An Allegory for Chanting!

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In the Indian system, there are 3 ways of self-emancipation, namely, Bhakti marga (by way of riveted devotion), Jnana marga (by way of illumined knowledge) and Karma marga (by way of selfless action). There are schools for propounding each way, and ISKCON is one such organization that is aligned with the path of Bhakti. They hold devotion to Lord Sri Krisna as the means of self-realization (though they ardently follow the Bhagavadgita which upholds all three ways) and propose the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra as instrumental in effecting the devotion. When I attended a presentation by Mr.Arun Raghavan, a full-time member of the FOLK community, he gave a beautiful correspondence of how chanting can be one of the most effective means of self-purification.

In his own words, it goes thus:

"Imagine a glass filled with muddy water. Our mind is like that glass (Yes! all our cups are already full) - water being our ideas and thoughts, and mud, the negativity filled into us from extraneous sources. This mud clouds our mind and does not let us clearly see the path of realization. Now shake the glass - it is an agitated mind - and the entire water becomes muddy. The mind is even more clouded. Some gurus say that meditating in silence clears the mind. This is similar to keeping the glass still. What happens is that the mud settles down and water temporarily appears to be clean. At the slightest disturbance, the mud unsettles again. Blindly forced meditation does not give long-term benefits, and this is where chanting helps. Chanting a mantra over and over again is like pouring clean water into this muddy glass. Hare Krishna Maha-mantra is one such clear water prescribed by the Lord Himself. As clear water starts pouring in, it begins to displace the muddy water and the cup overflows, throwing out parts of both clear and muddy water. The Lord has given us an unlimited supply of clear water so lets keep chanting and constantly pouring it into our minds. Slowly, our minds get more and more clear. This process takes time but it gives long-term benefits. The mud will be removed for good. Finally, you can follow the chanting by meditation, and as you can see more clearly, it gives better results."

Another practical benefit of chanting is it seems to be an easier approach to mind-control. In meditation, one has to forcefully subdue all distracting thoughts and try to focus the mind. In restless minds (like mine), this becomes extremely difficult. Chanting does not need one to force the mind at all - one can let all the distractive thoughts come and, only in a matter of moments, one can feel those thoughts evaporating away all by themselves.


Anonymous said...

All 3 ways are of great help and I respect one and all. You said it right! Best part is the practical benefit of chanting, I practice 20 mins Yoga and 30 mins chanting of Mantra maybe 2000 times of any god like Shiva, Vishu, Saibaba, Durga matha etc., At times while travelling, I take the help of counter to complete 2000, it works!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments.

Like Arun says, hope the persisting chanting keeps your mind clear enough to see reality in its true colours.

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