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To Be Inattentive While Chanting the Holy Name
"To be inattentive while chanting the holy name."*
1. Glory, glory to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu! Glory to His devotees. It is by Lord Chaitanya's mercy that I chant the holy names.
The Offense of Inattention
2-3. Haridasa said, "O Lord, to Sanatana Gosvami, (1) and, while travling in the South, to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami You taught that one should not be inattentive in worshiping Lord Krishna. Inattention is counted as an offense.
4. "Avoiding the other offenses one may regularly chant the holy name and still not attain pure love (prema) for the holy name.
5. "I know this offense as pramada (inattention). It blocks the attainment of pure devotional love (prema-bhakti).
Inattention Is Called "Pramada"
6. "The root meaning of `pramada' is `inattention'. O Lord, from inattention all anarthas come.
Three Kinds of Inattention
7. "The wise say indifference, inertia, and distraction are the three kinds of inattention. (2)
As Long as One Has Not Yet Attained Anuraga (Attraction) One Must Chant the Holy Name Very Carefully
8. "If a certain spirit soul by some good fortune chants Lord Krishna's holy name, that soul should carefully chant a prescribed number of holy names. Then attraction for the holy name will arise within him. (3)
9. "As long as that attraction has not yet arisen, he should always chant the holy name very carefully.
The Aspiring Devotee Should Carefully Make His Mind Steady
10. "Everyone is naturally attracted to material sense objects. When one remembers them, one becomes attracted to sense objects. (4)
11. "Attrcated to other things, one may become indifferent to the holy name. Chanting japa every day, one will still not make his thoughts become plunged in the holy name.
12. "His thoughts will be in one direction, and the holy name will be in another direction. How can that person attain the auspiciousness that is the abode of all that is good?
13. "Even though he chants a lakh (100,000, or 64 rounds) of holy names on his beads, not a single drop of the holy name's nectar or a sing jewel of the many jewels of the holy name's glories will fall into his heart.
14. "O Lord, in this kind of inattention it is very difficult to stop the heart from being attracted to material sense objects.
One Must Be Careful
15. "By associating with devotees one quickly becomes free of material desires. The fault of material desire destroyed, one then may chant the holy name in a secluded place. (5)
16. "Gradualy, gradually the mind become fixed on the holy name. Then one is always intoxicated by tasting the nectar of the holy name.
17-18. "Staying near Tulasi-devi, staying in a holy place of Lord Krishna's pastimes, associating with the saintly devotees, and following the example of the great saints, (6) one gradually spends more and more time thinking of the holy name. Very soon one abandons thinking of material sense objects.
Another Way. In This Way There Is No Inattention Caused by Indifference
19. "Or, living in a secluded place, remembering the holy name, acting in a saintly way, and controlling the senses, one may fix his mind on the holy name. (7)
20. "Quickly one attains first faith and then gradually attraction to the holy name. Gradually the fault of indifference is destroyed.
The Nature of Inattention Created by Inertia
21. "When the mind becomes lazy one may be inattentive because of inertia. Because of that one will not be attracted while chanting the holy name.
22. "At the time of remembering the holy name one will try to finish quickly. Because of this fault the nectar of the holy name will not be manifested.
23-24. "One who does not waste time in useless activities, who associates with saintly devotees, and moment after moment remembers the holy name (8) will find himself plunged into nectar as he remembers the holy name. He will not desire anything else. In this way, in the association of devotees, this fault will go away.
25. "If one seeks out saintly devotees and follows them, then he will defeat the fault of inertia in the heart. (9)
26. "Saintly devotees naturally do not like to waste time in useless things. Observing their actions, the follower will certainly become attracted to the holy name.
27. "In this way his heart will become like theirs. He will become like the saintly devotees. He will always remember and chant the holy name. He will become fortunate.
28. "Throwing inertia and laziness of heart far away, he will be eager to remember Lord Krishna's holy name.
29. "In his heart he will decide to chant. Today he will chant one lakh (100,000 names or 64 rounds) of holy names. Then gradually he will chant three lakhas (300,000 names or 192 rounds) of holy names.
30. "In his heart he becomes determined to chant. He chants a fixed number of holy names. By the saintly devotees' mercy his inertia soon goes away.
The Nature of Inattention Caused by Distraction
31. "Inattention also comes from distraction. With a great struggle this offense is destroyed.
32. "Desires for gold, women, victory, and the defeat of others, the desire for fame, and the tendency to cheat others all are the home where this offense resides. (10)
33. "When the attraction for all these arises in the heart, (11) one is naturally inattentive to the holy name.
How To Become Free of Distractions
34. "Gradually, gradually one strives to remove these distracting thoughts. Then one acts like a Vaishava. Then one becomes fortunate. (12)
35. "First, on the the days sacred to Lord Krishna one, renouncing even the thought of food (13), day and night worships the holy name in the association of saintly devotees.
36. "Then one stays in a place sacred to Lord Krishna. One associates with Lord Krishna's servants and reads Lord Krishna's scriptures. (14) On holy days one becomes plunged in bliss without shyness.
37. "Gradually the mind spends more and more time rapt in devotional service. When there is talk about Lord Krishna, the mind dives into a festival of bliss.
38. "Gradually the sweetest nectar rises in the heart. Then one certainly renounces the inferior taste of material things.
39. "Hearing the topics of Lord Krishna from a saintly devotee's mouth, one becomes intoxicated, tasting sweet nectar with his ears and heart.
40. "When the hankering for material sense pleasures, pleasures that are very inferior, goes, the heart becomes always fixed in chanting the holy name.
41. "With a great struggle in this way one becomes free from inattention. With a steady mind one is then always plunged in the nectar of the holy name.
42. "One should not lack enthusiasm to chant hiss prescribed number of holy names. Again and again one should fix his gaze on the holy name. (15)
43. "One should very carefully perfom one's chanting of the holy name. Turning away from inattention, one should worship the holy name.
44. "Turning away from the desire to artifically increase the number of holy names chanted, (16) with single-pointed mind one should regularly chant, by Your mercy, Your holy names, O Lord.
45. "O Lord, please give Your mercy, so that inattention will be an obstacle for me and my heart may always taste the nectar of Your holy name.
46. "For a few moments in a secluded place the devotees practice remembering the holy name with a single mind.
47. "Soon the heart becomes attached to the holy name. Then one chants always. O Lord, before Your feet I pray that I may become attached in that way.
48. "Even with the greatest struggle no one can escape this world of birth and death without Your mercy, O Lord. (17)
One Must Make a Great Effort. One Must Chant the Holy Name Sincerely, Without the Desire To Cheat. One Must Not Commit the Offenses
49. "One must make an effort and with an earnest heart one should beg for mercy. O merciful Lord, then You will give Your mercy.
50. "O Lord Chaitanya, if I make no effort to attain Your mercy, I will only remain unfortunate." (18)
51. This person, who now decorates himself with the cintamani jewel of Lord Krishna's holy name, has great faith in Haridasa's feet.
Chapter Twelve Footnotes by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
(1) Lord Chaitanya said to Sanatana Gosvami (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya 22.134):
eka anga sadhe keha sadhe bahu anga
nishtha hoile upajaya premera taranga
"When one is firmly fixed in devotional service, whether he executes one or many processes of devotional service, the waves of love of Godhead will awaken."*
First one should abandon pramada, or inattention. Then faith in the practice (sadhana) of devotional service will take birth within one.
(2) Indifference to devotional service means a lack of faith, inertia means laziness, and distraction means the mind dwelling on other things.
(3) On should chant a fixed number of holy names on his tulasi beads. Gradually the number may be increased.
(4) The "sense objects" here are sense objects that are not related to Krishna.
(5) At first one may act in this way for a half hour, beginning his chanting of the holy name in a secluded place in the association of devotees. Seeing the devotees' saintly nature, one gradually acts as they do. In this way one abandons his indifference and desires to engage in devotional service.
(6) "Following the example of great saints" means "the example of past saints rapt in the bliss of devotional service (bhajanananda)". In the beginning one chants the holy name for half an hour. Gradually the chanting is increased to an hour. Then gradually the chanting is increased to two hours. Then gradually the chanting is increased to 100,000 holy names (64 rounds), and then it is gradually increased to 300,000 holy names (192 rounds).
(7) "Controlling the senses" may mean living as an ascetic in a secluded cottage, or it may even mean covering the eyes, ears, and nose with a cloth.
(8) A saintly devotee does not waste time. This one should follow.
(9) A pure devotee (vishuddha-sadhu-bhakta) is very rare and difficult to find. Searching in place after place one will eventually be able to associate with such a pure devotee.
(10) These things are the home where inattention resides.
(11) "Attraction" means "being drawn toward".
(12) "Strives" means "to make an effort".
(13) The "days sacred to Lord Krishna" are ekadashi, Janmashtami, and other like days.
(14) Places sacred to Lord Krishna are places like Shri Navadvipa, Vrindavana, Jagannatha Puri, and other like holy places. Lord Krishna's servants are the pure Vaishnavas who follow Shrila Rupa Gosvami. Lord Krishna's scriptures are the Vedas, Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and all books that follow the true Vaishnava philosophy.
(15) A person who os inattentive will want to very quickly finish his prescribed number of holy names. One should not be unenthusiastic in this way. Again and again one must make a great effort to fix one's gaze on the holy name.
(16) "I will increase the number of holy names I chant". First one should strive to chant the syllables of the holy name clearly and one should strive to chant the holy name with love. Effort in that direction is appropriate.
(17) Even if he is completely free of inattention in his chanting of the holy name, the individual soul cannot attain anything merely by his own endeavor. "O Lord, Your mercy makes everything easy. Therefore I approach You and with heartfelt words I beg for Your mercy. " In this way one must pray.
(18) By his own effort and with his own intelligence one cannot on his own engage in devotional service to the Lord. He has no power in this way to attain the true results brought by devotional service. Lord Krishna's mercy is the root from which all this comes. Therefore a person who does not strive to attain Lord Krishna's mercy is very unfortunate.
The conclusion of this chapter is that one should chant the holy name with single-pointed concentration of the mind. Lord Chaitanya taught this in these words (Shri Chaitanya-bhagavata Madhya 23.75-78):
apane sabare prabhu kore upadesha
krishna-nama maha-mantra shunaha harishe
"Lord Chaitanya personally taught them: `Please happily hear from Me the maha-mantra of Lord Krishna's names. It is:
hare krishna hare krishna
krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama
rama rama hare hare
" `Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.'
prabhu bolr hari-nama ei maha-mantra
iha japa giya sabe koriya nirbandha
"The Lord said: `Regularly chant japa of this maha-mantra.
iha hoite sarba-siddhi hoibe sabar
sarba-khana bolo ithe bidhi nahi ar
"In this way you will attain all perfections. Chant at any time and in any circumstance. There are no other rules for chanting.' "
The word "nirbandha" in this passage means that on a string of 108 tulasi beads one should chant japa of these sixteen holy names that total 32 syllables. Four times around this string of beads (four rounds) is called one grantha. One should begin by chanting one grantha and gradually increase until one chants 16 granthas (64 rounds), or 100,000 holy names. Gradually one may increase to chant 300,000 holy names (192 rounds). In this way one will spend all his time chanting. Following the teaching of the past great devotees, one attains all perfections in this way. By chanting the holy name in this way it is possible to attain all perfections. The liberated souls, the souls who yearn for liberation, and the materialists are all eligible to chant the holy name. These are the three kinds of persons who meditate on the holy name. Viraha (separation) and sambhoga (enjoyment) are the two states relished while meditating on the holy name.