Poem for Jun 13

Japa Report

The alarm clocks went off at 1:00 A.M.,
and our cowbells followed.
Baladeva administered my wake-up rituals.
I went into the room
where the Deities are and bowed down.
I began my japa at a moderate pace,
gazing at Radha-Govinda.
I practiced “just hear,”
the method where you chant and hear
with no other meditation.
I am capable of doing this,
and comfortable chanting
in the sanctity of my bhajan-kutir.
Prabhupada recommends it.
There are higher stages of perfection in japa,
but “just hear” is elevated in itself.
Anyone who understands that the Name
is nondifferent from Krishna Himself,
and who absorbs himself
in the transcendental sound vibration,
is achieving a rare state of japa.
I didn’t reach that rare stage,
but I tried.
I finished chanting my fourth round
but failed to reach the quota, being
minutes late. Then I turned
to writing in my Japa Report.

As I began my second set, I was still behind.
I chanted at a brisk pace, emphasizing speed
as a priority over quality. I watched
the beads pass quickly through my hand.
But I didn’t rush recklessly. I held on
to the bead until the mantra was finished
before I moved on to the next bead.
I was disappointed that I was running late,
and I didn’t know the cause for it.
I had no time for an inward mood
or prayerful state, but kept enunciation
of the mantras with external attention.
I failed to meet my quota after eight rounds,
being minutes behind on the quota.

I began the third set at a rapid pace,
but I was chanting clearly.
I didn’t slur, or mix or miss the mantras.
I did not cultivate thoughtfulness
or devotional feelings.
Baladeva’s vocal chanting in the other room
was at low volume, but I could hear him
and it cheered me up and encouraged my
mental japa.
I kept up no darsana.
So far I had no sensation
of head pain, and I was grateful for that.
I finished my twelfth round
failing to meet the quota
and being minutes behind.

I began the fourth set
seeing it was impossible
to meet the overall quota.
I began at the time
I was supposed to finish.
I decided to stop
my chanting and promised
to chant the last four rounds
later in the day. I still had
my Radha-Govinda poem to complete.

I considered it a poor session
because I sped so much, but
was only able to do twelve rounds.
I was alert and wide awake the whole time.
I felt no head pain. Although I went fast,
I did my chanting with clear enunciation.
It was not a good morning, because I fell
far behind and didn’t finish my quota.