Baladeva’s alarm clock went off at 1:00 A.M.,
It woke me, and our cowbells followed.
He administered my wake-up rituals,
including a pre-emptive strike
Baladeva brought me into the room
where the Deities are. I
bowed down and began japa.
I practiced “just hear,” the method
where you chant and hear with
no other meditation. There are
higher stages of perfection in japa,
but “just hear” is elevated in itself.
Anyone who understands that the Name
is non-different from Krishna Himself,
and who absorbs himself in
the transcendental sound vibration,
is achieving a rare stage of japa.
I met my quota after four rounds
with minutes to spare.
I began the second set by speeding up.
I avoided mechanical chanting
by cultivating thoughtfulness and
devotional feelings. For thoughtfulness,
I held on to the bead and practiced
“just hear.” I focused on one bead at a time
and listened attentively. For devotional feelings,
I kept bringing my mind to thoughts of
the sweetness of Radha-Govinda. Today
there appeared to be interaction between
the two. Krishna seemed nonplussed
by His situation, and Radha seemed upset
in a mood of mauna towards Krishna.
I continued with my silent chanting
through the third and fourth sets.
I experienced no eyestrain or headache.
My chanting was not particularly deep
or prayerful, but I heard the Names
clearly, with concern to utter each
syllable carefully with no merging or
slurring. I stuck to “just hear”
and met my overall quota after
sixteen rounds with minutes to spare.
I considered it a half-decent session.
I cried out to Krishna for His blessings
because it is not possible
for me to chant good japa
on my own endeavor.
At least I follow the process
of doing a prescribed number of rounds
in obedience to the order
of the spiritual master,
a sacred vow.