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The first Vaisnavi Holy Name Retreat at Ekachakra

Monday, 23 July 2012 / Published in Reports / 2,598 views

By Devaki devi dasi

All of us chant the maha-mantra, but how much are we struggling to come to the platform of purely chanting the holy name. This struggle is so important for we all contend with constant stimulation from our mobile phones and the Internet that often distract us from relishing the holy name, our most valuable jewel.

At times we may have to admit that we don’t take our chanting as the most important activity in our life.

Bhaktivinoda Thakur describes in Harinam Cintamani how inattentiveness is the root cause of all other nama-aparadhas, and that this inattentiveness can manifest on three levels: the body, the mind and the heart. Each one of these levels affects the other levels. However, attentiveness in chanting has to begin with the level of the body. As long as we allow ourselves to do other things while we chant, we cannot be attentive on the level of the mind or heart.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur urged us: “Make your chanting heart deep, not just lip-deep.”

The involvement of the heart in chanting is not such an easy thing. It requires endeavor and cultivation, an awarness that Krsna is a person wanting to connect with us through His holy name, and above all it requires humility.

Gour Govinda Maharaja explains: “The pot of the heart must be made up of four constituents: humility, tolerance, respect and pridelessness. Mahaprabhu is the giver and you are the receiver. But if your pot is not made up of these constituents, how can you receive?”

Unless we enter deeper levels of chanting the holy name – in kirtan as well as in japa, we may eventually lose the taste and attraction for both. How long can we chant sixteen rounds every day, if we chant our japa as a dry, mechanical, impersonalistic and ritualistic duty? How long will we feel inspired to join the kirtans, if kirtan for us is simply a musical performance or meant for our fun – jumping around in wild acrobatics or engaging in elaborate dancing performances?

Sooner or later we may lose interest in the holy name and begin looking for pleasure elsewhere . . .

Holy Name Retreats can quickly transport us to a realm of relishing japa and kirtan that we may never have experienced before. Spending some days in seclusion, away from all our usual duties and distractions creates an atmosphere conducive to deepening our relationship with the holy name.

Hearing about the glories of the holy name in the holy dham in the association of like-minded devotees and practically applying what we have heard – in kirtan and in japa, as well as performing powerful learning experiences in pairs has enormous potential to stimulate profound devotional growth.

During such retreats many experience a different reality – associating with Krsna in person through His holy name! We can learn to open our heart and allow the holy name to do His mysterious work on it.

A team of enlivened Vaisnavais will conduct the first Vaisnavi Holy Name Retreat at Ekachakra, the birthplace of Lord Nityananda from January 5th to 9th, 2013.

Please go to www.theholynameretreat.net for more details.

We are looking forward to serving you and relishing the holy name in your sanga.

2 Responses to “The first Vaisnavi Holy Name Retreat at Ekachakra”

  1. ananda dd says :

    Hare Krsna.
    From my personal experience i have found that chanting Hare Krsna is helped by so many external factors, and when we perfect these external factors then we can progress on into chanting with our hearts, in other words chanting your hearts out.
    What are these external factors?
    Become situated in the mode of goodness, find a welcoming building with character and integrity that is naturally friendly and warm. Let go of all pre-conceptions and what others may think of you. Obtain the association of Mother Cows and Father Bulls. Feel peaceful with yourself. Use beautiful musical instruments and especially a tune that has heart string notes to hang on to at certain parts of the hare Krsna mantra so you can sing your heart out to it. Chant for at least 3hours together, with no worries ,no children’s influence, no distractions, no electricity, no towns and cities in the distance, just you and your devotee friends together chanting Hare Krsna because you want to chant Hare Krsna. And for no other reason. Chant to the Cows, to the room, to the building, to the situation, to the Deities if you have some, to pictures , but chant because you want to chant and you have to chant. Dont bring your phone or just turn it off. Listen to the magically blissful tune that supports the Hare Krsna mantra as a picture is enhanced by the frame. Be totally aboard the chanting,there is nothing else that matters. Chant as if you are dependent on the Hare Krsna mantra and feel the mantra right through your being and let yourself go into the Holy Name because chanting hare Krsna is non-different to Krsna Himself, so associate with Him by surrendering to Him through chanting Hare Krsna.
    We do not have any other shelter in this material world other than chanting Hare Krsna.
    Once you have a taste for chanting through this process of chanting then you will always relish chanting wherever it may be but you have to obtain the taste.Thats why you became a devotee in the first place because of chanting Hare Krsna.
    Get away fromit all and leave your phone, computer and whatever behind you ,they can never save you and adopt the mode of goodness lifestyle with Cows and Land and chanting Hare Krsna will automatically become the most ecstatic activity you can do and then youll want to pass it on to the next person and help save their life in this material prison house .

  2. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you Mataji for this nice article and for the wonderful invitation to dive deep into the chanting of the Holy Name, all the more in Ekachakra, the place where Lord Nityananda started manifesting His merciful pastimes on the planet.

    If I may, I would also like to add a word about the attitude which may be conducive for developping some taste for chanting and some attachement to the Holy Name…

    As it is, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja, whom you nicely quoted, has outlined, in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the proper atttitude one should have, so as to be able to chant the Holy Name constantly:

    trinad api sunicena
    taror api sahishnuna
    amanina manadena
    kirtaniyah sada harihi

    One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
    (Siksastakam – 3)

    In this spirit, I am not so keen on the word “struggle” which you repeatedly used in your introduction. As it is, it is more a surrendering process than a struggling process, since it is more a descending process than an ascending one!

    That means we have to surrender all our being, which includes kaya, mana, vakya, body, mind and speach, in the service of the Lord and His pure devotee.

    The more we surrender and tend towards atma nivedanam, the more we can welcome the Holy Name, and invite Sri Nama, to descend and enter our hearts, as you nicely described, while quoting Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur who urged us: “Make your chanting heart deep, not just lip-deep.”

    Hence, we have to understand that it is not so much a matter of “struggle”, or “conquest”, so to speak, than it is a matter of MERCY…

    Every benediction comes through mercy! And coming to the most desirable stage of pure chanting is certainly the greatest mercy one may ever receive from Sri Guru, the bona fied representative of Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Balarama, the adi Guru…!

    So let us pray that by coming to Ekachakra to perform this wonderful Nama yajna, i.e. Nama seva, the devotees may be blessed with an increased taste for chanting.

    But we have to keep in mind that this constant chanting is possible only when there is LOVE.

    And developping love for Krishna is a special mercy granted to us, through seva, by Krishna’s representative…

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