Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha



add feeling

Krishna Priya: I have a question about chanting. What is better – to chant aloud or whispering or in the mind? Because when it is in the mind sometimes the mantra is going faster and not so clearly one can hear the words. Is this a mistake? Maybe this is not chanting really?

Tirtha Maharaj: Good point! Chanting is a very intimate spiritual relationship. If you call out the name of someone, that establishes a connection. But before entering an intimate relationship, we have to knock on the door. It is not that all of a sudden we just rush into the sanctum sanctorum. Gradually, step by step, following the process we have to enter.

And in every case there are two levels of the same story – one is the activity and the other is the feeling. For example, if Peter is behaving very nice, then the mother will call his name tenderly, but when he is a little mischievous, then the mother will call the same name in a grave tone. Action is the same – calling the name – but the inner feeling, the surplus is different.

In the same way, if we want to establish a relationship with Godhead through calling out His name, we must follow the action and we have to fill it up with the best of our feelings. So if your question concerns the best way of chanting, then we have to say: follow the gradual process and also follow the rules and regulations concerning this, plus add your feelings.

But from Mahaprabhu we have understood that there are no hard and fast rules concerning chanting. Because there is a difference between veda-mantras and the maha-mantra. The mantras or the hymns of the Vedas, the special meditation formulas of the Vedas are limited. Limited in that sense that they are not open. It is not that the power of the mantras is limited, no; the access to those mantras, this is limited. That means we have to fulfill a lot of qualifications in order to achieve a good standard concerning those secret mantras. But for the maha-mantra there are no hard and fast rules. Even you can take this. So this is a very liberal mantra.

Improper or incorrect chanting of secret mantras had made people mad many times. But the holy names have liberated many fools. This is the difference between veda-mantras and nama-mantras. So even a fool, if applies the same method, will become a little reasonable. But what happens if we apply the same mantra to a reasonable guy? He will become mad. He starts to act like a lunatic – dance and sing and cry and shout, searching for something that he does not know what it is. Wasting a whole life in a search of some dream instead of enjoying immediately what is available. That means you will lose your brain. So, first we have to use our brain, then we have to lose our brain.

I think you understand one point – that chanting is a very intimate connection and we have to do it nicely in order to achieve the results. And there are the ten aparadhs or mistakes concerning chanting. Like disrespect to the vaishnavas, not following the instructions of the spiritual master, or taking the Vedas very lightly, and also to think that the glories of the holy name is just imagination, to use the power of the holy name to rectify your mistakes, not to believe fully in the glories of the holy name even after we have learned about that so many times. These are the don’ts. Try to avoid all these mistakes. But there is one extra mistake – to be inattentive while chanting. Then it is said you can go on chanting through innumerable lifetimes, you will not reach the phala, the result, the fruit. So this is not enough to repeat formally, but we have to repeat it with heart and soul.

It is said, even one holy name has the power to liberate the whole world. How many times you have repeated the holy name? Where is the liberation of the whole world? So, something is missing, right? Or maybe the shastras are wrong? Or maybe this is just an exaggeration? We have understood that we have to doubt. Don’t believe everything! So don’t doubt yourself, doubt the shastras – this is very popular these days. “Love yourself, accept yourself as you are” – this garbage is very popular these days. “God should accept me as I am, because He should be generous, He should be tolerant with me. I am not ready to do one step because I am like I am.” Don’t believe, don’t follow such stupid and very light messages. The Lord can do His job properly. We also have to do our job properly.

One sign of a vaishnava is that he is ready to adjust himself or herself. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says: “Religion is proper adjustment.” But to adjust ourselves to what standard? To stupidity we have to adjust ourselves? No, we have to adjust ourselves to the highest possible ideals.

So, the method is: chant plus add feelings.


(to be continued)


Leave a Reply