~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

Procedure for overcoming distraction

"The devotee should make it a regular practice to spend a little time alone in a quiet place and concentrate deeply on the holy name. He should utter and hear the name distinctly, It is impossible for the jiva to singlehandedly avoid and overcome the illusion of distraction, by the mercy of the Lord, however, this is accomplished with ease. Therefore it is essential to fervently beg for the Lord's grace with great humility. This is the jiva's only means of salvation.

The necessity of developing enthusiasm

"O Lord Caitanya! You are an ocean of compassion! My anxious heart begs mercy from You. If I do not become conscientious and pray for Your grace, then no one is more unfortunate than I am.

"Those who attempt to take up devotional service on the merits of their individual intelligence and mental expertise will find that all their endeavors are fruitless. Lord Krsna's mercy is the prime cause of success in all work. One who does not aspire to obtain the Lord's mercy is indeed a very miserable soul.

"A little earlier we spoke about concentrating deeply on the holy name. Lord Caitanya's advice to everyone on this matter is found in the Caitanya-Bhagavata [Madhya-lila 23,650]:

"Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. The Lord said, 'Here is the maha-mantra, now go and do japa meditation and chant the holy names a prescribed number of times (nirbandha).

You will achieve all desirable perfection from chanting. Just chant the holy name constantly, because no rules or regulations can restrict it.'

&qout;The word nirbandha needs elaboration. The sadhaka should chant the maha-mantra on Tulasi beads. A japa-mala has 108 beads. Four rounds on the mala makes a granthi. By gradually increasing his chanting, the sadhaka should aspire to chant 16 granthis or one lakh of holy names; in particular this number is considered as nirbandha. If chanting is then even further increased to three lakhs of names, the devotee will always be immersed in the Lord's holy name. All the previous acaryas and mahajanas have followed this instruction of Lord Caitanya and attained perfection. Even now, anyone can attain perfection by proper chanting. Everyone, including the liberated souls, the salvationists and materialists, are eligible to chant the holy name of the Lord. A distinctly different mood of chanting is visible in liberated souls, but the nectar of the holy name is relished in any of these moods, whether in spiritual enjoyment because of union with the Lord, or in the pangs of separation from the Lord."

One who wears the gem of Harinama Cintamani as a crown upon his head will certainly find shelter at Srila Haridasa Thakura's lotus feet.