Constantly chanting

13177750_10208391170194310_732364206427738780_nI was introduced to Krishna consciousness when I was 17, and got into it immediately. I quickly understood one was supposed to chant all the time – literally. I was new – I was pumped with enthusiasm and I was blissfully unaware and ignorant of what spiritual life really was.

I tried to chant, but was not good at it. I tried to remember to always chant, but I was completely unable to do so. I didn’t understand that I had no qualification to chant much and I couldn’t understand why it didn’t happen. So in the end, I got upset with Krishna and told him in no uncertain terms that I should be chanting the maha mantra mentally, continuosly, without stop.

……….. and I was heard.

It’s such a long time ago, but I think in the beginning I was pleased. My mind was chanting the maha-mantra on it’s own. My mind was taken over by this process which kept on chanting. It took over all my capacity. Sure, I was able to do things, but the mantra was shouting in my head, not letting me go. The hours past, a day went by. I don’t know how long I lasted.

In the end I was exhausted. I wanted my mind back. The mantra was so loud in my mind, it didn’t let me think of other stuff, it left no room for other things than the mantra. I ended up praying to Krishna to please take the mantra away. I couldn’t take it anymore.

…. and the mantra let go of me. I sighed in relief. It was finally quiet in my mind again. Now I could fill the mind with whatever I wanted.

Years went past. I had similar experiences without me needing to ask for it. The mantra came into my mind and lodged itself there.

At some point I recognized that something new had happened – that the mantra had spawned off as it’s own process in my mind. I could be doing something, thinking on whatever – and suddenly realize that I was chanting. The chanting process was working on me even if I had completely forgotten it and been focusing on something else for a long time. Then a moment of recognition came when I realize that the mantra was still doing it’s work.

But I still had the same experience, the mantra at some point exhausted me and I had to ask it to please leave. At some point even though the mantra may have been soft, it felt like it was shouting in my mind and I just wanted some peace of mind.

More years went by, and I haven’t really paid much attention to this mantra process and it has been taking a back burner. Though, it have been as recently as this year that I still had to ask the mantra to leave me.

But I have also not been satisfied with my japa efforts. I have tried to get back in the saddle and do well for a small amount of time. Then I accepted that I’m not in a place where sitting down to do japa is what I need to do now.

So what was left?

I haven’t consistently chanted 16 rounds of japa for years and years. But then the thought struck me – if I just keep on chanting in my mind all day long – what is the need for sitting down to do japa?

I remembered all my failures at mentally chanting. Then I thought that it didn’t matter anymore.

So I began to chant mentally. This time I had to work on the mantra. It didn’t come to me and lodged itself in my mind. But the mantra was soft, a nice whisper in my mind and as I was going about my day, the mantra was with me. Sometimes I got so immersed into what I was doing that I forgot the mantra. Then I just began the process again.

Sometimes I was immersed in my activities, only to realize that the mantra process was still there without me even “hearing” it.

Then the moment came, where the mantra was so loud in my mind. It was shouting and it made me tired. But this time I had a plan on how to deal with it: I asked Gurudeva and Krishna to please soften the mantra in my mind. I didn’t want to loose it, just that it took a little less space.

…….. and I was heard.

This has been going on for a week now I think. I don’t count the days, because this is of no effort to me. Only once have I needed to ask the mantra to please soften.

It doesn’t feel intruding anymore – instead its soft, quiet, calm. It gives me space. It keeps with me, it leaves me. I just chant and get it back on track when I notice it. Hours turns into days.

And somehow my qualification to chant continously took twenty years. Anything worth doing requires a lot of time and troubleshooting to get qualified. It requires that we recognize our limitations and work within them. And when we see our limitations and start to think of how we can move around them – that’s when the breakthrough comes.

Is there room for all rasas in the Gaudiya Lineage?

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Whenever somebody (isckon) had a statement to show that Narayana Majaraja (Gurudeva) preached something different from Srila Prabhupada, Gurudeva refuted it. There is even a book which lists the different misconceptions and refutations: Our Gurus: One in siddhanta, one in heart. Very good examples of misconceptions is that one couldn’t speak about the pasttimes of manjaris and whether the jivas fell from vaikuntha or the tatastha region.

The speciality that Gurudeva came to give us was the manjari mood. Nobody had spoken openly about this until Gurudeva received the blessing to do so. It wasn’t forbidden, just hidden.

That Gurudeva had to clear up some misconceptions after Srila Prabhupadas disappearance was to be expected. So isn’t it to be expected that there will be some weeds that needs to be cleared after Gurudevas disappearance as well? The devotees may have matured in their understanding, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t things to deal with.

The belief that the Gaudiya lineage can only contain those in manjari mood seem to be one of the weeds that have grown. There is two misconceptions that are linked: Caitanya Mahaprabhu only came to give the manjari mood and that one can only be a rupanuga if you follow Rupa Goswamis mood.

yuga-dharma pravartāimu nāma-saṅkīrtana
cāri bhāva-bhakti diyā nācāmu bhuvana

I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age, nama-sankirtana. I shall distribute the four mellows of devotional service (dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya).

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 3.19

Caitanya Mahaprabhu had external and internal reasons to manifest himself. One of the internal reasons was to taste the manjari mood (and more specifically Srimati Radhikas moods). So can only those who follow the inner mood of Mahaprabhu be a follower of him?

Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 3.19 refutes this. Mahaprabhu came to distribute the four rasas to everybody, but He Himself relished the madhurya mood. So do you have to only follow Mahaprabhus moods to be a follower of His teachings? Of course not, the verse refutes this.

The same thing with who can be called a rupanuga. You don’t have to follow Rupa Goswamis moods to be a follower of His teachings. His book “Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu” delineates how to go from the lowest stage of bhakti until prema. If you have a mood different from manjari, you can still follow the stages Rupa Goswami has described, and therefore follow his teachings.

It would be strange of our Parampara could only consist of manjaris. That there is a predominance of manjaris in the parampara is without question, but if it only could be manjaris – where would the other rasas go?

The spiritual world supports all the rasas and somehow they even manage to cooperate to serve Krishna. But in this world we have to create a distinct line between the rasas without cooperation? The different rasas have to have different lineages? It doesn’t make sense.

There are four different recognized sampradayas:

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Nowhere is there a lineage below the Brahma sampradaya that says that each rasa has their own lineage. There may be certain villages and biological families that have a predominance of a certain mood, but that doesn’t make them a lineage in their own right. The community and village of Saptagrama were especially blessed by Nityananda Prabhu (from O My Friend).

Even the origin of our sampradaya and creation (Lord Brahma) is in sakhya-rasa.

Narada is a bit of a special case, but he is identified with Madhumangala-sakha. As Narada he is in dasya-rasa, but Krishna also had Narada experience madhurya-rasa as Naradiya Gopi.

Vyasadeva appears in Gaura lila as Vrindavan Das Thakura who also had the cowherd boy Kusumapida inside of him.

Sukadeva who is in dasya mood, but somehow still was given the empowerment to speak Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Let’s entertain the thought that Nityananda manifested himself now – in 2016. The same Nityananda that we perform artik to with Gauranga. Nityananda is steeped in sakhya bhava. Would we say to him: “I’m sorry. You are in sakhya bhava, so you can’t possibly be in our Guru parampara. You have to go to your own lineage.”

Why would we limit Nityananda so? Are we afraid that if our mood is madhurya, that Nityananda can’t give it to us? Do we think that Nityananda can’t arrange the madhurya mood to manifest in us? There is no need to create boundaries for what siddha-dehas can do, they are expert at arranging Krishnas pastimes. They are probably expert at “arranging” us conditioned beings as well.

It becomes doubly laughable, because who is the original spiritual master? Nityananda who is the first direct manifestation of Balarama. To say he isn’t in our Guru parampara because he has sakhya bhava is apasiddhanta.

I would happily receive guidance from a pure devotee in another mood than mine, and I will have no doubts that he will be able to arrange the blossoming of madhurya mood in somebody else. I would even go so far and say that (S)He is in the Gaudiya Lineage. It’s not so far fetched really.

Interlude

I don’t like myself right now. I don’t like this person.

I don’t like that I’m not working on my sadhana. I don’t like that I’m not working on progressing spiritually. Sure, I’m staying connected, even if it means just one maha-mantra a day, but there is no realizations. Nothing. This is not the person that I am.

My faith is the most beautiful about me, and its not even mine. It was given to me by gurudeva. This faith is still there, shining so very brightly. Still I’m so out of touch with it.

I miss being a devotee. I really need to be under Didis guidance and supervision right now.

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to be under guidance. Sometimes we become lost and we need a little help on the way.