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64 rounds and Chanting Realizations
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! All glories to Shrila Prabhupada and all Vaishnavas. Please accept my humble obeisances and blessings. I pray that this meets you well and in the service/mercy of Shri Guru and Shri Gauranga.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain a little of how I am able to attain daily the chanting of 100,000 Holy Names, of which is purely by the supreme mercy of Shri Nityananda Prabhuji.
As I thought on this, I came to realize that my own personal condition is unique in that this body has become sick and ill by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Shri Nityananda Prabhu is so merciful to me that He has given me every opportunity to chant the Holy Names with little distraction caused to most living entities in this material world. But, even though this body is sick, the first qualification of chanting the Holy Names is "desire" to do so. One must possess within their hearts the desire to offer up to the Lord the time required to chant PROPERLY the Holy Names.
While I have chanted the Holy Names for many years, it was not until I came into the pure association of Shrila Gaurangapada and his most sublime teachings that the true desire to chant the Holy Names entered my heart. In his unlimited mercy, he sent to me his book "Maha-Mantra Yoga" which completely explained to my poor unintelligent mind the true importance of chanting, and the proper method of chanting. I believe that this desire was awoken by Shrila Gaurangapada for several reason, but the most important to my soul is stated in the Padma Purana. "Unless one is initiated by a bona fide spiritual master in a bonafide and authentic disciplic succession, the mantra he might have received is without any effect". While I completely follow the teachings of Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I did not receive his pure association nor his pure initiation into the Holy Names, this is where I believe my soul erred. But, this was rectified when I was initiated by Shrila Gaurangapada.
As I have said previously, the "desire" must be there to chant. In studing "Maha-Mantra Yoga", along with the Shri Chaitanya-Bhagavata, my understanding became deeper, and with Shrila Gaurangapada's pure association, became complete. For my own humble desire, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself spoke to my heart through the teachings of Shrila Gaurangapada.
"Prabhu bale-"Jana, 'laksheshvara' bali kare? Prati-dina laksha-nama ye grahana kare". "Do you know who is a laksheshvara? He is someone who chants one laksha or 100,000 Holy Names (64 rounds of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra) everyday."
Shri Gaurasundera balibena--"Jini pratidina laksha-nama grahana karibena, tanharai grihe bhagavan sevita hana." Shri Gaurasundera spoke as follows--"The Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts service only in the home of those who chant one hundred thousand Names daily."
"Jini laksha-nama grahana karena na, tahara nikate haite bhagavan naivedya svikara-dvara seva-saubhagya pradana karena na." "Those who don't chant 100,000 Names (64 rounds) daily, are never awared the great fortune of rendering service to the Lord by offering Him naivedya (bhoga). This is because the Lord never accepts (svikara) their offerings."
The chanting of 100,000 Holy Names daily is an order directly from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, so how can we deny or refuse His demand. In my own humble case, I desire the Lord's personal association, so to have my hearts desire, I had to make the effort to chant the prescribed number of rounds daily. At first this was most difficult because of my health condition, and living in the most materialistic country in the world. I had to make a conscious decision to forsake all that this society I took this birth in, and its demands and replace these expectations with the desire for the Lord's association. I was not called by the Lord to satisfy society of man, but to satisfy the Lord in every endeavor, and to do this, I had to make the decision to chant as ordered by the Lord Himself.
First, one must look at one's daily routine. What is it that you do daily? Where is your time spent? Is your time spent wisely, or is it foolishly waisted? What are your persuites? What are you chasing in this world? If you are a house holder, then you will have to make the decision to tailor your materialistic persuites (making a living, family, society) with your spiritual persuites. But, I will tell you, your spiritual life MUST have presidence over your materialistic life. You must put the Lord first.
Love not sleep, for this is your greatest enemy. You naturally know how much sleep you require to function properly. Unless you have a medical condition where your body requires more sleep for its maintainence, then you need no more than six hours daily. If you are eating properly, following the four regulative principles, then you do not require above six hours of sleep.
Set your priorities. The Lord must be your first priority, nothing else. If you desire Him, then He will come to you. Its just that simple. If you desire His association, then you will find the time to spend with him. Look to your daily routine, what are you waisting time on? Television? Materialistic books? The opposite sex? Just sitting around in a vegitative state stareing at the wall with nothing logical passing through your mind? (the cat effect) You must be active both physically and mentally, so if you are not, then you will have to train your mind to be active to properly chant the Holy Names.
If you have several hours a day that are spiritually non-productive, then this is the time that you should be chanting the Holy Names. I rise at 3:00 am, take care of this bodies necessities, shower and pray. Then I go to my temple room and greet the Deities. Then I sit quietly and chant the Holy Names. I usually enter the Temple Room by 3:30, and will sit and chant until around 5:30AM. This has given me two hours of complete silence to chant before the world around me awakens. I will do mangal arati and read until about 6:30, then I prepare a small prasadam. After I have cleaned up from morning prasadam, I will again chant from 8:00 until around 10, so before 10AM, I have chanted around 4 hours.
In the afternoon, around 12:30, I will chant again for approximately 2 hours, so this has given me 6 hours of chanting time, inwhich time I have completed atleast 64 rounds.
You must understand, that there are days that my schedule is erratic due to medical appointments and also the time I spend on the internet answering emails. But, chanting a minimum of 64 rounds daily is my very first priority. If you truly desire to chant one laksha, then you will set aside the time to do so.
If you honestly look at how you spend your time, then you will realize how much time you waist daily on materialistic persuits. This is the time that you can use wisely in chanting the Holy Names. As you chant, things will simplify themselves and fall into place on their own accord. Life will simplify, but not at first, because Maya Devi will come calling and do everything She can to cause you to quit. If you stay with it, then Maya Devi will assit you, and will line everything up so that you can chant.
I pray that this helps in your understanding. If you have any questions, or need assistance, please feel free to contact me.
Your eternal servant;