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Moment to Moment
We may be able to reach a general condition of sanity by which we control our mind from telling us to commit sinful and deviant acts. And yet we find ourselves unable to control the mind on a minute-to-minute basis. We are able to control ourselves so that we desire to spend the day in devotional service, without serious doubts about the philosophy and without schemes for illicit sex. In that sense we have a resolved intelligence. But from moment to moment we remain distracted. When we chant japa, we cannot concentrate on the sound of the mantra. When we go before the Deity for darsana, our eyes see the divine form, but our mind drags us all over the universe. By the time darsana is over, we realize that we have not been able to concentrate at all on the lotus feet of the Lord. This is an unfortunate stage in which a devotee may go through bona fide activities one after another in a mechanical way, without absorption in devotional service.
Devotees sometimes complain that they find tha morning program, which consists mostly of singing Sanskrit slokas, to be boring. One way to engage the mind during these activities is to be more aware of the meaning of the bhajanas. This will help us in chanting the maha-mantra, and also in viewing the Deity. For example, at mangala-arati, devotees sing "Gurvastaka," which consists of praises to the spiritual master. This bhajana creates a very specific mood of worship. Each verse tells how the guru guides the disciples—in klrtana, Deity worship, offering of prasadam, and so on. After singing "Gurvastaka," we sing the prayers to Nrsirhhadeva, which are quite different from the prayers to the spiritual master. We ask the half-lion, half-man incarnation of the Lord for protection against the demons. Immediately after that we sing an astounding bhajana to the tulasl plant. In this song we seek to become assistants of the gopis in the lila of Radha and Krsna in Goloka. If we say each of these prayers as if they are all in the same mood, this is because we do not pay attention to the words. But if we become familiar with the translations, then even if we cannot think in terms of Sanskrit grammar, the meaning of the words will strike at us. If we focus on the meaning of sri-radha-govinda-preme sada jena bhasi, and think of Radha and Govinda and of being Their servants—and if we feel when we sing mahaprabhoh klrtana-nrtya-glta, which tells of the guru's ecstasy in leading us in hari nama—and if we think of the next verse, sri-vi-grahara . . . which describes how the spiritual master leads us in worshiping the Deity—then we will find ourselves engaged in transcendental meditation on many sublime aspects of devotional life. By thinking of the words as we recite them, we will feel more enlivened and not be bored. This is a good tactic for training the mind, which, when left to its own devices, becomes stronger and stronger in rascaldom.