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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.




Monday, July 30, 2012

Love's Sweet Nectar: A Poem






 " O Lord, in whom alone we find peace
May we see your divine Self and be freed
From all impure thoughts and all fear.

O Lord, from whom we receive the mantram,
As a weapon to destroy our self-will,
Reveal yourself, protector of all."

~ Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.5-6
(Translation by Eknath Easwaran)



Like an arrow my mantram has buried itself deep within me. Shattering illusory layers of ego it has caused my spirit to be flooded with a current of light and love that has been released from deep within. It's as if an underground spring of freshly flowing water from eternity itself has been struck and now passes through me, nourishing my parched soul with its transcendental nectar. 


There is something so holy and precious regarding the names of God. Upon every tongue in every corner of the world vibrations in praise of a God who is universal rise up in devotion. The names might differ, but they are all directed towards the same reality. Recognition of the Eternal. I have found that in my case the names of God found in the mahamantra draw my heart deeper into the realization of God and His infinite nature and  begin to connect me to His love. I have learned that through chanting and mantram repetition that there is so much that is illusory that at first glance we take as reality, as permanent. That to find true peace we must destroy that which binds us to these illusions. The juncture at which our souls are bound to the material is the fertile womb which conceives all the miseries and suffering we experience.  To see these illusions for what they are is to find true freedom in the presence of the Eternal from where our souls first came.

It's hard for me not to write about a practice that has provided me with so much spiritual inspiration. Below is a poem I recently wrote and included my mantram within it. Next post will have to do with something other than mantrams...it's a film review...and I am looking forward to everyone's thoughts on it. I will try to provide more diversity in my posts in the future but for now they have reflected my amazement towards the deep effect that mantram repetition/chanting the holy names of God can have on one spiritually.

I hope you enjoy the poem. I'd love your thoughts.Thank you!






Love's Sweet Nectar
 

When love washes away all pain,
When knowing God is your only gain,
When His mercy remove's illusion's stain;
Your soul learns to dance with the rain.

There is no greater feeling than This-
Being held by the hands of Eternal Bliss.
The nectar is so sweet to taste,
You run into His arms in all haste.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

When he holds you in His hands
And whispers to you of greater lands;
Those woven by His higher energy
Where from the material one is finally free.

When He says, yes this child is mine,
And His peace washes over you sublime;
Your inner heart kneels before His presence within,
The mundane becomes just background din.

True freedom is conceived from a soul who surrenders,
To hearts devoted to Him, His Mercy He renders.
Everything we need is in His holy names
They lead us back to Godhead from where we first came.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare





47 comments:

  1. That's very deep and inspiring! I will try to chant that mantram now. I have heard others chant it but never did myself, mostly I chanted om shanti. I hope I can get a taste of the joy you are experiencing !

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  2. Rajeev,

    I think that's great that you are going to give it a try! Practitioners like Eknath Easwaran and other sources I've come across suggest to try it out at least for a month to begin feeling its effects. Many times nothing tangibly can be felt immediately but over a duration of a short period time of dedicated practice its effects can be profound.
    ~ blessings :)

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  3. It feels to like words that will touch each different depending on where they are in their life, in the day, in the moment. You've given me something to ponder.

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  4. Thanks for stopping by Brenda. For sure, different words effect people in different ways. That's why knowing different mantras can be helpful.

    Thanks for your thoughts. :)

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  5. "Your soul learns to dance with the rain . . ." Yes! When we feel the peace and presence of God within, we can dance for joy even in the saddest of times.
    This is eloquently written, Jessica, right from your heart. I loved it!
    Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you Martha for stopping by! It's so great when someone can relate to what I write. :) Glad you enjoyed it! ~ blessings

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  6. Premanandini dasiJuly 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    My Gurudeva Srila Vamsivandana Babaji Maharaj states that one must receive Vedic mantrams from a guru before chanting. Mahamantra Hare Krishna being a Vedic mantra is said to also be received via a Guruji. Can you share your thoughts?

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    1. Premanandini dasi,

      Yes, I've heard that. While it is true many spiritual teachers and the Vedas themselves suggest this truth and we have every reason to believe they are right- in that one will get the full benefit of the mahamantra when they receive it from a spiritual teacher/guru- Srila Prabhupada in his purports in the Gita as well as other places encourages all to chant the mahamantra and that the act of chanting will benefit anyone. The fact that it is suggested that even those who are within hearing of those chanting the mahamanta will benefit from its transcendental sound vibrations leads me to believe that anybody can start it at any time. To dive deeper into the practice and get the full benefit, one should deeply consider the suggestions of the Vedas.

      So maybe one doesn't get the full benefit of chanting if they haven't received the mantra from a guru, but I'd say, according to experts of the mahamantra, that the mahamantra is beneficial to all who chant it on one level or another.

      Hope some of that makes some sense. :)

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    2. Premanandini dasiJuly 30, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      thank you for that. my Gurudeva emphasises the need for initiation but i have no real experience with Prabhupada, are you his disciple? i would like to harmonise what your Prabhupada says and what my own Guru says somehow, i see validity with both ideals.

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    3. I am not Prabhupada's disciple. I drew from him, using him as a resource, because he was instrumental in bringing knowledge of the mahamantra to the west.

      Personally, since you have the advantage of a spiritual teacher, I'd go with what he says. That's just my view though.

      ~ blessings

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  7. Confused! One says chant without guru, one says with guru?

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    1. There are sources that say one must receive a mantra from a guru..I think there's some truth to that to get the full benefit. But anybody could get some benefit even if just using a mantra to center oneself. It all depends on one's perspective and what one is tying to achieve by chanting. There are many different views towards this..I'm very new myself at learning about and practicing mantras. I'm not necessarily giving out advice here, just sharing my experience. :)

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    2. can this mantram be used for centering?

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    3. I think almost anything could be used for centering...Subal, in his comment below, brings up a great point, though, in that the intention of this mantram is "to draw the attention of the lord so that we may engage in some loving service".

      It is a mantram of devotion...One is lifting their hearts up to God, surrendering their egos at His feet, and with a humble heart seeking to devote themselves to Him. It can be so more than just chanting words to center oneself.

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  8. This is a beautiful poem Jessica. Embracing your freedom and releasing yourself from the illusions that try to bind and blind you. Very beautiful!

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    1. Thank you so much Leah for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  9. This is an interesting discussion, and brings up a few points.

    First...the history ( recent ) of the mantram itself.

    The mahamantram is chanted by spiritual aspirants belonging to the vaishnava traditions originating in India.

    Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was present on the planet some 500 years or so ago, revived this chanting and reccomend it to one and all ( in the form of sankirtan, or congregational chanting accompanied by instruments ).

    Mahaprabhu did not initiate disciples into the chanting of the mantram on beads for private meditation ( japa) but his followers did.

    This initiation was seen as a vital stepping stone in ones life and considered to be the actual 'start' of spiritual practice.

    The guru ( after years of being a qualified disciple), cultivates the mantram by constant chanting, understanding the meaning/ conception of the mantram and by leading the holy life.

    He then imparts the mantram by means of initiation to the disciple directly . This usually involves blessing the japa beads and formally and vocally telling the mantram to the disciple along with the specific rules for chanting it.

    Being the highest mantram ( maha means greatest ) it carries with it the greatest benedictions but also the greatest dangers ( if one does not follow the guidelines for chanting ).

    Instructions for chanting powerful mantras cannot be given by books ( passive ), nor by neophyte or beginner practitioners ( inactive).

    Srila Swami Maharaj ( iskcons Prabhupada ) emphasised the need for congregational chanting. His exact words were ' anyone can chant this mahamantra and DANCE in ecstasy '. Dancing is usually done when music is present.

    He would encourage aspirants to read books and render service and when ready, they too would be initiated.

    Spiritual practice is always done under the guidance of a teacher, it has to be so as we make mistakes.

    The teacher or guru imparts the meaning and conception of the mantram to the student, and then real spiritual life begins.

    Kirtan is for everyone, even young children. However, japa is for the committed. It is understood that committed persons recognise the need for guidance and thus bond with guru via the initiation process.

    It is a divine contract of sorts.

    The mantram itself is a prayer to Radha and Krishna, requesting engagement in their direct service. This is a serious thing!

    It is not a thing to be given via a book or in passing or online.

    It is a gift to be given directly by one who actually has it.

    It must not be seen as something that is acquired in the same method as shopping for a new dress , or something to be tasted to see if one likes it..

    specific mantrams are given and used for specific purposes, the mantram in question has one purpose only- to help one achieve a direct and loving relationship with krishna of vrindavan, it is not for centering or for focusing the mind, it is intended to draw the attention of the lord so that we may engage in some loving service.

    if in doubt,one must consult a genuine teacher or guru before trying to explain to others.


    i have been personally chanting this mantram for 21 years and belong to the gaudiya vaishnava sampradaya in the line of Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar dev Goswami Maharaj who was the instructing spiritual master and godbrother and dear friend of iskcons Prabhupada. i personally found the true benefit of chanting the mahamantram was realised after i took initiation from my spiritual master Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda dev Goswami Maharaj, who was the sucessor of Sridhar maharaj and personally learned Bhagavad Gita from Prabhupada many years prior to his forming of iskcon.

    the above statements regarding the mahamantram are offered in humble service in the spirit of trying to convey the correct understanding of the chanting of this most sacred of mantras. i hope its useful information for all sincere and interested seekers

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    1. Thanks for clarifying this matter!

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    2. Thank you Subal for all that information and sharing your experience. Much appreciated!

      ~ namaste ~

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    3. Iskcon is the only authorised distributor of the holy name for this age, no other way no other way no other way

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    4. Dear iskcon Das, I'd say iskcon is one of many organisations, likely the most prominent due to it being the first to teach in the west and we all respect that, but you should know that Prabhupada started a chain reaction and others followed, that does not make it a competition. Real spiritual life is a humble and at times private attempt and has nothing to do with society consciousness:)

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    5. When it comes to distributors of the holy name, it is my understanding, from what I read, that the holy name officially is distributed through a line of disciplic succession. It's also my understanding that this disciplic succession, though it may have begun in ISKON, branched off from ISKON. Regardless...I have to admit I know little about any of this..but do agree with Subal when he says,

      "Real spiritual life is a humble and at times private attempt and has nothing to do with society consciousness:)"

      Isn't following and serving God a non-sectarian kind of thing? That's my perception of things anyways. He extends beyond all categories and labels.

      ~ peace

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    6. Just wanted to clarify the point I was trying to make. When I said, "branched off from ISKON." I wasn't intending to mean it no longer existed in ISKON, just that it exists other places as well now.

      ~ namaste ~

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  10. Such a feeling of fulfillment and peace comes from your words. Beautiful, Jessica!

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    1. Thank you Adriene...I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
      ~ blessings

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  11. "True freedom does come from surrender"...I love these words that are so difficult at times to follow. Your poem is one of surrender to God's love and mercy. Lovely.

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    1. Surrendering can be the hardest part...our ego is often very effective in getting in the way...But when we do such beautiful fruit can be born! Thank you for stopping by Lynn. :)

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  12. Hi Jessica:
    It's funny you say this:
    I have learned that through chanting and mantram repetition that there is so much that is illusory that at first glance we take as reality, as permanent.

    As I was talking to someone about this very topic a few days ago. In fact it was a group of friends I have breakfast with a couple days a week. I mentioned something about our thoughts creating our reality, that we all see things through our own belief system.

    What I was pointing out is just what you stated:
    that there is so much that is illusory that at first glance we take as reality, as permanent.

    They didn't get it as I'm in a different place.

    I'm on the same page with you here:
    It's hard for me not to write about a practice that has provided me with so much spiritual inspiration.

    Sometimes I think we're directed by an unseen hand (God's?.) I sincerely believe that HE guides my writing. HE directs my hand. It is HE who provides me the thoughts on what to write. Now naturally, I wouldn't discuss this with JUST anyone because most of my friends would look at me cross eyed and think:
    Holy cow! This guy is to weird. LoL.

    When you feel compelled to write about a certain topic, you should continue to follow your bliss as it is indeed your unseen guiding hand directing you.

    Be well, Jessica!
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thank you Chris,

      I always love and appreciate when you stop by! You are a refreshing presence here. I definitely think God can and does direct us, motivates and inspires us, to articulate the truths that he expresses to us in our most reflective and intimate moments with him. Revelations and spiritual conclusions in progress that, when realized, have to be shared! I can relate when you say that you don't discuss some things with just anyone..more than once I've gotten quite the look from a friend or acquaintance when I've said something!

      Thanks again. :)

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  13. OMG! dear Jessica, this is so much after my heart because I've fallen in love with Lord Krishna after my Indian facebook friend Mohinee introduced Him to me! I don't know much about Mantram etc but I just love His sweet name and constantly hum it to myself! It gives such joy!
    -Portia

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    1. Portia,

      When I read your comment a couple of days ago it truly made my morning! Your love for God and devotion towards Him is inspiring..I can feel your warmth and enthusiasm and it is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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  14. I needed to clarify that there are offshoots of iskcon that have the same or even more misconceptions than iskcon itself does. Further, iskcon is not the origin of the present disciplic successions, it itself is an offshoot of the succession started by Prabhupadas own guru. The line I belong to was existing many years prior to iskcon even. It just so happens that people equate iskcon with the chanting due to its prominence. It is prominent in as much the same way as Samsung is for cell phones but that doesn't mean other cellphones do not exist. Persons desiring to dive deeper into the chanting are advised to seriously scrutinise any organisation before affiliating. It is Russian roulette in the spiritual market place. Many will amass members for financial gain and dilute the practices and philosophy. One should study the history and practices of gaudiya vaishnavism first and then see what persons follow that closely. It is my understanding that people have left the bigger societies due to corruption and misconception in the same way people leave the catholic church
    We must remember that we are after the essence, wherever we find that, we have found our safe home:)

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    1. Subal..

      "We must remember that we are after the essence, wherever we find that, we have found our safe home:)"

      Great point. Thank you so much for sharing.

      ~ Jessica

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  15. Great poem Jessica! I feel like I'm feeling the joy you've found on your spiritual path as I read. :-)

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    1. Rachel,

      Thank you for stopping by..I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :)

      Blessings,

      Jessica

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  16. I have visited this yesterday and have come to appreciate it more now as I reread it again. I like the discipline that you enforced in this post. It makes me wonder how focused one could be to achieve peace and solidarity with God, self and with others. I especially like the poem you wrote...it's so spontaneous ~ I recited it slowly like a prayer...

    I have read some of the comment threads and I think I'm not yet ready to receive all the information and clarifications... but I will come back to unfold the mysteries involved in this...

    Lots of love sis :*

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    1. Melissa,

      Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked the poem and thoughts. :) I definitely think regular spiritual disciplines can be instrumental in helping us maintain focus and keep our perspectives oriented towards the Divine.

      Some of the comments are very specific to certain practitioners and schools of thought..I'd say, above all, go with your heart when practicing something like chanting. God always seeks the seeker and His love always helps guide the way.

      Lots of love,

      Jessica

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  17. Beautiful words and poem. Inner peace is a beautiful thing and will reflect what comes out of us. There is nothing more powerful then connecting ourselves to the One who knows us, deep within.

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    1. Farfalla...Thank you so much for stopping by. I completely agree.:)

      ~ blessings,

      Jessica

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  18. Lovely poem, Jessica! Love is indeed... the sweetest nectar of all! ;)

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  19. This is a beautiful poem Jessica! It looks like a popular topic...you have received a lot of comments :) Have a blessed weekend!

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  20. Hi, Jessica! ~

    I don't think you need to feel sheepish about writing about what you're passionate about over and over again! In my opinion, that's EXACTLY what one should write about! I enjoy your passion and enthusiasm! I hardly recognize you from one year ago! Go Gurrlll!!! XOXOXO

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  21. What a beautiful poem Jessica. Touched my soul.

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  22. Lovely poem written by a lovely soul!
    ~ Blessings Jessica ~

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  23. As per Christianity, there is no guru or father than the one above; and I suppose we can follow that direction, which our soul, our spiritual thirst leads to

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