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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

“Don’t starve your beads.”

Sunday, 04 November 2018 / Published in Recent Media / 358 views

“Don’t starve your beads.”
***The Following is an excerpt from my book Prema Mala, a piece that I find myself returning to often as I try to stay inspired during this wondrous month of Kartik, as I continue my exploration ever closer to my Beloved Govinda through the chanting of His name. I pray that some of you will also find something of comfort and encouragement within these words.***
Acyuta Gopi (
“Don’t starve your beads.”
—Radhanath Swami
There is a light and airy feeling to new beads. Their wood is fresh, often light colored, and their surface textured.
After daily, chanting, there seems to be a miraculous change. Their weight begins to change. It is inexplicable, but they feel heavier, as if they have somehow been filled, saturated with the potency of the mantra.
Their color changes, as though Tulasi Devi herself would like to take on the darkened complexion of her Shyam.
The stiffness of the binding thread begins to loosen, and the feel of them slipping through the fingers becomes hypnotic in itself. The feeling keeps me coming back, day after day, striving to unlock the unlimited mysteries of the Holy Name.
Massaging them smoothes out their previous texture, until the beads begin to take on a luster and shine, and before long, they themselves look almost like a string of mini deities.
Nama Murtis.
Feed them the nectar of the Holy Name and they begin to change and transform. As do we. We return again and again to our beads, and to the Holy Name, hoping to find peace, hoping to find relief, hoping to find joy and comfort. And all of that and more is available.
I am longing for the day that I fill my beads with enough yearning and longing that Govinda will hear my prayers and He will unlock the door to His own kingdom of Love.
Gurudeva’s instruction was, don’t starve your beads. And that image stayed with me.
The image of a bag filled with forgotten japa beads, untouched, left without the daily offering of love and the whispering of dreams that enters into each and every bead, each day that we show up to chant, no matter how long or short the session. The image practically haunted me.
On the days where my mind wants to rebel, on the days where my lips don’t want to obey, on the days where my heart wants to close the shutters, and all of me wants to hide behind my false sense of control, the image of my starving beads, prompts me to get up. To go to them. To run my fingers over them and remember. Remember the feel of them between my fingers, their smooth surface connecting me to the mantra that escapes with each breath.
These japa beads are my gateway to Love. It is my hope and my fervent prayer that they will always show me the way. I pray that they never leave me, and that they are my constant companions. It is amazing how a string of seemingly ordinary wooden beads has become one of my dearest friends. There is magic in these beads. Just as I feed them, they feed me. They fill me with care, they fill me with grace, and they fill me with Love’s miracles which are always nestled deep within the king of all mantras.
I pray to feed them so well that one day, I come to a place where I will never stop. A place where The Name will be all there is.
Harer Nama
Harer Nama
Harer Namaiva kevalam
Harer Nama Mama Jivanam
–The Holy Name is my life…

In Devotees We Trust
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One Response to ““Don’t starve your beads.””

  1. Pusta Krishna das says :

    This expression, "Don't starve your beads!" was expressed by Srila Sridhar Maharaj. Sometimes aspiring bhaktas are caught up in service and may neglect their japa sadhana. It is something that I am sure most of us have been rightly guilty of. Hrishikesha hrishikena sevanam bhaktir ucyate. All of our senses can be connected with seva. The sense of touch upon the Tulasi Mala, the tongue and the ear in hearing and chanting, and the mind in remembering Krishna's name, form, qualities and lila. Bhakti-yoga…

    As Srila Prabhupada would nearly always have his hand in his japa bag, reciting softly or silently the Mahamantra, so too Srila Sridhar Maharaj had such a practice. It is inspiring to see their examples.
    Whether by vaidhi, regulation, or raga, affection, the Holy Names of Sri Krishna are glorified in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's eight prayers, Sri Shikshastakam. Krishna wants our love, and our Guru Maharaj wants this for Krishna and for our spiritual well-being.

    Pusta Krishna das