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Chanting the Holy Names

Aligning Body, Mind and Heart in The Process of Chanting

By Sacinandana Swami

Step 1:
ALIGN THE BODY AND YOUR IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT

Watch your posture and more important your pronunciation. Sit in a supportive environment (before the deities, sacred pictures, tulasi, in the company of the devotees and whoever and whatever else helps). Make sure you chant the entire mantra without missing even one syllable. If you chant on your prayers beads (japa), make sure you complete each round in the proper time, not missing any mantra.

Step 2:
ALIGN THE MIND

In order to concentrate on the sound vibration of the holy name, “enter” or totally connect with the mantra through the first “Hare”. After bringing the mind back to the first “Hare” again and again, you will find that your mind has developed the ability to stay with the entire mantra—each single name! Be patient - it will work! Give it your best—the Lord rewards those who try and surrender.

Step 3:
ALIGN THE HEART

Attentive chanting can bring blessings to your life that are hard to imagine. By such chanting all obstacles to the pure name (shuddha-nama) can be effectively removed if one more thing (the most important) is added. Namacharya Haridasa Thakura says (Hari-nama-cintamani, chapter 12):

Simply by one’s own endeavor, no one in this world can overcome distractedness. Such victory can only come about by your merciful blessings. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to beg for your grace.

After all, deep experiences can only happen if the heart is involved. Thus chanting in a devotional and prayerful mood will attract the mercy of the Lord in his magnanimous form of the holy name. Please don’t be hesitant to give your heart to the chanting.

In one of his songs, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura praises the mercy of the holy name by saying that just like the sun which rises in the East destroys all darkness, the holy name in his mercy, continuously rises on the horizon of the heart of the chanter and thus removes the beginningless avidya (inner darkness), which is the source of material existence.
 

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