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CHANTING THE HOLY NAME.‏

The five As in chanting are attraction, attention, absorption, attachment and affection. This japa meditation technique combines an understanding of these five features of the mind and heart. There are also prayers to Sri Nama Prabhu, begging to attain genuine attraction, attention, absorption, attachment and affection for Krsna's holy names.1) Attraction-The inestimable power of Krsna's attraction acts everywhere in creation from the atoms to the cosmos. From the invisible movements of neutrons and electrons to the vast stellar orbits of huge planets and galaxies, Krsna exerts His influence through His powers of gravity and attraction. Krsna is the most beautiful and attractive person in all the worlds. In the spiritual realm every man, woman, child, bird, beast, insect, tree, plant, lake, river, valley, hill and mountain feels natural and spontaneous attraction to Krsna's ever fresh and sweet names, forms, qualities and pastimes. Despite all these amazing truths, we have no attraction for chanting Krsna's holy names.Sri Caitanya depicted the plight of the struggling sadhaka in the Siksastaka: durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah, "Oh Lord! I am so unfortunate that I have no attachment for chanting Your holy names." The following prayer will help one increase his attraction for chanting Hare Krsna:"O Krsna! There is so much attraction within me, but why don't I have any attraction to Your holy names? I am attracted to so many sweet sounds, forms, tastes, smells and objects of touch. But all these material attractions pull me further and further away from You. My favorite attractions are in reality nothing but distractions from You. O Krsna! Please enchant my heart and captivate my restless mind. Please bless me with the matchless wealth of attraction to Your holy names."2) Attention-means steady application of the mind, or focusing the consciousness on a particular subject. Whatever one focuses his attention on becomes deeply impressed in the mind. Although the mind can move from one object to another with fantastic speed, Vedic sastras and modern science concur that the mind can only do one thing at a time. This is called the "single idea" principle of the mind. For example, if one is reading an exciting book with full attention, he will not hear the sounds in the surrounding enviroment.Attention is related to interest or attraction. There is full attention in a pleasing object, but little attention in a tasteless object. It is difficult for the mind to focus on an uninteresting object. For example, it is hard to pay attention, what to speak of stay awake, in a Bhagavatam class wherein the speaker sits like a statue with sealed eyes, mumbles in a monotone, and gives a "parrot recital" of a long list of Bhagavad-gita slokas to support some basic point. It is easy, however, to pay attention to a speaker who looks at the audience, uses vibrant phrases and dramatic tones, and tells exciting, animated stories with expressive hand gestures.It is often very difficult to keep one's attention on the holy name while chanting japa. This is because the mind is not trained to bear prolonged attention. It gets bored with the monotony of japa and runs to more pleasing things. By increasing one's interest or taste in japa, one will be able to chant attentively. This can be accomplished by practicing the various meditation techniques given in this book.Try the following prayer:"O Krsna! Thakura Bhaktivinoda has warned us that inattention is the main door into the house of aparadhas. O Krsna! Please let me taste some pleasure in Your names, so I can focus my full attention on chanting. May Your holy names become deeply impressed in my mind."3) Absorption-means to incorporate as part of oneself, to be obsessed, or to fully occupy and saturate the mind in something. Absorption is a feature of our lives. Everyday we become absorbed in sleeping, absorbed in eating a delicious meal, or absorbed in reading a wonderful book. But for some reason, it is very difficult to become absorbed in japa.Repeating the following prayer will help one get absorbed in chanting Hare Krsna: O Krsna! While chanting Your holy names may I enter the limitless land of consciousness. Oblivious to the body and its surroundings, may my soul become immersed in the primordial vibration of divine union. Let this maha-mantra of mahabhava surround and penetrate every aspect of my being. One with Your desires, one with Your love-O Krsna-may I completely absorb my self in serving Your holy names. O Krsna! Please help me to become fully absorbed in chanting Your holy names!"4) Attachment-is a precursor to bhava or preliminary love of God. Upon reaching the threshold of bhava-bhakti,an advanced devotee becomes extremely attached to hearing and chanting about Krsna with great joy and enthusiasm.A prayer for developing attachment to chanting:"O Krsna! By nature I am attached to so many wrong things. Please help me to transfer all my attachments to Your lotus feet. O my Lord! May chanting Hare Krsna become an inseparable part of my life. Please help me to chant Your holy names with pure attachment."5) Affection-means fond feelings, devotion and love.The goal of chanting Hare Krsna is to chant suddha-nama-the pure name enriched with krsna-prema and the presence of the Lord.May the following prayer awaken our love for beautiful Krsna standing before as Sri Nama Prabhu: O Krsna! May I chant Your holy names with heartfelt emotion. When will I become charmed by the ambrosia of Your names and start chanting from the heart? O Krsna! Please help me to chant with sincere feelings of affection for You, for Radhika, and for Your holy names. Please show me the way to chant with genuine affection ripening in pure love."O Krsna! Please attract my mind and heart to Your holy names. May I chant with full attention. And may I quickly become absorbed in the nectarean taste of Your names. May the sweet charm of Your names drive out all distractions and fully enchant my heart. Please give me strong attachment to Your wonderful names. Please be merciful to me, and help me rise to the platform of genuine affection and pure love for You."These are the five As in chanting Hare Krsna.kabe ha'be bolo se-dina amar,aparddha ghuci', suddha name ruci,krpa-bale ha'be hrdoye sancar"Please tell me, when oh when will that day be mine? My offenses will come to an end, and a taste for the pure holy name will be infused within my heart by the power of divine grace." (saranagati)prati-dina jadi, adara koriya, se nama kirtana kori sitapala jeno, nasi' roga-mula, krame swadu hoya, hari! If I sing that holy name of Yours aloud every day with warm affection, then as sugar candy taken medicinally destroys the very disease which makes it taste bitter (jaundice), so Your holy name, O Lord Hari, will cure my spiritual disease and allow me to gradually taste Your sweetness, (saranagati)( THE ART OF CHANTING HARE KRISHNA ).

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