during the days when Visvanatha Cakravarti sat amidst the rain writing the Bhagavata commentary without a drop touching this divine literary work?


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/saints/narottamadas.jpg" style="float:left; margin-right: 5px" alt="" />Or was it the century initiated by Narottama Das, Srinivasa and Syamananda, the love-imbued sadhakas, as they roamed about and munificently bestowed the gift of prema to one and all? Or, perhaps it was the era of the vairagi-mahatmas of Vraja in the 18th and 19th centuries, led by Siddha Krishna Das Babaji of Govardhana, the blessed teacher of smarana? Was it at the dawn of the 20th century as Manohara Das sat in his cave, entranced, counting his fifth daily lakh of names?


    "But those are eras bygone, they are with us no more," say the folks at the village square. "One great holy man there was some decades back, my uncle used to tell, but is there another in sight? The Age of Kali has come, you see, and the saints are truly but a relic etched in the dusty pages of the history books. Brother, they are no more, your fantastic days."


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/saints/manoharadas.jpg" style="float:right; margin-left: 5px" alt="" />Alas, be silent – you fool! I'll not hear such talks, 'tis blatter not a farthing's worth! Has the goddess of devotion forsaken the world for good? Does svarupa-sakti no longer imbue the entire being of a sadhaka cast in the fire of bhajana? Has the world lost its last worth, become meaningless in the grand cosmic plan?


    No, it cannot be! Do you not see the saints? Do you not have faith in the soul's potential to transform, in the power of devotion to cause wonders? Look in the mirror, friend! It is you and I; it is we, who are the saints and the seers of the modern age! It is nothing but time and will that separate you from the mahatmas of yore!


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/saints/jiva.jpg" style="float: left; margin-right: 5px" alt="" />Quit squandering your days. Walk that narrow path! What has the world ever given you but joys and sorrows that come and go? What will you have gained when the final scene closes and the curtains of time ruthlessly fall? Set your priorities straight! Lay out your life again, be bold and walk the path of the holy! Easy it is not, that path, but it is the path of truth, the one and only path to reality sacred, to fulfilled love divine.


    Set aside that worthless waste of time! Take your mala, take it now and chant like there was no tomorrow! Cast yourself on the path of sadhana, forsake your vanity and be established in the true character of selfless devotion! It is of sacrifices that the stairway of love is built, one step after another towards the cherished goal – each righteous call a source of great strength and fortitude, each retreat a mishap calling one mishap more, each choice a barrel of fuel for a future choice of its kind. Be firm in character, claim what is rightfully yours!


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/saints/visnudas.jpg" style="float:right; margin-left: 5px" alt="" />Seek this always. Leave for pilgrimage, fall at the feet of the Lord, and at the devotees' sacred feet. With tear-filled eyes, cry for the darshan that shall set you free of weakness, that shall fill you with divine power for conquering all obstacles, that shall have you find solace in acala-bhakti alone, in devotion that never wavers or falls! Verily, may that become your one and only nature, for that is the character of a devotee.


    <img src="http://www.sadhanadiary.com/images/saints/raghunathadas.jpg" style="float: left; margin-right: 5px" alt="" />"I shall take it under advisement. Perhaps in my old age I shall commit to a devotional life." Bah! In your old age you'll be crippled and diseased, suffering from a thousand ailments and burdened by a lifetime of indulgence. You are a sad product of your life, bound by habits formed over the years. In that condition, how will you suddenly engage in acts of devotion? Even a young man needs time to transform, and the condition will only worsen over time, year by year, month by month and day by day. Therefore, seize the opportunity now and make the best of what you have!


    It is not phantasmagoria, the wonders that wholehearted devotion yields. The divine name shall seize your heart, wet your eyes with tears and make your body shake, and the poet's words shall capture your mind's swan and have it frolic in a divine lake of rasa. It is real, give up that doubt! I know you must have it. Had you not, why would you still be reluctant, holding back your life from the one to whom it belongs? A hungry man, seeing the delicious foods and knowing their certain goodness, would undoubtedly eat in an instant, would he not?


    Or is it that you’ve lost your hunger? Aha! How unfortunate a situation, that a man should find himself withering away in want of nutrition and still be averse to eating! Please reflect carefully on this and make yourself available for healing, have your heart's fire burning ablaze once again. Rare is a doctor who will forcibly cure a hiding patient; be alert and aware, seek for the healing of your heart. Have the age of saints and wonders unfolding before your eyes; make yourself a living proof of the power of devotion! If you'll not do this, what will you do?



  13. Govinda Das: The importance of your chanting is in your developing your individual relationship with Krishna. You can hear others for inspiration, of course.


    Sanatan: Why is 16 the required, after which you can stop? That's the minimum -- when people wouldn't get 64 together, Prabhupada prescribed 16 rounds and "service all day long". That is the minimum. Otherwise, go chant more! Prabhupada didn't mean "minimum 16" as "16 done and then I'll flip on the TV". :smash:


    In deeper terms, the "required quota" is only filled when you have attained success in chanting; before that, you're just warming up, even if you chant three lakhs (192 rounds) a day. The feeling, "I have not chanted as much as I should have, nor as well as I should have" is at the heart of progress. The thoughts, "I have chanted enough now" and "I have chanted well enough" eliminate the scope for advancement in a grand number of ways.

  14. I understand if someone really can't spare 10 dollars; that is, if he really cannot.


    What irks me is when people go buy ice-cream, eat at a restaurant or buy neat clothes and then have the nerve to say they don't have 10 bucks to spare for fellow devotees' hard work, and then the same people go around talking about "no copyrights in transcendence, you should give it all for free Prabhu, what's the problem it's Krishna's service", while the poor Prabhu struggles to pay his bills like everyone else. That is just selfishness, plain and simple.


    its true, i have none here, i have no friends whom are belivers in God, all my friends are agnostic and atheistic, and my temple is far away and i have bad economy, so its hard.. my top priority is to chant my 20 rounds daily, eat prasadam and listen to bhajans and kirtans.. is really lonely to have none to share it with.. and my friend vinodh, a sri vaisnava devoutee moved to france.. maybe all my energy is just to keep me floating and not to drown in my surroundings atheistic lifestyle!?

    I'd say it precisely keeps you afloat. The environment is very powerful. Swimming upstream is a fit analogy, the effect is very similar.




    raga, u are a compasionate and knowing person and i really appreciate ur advice and also other devoutees cincere advice, how is it that i feel more when i listen to kirtans of the holy name, then when i chant myself? this have always puzzled me

    This happens because in that name, you feel the singer's emotion.


    When a loving devotee says "Krishna, Krishna" - tears come to his eyes, and his heart is throbbing of its own accord. Hearing that transforms the hearer's heart, drops of this ambrosial feeling stick to your heart and vitalize your relationship with the divine Name.

  16. Yes, you nailed it down right there. Exactly so.


    And please remember the sequence: It is not that <i>because people say he is a guru</i> this result should manifest, and that you should therefore take shelter of someone; rather, <i>because someone has manifest this result in you</i>, therefore he is the manifest guru come before you.

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