Poem for Jul 16

Japa Report

I began japa at a moderate pace,
hoping to pay attention,
meet my quotas,
and write a short Japa Report.
I practiced “just hear,”
the method where you chant and hear
with no other meditation.
It is a high stage of japa.
I could not
consistently attain it
although I tried.
I met my quota after four rounds
with minutes to spare.

I began the second set a medium pace.
Baladeva’s vocal chanting in the other room
encouraged and supported my mental japa.
Although I was chanting silently in the mind
I heard the Names clearly, with attention
and concern to pronounce the words properly.
I was not much distracted.
I kept focused on the
beads and the clock
to monitor my timing.
Besides, I could not
maintain darsana because my eyes
were tired and the Deities appeared
blurry. I observed
that I was falling behind.
I quickened my pace.
I met my quota after eight rounds
with only a few minutes to spare.
I began the third set
at a brisk pace.
I emphasized speed
over quality.
But I did not rush recklessly.
I held on to the bead
until the mantra was finished
before moving on to the next bead.
I could not enter a prayerful state
but kept up attention with external chanting.
I finished my twelfth round
with a few minutes to spare.
I surprised myself
by thinking I had done four sets,
but then I realized
I still had the fourth set to go.
The time was late.
I quickened my speed
but practiced “just hear,” so I
did not mix or miss any mantras.
I completed my sixteen rounds
with minutes to spare, but
with an uncomfortable feeling
that I had done so much speeding.

I considered it a half-decent session
because three sets emphasized speed
and there was no question of being
in an inward mood.
But I was alert and wide awake
for the whole time.
I felt no head pain
for the entire session.
Although I was speeding
I kept up attention on the rounds.
I follow the process
of doing a prescribed number of rounds
in obedience to the order of the spiritual master,
a sacred vow.