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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Swami QnA 2007 > Chanting and seva

Title: Chanting and seva

User: Matus  Date: 2007-06-27 08:02:37

 

Dear Swami Gaurangapada Maharaja,

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

 

Please accept my humble obeisances at Your Lotus Feet.

 

i have noticed a particular trend among many devotees i have met, which i would like to ask You about. It is concerning the seva. i see sometimes devotees engaged in various type of services during the day (quite "in stress"), having finally little amount of time to complete the chanting. They have to chant late till night, hurrily, leaving often some number of round for the next day... i have also to agree that circumstences especially in a temple are like that (due to high standard, etc...) that it requires our intense engagement in various types of services maybe at the cost of lack of time for our chanting. Me personally however, i feel like giving priority to chanting, means i am trying to leave me enough time, not to be in stress while chanting, not to necessarily leave some rounds for the next day.

 

Devotees often state:

To be fully engaged in seva is the most important. No matter of what kind. Even if there is a little time left for chanting, don't worry. One will get mercy and then one's chanting will be nice. Better than be a so-called chanter, who in the name of chanting neglects to engage oneself in outstanding services. Physical engagement will help You to fix Your mind and purify You. Otherwise chanting will be only like a show...

    

So my questions in this connection are:

 

1. What has priority, chanting or other types of "physical" sevas and how does it depends on circumstences?

2. How shall one make a compromise at times where there is a greater amount of other services to be done?

3. To what extent is the physical engagement in service required in order to improve the quality of our chanting?

4. Through what one actually acquires the serving attitude? Does it come through chanting-hearing also?

5. Does Lord Gauranga Krishna actually care what type of service we are performing, or is quality of or surrender the only criterium?

6. What about Shrila Prabhupada and His disciples? i think at that time they were also very much engaged in various types of services.

7. What about devotees not living in a temple, let's say living a married life, and thus not having so much opportunity for engaging oneself in typical temple services? Are they bereft of Lord's mercy because they are engaged in other family duties?

 

Sorry for so many questions. i just want to make the subject matter more clear...  

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Matus

 

Title: Re: Chanting and Seva 8 Questions

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-07-16 21:18:08

 

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Guru Parampara Acharyas! Pranams  and Blessings !

 

 

i have noticed a particular trend among many devotees i have met, which i would like to ask You about. It is concerning the seva. i see sometimes devotees engaged in various type of services during the day (quite "in stress"), having finally little amount of time to complete the chanting.

 

 

Shrila Prabhupada in Shrimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.70 purport:

 

That is the instruction given by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His Shikshashtaka 3. Kirtaniyah sada harih:  he holy name of the Lord should be chanted twenty-four hours daily.?Therefore in this Krishna consciousness movement we request the devotees to chant at least sixteen rounds on their beads daily. Actually one has to chant twenty-four hours daily, just like Thakura Haridasa, who was chanting the Hare Krishna mantra three hundred thousand times daily. Indeed, he had no other business.

 

Shrila Prabhupada in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita Antya-lila 3.137 purport:

 

Surrender is the ultimate instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, but for one who cannot surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, it is better to chant the Hare Krishna mantra constantly, under the instruction of Haridasa Thakura.

 

In our Krishna consciousness movement we are teaching our followers to chant the Hare Krishna mantra continuously on beads. Even those who are not accustomed to this practice are advised to chant at least sixteen rounds on their beads so that they may be trained. Sada means lways.?Haridasa Thakura says, nirantara nama lao: hant the Hare Krishna mantra without stopping./b:ec56b]  One real duty is to surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, but if one is unable to do so, he should adopt this process, as introduced by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His most confidential servant, Namacarya Shrila Haridasa Thakura. This is the way to achieve success in Krishna consciousness.

 

 

1. What has priority, chanting or other types of "physical" sevas and how does it depends on circumstences?

 

 

Kirtana in the form of Chanting, Japa, Sankirtana etc. and Shravana in the form of Reading, Hearing or Viewing Bhakti Videos under the guidance of Shrila Gurudeva are the principle services in Bhajana which ensure our 99% advancement in Bhakti. All other services are done to awaken spiritual taste in the above two main services and performed because we cannot do the above two main services kirtana and shravana constantly due to a lack of spiritual taste.

 

 

2. How shall one make a compromise at times where there is a greater amount of other services to be done?

 

 

One should never compromise on our fixed quota of kirtana and shravana daily on any account, otherwise the whole purpose of performing other services will be lost.

 

 

3. To what extent is the physical engagement in service required in order to improve the quality of our chanting?

 

 

Physical engagement in devotional service purifies our senses and mind to perform Naam Bhajana. But this purification can also be attained directly by constantly chanting and hearing Naam and Katha if one has full faith and surrenders to the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna.

 

 

4. Through what one actually acquires the serving attitude? Does it come through chanting-hearing also?

 

 

Yes, nava-vidha bhakti naama haite haya...All the nine types of devotional services and all devotional qualities are fully present in the Holy Names and can be attained by chanting the Holy Names. In one has that implicit faith in Naam then one does not have to do anything else. Even humility is developed by chanting the Naam with great dedication.

 

 

5. Does Lord Gauranga Krishna actually care what type of service we are performing, or is quality of or surrender the only criterium?

 

 

Lord Gauranga Krishna cares for how much kirtana (chanting), shravana (hearing) and namrata (humility) accompanies our devotional services. One may physically work hard to please the Lord but if there is a lack of or deficiency in chanting, hearing and humility then the Lord is not so pleased and our services may tend towards simply karma. That is why Lord Gauranga rejected everything proposed by Shrila Ramananda Raya as "eho bahya" (this is external) including the varnashrama process until Shrila Ramananda Raya established the hearing and chanting process of the Lord...jivanti sanmukharitam bhavadiya vaartaam...hearing the glories of the Lord from pure devotees.

 

 

6. What about Shrila Prabhupada and His disciples? i think at that time they were also very much engaged in various types of services.

 

 

Shrila Prabhupada engaged the devotees in various services because it was very difficult for them to sit down and chant and hear for a longer time due to their previous rajasic conditioning. He wanted to purify them so that they could gradually come to the stage of chanting and hearing constantly as we learn from the above quotes. Chanting and hearing constantly is also the greatest preaching in this universe because even one devotee who is fully absorbed in the Holy Names and Pastimes can deliver the whole universe. The quality of preaching is also more important than quantity and that comes by our purity which is turn is directly proportional to our absorption in chanting and hearing constantly.

 

 

7. What about devotees not living in a temple, let's say living a married life, and thus not having so much opportunity for engaging oneself in typical temple services? Are they bereft of Lord's mercy because they are engaged in other family duties?

 

 

Again, the Lord's mercy depends solely on how deeply the householder devotees become absorbed in chanting and hearing. If their family duties prevent them from doing that then they loose the chance to make it a grihastha ashrama. Same principle is applicable to renunciants. That is why it is repeatedly stressed in the scriptures that one should remain in the ashrama or situation or status which is most conducive for uninterrupted hearing and chanting the Lord's Holy Names and Glories in pure association. Thank you for your nice questions Matus. Please keep them coming.

 

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

 

Title: Re: Chanting and seva

User: Amiya  Date: 2007-07-16 23:53:10

 

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

Jaya Swami Gaurangapada, your answers are pure nectar. Please accept my humble obeinsances at your lotus feet.

 

"Surrender is the ultimate instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, but for one who cannot surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, it is better to chant the Hare Krishna mantra constantly, under the instruction of Haridasa Thakura."

 

"One real duty is to surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, but if one is unable to do so, he should adopt this process, as introduced by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His most confidential servant, Namacarya Shrila Haridasa Thakura."

 

 

In relation to the above; what is surrender to the Lotus feet of Lord Krishna? What does it entail and why is it so hard for us if it is the natural condition of the soul? Is this Raganuga bhakti? How does one achieve this sponaneous surrender? Who is qualified to do it? What are the hallmarks of this type of surrender? I suppose it is only by the mercy of the naam that it can be achieved by ordinary souls? Does it just mean that the devotee gives up his/her will 100% to that of the Lord? Or is it something more than this? Can one achieve this surrender if one tries really, really hard?

 

Yours truly,

 

Amiya Gauranga dasi.

 

Title: Re: Full Surrender and Constant Chanting

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-07-17 10:21:33

 

 

Jaya Swami Gaurangapada, your answers are pure nectar.

 

 

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Thanks Amiya.

 

 

In relation to the above; what is surrender to the Lotus feet of Lord Krishna? What does it entail and why is it so hard for us if it is the natural condition of the soul? Is this Raganuga bhakti?

 

 

It is even higher than Raganuga Bhakti. It is the siddha or perfected stage which Shrila Prabhupada is mentioning here.

 

Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 8.274

 

sthavara-jangama dekhe, na dekhe tara murti

sarvatra haya nija ista-deva-sphurti

 

"The great advanced and realized devotee, certainly sees everything mobile and immobile, but he does not exactly see their external forms. Rather, everywhere he or she immediately sees the manifest form of His own worshipable Lord (Ishtadeva)."

 

Such an exalted devotee never forgets the Lord Gauranga Krishna even for a moment and thus he or she always is always fully surrendered and in harmony with the Lord's desires.

 

 

How does one achieve this spontaneous surrender? Who is qualified to do it? What are the hallmarks of this type of surrender? I suppose it is only by the mercy of the naam that it can be achieved by ordinary souls?

 

 

I have described the basic hallmark above. The only way to attain this ultimate stage of Sampatti Dashaa or Surrender as described in Hari Naam Chintamani is by the causeless mercy of the Lord and Shrila Gurudeva which in turn can be only attained by constant absorption in Naam Bhajana.

 

 

Does it just mean that the devotee gives up his/her will 100% to that of the Lord? Or is it something more than this? Can one achieve this surrender if one tries really, really hard?

 

 

Yes, even now, the Lord is in 100% control of our lives. So on this ultimate stage of full surrender the devotee simply realizes this fact fully and becomes like an innocent child in the 100% care of his or her mother (the Lord) without any fear of one's own protection. There is no shortcut method to attain this stage and it cannot be attained simply by trying hard or mechanically thinking about it. The causeless mercy needs to descend from above.

 

That is why Shrila Prabhupada is instructing us that the only way to attain this stage is to firmly fix our mind unwaveringly on chanting constantly with deep absorption and patiently wait for the causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga. We should be so determined that we should keep on chanting constantly even if it takes one life or many lives. We should never give up the process of constant chanting in favor of other processes. What are a few lives in exchange to the eternal life we are guaranteed in the spiritual world in the direct association of the Lord and His Associates?

 

And to conclude, the best part is even those great devotees who attain this stage of full surrender and constant remembrance, remain very attached to chanting the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna constantly. So constant chanting is the means as well the final goal.

 

Daaso'smi, Swami Gaurangapada.

 

Title: Re: Chanting and seva

User: Matus  Date: 2007-07-17 20:44:56

 

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

 

Thank You very much Shrila Gaurangapada Gurudeva for Your clear and enlightening answers. Now everything is much clearer to me. Please accept my humble obeisances.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Matus