By: Mahanidhi Swami

I. SAMBANDHA JNANA (Chant japa with knowledge)
To properly chant japa, you must have the basic knowledge of the material world; God; the living entity (jiva), and their relationship. In brief, sambandha jnana means knowing, believing, accepting, and realizing that Bhagavan Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that you are Sri Krsna’s eternal servant linked to Lord Krsna by the bond of love (prema). The loving relationship between you and Bhagavan Sri Krsna is eternal, and it can be uncovered by chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, which is the most powerful, purifying and liberating spiritual vibration in the universe.

II. NAMA MAHIMA (Read the glories of the Holy Name)
Every day before chanting japa, preach to your mind about the glories, identity and power of Sri Krsna’s Holy name by reading verses glorifying Sri Krsna’s Holy Name. e.g. nama cintamanih krsnas, caitanya-rasa-vigrahah/ purnah suddho nitya-mukto, ‘bhinnatvan nama-naminoh, “The Holy Name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krsna Himself. Since Krsna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krsna’s name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krsna, and Krsna Himself are identical.”
Bhagavan Sri Krsna’s Holy Name is cintamani, ‘a thought gem’, the object that fulfills all one’s desires. To the materialist, the Holy Name gives religiosity, wealth, sense gratification and liberation. But to the sincere, pure-hearted sadhaka, the cintamani nama gives pure, unalloyed, sweet love for Radha and Krsna. Sri Krsna’s Holy Name is beginningless, unlimited, fully conscious and inseparable from the infinite consciousness, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Whatever is in Bhagavan Sri Krsna is in the Holy Name, for the two are non-different. Krsna’s Holy Name is eternally situated in pure goodness (suddha-sattva), and free from material contamination. Though Sri Krsna’s Holy Name descends into the material world, the Holy Name like Sri Krsna Himself remains forever pure, eternal, transcendental; it is the embodiment of the highest sweetness (rasa). [See AOC Ch. 1: The Holy Name is Transcendental, The Value of Cintamani Nama Pg. 1-4] Although living entities in the material consciousness distinguish between one’s name , form, qualities and activities, we should understand and accept that Bhagavan Sri Krsna’s name, form, qualities and pastimes are eternal parts of one inseparable spiritual principle. Krsna’s name is Krsna’s form; Krsna’s name contains all the sixty four qualities of Krsna in full; and Krsna’s name includes all His transcendental pastimes in Vaikuntha, Goloka and Vraja. By chanting the Name of Krsna, you will realise and see Sri Krsna’s beautiful, sweet form, qualities and pastimes within the divine vibration of the Hare Krsna Mahamantra. [See AOC Ch. 2]
III. NAMA APARADHA (Avoid the ten offenses to Krsna’s Holy Name)
One must especially avoid inattention in japa because inattention or carelessness is the cause of all the other offenses. Therefore one must be very careful at all costs to avoid inattention and its three varieties described below.

1.) Indifference, apathy, lack of attraction
This means you cannot put your heart into chanting because your material attachments are pulling your attention away from the Holy Name.

2.) Laziness
This means chanting with a dull mind; pausing in the middle of a round and stopping japa to take rest. Laziness can be overcome by taking a vow to always chant a minimum of four rounds whenever you sit for japa. [See AOC Ch. 13: Increasing Determination Pg. 191]

3.) Distraction
Distraction means instead of Sri Krsna’s all-attractive, sweet Holy Name, your mind fixes its attention on women or men, money, progress and position.
If you desire to obtain Krsna-prema, you must chant the Holy Name by carefully avoiding each of the ten offenses. In your heart, you must fervently beg at the feet of Sri Nama Prabhu and Lord Gauranga to give mercy to destroy the offenses. If you feel truly repentant and continuously keep chanting then the offenses will go and the fruit of the Holy Name will appear in the form of suddha nama, bhava nama and prema nama (pure love of God).
Please Note: Every day before chanting japa, you should recite the Siksastakam prayers while meditating on the meaning; and you should also review the ten offenses and especially the three aspects of inattentive japa. See also AOC Ch.3: Offense: Inattentive Chanting; Eleventh Offense: Rectification; Summary on Overcoming Distraction; The Reality of Attraction Pg. 52-57.

IV. MANTRA ARTHA CINTANAM (Meditate on meaning along with japa)
While chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, you should meditate on the meaning of the Holy Name while hearing the transcendental vibration.[See AOC Ch. 11: Effect of Japa with Meaning Pg 151; One Hundred Percent Krsna Lila Pg. 155; Union and Separation in the Mahamantra Pg. 160; Acaryas’ Meaning of the Mahamantra Pg.161; Meaning of the Mahamantra from Hari-bhakti-vilasa Pg.162; Meaning of the Mahamantra by Gopala Guru Gosvami Pg.163; Meaning of the Mahamantra by Sri Jiva Gosvami Pg. 166; Meaning of the Mahamantra by Srila Ragunatha dasa Gosvami Pg.168; Meaning of the Mahamantra by Srila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura Pg.169; Meaning of the Mahamantra by Thakura Bhaktivinoda Pg.170; Meaning of the Mahamantra by Srila Prabhupada Pg.171; Ch. 13: Five A’s in Chanting Pg. 194-197] In his book, Nama Bhajana, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, “While chanting japa, you must explain the meaning of the Holy Name to your mind in order to quickly purify your heart, and cause the Name to appear personally before your spiritual eyes.”
V. SARANAGATI (Chant with surrender)
While chanting japa, you should simultaneously cultivate the six attitudes of surrender (saranagati). [See AOC Ch 13: Shelter and Surrender Pg 180]
1.) Happily accept whatever increases your Krsna bhakti.
2.) Disdainfully reject anything which impedes your Krsna bhakti.
3.) Believe fully that Krsna is your only protector and depend on Krsna alone.
4.) Be convinced that Bhagavan Sri Krsna is your only real and eternal maintainer and provider.
5.) Think of yourself as low, worthless, wretched, unqualified and without possession.
6.) Humbly accept your position as Sri Krsna’s eternal servant and willing to do whatever Krsna desires.
Reject the false notion that you are the doer, the provider, the protector; and that you own your body, wife, children and house. Accept wholeheartedly that Bhagavan Sri Krsna is the factual owner, controller and doer. Act only as Krsna desires and not according to your individual wants. You should always think that in life, in liberation, in misery or in happiness—you are nothing but a humble servant of Bhagavan Sri Krsna.

VI. VANDANAM (Prayers to the Holy Name)
Before chanting japa you should recite different prayers to the Holy Name because this will purify your mind, create a feeling of humility and establish the mood of service (seva-bhava) in your mind. Sample prayers [See AOC Ch. 4: Offense: Inattentive Chanting Pg.54; Ch.8: Prayers before starting Japa, Yugala Mantra for Direct Service, A Sadhaka’s prayer to Sri Nama Prabhu, Prayers to Overcome Offenses, End with Prayer Pg 125-131; Ch.9: Conclusion Pg.139; Ch.10: Know Your Mind Pg.146; Ch. 11: Japa Means Radha Dasyam Pg. 157; Ch. 13: Shelter and Surrender Pg. 181; Five A’s in Chanting Pg 194-197]

Examples from Harinama Cintamani:
1.) O Haridasa Thakura! May I once and for all give up all bad association; take full shelter of Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet; and become fully satisfied and attain spiritual perfection by purely chanting Sri Krsna’s Holy Names.
2.) O Bhaktivinoda Thakura! Please bless me that I will take complete shelter in Radha and Krsna, Radha and Krsna’s devotees and the practice of pure devotional service. Then I will receive the full effect of chanting the Holy Name, and the Holy Name of Krsna will become the one and only center of my life.
3.) O Haridasa Thakura! May I become like a honeybee lingering at your lotus feet, and thereby attain the touchstone of Krsna’s Holy Name (Harinama Cintamani) as my life and soul.
4.) O Sri Caitanyadeva! Although I continually chant Krsna’s Holy Name, my mind is full of material desires and I am not receiving the touch of the Holy Name. O Lord, be merciful to me! Please descend into my heart and dance on my tongue in the form of your sweet name. Keep me anywhere in the material world or the spiritual sky, but I beg you to please give me the nectar of your Holy Name.
5.) O Sri Nama Prabhu, my dearly beloved Lord and Master! Please help me to chant clear, attentive rounds with my mind completely fixed on your beautiful transcendental form, qualities and pastimes. Without your mercy, I cannot accomplish anything. Feeling very anxious in my heart, I sincerely beg for your mercy because you my Lord are merciful by nature. I am sure you will help me to chant purely with complete attention.
6.) O Sri Nama Prabhu! May I always accept everything that is favorable for serving and chanting the Holy Name. May I instantly reject everything that is unfavorable for serving your Holy Name. May I have full faith that Sri Krsna’s Holy Name is my only protector and my only maintainer. O Holy Name! May I moment to moment feel myself as low and worthless and thus surrender all the actions of my body, mind and words at your divine lotus feet. O Holy Name! May I constantly recognise and rectify any mistakes in chanting. May I continually improve the quality and quantity of my chanting while diligently avoiding all aparadhas.



By: Mahanidhi Swami

I. Bones Baba

There is an amazing story in the life of a Vraja siddha-baba named Vijaya Krishna Goswami. Once Baba was walking along the Yamuna with some disciples and they happened upon a dead body. The Vrajavasi dogs had feasted on it, leaving nothing but bare bones.

Attracted, Baba said to his disciples, “Let’s go there and look at those bones.” Much to everyone’s surprise, they found the maha-mantra etched all over those bones.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

At that time, Baba commented, “Just see, this is clear proof that this mahatma attained perfection in nama-bhajana. He became a perfect nama-siddha!”

From this we can appreciate how much that sadhaka was totally dedicated to chanting the Radha Govinda Yugala maha-mantra for the dark age of Kali. Day and night, week after week, and year after year of his spiritual life, he chanted so much, with such loving attention, that the words of the mantra were etched into his bones! Indeed a most extraordinary miracle!

Day to day while chanting Hare Krishna japa, we all struggle with inattention and our endlessly wandering minds. No not just wandering—but minds that are randomly and recklessly jumping from one branch to another on the endless labyrinth of the banyan tree of desires, wants, needs and “things to do today”.

ABSORPTION IN CHANTING is the lesson to learn from this story. Let us all sincerely pray to this siddha “Nama Bones Baba”.

‘O Baba, please bless us that one day, at least our minds and hearts, if not our bones, will become totally absorbed in relishing the all-encompassing, nectar sweet names of Radha and Krishna dancing together in maha Vraja-prema within the kunjas of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra!’

II. Lamenting Flowers

Upon hearing the fabulous story of “Bones Baba” one famous kundavasi sadhaka of devotion quipped, “After I die and the kunda dogs chomp up my body to their heart’s delight, can you please do me one favor? Go and inspect the bones of my remains. I hope and pray sincerely to Ishvari Radha that just like “Bones Baba”, you will see written on all my bones, each and every verse of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada’s masterpiece, Vilapa Kusumanjali!”

Without any shade of a doubt Vilapa Kusumanjali, “A Flower Bouquet of Lamentations”, is the most important and essential book for any serious sadhaka practicing raganuga-bhakti in manjari-bhava, craving to attain the nitya-seva of Srimati Radhika in the Vraja nikunjas.

Every word, every line and every verse is sheer nectar—full of hope, intimate sevas, tears of lamentation and practical guidance on how to meditate on Bhanunandini’s loving service while being “absorbed in chanting” the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, or while rapt in single-minded contemplation.

I beg those hankering for love divine in Swamini’s seva to daily read and remember, and to think and drink the sweet nectar within all the verses of Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada’s chintamani grantha, Sri Vilapa Kusumanjali.

By this daily practice, flowers of beautiful intimate sevas at Srimati’s sweet lotus feet will blossom on the tree of your hearts! This is the SRI guarantee!!!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Devotees often say, “There are no hard and fast rules in chanting Hare Kåñëa.” Thus anything goes in the name of nama-japa: chanting on tulsi beads a fixed number of rounds of the maha-mantra, Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare—Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Since there are no restrictions, many devotees think it’s okay to chant japa while surfing the I-net, driving a car, listening to a lecture, lying in bed, shopping, watching a video etc. etc. To prove their no rules argument, such devotees cite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam verse 2: niyamitah smarane na kalah, “there are no restrictions regarding REMEMBERING the holy name of Bhagavan Sri Kåñëa.”

Lord Gauranga only says here that there are no rules about remembering (smarane). Gauranga does not say there are no rules in nama-japa. Mahaprabhu comments on this verse saying: khaaite shuite yathaa tathaa nama laya, kaala-desha-niyama naahi, sarva siddhi haya, “There is no regulation (niyama) regarding taking the name (nama laya), even while eating or lying down; it will grant all perfection (sarva siddhi).” (Cc. 3.20.18) Using Mahaprabhu’s comment, many devotees conclude, “Just see Lord Caitanya said it’s okay to chant nama-japa while lying in bed, eating prasada, or doing anything…” Sorry, this argument is completely wrong.

In His comment above and in the entire Siksastakam, Lord Gauranga is glorifying the unlimited power, mercy and benefit of Sri Hari Nama-SANKIRTANA (paraà vijayate sri-kåñëa-sankirtanam!). In these two verses, Sri Caitanya Deva is not describing nama-japa, He is talking about the congregational chanting Sri Kåñëa’s sweet Holy Names. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is saying you can remember or take Sri Kåñëa’s name anywhere, anytime in any circumstance. Of course, we should always remember Sri Kåñëa, and never forget the Lord for even half a moment (lava nimesha). And to do this we must always remember Sri Nama Prabhu, sing His holy names with every breath, and chant “Hari! Hari!” between every bite of food.

Yes, basically there are no rules regarding kirtana or sankirtana. BUT THERE ARE RULES IN CHANTING NAMA-JAPA. If we ignore these rules and chant japa incorrectly, then offenses will arise, and we will never attain our cherished goal of pure love for Radha-Govinda. The mantra shastras, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and the Gaudiya Vaisnava lawbook, Hari-bhakti vilasa no. 17 state many rules regarding chanting Hari-nama japa, the Gopala-mantra and other diksha mantras. One should try his best to follow the rules below to quickly achieve success in chanting Hare Kåñëa nama-japa:


1. Avoid the ten offenses to Sri Nama Prabhu.

2. Daily chant the same fixed number of malas. (ganitrikaam grhita ca mantram HBV 17.71, 191) “After vowing to chant a certain number of rounds daily (16, 32, 64) one must chant every day without fail, and not chant less than that.” (17.191)

3. Chant on 108 tulasi beads mala.

4. Beads should be ROUND in shape. The mala should be arranged in order from the biggest bead to the smallest. (HBV 17.89)

5. One should not chant with unclean hands, or in an impure state e.g. without bathing, dirty cloth or in bed. (17.132, 137)

6. One must not chant japa while talking, lying down, walking or yawning.


1. Concentrate on Nama by withdrawing your mind from ALL other attractions (distractions).

2. Cleanliness of mind, body, cloth, asana and chanting place.

3. Chant Nama while continually meditating on the meaning of the Hare Kåñëa maha-mantra.

4. Observe strict silence while chanting japa.

Hari-bhakti Vilasa (17.132-3) confirms this point: “If one speaks while chanting nama-japa, his japa will be fruitless. If while chanting nama-japa one engages in speaking, walking, lying down on bed, thinking of something else, sneezing, hiccupping, yawning, or having an agitated mind, one cannot attain perfection in his nama-japa.” In other words, it is best not to speak ONE WORD until you finish your daily quota. If you do this, your mind will become very strong, pure, peaceful and determined. Then you can call yourself a Kåñëa bhakti-YOGI, a serious practitioner of devotional sadhana. Obviously, any form of “interaction” with one’s mobile phone is breaking this law of silence. Be careful, perfection is not a joke. Will you take your mobile to Goloka Vrndavana?

5. Maintain a peaceful mind, heart and attitude during nama-japa.

6. Chant japa with intense eagerness, interest and enthusiasm.

There are three ways of chanting Sri Kåñëa Holy Names: loudly, softly or silently. Loud chanting means speaking the maha-mantra loud enough that someone can hear it. This is kirtana or sankirtana; IT IS NOT NAMA-JAPA. It is said that Namacarya Thakura Haridasa daily chanted 192 rounds; 64 chanted loudly as kirtana, 64 inaudible whispering japa (upamshu), and 64 silent in the mind (manasic). In ISKCON’s beginning days, Srila Prabhupada set the example of early morning chanting by sitting in the temple with his disciples and chanting ONE round loudly. This anecdote however, does not mean that nama-japa should be chanted loudly. Although there are three forms of chanting Hare Kåñëa, there are only two forms of chanting nama-japa on beads: inaudible whisper (upamshu) and silent mental chanting (manasic). Hari-sauri personally told me that Srila Prabhupada chanted very softly to silently in upamshu.

In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami describes sankirtana and japa as two distinct practices. Of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti-sadhana, number 32 is sankirtana (uccair bhasha), “loud euphoric congregational chanting of Hare Kåñëa” and number 33 is japa, “silent meditative chanting on beads.” The specific japa verse says: mantrasya su laghu uccharo japa ity abhidhiyate, “very, very silent muttering or utterance of the maha-mantra is called japa.” In correct upamshu japa, one mentally focuses on the meaning of the maha-mantra while fine tuning his hearing to the silent movement of the maha-mantra inside the mouth. The tongue and lips are barely moving as the mantra almost silently resonates within the mouth. The more one meditates on the meaning and concentrates on the “silent sound within his mouth and heart,” the more and more silent the chanting becomes. Eventually, the mantra meaning and sound merge in the totally absorbed, silent chanting of Hare Kåñëa within the mind. Soon Sri Kåñëa’s sweet all-attractive form arises from the concentrated mind, heart and internal hearing. This is manasic japa.

The basic point is that japa chanting is a solitary and silent contemplative practice. We say “I am chanting japa”, but here the word chanting really means “silently speaking” or mentally uttering inside the mouth; unheard outside of one’s lips. Nama-japa is a deep, powerful form of meditation requiring seriousness of purpose, sense and mind control, and the utmost absolute concentration. Nama-japa brings one face to face with Radha-Kåñëa within the silent recesses of one’s pacified and pure heart.

Please take your nama-japa very seriously. Attentive, concentrated nama-japa is the best, quickest, easiest and most blissful way to fall in love with Kåñëa, and enter the eternal realm of joy-filled Vrndavana to lovingly serve Radhe-Syama forever.

Om tat sat! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Hari sits alone in a kunja mandira by the Yamuna’s shore. Like the king of yogis, Yogindra Krishna meditates on the radiance of Radha’s lotus feet. His eyes full of loving tears, Shyama always and repeatedly mutters the two enchanting syllables RA DHA. May these two supremely astonishing, blissful and rasa-filled syllables RA DHA always manifest in my heart.” (Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi 96)

A Verse Meditation:

Look at a beautiful painting of Sri Radha;

Read the verse above with full concentration;

Pray to Radhika for the memory power or shakti to remember it;

Close your eyes;

Chant japa while immersing your mind and heart in this divine illumination.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

I hope and pray that none of you, my devoted friends present here, are committing the dreaded 12th offense, which is to leave your mobile phone on in any mode; ring, vibrate, silent or sms while chanting japa. Traditionally, all vaishnavas doing nama-bhajana try to avoid the ten offenses listed in the Padma Purana. In 1900, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura introduced “inattention” as the 11th offense in chanting. Inattention has three forms: indifference or no attention; laziness, and distraction, which means attraction to other objects i.e. mobile phones.

Although mobile phone distraction can be seen as one form of inattention, I am introducing it as the 12th offense to focus on it and to impress the modern chanters. The book entitled, Nama Aparadha Ten Obstacles to Attaining God” defines an offense as something which acts against one’s spiritual success by taking the flow of one’s affection away from the Supreme Lord. We should chant japa with undivided attention (avyagra-dhiyaù) and an undivided mind and heart. But if our hearing, feeling or seeing is divided between the mobile and the Holy Name, the mobile will win and we will lose; lose our chance to chant attentively and pleasingly.

Show Krishna you care for Him, and prove to Krishna that you really want to love Him. Fully turn off your mobile, enter the spiritual world of Vraja with Radhe-Syama, and forget the synthetic world of microwaves. At least for two hours, 1/12th of our day, we should be absolutely fixed and focused on hearing, feeling, seeing and serving Sri Kåñëa’s sweet Holy Names in japa; simply Kåñëa, the beads and me. Resist, with your greatest resolve, the gnawing tendency to be attracted to the distraction called mobile.

The word mobile means movable, and that’s exactly what mobile phones do; move your mind and heart away from Krishna. A yogi of devotion, however, calms and centers his mind on Krishna’s Holy Names in japa, like a candle flame burning steadily in a windless place. From the beginning of humanity, all yogic paths have stressed sense control for success. From now on into the 21st cyber century sense control will mean “cell control”. Perfection in any yoga path will now depend on how much the practitioner can control the use of his mobile phone.

Use it sparingly, only when needed and save your time for sadhana. Don’t spoil your life, and cells, by whiling away your ever diminishing treasure called time. Our priority should be singing for the Person Syama, not playing with the plastic samsong. Although mobiles have become a mass mania, devotees should be careful that mobile phones don’t take over their lives.

Whenever one has the chance, he should take a mobile phone vacation. Try and see how many hours a day, or days during a vacation, you can live in Hari nama-bhajana WITHOUT YOUR MOBILE PHONE. Some devotees I know keep their cell phones OFF all day until 8 p.m. Then for one hour they handle their calls and messages. The rest of the day they spend in sadhana-bhakti. Indeed, they are very fortunate.

I hope some of you have become inspired by this, and will now fully turn off your mobiles during japa. I guarantee that you will get a wonderfully fulfilling experience in your Hare Krishna nama-japa by doing this. Om tat sat! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Madhurena samaapayet is one rule of poetic composition practiced by Vaisnava authors, which means that a literary work should conclude in a mood of special sweetness. Simply said, the Sanskrit term madhurena samapayet means, “One should end on a sweet note.” Srila Prabhupada put it this way, “Everything ends well in transcendental bliss!”

Following this poetic maxim, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami concludes the Tento Canto narration of Sri Krishna’s pastimes (Cp.90) by describing Krishna’s blissful water sports with His beautiful queens in the lotus-filled water pools in Dvaraka.

To conclude the 12th Canto and the 18,000 verses of the complete Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami wrote a very, very important verse. Since this is the last verse of his entire literary work, certainly Srila Sukadeva Gosvami would “conclude everything on a sweet note”,madhurena samapayet. And he does!

The concluding verse of the entire work contains all the unlimited sweetness of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s form, qualities and pastimes, which are so beautifully depicted and personally manifest on every page of the Srimad Bhagavatam. This most glorious and uniquely pure Purana ends with the following sloka glorifying the supreme, unlimited power of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s Holy Name, which compresses within it the power of unlimited majesty and the enchantment of ultimate sweetness:

nama-sankirtanam yasya, sarva-papa pranasanam

pranamo duhkha-samanas, tam namami harim param

“Performing Nama Sankirtana, or congregational chanting of the Holy Name of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, completely destroys all kinds of sins (prarabdha, aparabdha, kutam, bijam), and subdues all miseries. Thus I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Sri Lord Hari.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.23)

To conclude his most amazing and revelatory commentary on the entire Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada says, “I offer respects to Govardhana, the best of the Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s servants. Lastly, I offer repeated respects to Radha Kunda and Krishna Kunda!”

Indeed, this is the ultimate in madhuram samapayet!

As the Srimad Bhagavatam concludes on a sweet note about the Holy Name, we pray that all the devotees will conclude their lives of loving service on the sweet notes of Sri Krishna’s Holy Names,

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!

The Skanda Purana (HBV 11.234) proclaims the stupendous sweetness of Sri Krishna Nama:

madhura madhuram etan, mangalam mangalanam

sakala nigama valli sat, phalam cit svarupam

sakrd api parigitam, sraddhaya helaya va

bhrgu vara! nara-matram tarayet krishna nama

O Bhrguvara! Sri Krishna Nama is the sweetest of all sweet things and the most auspicious of all that is auspicious. Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the fully-ripened fruit of the flourishing creeper of the Vedas, and the embodiment of divine knowledge. If someone chants Sri Krishna’s Holy Name only once, be it with faith or contempt, he is immediately delivered from the ocean of birth and death!

Sri Harinama Sankirtana ki jai!

Namacharya Srila Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Kali-yuga Patita Pavana Sona Avatara Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By:Mahanidhi Swami

a. Please clarify tip 4 “return to mental japa as soon as possible”.

Sanatana Gosvami Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.157-163 describes three forms of japa: distinct loud or soft (vachika) indistinct loud or soft (upamshu) and mentally contemplating each syllable while meditating on the meaning of the mantra (manasic). Most Gaudiya Vaisnavas chant manasic japa silently within the mind without moving tongue or lips. Manasic japa requires the most concentration and absorption. Try it and you will see, it is not easy. Verse 159 says manasic japa is one thousand times more beneficial then regular spoken japa! Words here are just suggestion for improving and intensifying our experience in japa. The main principle is to hear with a concentrated and surrendered heart joined with a mind fixed on the transcendental meaning, form, qualities and pastimes of SRI HARINAMA.

b. Why are you saying chant at dawn and dusk when most say dawn is good and evening in the mode of ignorance? Also in a lecture Srila Prabhupada said to move the tongue during japa, so what to do?

If you can chant manasic japa, that’s best. And surely Srila Prabhupada will approve for he said, ” Judge a practice by the results you perceive. “As the day starts with mangala aratika and japa, it should end with sayana aratika and japa. Of course, the best time to meditate on nama, rupa and lila is 3 am to 6 am.

By: Mahanidhi Swami

1. Dawn and dusk are best for japa because the air is pure and the density of distracting vibrations is less.

2. Bathe or just wash hands, feet, face, and mouth before sitting for japa.

3. Observe silence (besides japa) and avoid all distractions, both internal and external.

4. Sit in the same place at the same time daily. Facing east or north enhances concentration.

5. Resolve to complete a certain minimum number of repetitions. (rounds or malas)

6. Recite prayers before the recitation.

7. Repeat the mantra aloud for a few minutes, and then recite silently. If the mind wanders, recite loudly again or whisper for some time. Return to mental japa as soon as possible.

8. Focus your attention exclusively on the mantra sound.

9. Close your eyes, and mentally recite the mantra slowly with devotion and one-pointedness (ekagrata). As the mind becomes still and concentrated, mental japa speed will automatically increase.

10. When you repeat the mantra, visualize that Bhagavan Sri Krishna is sitting in your heart, sending purity into your mind. Believe, understand and perceive how the mantra is elevating you to the spiritual dimension of seeing your eternal identity. The mantra is liberating you from all your negative karmas, worldly desires and cravings for unnecessary things, and revealing your personal loving attraction to Sri Krishna.

11. Do not perform japa in a hurried manner.

12. Be vigilant and alert during japa. Open your eyes or stand if dullness overcomes you.

13. Be regular in the number of daily rounds (malas or recitations of the Holy Name).

14. Maintain your japa practice with tenacity and perseverance.

15. Recite japa during any free time, especially at the daily junctures (morning, noon, and evening) and before sleep.

16. Upon completing japa, sit a few minutes meditating on Radha-Krishna and your relationship with Them. Think how you can be a better person by trying to live moment to moment for the pleasure of Sri Krishna and the happiness of everyone around you.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By:Mahanidhi Swami

Until Sravana Purnima, all the Thakurjis in Vraja will be enjoying their 12 day swing festival (jhulanotsava). Below are translations of some popular Hindi and Bengali jhulana bhajanas. As a practice of lila-smarana (meditating on Radha-Govinda’s pastimes), you can chant the maha-mantra while contemplating upon these translations. Follow these steps and experience the result:

1) Before japa, first slowly read one bhajana translation. While reading, try to visualize the Divine Couple, the sakhis, the forest scene, and all the props.

2) Slowly read again, increasing the visualization while trying to identify with the feelings and sevas of the sakhis attending to the Divine Couple.

3) Close your eyes, try to recapture the scene, sevas and feelings being exchanged between the sakhis, and the Divine Couple, Radha Govinda Yugala.

4) Open your eyes, read the entire piece again out loud.

5) Close your eyes and begin chanting japa while trying to “mentally see and feel” and enter into and serve everything you read about.

Without a doubt, if you do this sincerely you will have an amazingly sublime and sweet experience during your jhulana japa.

1) The sakhis are gossiping from house to house in Varsana: “Hey sakhi! Quickly, get dressed so we can go meet the gallant Shyamasundara.” After Lalita and Vishakha dress Radhika, everyone rushes to the site of jhulana. Along the way they joke and laugh with each other in great fun. Overwhelmed with joy they meet Shyama. When Radha and Krishna gaze at each other Their minds spin with amorous desires. Mohana dasa looks on in bliss as the Divine Couple sit together on the swing, and the Vraja-gopis push them back and forth.

2) Shyama becomes intoxicated with the joy of jhulana while swinging with Gauri (Radha) on His left side (jhulato shyama, gauri bama—ananda range matiya). Slightly smiling at each other, Radha-Shyama arouse the mood of amorous enjoyment. While sweetly gesturing, Radhika’s girlfriends sing and push the swing. Swarms of bees hover around the fragrant flowers decorating that golden swing. Shyama looks like a rain cloud, and playful Rai looks like a brilliant lightning strike embracing His left side.

Their moon lockets and necklaces of star-shaped jewels toss about as Radha-Shyama embrace each other. The mrdangas pound out enchanting sounds—bi-dhi, bi-dhik, a-di-ya and tini-na, tini-na, and ta-ti-ya! It is impossible to describe the atmosphere which is saturated with the high-pitched singing of the gopis. Their bangles, ankle bells and tinkling waistbells mix sweetly with the jhunara (large karatals) which resound—jha-na, jha-na, jha-na, jha-ti-jha! Overwhelmed in joy, Uddhava dasa takes shelter at the lotus feet of Radha-Mohana.

3) “Sakhi, look! As Yugala-kishora swing they look like a blue sapphire set in gold.” Relishing the beauty of Their faces, Lalita and Vishakha happily push the swing. As playful Rai’s sakhis surround the flower decorated swing, thick rainclouds rumble overhead. The sakhis drown in ecstasy as they swing the Divine Couple. While clapping, some sakhis tell lovely-faced Radha, “Hold Your Pranavallabha tightly!”

As Radha-Shyama swing faster and faster, Their hair loosens and beads of perspiration glide from their moon-like faces like drops of nectar. The sakhis wave chamaras to relieve Radha-Shyama’s fatigue. While watching from the tree branches, the bees and cuckoos call out, “Jaya Jaya Radha-Krishna! Jaya Radha-Krishna!” Jagannatha dasa says, “O when will I behold Yugala-kishora’s beautiful jhulana-lila in the groves of Vrindavana?”

4) With sweet-faced Radha sitting on His left, that topmost gallant lover appears to be floating in an ocean bliss as He joyfully swings on the elegant hindola. The amazing sight of their matchless beauty has captivated the entire universe! Overwhelmed by the irresistible enchantment of Radha’s beautiful face and enticing eye gestures, Shyama kisses Kishori again and again. As Radha’s voice falters, the Divine Couple succumb to Cupid’s spell!

5) O Vrishabhanunandini! Come let’s go for the swing pastimes. In this monsoon month the auspicious day of teej has arrived. Dark black clouds are showering tiny drops of rain and enthralling everyone with their romantic rumbling. O Kishori! O Karunamayi Radhe, who removes the misery of all! The beautiful swings on the branches of the kadamba tree are anxiously waiting to serve Your exquisitely divine form. O Vrajeshvari! Please accept our humble request. Wear a bright and colorful sari and approach the swing. The soft radiant glow of Your sweet face humbles the effulgence of the moon, and a gentle smile adorns Your lovely face.

6) O Radhe, Your splendid form is decorated with ornaments, and Your beautiful lotus eyes are anointed with black kajal. O Pyarijeu! Please come for the swing pastimes and show Your mercy to the anxious monsoon clouds. O Vrishabhanu-dulari, You are very wise and intelligent, so please give up your maan, angry disposition, toward Shyama. Your beloved Rasika Priyatama Shyama is eagerly waiting for You. When Vilasini Radha arrives at the jhulana, Krishna folds His hands in supplication and says, “O Radhe! I bow down to Your lotus feet.”

7) O Bihariji! You forever relish swing pastimes in Vrindavana. Just see how the pleasure groves of Vraja are covered with a blanket of green! Here stands Nanda Bihari and Bhanu Dulari. O how sweet the Divine Couple look in our eyes! You are standing so enchantingly on the banks of the Yamuna, wearing a beautiful colored dress. The kadamba trees are full of blossoming fragrant flowers. The shining black luster of Ghanashyama mixes with the resplendent golden complexion of Radha like a lightning flash in a raincloud. Seeing this fills our hearts with joy. Shyama’s eyes are like chakora birds drinking the sweet nectar of Radha’s moon-like face. And the sakhis are like a thread of love serving Their lotus feet.