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Japa Meditation Techniques – Mahanidhi Swami

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Shelter and Surrender

In “Arunodaya-kirtana” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that the nectar-filled names of Kṛṣṇa are the sole shelter within the universe:

kṛṣṇa-nāma-sudhā koriyā pāna, jurāo bhakativinoda-prāṇa,
nāma binā kichu nāhiko āro, caudda-bhuvana-mājhe

Drink the pure nectar of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and thus satisfy the soul of Bhaktivinoda. Except for the holy name there is nothing within the fourteen worlds.

One must be thoroughly convinced that there is absolutely no other shelter or source of protection in this trouble-filled world beside Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa, who is fully present in His holy name. With this conviction and realization one should chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra.

“Taking full shelter means to express the mood, ‘O Kṛṣṇa, I am Yours! I am taking shelter of You!’ (he radhe! he kṛṣṇa! tavaivasmi) in the mind and out loud.” (Jaiva Dharma ch. 20)

To have faith in the holy name one must firmly establish the six symptoms of self-surrender (saranagati) within his heart. Jaiva Dharma gives a clear description of surrender:

ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ prātikūlyasya varjanam
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā
ātma-nikṣepa-kārpaṇye ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ

(Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.676)

“The first two symptoms of surrender are ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ and prātikūlyasya varjanam: ‘One should take a solemn vow (sankalpa) that I will only do that which is favorable for unalloyed bhakti, and I will reject all unfavorable acts.’ The third symptom is faith in Kṛṣṇa as one’s protector (rakṣiṣyatīti): ‘Kṛṣṇa is my only protector. I can derive nothing from jnana, yoga, and other such practices.’ This expresses one’s trust (viśvāso) in Kṛṣṇa.

“The fourth symptom is the deliberate acceptance of Kṛṣṇa as one’s maintainer (goptṛtve varaṇaṁ): ‘I cannot do anything, or even maintain myself by my own endeavor. I will serve Kṛṣṇa as best I can, and He will surely take care of me.’ The fifth symptom of surrender (ātma-nikṣepa): ‘Who am I? I am His. My only duty is to fulfill Kṛṣṇa’s desire.’ This is submission of the self (atma-nivedana). The sixth symptom is humility (karpanye): ‘I am wretched, insignificant, and mentally destitute.’ ” (Jaiva Dharma ch. 6)

Since there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and His holy name, one can think of the six symptoms of surrender in relation to the maha-mantra. Thus while chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra japa one can take a solemn vow: “I will only accept those people, places, actions, thoughts, desires, and feelings that are conducive to chanting suddha-nama, and I will reject everything opposed to it. I have complete faith, which means full love and trust, that the name of Kṛṣṇa is my only protector. Alone I am powerless, but Kṛṣṇa’s name is maintaining me and taking care of all my needs. All I have to do is chant, chant, chant!

“I am His, everything for Nama. My only duty is to serve Kṛṣṇa’s name by chanting with pure love. O most sweet and beautiful Sri Nama Prabhu! I am wretched, worthless, crazy and insignificant. I am lower than the straw in the street. Now please be causelessly merciful to me. Please pick me up and keep me as a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.”

An excerpt from the book Art of Chanting

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