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Vishnujana Swami
on chanting

Devotee: Can you give some practical advice as far as chanting kirtan and japa?

 Vishnujana Swami: Kirtan is to be executed constantly.  Lord Chaitanya went through the streets and He invited everyone to join in the sankirtan movement, constantly chanting the holy names of the Lord.  So arrangements should be made for the chanting of the holy names of the Lord to go on in every town and village, constantly.  In every media -- radio, television, etc. -- chanting should be going on, along with nice dancing and feasting.  That's the program.  

Then, as far as japa is concerned, one has to chant personally for his advancement in Krishna Consciousness, 16 rounds daily on his beads.  There are helps in chanting attentively.  One of these helps obviously is simply the beads.  The beads are given to you by the Spiritual Master, and you chant Hare Krishna, paying attention to each bead.  And this vow of chanting attentively, on each bead, this vow impresses the Supreme Lord.  He sees that you are serious, and He gives you realization.  It's that simple.  You chant in regulation and vow; the Supreme Lord sees, "Oh, he is serious.  He's keeping his vow," and then He gives you realization. If you don't chant attentively, if you don't, you're thinking of making the 10 kinds of offenses while chanting, then the Lord will see that you're desiring something else. After all, you can't fool Him -- He's livin g right there within your heart.  He knows your desire before you even speak or think.  So, if while you're chanting you're committing offenses, thinking of sense gratification, being attached to material objects, then the Lord will know what you really want, and therefore you won't feel the bliss of chanting offenselessly.  The Lord won't allow you to feel that, because you are desiring other things.  See, the main thing is to realize that "I'm dealing with Krishna."  That's the main thing. 

That this chanting -- "I'm being with Krishna; therefore I have to be very careful." Krishna can't be fooled like you can fool me.  You can easily fool me, that you are chanting attentively, you see.  That's easy to fool me because my senses are imperfect... [break] ...Actually, if you see me come in the room and you are thinking something nonsense and doing something nonsense, and immediately you feel ashamed, actually you should feel that way twenty-four hours a day, because Krishna is always there, witnessing.  You know how it is that you'll be doing some nonsense and you're thinking that no one is watching.  "No one knows what I am thinking."  But as soon as your godbrother comes in and suspects you, then immediately you feel ashamed, "Oh, I'm doing something which is not good."  Now, the difficulty here is that you don't realize that it's not good for you.  It's not that you're offending me; you're hurting yourself -- this is what they don't understand, you see. This means that he doesn't understand that he's hurting himself.  So herein lies a great difficulty: there's a blind spot in our consciousness, that we don't know that our actions are directly harming our development in Krishna Consciousness, if we're not humble in dealing with Krishna at every moment. We don't understand that.  We don't give that value, you see, we think we're simply socially existing. That if I do some offense, then my godbrother will criticize me and I have to bear his criticism. 

No. You're hurting yourself for not realizing that you're dealing with Krishna. That is the worse suffering.  That's the worst illusion, you see.  Therefore japa is meant as an individual practice of Krishna Consciousness. So that for some time, at least two hours during the day, you stop socially dealing. You understand? You stop socially dealing and you realize that "I am dealing with Krishna." If I make offense in thought, well here's the holy name right on my lips; the Lord is right there, and He is witnessing.  You can easily fool me as we're going through the day's activities, if you're looking lustfully on a girl or this or that.  That's easy, you see, and if I catch you, you can feel that "Oh, Vishnujana has caught me," or this or that. But the difficulty is that you don't realize that you're dealing with Krishna. Therefore one of the beautiful aspects of japa is it forces you to realize that "When no one else is around, and I'm chanting Hare Krishna, I'm dealing with Krishna." And, "Unless I do it properly, then I'm being offensive to the Lord."  There's no one else to hurt but me. I can't hurt Vishnujana, I can't hurt this one, I can't hurt that one, you see.  I can't offend them, all I can do is offend God and myself.  Therefore, this solitary chanting of japa is also recommended.  Japa is done individually.  Sometimes I see devotees, they have a collective japa class.  No, japa means individually, we are chanting, for two hours.  So try to utilize that time, scrutinizingly... 

Bhagavad-gita Class 4.36 - St. Louis, Missouri -- March 27, 1973

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