One of the greatest discoveries I’ve made in regards to chanting the Holy Name is that you have to attain the state of absorption while you chant.
Absorption is the state of the mind where one is totally involved in something, completely engrossed, fully present. I once saw in the airport a religious person involved in prayer. He was really there; he was really praying. The busyness of the airport didn’t touch him; he was not distracted. When he was finished, he got up and noticed: “Wow, I missed the announcement about my flight.” He actually had been so absorbed that he had to take a later flight.
I am not saying this is the ideal—that we totally forget everything else if we need to remember it—but what if there is something we don’t need to remember? The mental noise, the many thoughts, the many distractions, the many moods. Absorption is the art of bringing us to a state where all this does not exist and where Krishna is fully present.
When my spiritual master looked for the best expression to describe bhakti wants to confirm to people, he came to this: Krishna consciousness. The Padma Purana explains very clearly that the goal of our spiritual life is to always think of Krishna and to never forget Him; in other words, full absorption, being conscious of Krishna. Japa is the means to practise this. Japa is the means to come to this level. If we do not take full advantage of this practice, we might never learn to become spiritually minded. We will always, in some way or another, be connected with the world of illusion, the world of maya.
So how to practice absorption in japa? It’s very easy: take the senses and engage them. The hands are engaged by counting the japa on the beads, the ears are engaged by hearing the sound vibration, and, most importantly, the tongue makes the sound vibration. In other words, absorption can be attained by being fully there. More than anything, it’s a yogic practice, a meditation practice, a practice to bring you to blissful Krishna consciousness. So, chant the Name with good pronunciation, listen to it with full attention, and then use your hand in counting the beads as you go along into the wide ocean of the nectar of the Holy Name. When you are totally absorbed, totally immersed, you will emerge a spiritually charged person.
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