Change of heart

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

As we come into Krishna consciousness then many a times we may get lost in the philosophy itself. The mind too likes newer subjects and intellect is also satisfied by gaining deeper understanding. However we should be careful not to feel satisfied remaining at these levels. Most of us do understand that our real position in the material world is not unlike that of a criminal put in a prison for reform. Criminals can also, rather they do, have high level of mental and intellectual capabilities!

The living entities who come in contact with the material world are meant to be corrected. All the living entities within this material world have revolted against the service of the Lord, and therefore they remain within this material world as ever conditioned, nitya-baddha, taking birth again and again.

(SB 6.4.44p)

Old habits die hard!

The only way to permanently change the criminal habit is to change the heart of the criminal. As you well know, many thieves are arrested numerous times and put into jail. Although they know that if they commit theft they will go to jail, still they are forced to steal because of their unclean hearts. Therefore without cleansing the heart of the criminal, you cannot stop crime simply by more stringent law enforcement. The thief and the murderer already know the law, yet they still commit violent crimes, due to their unclean hearts. So our process is to cleanse the heart. Then all the troubles of this material world will be solved.

(SSR chapter 6)

We may be surprised to know that the whole process of ‘sadhna bhakti’ is to change our heart!

The whole process of spiritual culture is aimed at changing the heart of the living being in the matter of his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord as subordinate servant, which is his eternal constitutional position.

It is expected by all means that by discharging regulated devotional service one must manifest the change of heart.

 (SB 2.3.24p)

What exactly we mean by ‘change of heart’?

Change of heart means that my ‘Thinking, feeling and willing’ has changed. Which means what all I think, what is my reaction to various every day situations or circumstances and finally my actions have changed. It does not mean that we have simply learnt the art of what not to speak, especially when we are among the devotees, but inside our heart reactions to their behavior remains same. It means not just externals (my dress, a new name, my eating habits, my wake up time, etc. ) but I have changed, or changing, internally as well.

So what if change of heart has still not happened?

If there is no such change, the heart must be considered steel-framed, for it is not melted even when there is chanting of the holy name of the Lord.

(SB 2.3.24p)


Oh ho!

So philosophy has its place but as an aspiring devotee we should be more interested in the culture not merely philosophy. And what is culture? Philosophy lived is culture. In simple words it means that we intelligently, under the shelter of a devotee not my own mind, applying whatever we are reading in Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, etc., or whatever we are hearing (from a right source!). Without contemplation and then application all of it remains mere knowledge and will not result in any spiritual realisation. Realisation does not mean mere understanding rather  it means they have entered into my day to day life. 

What are the symptoms of change of heart ?

So with the progress of devotional service, the reaction of change in the heart is exhibited by gradual detachment from the sense of material enjoyment by a false sense of lording it over the world and an increase in the attitude of rendering loving service to the Lord.

(SB 2.3.24p)

How do I change my  stone like heart ?

Sravanam Kirtanam!

One who directly associates with the Supreme Lord by hearing of His activities cleanses the dirt from his mind and very soon comes to Kåñëa consciousness. Süta Gosvämé confirms this in Çrémad-Bhägavatam (1.2.17):

çåëvatäà sva-kathäù kåñëaù puëya-çravaëa-kértanaù

hådy antaù-stho hy abhadräëi vidhunoti suhåt-satäm

The Supreme Lord within everyone’s heart becomes very pleased when a person hears narrations of His activities, and He personally cleanses the dirt from the mind of the listener. Hådy antaù-stho hy abhadräëi vidhunoti: He washes off all dirt from the mind. Material existence is caused by dirty things within the mind. If one can cleanse his mind, he immediately comes to his original position of Kåñëa consciousness, and thus his life becomes successful. Therefore all the great saints in the devotional line very strongly recommend the process of hearing.

Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu introduced the congregational chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra to give everyone a chance to hear Kåñëa’s holy name, for simply by hearing Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare, one becomes purified (ceto-darpaëa-märjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]). Therefore our Kåñëa consciousness movement is chiefly engaged in chanting the Hare Kåñëa mantra all over the world.

As stated in Çrémad-Bhägavatam (1.2.18):

nañöa-präyeñv abhadreñu nityaà bhägavata-sevayä

bhagavaty uttama-çloke bhaktir bhavati naiñöhiké

“By regularly hearing the Bhägavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.” In this way, simply by hearing of the powerful activities of the Lord, the devotee’s heart becomes almost completely cleansed of material contamination, and thus his original position as an eternal servant who is part and parcel of the Lord becomes manifest.

(SB 5.18.11p)

There are two kinds of çruti, or scripture. One is spoken by the Lord, and the other is spoken about the Lord and His devotees. Bhagavad-gétä is the former and Çrémad-Bhägavatam the latter. One must hear these scriptures repeatedly from reliable sources in order to become fixed in serious devotional service. Through engagement in such devotional service, one becomes freed from the contamination of mäyä. It is stated in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam that hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead cleanses the heart of all contamination caused by the influence of the three modes of material nature. By continuous, regular hearing, the effects of the contamination of lust and greed to enjoy or lord it over material nature diminish, and when lust and greed diminish, one then becomes situated in the mode of goodness. This is the stage of Brahman realization, or spiritual realization. In this way one becomes fixed on the transcendental platform. Remaining fixed on the transcendental platform is liberation from material entanglement.

(SB 3.27.21p)

Can my heart change just by hearing?

Çåëvatäà sva-kathäù kåñëaù. So we don’t say that “You change your profession, you change your position or occupation,” no. Please come and hear. Please… If you don’t chant, please hear. That hearing process also will cure you. Çravaëam kértanam. So people should come to our temple and hear this chanting, this… We are not taxing. We are not asking any… If you give some contribution, there is temple and management, there is expenditure, heavy expenditure, in this country. If you so kind… It is very kind of you. Even if you do not pay, you don’t like, please come. Please come and hear. Please bring your friends if you are really friend. So it is very nice thing. Sthäne sthitaù çruti-gatäà tanu-väì-manobhir. You remain what you are. We don’t say that you change, but you hear.

(Room conversation, 16th July 1968, Montreal)

What are the  chances of success for a fallen soul like myself?

All the great äcäryas strongly recommend that people be given a chance to hear about the Supreme Lord. Then success is assured. The more we cleanse the dirt of material attachment from our hearts, the more we will be attracted by Kåñëa’s name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and activities. This is the sum and substance of the Kåñëa consciousness movement.

(SB 5.18.11p)

We must always remember that hearing and chanting are the basic principles of discharging devotional duties, and if they are properly performed there will follow the reactional ecstasy with signs of tears in the eyes and standing of the hairs on the body. These are natural consequences and are the preliminary symptoms of the bhäva stage, which occurs before one reaches the perfectional stage of prema, love of Godhead.

(SB 2.3.24p)

End Result : A stone like heart transforms into a fish! A fish that can swim in an ocean of love, love for our dear most Sri Sri Radha Shyama. 

And where is such an ocean?

In conclusion to your letter you have asked as to where is the ocean of love? And I think that you may know that it is in your heart.

(Letter to Himavati — Los Angeles 12 December, 1968)


So it may not be such a bad idea to pray to Lord Balarama today, on His appearance day, to beg him for spiritual strength, so that we may feel inspired to daily, and carefully, read Bhagavad Gita & Srimad Bhagavatam and that we at least make an endeavor to chant without offences. Lord Balarama is the killer of Dhenukasura (the ass demon). So this ass who is with in us, who still does not listen to instructions of acharaya, can be very easily killed by Lord Balarama. A short and sincere prayer at His lotus feet today can be a good beginning today in our journey of change of heart!

All glories to Sri Guru & Gauranga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada


Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Increasing Chanting (16 rounds and more)

Hare Krishna

Dandavats to all.

Pls accept my humble obeisances.

To be honest, I am a very fallen soul and we all agree fallen souls need more mercy and blessings from Mahabhagvats. By lord’s grace, I sometimes get ample opportunities to serve sanniyasis and get their mercy. I will now clock 4 yrs back when I used to struggle doing my 16rounds. It was very erratic 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 rounds. Due to mercy of one of the senior devotees, he asked me if I could take care of HH Janananda  Maharaj for 2 days as he needs to serve him by following his instructions and get some medicines from Kerela India. I heartily agreed.

Based on our understanding and abilities, we served Maharaj and did as he would instruct. However I saw Maharaj would always be chanting. If I am saying something, he may listen but he would keep chanting and respond if he thinks question merits answer. He was like walking, talking chanter. Whilst travelling in the car, taking his bath, packing his luggage, whilst cooking with my wife, he would be just chanting…It was amazing to see somebody actually doing what Prabhupad instructed it. Sometimes when we read, we nod our head in acceptance from philosophy but when u see somebody doing it, you understand how to do it. Its like in the manual it may be written how to keep the house clean but when we see our mother or wife how they take care of hygine and cleanliness, we start copying. The big knock came when Maharaj was about to sleep at night and I asked if I could massage his feet. He said no. I protested and asked if I can get his mercy. He smiled and said if somebody massages his body at night, it relaxes him and then he fears that he may not be able to get up by 3:45am. So, if I wish I could do massage after 7am. I was stunned. He asked me to sleep outside his room so that no mataji comes to his room (there was another mataji who had come to meet him too). After 30mins, I started hearing mahamantra incoherently: Hare Krishna Hare Krish…..Rama rama….I could hear like for 10-15secs and then silence and then again after one hr…till the alarm rang at 3:45am and he sprang like a lion and started chanting…..

It was so powerful for me….Looking at Maharaj, both me and shilpi cried at his feet. We understood we are having great soul at our place and we need his mercy. I promised I will try utmost every day to chant 16rounds. He then said: focus on quantity first; you will get quality later….Be like parrot, every moment u are free, take his name…even if 16 rounds are over, keep chanting whatever work u may be doing; you don’t use bead bag after 16 rounds if ur work or job doesn’t permit; but just keep chanting and u will get the quality and it will become so ingrained in ur system, u will never feel like leaving chanting…

To this date, I still remember his smile and his instructions. I still remember and even today when he comes to our place and sleep, I see him chanting…I am mudha and sleep like a donkey (haven’t been able to get there; but my chanting went to 16 rounds after this inspiration and shilpi (my wife) to this date chants whilst cooking…

Such is the mercy of Mahabhagvats…and my realization is if one just chants relentlessly like parrot, he gets it – power of holy name…Its like Valmiki, he just tried mrammramram…and then finally ram ram ram….and what realized soul was he (after just being a parrot)…also association is so important and after this I used to make point to invite senior devotees and sanniyasis so that I can get more association and learn…my wife shilpi is also doing rounds nicely by maharaj’s grace.

Maharaj is again coming to my place on 14th Jan and I cant hide my happiness and I had to write this!!

Hari Bol

very fallen sevant


I am the taste of water…

Hare Krishna.

Today morning as I went to the kitchen to drink my daily quota of  3 glasses of luke warm water I realised that although I long to drink water first thing in the morning yet I don’t bother about its taste, it has more or less become a routine for last few years. The only time I long for its taste is when I don’t get it, mostly when I am travelling and the room has just one half filled bottle, then I relish each gulp of water in the morning as I drink it carefully and long for more.

I think similar may be my current state of chanting . Every morning I get up, I get fresh and then I start my Japa. Of course, I first try to pay my obeisances before staring my Japa in a right consciousness and then begin with a force,  but once I complete my rounds or even in the middle of my rounds I chant mechanically, just hoping that I am atleast listening all syllables. I even wait for them to get completed so that I can start listening to some lecture.

Yes, over the years my no. of rounds have increased but still I am not chanting with taste. In fact I miss my early days where I used to do my japa in front of the altar with a ferocious concentration. At least the first 8-12 rounds were done with 110% of my heart into them.

By the mercy of Guru and Gauranga, I do get some taste when

1. I chant in the presence of the devotees, always very positive. May be I get conscious of everyone’s presence, may be the devotee’s presence help me focus better, it always works for me.

2.  When I chant in the temple, after mangal arti, the concentration and purity is at a different level altogether.

3.  When I chant in any of the `Dham’, I myself wonder at my concentration and the emotional connect.

kabe ha’be bolo se-dina amar
 aparadha ghuci, suddha name ruci,
krpa-bale habe hrdoye sancar
When, oh when will that day be mine? When my offenses ceasing, taste for the name increasing, when in my heart will your mercy shine? When, oh when will that day be mine?
All glories to Srila Bhaktivinod Thakura

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Fallen soul

While chanting yesterday morning I had another realization. I realized that whatever material benefits I get in life I try to put them as His mercy. Similarly whatever hardships come my way I accept them as a lenient punishment for my unpardonable past mistakes. But whatever little spiritual progress I am making I ascribe them to my own efforts. Out worldly I may offer them to Krishna but deep inside me I think they are partly because of my own efforts as well.

Can you see Mahaprabhu how crooked my mind is ? That is why I am a ‘Patita’ and I need Your causeless mercy, to come under the shelter of your lotus feet. You are known as ‘Patita Pavana’  and a worst pseudo neophyte like me can also be delivered by your mercy.

  • Posted by Giriraj Das on April 20, 2013 at 8:22am