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Eight Steps to Better Japa

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Sridara Dasa's Eight Steps to Better Japa

From <font color="orange"> 'The Art of Chanting'</font color> by Mahanidhi Swami




A helpful Godbrother once gave us the following eight ways to perfect japa. These suggestions basically coincide with the teachings of Bhativinoda Thakura.


1. Establish a disturbance free environment for intensified chanting, because distraction or inattention leads to all other offences. Earplugs or hearing protector headphones can be used to block out external noise distractions. Such induced silence helps fix the mind and heart on the beautiful names, forms and pastimes of Radha-Syamasundara.


2. Keep your eyes closed and concentrate with a submissive mind and a humble heart full of prayer and petition. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends covering the head with a cloth to prevent the eyes from roaming.


3. Sit firmly and fix the mind by a mechanical process of pranayama. Incidentally, Hari-bhakti-vilasa recommends pranayama before chanting Gayatri.


4. Clearly understand the sense perceptual process, and then learn to negate or turn off all sensory stimuli except the hearing the maha-mantra.


5. Enter into the four states mentioned in the trinad api sahisnuna verse: (Humility, tolerance, pridelessness, respecting all). Visualize and conceptualize your tiny infinitesimal nature through Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's graphic examples (straw, tree).


6. While chanting, always remember the mantra is a personal address to Radha and Krsna; not a parrot's vibrato.


7. While chanting, repeatedly fill the mind with the wonderful meanings of the holy name given by the previous acaryas.


8. Expect exhaled experiences and spiritual realizations by this most powerful and sublime sound vibration.


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