The next three days were in complete bliss of Hari Nama and association of wonderful devotees.
Day 2: Maharaj touched the below topics
a. Role of japa in Bhakti and mechanical chanting.
b. Forgiveness and Humility
c. Preparing for 64 rounds of japa on day 3rd
Maharaj spoke how it is very important to do our japa early in the morning and we should try to fix a sitting place for the same. This place should not not offer any distractions while we are chanting our Japa. He also stressed that chanting in front of Tulasi Maharani brings additional potency into our chanting. He added that we should hear the sound and not our mind during Japa.
while preparing us for the 64 rounds the next day he gave a very important instruction that we should chant in a receivers mood and not in an achiever’s mood. This was a very important lesson for me as whenever I chant 64 rounds I mostly felt it in an achiever’s mood. I now know what was not correct in those rounds. This was like a personal instruction for me and I pray that I never forget it.
Then Maharaj spoke about another most important topic of Vaishnava Apradha and how it is the only Apradha which can not be countered by chanting. He spoke about recognising offences, how to beg forgiveness and benefits of forgiving and being forgiven. It was one of the most interesting topic of the day and generated maximum no. of questions.
Maharaj ended the day with encouraging words from Chaitanya Charitmrita and Nectar of Instructions, verse 5, purport.
Next day was for 64 rounds Japa and Maharaj advised everyone to get up early, as early as 2am, and start chanting.
Day 3 : I got up around 3.45am and got into chanting with a fresh mind and consciousness. Three days of association of devotees showed its benefit clearly. I reached the home where prog was being conducted around 7 am. I had completed more than one fourth of the rounds by that time. Inside everyone was sitting in circles in front of Tulasi Maharani and chanting seriously. We had a break for breakfast and more or less everyone did their Japa non stop. By 2 pm when we had a break for lunch prasadam almost everyone had completed their 64 rounds. The whole atmosphere remain charged with devotional energy. I am confident that had the session continued til evening many of the devotees would have crossed 100 rounds. Maharaj blessed everyone by leading with example as to what each of us is capable of doing and how important it is to chant in the association of devotees.
Day 4 : Maharaj started the day with a practical discussion about how we should always be grateful to the lord in whatever position we find ourselves and gave some practical advice on how to turn adverse happenings in our lives into Krishna’s mercy. He finished this session with an exercise where everyone was to write ` What do we feel in our life where we feel ungrateful and what is Krishna trying to teach us , what is the lesson ? This session proved be a very humbling experience.
The next session was to prepare for Sankalapa letter. We were to write a letter to Sri Nama Prabhu expressing gratitude towards Srila Prabhuapada, our spiritual master and the first person who introduced us to Krishna Consciousness. We were to complete the letter with a sankalapa /vow in relation to Japa. We all felt very charged up in Maharaj’s presence. I wrote a very long letter, which I will share some other time.
Maharaj then made each of us show our letter and vow to the Deities, Tulasi maharani and of course Maharaj. I knew I have stepped forward and agreed to do more in my Japa and I pray at the lotus feet of all the devotees and Maharaj that I am able to keep my vow.
In the end everyone sat together and shared their experience of the seminar. We were most thankful to Maharaj for taking time out for such a small batch of devotees and begged him to organise the level 2 of the seminar next year. Maharaj, ever merciful, agreed.
All Glories to all the devotees who attend the seminar.
All Glories to His Holiness Bhakti Brhat Bhagavad Swami Maharaja.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.