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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The “Japa Mini Lila Meditation” series presents short audio files describing transcendental sevas and lilas to be meditated upon while chanting one to two rounds of Hare Krishna japa.
These Radha-Krishna nitya-lila meditations are very helpful for sadhakas aspiring to become eternal maidservants (manjaris) of Srimati Radharani. For other devotees, the meditations will give a taste of an amazing inner joy and satisfaction that arises from combining nama-japa with Radha-Krishna lila.

The Basic Meditation Technique
While attentively chanting japa and listening to the audio, try to mentally visualize the time, place, personalities and pastime being described. Completely forget this world and think that you are in the spiritual realm of Vrindavana, standing right beside Srimati Radhika and expertly serving Her in so many special and intimate ways.
Try to see, hear and take part (mentally of course) in all the loving exchanges of Radha-Madhava, Their sakhis and the manjaris in the lilas you are hearing. Try to feel what they are feeling, saying and doing by mixing your heart, even in small way, with the heart of Sri Radha and Her dasis, the manjaris. Intensely pray for the mercy of your beloved Gurudeva, and also Sri Rupa Manjari, Sri Tulasi-manjari (Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami) and Sri Radhika to help you identify, albeit in a tiny way, with Their feelings and moods during each wonderful lila.
In your known or desired mentally conceived and cherished spiritual body (siddha svarupa) try to visualize that you are seeing, hearing, speaking, serving and personally moving with Radha-Krishna in Their beautiful sweet pastimes as they flow on into eternity.
For the meditation to be fruitful, blissful and transforming, however, you must use your powers of concentration and visualization. Concentration means to withdraw your mind from all internal thoughts and external sense stimuli. Visualization means to mentally “see” the whole panorama of the setting, the personalities, the clothes, the colors and the various articles and places being described in the narration.
Focus all your conscious attention on the lila narration and the internal vibration of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. You can become peaceful and increase your concentration on hearing the Divine Name and visualizing the lilas if you close your eyes, relax your face, and breathe slowly and deeply while fixing your attention on the point between the eyebrows. Try to really feel and mentally identify yourself as a humble serving maid of Srimati Radharani who really wants to be there with Sri Radha, serving Her and Her beloved Sri Krishna from moment to moment in the eternal realm of loving bliss—Vrindavana.
Japa lila meditation is a sadhana, and like all sadhanas one must practice it every day without fail. In the beginning, it will be difficult to hear and chant while simultaneously concentrating and visualizing the pastimes. However, by daily practice (abhyasa), your ability to concentrate and visualize will improve more and more.
Within a short time of six months or so of diligent practice, you will definitely have some amazing meditations, and also experience an extraordinary taste of transcendental sweetness by this Japa Mini Meditation practice.
It is also very important to remember that during any sadhana practice, you must always remain humble and patient, feeling confident that our affectionate Loving Lord Sri Krishna will surely reciprocate with our efforts and bring us success.
So now let’s begin the Japa Mini Lila Meditations. Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

If a devotee can think, feel, act and become one with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s success formula, he/she will NEVER COMMIT NAMA APARADHA, and very soon attain Krishna prema.

Raising His beautiful golden arms into the sky, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu loudly declared, “Everyone please hear me! String the following verse on the thread of the Divine Name and wear it on your neck for continuous remembrance, ūrdhva-bāhu kari’ kahoṅ, śuna sarva-loka, nāma-sūtre gāṅthi’ para, kaṇṭhe ei śloka

“And if you take Krishna Nama in this way, I guarantee that pure love for Sri Krishna’s lotus feet will manifest in your heart, ei-mata hañā yei, kṛṣṇa-nāma laya, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caraṇe tāṅra, prema upajaya.” (Cc. 1.17.32; Cc. 3.20.26)

BHAKTI 100 % SUCCESS FORMULA:

Mahaprabhu continued, “One can constantly chant Krishna’s Divine Name, if in all respects one thinks, ‘I am more lowly and helpless than a blade of grass’, while always remaining as tolerant as a tree, free from pride and respectful to one and all.” (Cc. 1.17.31; 3.20.21)

tṛṇād api su-nīcena, taror iva sahiṣṇunā, amāninā māna-dena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

 

TEN OFFENSES AGAINST KRISHNA’S DIVINE NAMES

In Padma Purana (Brahma-khanda cp.25), Sanat-kumara described the ten offenses (nama-aparadhas) to Narada Muni:

  1. The greatest offense [parama aparadha] is to criticize the devotee/saints who broadcast Krishna’s Divine Name. How can the Divine Name ever tolerate such a thing?

satāṁ nindā nāmnaḥ paramam aparādhaṁ vitanute

yataḥ khyātiṁ yātaṁ katham u sahate tad vigarhām

 

  1. It is an offense to think there is any difference between the names, qualities, etc. of Sri Vishnu and Shivaji. Such a person gets no benefit from chanting.

śivasya śrī viṣṇor ya iha guṇa nāmādi sakalaṁ

dhiyā bhinnaṁ paśyet sa khalu hari nāmāhita karaḥ

Comments: Sri Vishnu and Shivaji in his transcendental Sada Shiva form are both vishnu-tattva. Brhad-bhagavatamrta (1.2.31) says, “Sadashiva is directly Narayana as the vilasa or svamsha of svayam-rupa Sri Krishna. Sadashiva dwells in Shiva-loka (Vaikuntha).” However, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the para-devata, and supreme aradhya-deva for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

  1. To disrespect the Guru, guror avajñā.

Comments: This includes all gurus and the guru principle itself. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti says (tika: SB 6.2.9-10), “This is the worst Nama aparadha!”

  1. To criticise the revealed Vedic scriptures, śruti śāstra nindana.
  2. To consider the glories of the Divine Name to be exaggerated, tatha ārtha vādo.
  3. To concoct or give imaginary meanings to the Divine Name, hari nāmni kalpanam.
  4. To deliberately commit sin on the strength of the Divine Name. Such a sinful offender cannot be purified by following any rules, nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa buddhir, na vidyate tasya yamair hi śuddhiḥ
  5. It is complete madness [pramada] to consider the performance of ordinary religious duties, vows, renunciation, sacrifices, and all other auspicious pious works to be equal to chanting Hari-nama, dharma vrata tyāga hūtādi sarva, śubha kriyā sāmyam api pramādaḥ.
  6. It is an offense to instruct a faithless person; one averse to God; or one who is unwilling to listen [to the glories of Bhagavan or His Name].

aśraddadhāne vimukhe’py aśṛṇvati, yaś copadeśaḥ śiva nāmāparādhaḥ

  1. One is offensive and considered low and fallen if even after hearing the glories of Nama, one still has no love for the Divine Name, and remains in the illusion of “me and mine”.

śrutvāpi nāma māhātmye yaḥ prīti rahito’dhamaḥ, ahaṁ mamādi paramo nāmni so’py aparādha kṛt

 

Comments: In his tika to Hari Bhakti Vilasa, Sri Sanatana Goswami adds that, (aham mam adi) also means being proud of one’s chanting. As in one saying, “O, did you know that I am chanting one lac a day!”

Prema-bhakti candrika (115) says, one should attain perfection in secret; always be humble and keep secret one’s realizations [or attainments] gupate sadhibe siddhi sadhana dainye sada.

(adapted, Sri Advaita Dasji) Namacharya Thakura Haridasji ki jai!

Hare Krishna maha-mantra ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

 

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

 

Misusing 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. Mahaprabhu is simply reiterating the all perfect power and efficacy of the Divine Name. Sri Chaitanyadeva is not encouraging one to chant japa while lying in bed or eating maha-prasada.

 

In His comment above and in the entire Siksastakam, Lord Gauranga is glorifying the unlimited power, mercy and benefit of Sri Hari Nama-SANKIRTANA (param vijayate sri krishna sankirtanam!).

 

In these two verses, Sri Caitanya Deva is not describing nama-japa, He is talking about the congregational chanting Sri Krishna’s sweet Holy Names.

 

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is saying you can remember or take Sri Krishna’s name anywhere, anytime in any circumstance. Of course, we should always remember Sri Krishna, and never forget Sri Krishna 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 Krishna nama-japa:

 

SIX GENERAL RULES FOR 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.” (HBV 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.

 

RULES FOR MAXIMUM JAPA BENEFIT: (HBV 17.121)

 

  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 Krishna 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 Krishna 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?

 

  1. Maintain a peaceful mind, heart and attitude during nama-japa.
  2. Chant japa with intense eagerness, interest and enthusiasm. There are three ways of chanting Sri Krishna’s 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 Krishna, there are only two forms of chanting nama-japa on beads: inaudible whisper (upamshu) and silent mental chanting (manasic).

 

Sri Hari-sauri Dasa 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 Krishna” 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 Krishna within the mind. Soon Sri Krishna’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-Krishna 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 Krishna, and enter the eternal realm of joy-filled Vrndavana to lovingly serve Radhe-Syama forever. Om tat sat! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Nama Sankirtana ki jai! Mantra Japa & Dhyana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

What is the meaning of nama-abhasa chanting of Krishna’s Holy Name? Is nama-abhasa a stage of japa in sadhana bhakti? Are devotees chanting nama-abhasa?

This subject is not very clearly understood by many devotees. First of all, the term nama-abhasa describes the type of Krishna nama chanting DONE BY NONDEVOTEES and it applies only to them.

The term nama-abhasa means unintentional, by chance, accidental chanting done once or more in a person’s entire life, as seen in Ajamila. Does any devotee pick up his japa mala in the morning and chant 16 rounds accidentally, by chance?

For every devotee chanting Krishna’s name is an intentional, regulated daily sadhana practice performed as a means to attain spiritual perfection. In no way is it unintentional, accidental or by chance! In other words, no one sits down and deliberately chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra by accident.

In fact, there is no shastra that says nama-abhasa is a stage of sadhana in chanting Hare Krishna. According to the absolute authority of shastra, nama-abhasa always refers to unintentional, accidental chanting as done by nondevotees.

To further understand the subject of nama-abhasa I researched the shastra. Other than the Bhagavatam and Chaitanya-caritamrta, the subject of nama abhasa is not mentioned in any Gaudiya Vaisnavas shastra. And for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, these two sacred books are the topmost praman (proof) and final authority.

In the Ajamila story, nama-abhasa is described in SB 6.2.14:

säìketyaà pärihäsyaà vä stobhaà helanam eva vä

vaikuëöha-näma-grahaëam açeñägha-haraà viduù

“Chanting the name of the Lord while indicating someone else; or while joking in a friendly manner; or chanting the Lord’s name in order to fill up space while chanting verses; or chanting with neglect destroys unlimited sins and desires.” [these are the four types of nama-abhasa] Obviously, nama-abhasa and its stages does NOT apply to a devotee chanter.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti’s tika:

  1. Saìketyam means chanting while referring to someone/thing else but Krishna.
  2. Pärihäsyam means calling jokingly, but with affection, not with criticism. “O famous one! Your fame is like that of Krishna, so you can save me!”
  3. Stobham means to chant the name in order to provide proper meter during a discourse or song. Chanting name of Hari or Krishna to conclude a song.” See Note below:
  4. Helanam means chanting Krishna’s name with disregard and inattention. Also includes casual chanting of Krishna’s name while eating, playing or sleeping. Helanam chanting is also done without any criticism or disrespect.

NOTE: In their tikas to Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.14 (The Ajamila Story), Sridhara Swami, Sri Sanatana Goswami, Sri Jiva Goswami and Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti all say the word STOBHA (a type of accidental, non-devotee chanting) means gitalapa puranartham krtam, as in completing a song.

For example, someone may conclude a mundane love song by saying, “I love you soooo much, Hari Hari, Hari”. These acharyas further say that derisive, contemptuous and hostile chanting, as in the case of Jarasandha’s 99 rebukes of Sri Krishna, CANNOT be called nama-abhasa.

Comment: The whole Ajamila story shows the phenomenal power of Sri Krishna’s transcendental name. Ajamila was a terrible sinner, a NONDEVOTEE, and somehow he ACCIDENTALLY CHANTED “Narayana” and became delivered. This is a clear example of nama-abhasa and the supreme power and mercy of Harinama.

The subject of nama-abhasa also appears in the Chaitanya-caritamrta (3.3.55-187), wherein Namacharya Sri Haridasa Thakura describes nama-abhasa as unintentional, accidental chanting. He cites the nondevotee Ajamila and a poor fellow being attacked by a wild boar as examples of nama-abhasa chanters.

Neither one of them was chanting Hare Krishna as a daily sadhana. Their chanting was purely unintentional, accidental. This is nama-abhasa! His discussion proves the great power of hari nama that even a nondevotee who contacts a mere glimpse of nama gets liberation, what to speak about devotee chanters.

In his entire delivery on nama-tattva, other than describing the nama-abhasa chanting of nondevotees, Sri Haridasa Thakura speaks only one verse (Cc. 3.3.185) about the chanting of devotees done as a daily sadhana:

aiche nämodayärambhe päpa-ädira kñaya

udaya kaile kåñëa-pade haya premodaya

“The first result of offenseless (shuddha-nama) chanting is that one’s sins are eradicated. As one continues chanting shuddha nama, one eventually attains Krishna prema.”

Comment: Here Sri Haridasa Thakura introduces shuddha nama, the stage after the offensive stage. This verse describes shuddha nama, which means chanting Krishna’s name without offenses. For devotees there are only TWO STAGES IN CHANTING: with offenses or without offenses, aka aparadha-nama and shuddha-nama.

In his comment on Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.14, Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti says for a devotee there are only two stages in chanting Krishna nama: offensive and offenseless i.e. aparadha-nama and shuddha nama.

When a devotee BEGINS to chant shuddha nama, it brings the result of destroying all sins. As one continues to chant SHUDDHA NAMA, one will progress through the stages of nistha, ruci, bhava and on to Krishna prema which will appear in his heart as the culmination of shuddha nama chanting.

May all devotees avoid the ten offenses to Sri Harinama, chant shuddha-nama, and quickly progress to the nectar sweet ocean of Krishna prema!

Namacharya Sri Haridasa Thakura ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Many devotees misunderstand the second offense in chanting Krishna’s Holy Name, and thus make nama-aparadha which blocks their spiritual progress.

The Second Offense:

shivasya sri vishnor ya iha guna namadi sakalam,

dhiya bhinnam pashyed sa khalu hari-namahita-karah

(Padma Puräëa, Brahma-khaëòa 25.15)

Translations:

  1. BBT (Nectar of Devotion):

“To consider the names of demigods like Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma to be equal to or independent of the name of Lord Vishnu.”

  1. BBT (Brhad-bhagavatamrta)

“One who sees differences between any of Lord Shiva’s qualities and names and those of Sri Vishnu is an antagonist [offender] to hari-nama.” (BB 1.2.86 tika)

  1. Srila Sanatana Goswamipada

“If one even thinks that Shiva’s names, forms, qualities and pastimes are different from those of Sri Vishnu, he commits a serious offence against the holy name.” (Hari-bhakti Vilasa 11.152 tika)

  1. Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

“One who considers the qualities, names and other attributes of Lord Shiva to be different from those of Vishnu commits a serious offence.” (Siksastaka 2 tika)

  1. “To see difference (bhinnam pashyed) between the names and qualities of Shiva and Vishnu is an offense (ahita: inimical, antagonistic).”

The above translations (2-5), which are about the same, clearly establish the true meaning of the second offense. If you have misunderstood and are making this offense, we hope you will now adjust your vision, avoid this offense, and begin chanting the pure Holy Names of Sri Krishna, shuddha harinama.

May all confusion rest with the establishment of truth. And may all see the harmony within the myriad of transcendental forms of the sweet Absolute, Sri Krishna. In an upcoming article, we will discuss the oneness and difference of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

Har Har Mahadeva ki jai! HariHara Bhagavan ki jai!

Shuddha Hari Nama ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!