Ancient Vedic texts address the notion that no amount of material accomplishments can deeply satisfy us. Our consciousness has been affected by the material atmosphere, and as we try to exploit resources, we are in fact getting more and more entangled in mundane complexities. Vedic wisdom attributes this condition to a lack of spiritual awareness. The Vedic scriptures share with us that we are all spiritual beings and that we can elevate our consciousness through the chanting of the Holy Name. The Holy Name – chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, is a direct process for purifying our consciousness.
For this reason, it is important for us to spend time working on our internal attitude and motivation for chanting the Holy Name. In this article, we will meditate on a specific practice to help improve and increase our presence while chanting: the practice of affirmations. An affirmation can be explained as a phrase repeated to oneself to start a task with a favorable attitude. Examples include: “I am brave and I can accomplish this task”; “I want to eat healthily and exercise to look after myself”; “I want to practise Krishna Consciousness to my fullest capacity”. Affirmations may help to create a positive mindset in order to achieve a desirable outcome. Saying affirmations out loud and meditating on their core meanings before chanting the Maha-mantra may allow us to further enhance our chanting experience. Select affirmations that may resonate with you and try to meditate on these daily or weekly.
1. I happily and enthusiastically welcome the Holy Name every japa session
Create a positive mood to welcome the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, into your heart, just the way you would welcome a special guest into your home. This can be achieved by reading scriptures, offering prayers, or meditating on what you wish to achieve before chanting the Maha-mantra. In this way, by getting in the right state of mind, chanting becomes an exciting opportunity to connect with the Lord.
2. I easily chant my prescribed number of rounds with focus and attention
Whether you are chanting one round, or sixteen rounds, or more of the Maha-mantra, start chanting with a natural inclination to focus your attention on the Holy Name. In other words, before chanting, believe that you will be able to focus on the Holy Name. The mind has many thoughts and wavers here and there, but catch your mind and bring it back to the Holy Name. When you consider chanting of the Holy Name to be very important for your spiritual life, then it will be easier to chant with focus and attention.
3. When I chant, I chant
Create a quiet sacred space where you can chant the Maha-mantra without interruptions or distractions. When you chant, do not do anything else, just chant. Put both your external and internal world on hold and focus solely on yourself and Krishna.
4. I get to chant, I want to chant, and I love to chant
Remind yourself that you appreciate chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and that you view chanting as a special blessing. It is a rare opportunity to get a human birth and thus, a human birth is a special opportunity to awaken love for Krishna. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were prevented from being able to chant the Holy Name. Deep down in our hearts, we appreciate the powerful effects of chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra.
5. I treat the Maha-mantra as Radha and Krishna, fully present in sound
Treat the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, as Radha and Krishna Deities in the form of sound. When you chant the Maha-mantra, it is the same as seeing and bowing down before the Deities. In this way, bow down to the Holy Name as you would to the Deities, as Krishna is fully present in the Holy Name.
6. I receive and feel Krishna’s presence, mercy and love in His Holy Name
Allow mercy, love and blessings to come to you naturally through the Holy Name, rather than seeking to force nectar out of the Holy Name. In other words, do not struggle to create mercy and love while chanting but instead, allow yourself to bathe in and appreciate the mercy and love that already exists within the Holy Name.
7. I chant in full awareness that the Holy Name is my greatest treasure
Give your heart to the Holy Name. Although Krishna has everything, He hankers for your heart. Krishna wants to have a relationship with you and chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra will revive your relationship with Him. Therefore, chanting the Holy Name is the greatest jewel in the Lord’s treasury as He gets what He desires – your heart.
8. I chant to please Radha and Krishna, not to gain anything material
Imagine that Krishna is with you in His Holy Name and that He is happy to hear you chanting. Even though relishing the Holy Name can be difficult sometimes, Krishna is enjoying seeing your determination to chant and to be purified. In this way, chant the Maha-mantra to make Krishna happy and for yourself to feel happiness too.
9. I am out of my mind and in my heart, fully present to the Holy Name when I chant
Chant the Maha-mantra with your tongue and hear with your ear. Feeling the essence of chanting will bring you into the present. Attentive chanting is hearing – if you hear yourself chanting, you will chant attentively. When you chant, Krishna first dances on the tongue, then the ear, then the heart.
10. I fully honor my sacred relationship with the Holy Name during japa
Be conscious that when chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra, you are present, Krishna is present and thus, a relationship between you and Krishna is also present. Therefore, do not view chanting as a mechanical process that you have to complete daily but rather as a way to deepen your relationship with Krishna.
“I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Kṛṣ-ṇa’ have produced. When the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the Holy Name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert”. CC Antya Lila 1.99
May 15, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium