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
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
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**
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend