Some Thoughts on Japa

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Srila Prabhupada says


Srila Prabhupada, it’s very difficult to control my mind when I chant. It wanders.


Prabhupada: So what is the controlling of mind? You have to chant and hear, that’s all. You have to chant with your tongue, and the sound you hear, that’s all. What is the question of mind?



Another devotee says:

We can make arrangements to make it easier to hear.

  1. Chant in the temple with many devotees. Some temples are especially good for this.
  2. Get sufficient sleep.
  3. If we cannot be at the temple for japa period, at least we should set aside a quiet time and place.
  4. Use ear plugs. They make the sound of what we say ring very clearly in the ear.
  5. Special places to Chant: Govardhana Parikrama, Srila Prabhupada’s Samadhi mandiras (especially in Mayapur), Srila Prabhupada’s rooms.


Of course Lord Caitanya gives us the perfect guideline:

“One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honour but is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.

Caitanya Caritamrita Antya-lila 20.22


These inner things are more sublime and elusive, but if we pray for the mercy of the Holy Name, with patience, it will come


  1. Pray for service and joyfully accept any chance to serve.
  2. Join as many harinam sankirtan parties as possible. Chanting publicly with enthusiastic devotees helps in developing a taste (appreciation) of the holy name.
  3. Read Srila Prabhupada’s books. They tell us who Krishna is and there is much glorification of the holy given by the past acaryas. In Caitanya Caritamrita alone there are 873 references under holy name.

Here are a few of them:


I do not know how much nectar the two syllables “Krish” “na” have produced. When the holy name of Krsna 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.

Caitanya Caritamrita Antya-lila 1.99


Observing the beggars eating prasadam, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted, “Haribol!” and instructed them to chant the holy name.

Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 14.45


As soon as the beggars chanted the holy name, “Haribol,” they were immediately absorbed in ecstatic love of Godhead. In this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed wonderful pastimes.

Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 14.46


Simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna once, a person is relieved from all the reactions of a sinful life. One can complete the nine processes of devotional service simply by chanting the holy name.

Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 15.107


  1. Chant for Tulasi Devi. Even if we have no taste for the name, she will be blissful to hear it.


  1. Associate with devotees who are serious about serving the Holy Name. One has to learn about the beauty and transcendental position of the holy name of the Lord by hearing the revealed scriptures from the mouths of devotees. Nowhere else can we hear of the sweetness of the Lord’s holy name.

Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 1.101


  1. Teach the glories of the holy name. Sharing your experience of the benefits of chanting will increase your faith in the holy name. Jayananda Prabhu always stressed the need for faith in the holy name.


  1. Never never never give up. Keep chanting, always trying to be attentive to the sound.



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