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The Living Name (A Guide to Chanting with Absorption)

The Living Name (A Guide to Chanting with Absorption)
Item Code: NAV121
Author: Sacinandana Swami
Publisher: Saranagati Publications
Language: English
Edition: 2018
Pages: 204 (20 Colored Illustrations)
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.56 kg
About the Book

Just as the five life airs animate the body with life, the five powerful practices in The Living Name can enliven the chanting of the Holy Name and turn it into a dynamic and transformative experience.

In this guidebook one will first learn how to align body, mind and heart (yojana) to overcome distraction and thus embark on the path of full absorption. From here chanting in deep connection (sambandha) can be easily practiced, which brings one to the essence of bhakti: chanting in the mood of service (seva). Hereafter, one learns to imbibe their chanting with the right mood (vipralambha) and with surrender (saranagati). The chanter can either go systematically through these five practices or apply whichever he feels attracted to.

The Living Name has been churned from the teachings of our great acaryas, sacred sastra and the experiences of exalted sadhus. The result is a comprehensive guidebook that takes you to the heart of the most accessible form of the Lord – His Holy Name.


For the past fifteen years there has been an ever-growing demand for retreats, events, seminars and workshops related to chanting the Holy Names. Many sincere devotees have developed their chanting practice and benefitted from sharing their realisations with others. I myself have been invited by various devotional communities all around the world to facilitate Holy Name retreats. I have sometimes given up to ten such retreats in a year (in addition to my other projects), making the airports of the world my second home.

Why is there such a demand for Holy Name events? The reason is that devotees, and more and more lay people, are looking for a real and tangible transformational experience which helps them to attain new levels of spiritual life. They have seen this is possible through chanting the Divine Names. Thus, they wish to learn how to chant properly because otherwise they face two major stumbling blocks:

1) a gap between their aspirations and where they stand at present

2) the trap of mechanical practice with no or very little experience of the ‘aliveness’ of true Krsna consciousness.

Most of us don’t live the spiritual lives we want to live. We experience only a tiny portion of what our possibilities are. When we hear that chanting bestows the highest goal — love of Godhead — we become inspired! But when we realise how far away we are from that goal we often lose our initial enthusiasm and our japa or kirtana becomes something we do only out of duty. Thus when we chant it’s by rote rather than feeling. Moreover, ever so subtly, we begin to lose hope that attaining our spiritual goal is even possible. As a result, we seek material things, which we try to justify or hide, so that there is at least a bit of excitement in our lives!

But it is possible for us to close the gap between imperfection and perfection! It is possible to exit the hamster wheel of mechanical chanting! And it is possible for us to become self-realised souls fully alive in Krsna consciousness. Truly!

The one thing that dramatically changes everything — the switch that turns on the light — is chanting the Holy Name with taste and devotion. This book is my humble attempt to help practitioners do this and gain genuine spiritual realisation.

Thus, this book is meant to be experiential. If read with the intention to apply its insight, it will, undoubtedly, give rise to new experiences. The timeless practices introduced here will work for you just as they have done for countless persons to date.

Use this book as a tool to introspect, ask questions and adopt a fresh perspective and practice. From wherever you are, you will need to leave something behind and take up something new in order to reach the next stage.

I would like to add that if you actually take these teachings to heart much more will happen than just improving your practice: your contact with Krsna will increase from moment to moment. It all begins with the conscious moments in our japa and kirtana. Then, more and more during the rest of the day Krsna becomes present in your life and nectar seeps in. The ideal is that we chant and sing the maha-mantra throughout the day just because we appreciate it so much! We don’t want to stop nor can we. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu famously said, ‘While you eat, while you're awake, and while you sleep, only utter Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna."!

We want to become completely absorbed in Krsna through chanting with taste. This is pure Krsna consciousness. Mahaprabhu has praised chanting as the parama upaya, the highest and most feasible means to attain love of Godhead. Our goal is reached when the Holy Name takes us to the spiritual platform, never to return. On this platform, our consciousness is suddha — pure, buddha — awakened, and mukta — freed from maya’s illusions. Arjuna is called Gudakesa, the conqueror of sleep, because even in his sleep he chants Krsna, Krsna, Krsna. He always has the Holy Name in his mind and on his tongue, and this happens when Krsna bestows the blessings of pure Krsna consciousness. This marks the end of material existence and the beginning of an eternal life full of bliss and knowledge!

I observed something similar in my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, when he visited us in Germany in 1974. I was interested to find out what he did in his private time. How did he act behind closed doors?

On a day when I knew he was taking a short nap, I scaled the wall of the old castle where we were all staying and climbed onto the balcony. The window to Srila Prabhupada’s quarters was half open, and he was lying on his bed — his face turned in my direction. His eyes were closed. He was clearly asleep... but his lips were moving!

My breath stopped when I heard him softly chanting ‘Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna’ on and on. I could not believe my ears and eyes: he was chanting in his sleep! In breathless suspense I listened for some time. Then all of a sudden one eye opened and sent a very bright, clear glance in my direction, saying ‘Your time is up!’ I bowed down quickly and scurried away.

The next day Srila Prabhupada told a guest: ‘I have not come to teach you philosophy. I have come simply to ask you to chant, purify your consciousness and realise your spiritual position.’ He seemed to indicate that one can come quite quickly to this level.

Perhaps the greatest discovery in my own life was when I became aware that the Absolute Truth is not an ‘it’ (an object) but a He — a subject, a person. That changed everything. He thinks, feels and wills in unlimited ways and everything He wills is immediately fulfilled by one of His many energies without any difficulty. He is thus very much alive!

Of all Krsna’s various energies, one reigns supreme: His krpda-sahti, mercy-energy. Out of love, Krsna comes to this world in the form of His Holy Name, making Himself easily accessible to even conditioned souls. Let us joyfully join the great saints and the sacred Vedas and welcome Him again and again with a full arati ceremony. Let us bow down and worship His lotus feet by chanting His Name with affectionate respect. Let us hope that He will be pleased to intensify our attachment to Him.

Connecting to Krsna, relating to His Holy Name as a person, and recognising our chanting as a necessary practice, will make all the difference. Your chanting will be infused with life. Thus, you will meet the titled personality of this book: the Living Name.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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