We have seen some sages doing chanting by surrounding them with fire; some during severe cold, standing in the river and chanting. But those who are devotees of Lord, what do they do? They only do continuous chanting of the holy names. What is achieved by knowledge and renunciation, devotees achieve the same by the mere chanting of holy names.

Lord is saying, whatever you do, you may eat, drink or enjoy, but always chant holy names. For Kali-yuga such a concession Lord has given. So no need to stand on one leg in the fire or in the river or upside down. And no need to suffer so much and put your body into trouble. Just sit down anyhow; during the winter there is nothing to worry, just sit down inside a blanket and chant the holy names. You may even lay down but just chant the holy names. 

Lord Himself is explaining the glories of the holy names, in any condition, you can chant, even the jivas who don’t want to chant. And how this chanting is achieved? By associating with devotees and hearing hari-katha from them. If the holy names are once tasted by the tongue, then no need to worry, chanting will be automatic. Automatic chanting will be there while performing your duties. 

I insist to you, chant one lakh of nama-japa, which means 64 rounds. You will see that during your sleep, the chanting will also continue. If someone chants 64 rounds, when he sleeps he will experience the chanting is also going on. Then what to say if he chants suddha-nama-japa?

Q: Can we chant on a counter?

A: Our Gurudev did not allow it. Do your japa on tulasi beads, on your japa-mala. Wherever you go, take your japa-mala with you. 

Q: When we try to complete 64 rounds, sometimes it is done but it is not of quality...

A: Quantity and quality is another thing; just do it for practice. Practice first. There are two things behind this:

1) First, think of quality, not the quantity. But the quality will be achieved only by the practice. How do you know quality? For this regard, when you will complete 64 rounds of japa, some satisfaction comes within. At first, satisfaction will come, that is called “bhogu-vritti”. In economics, if something costs 200 Rs and you are eager to buy it but then it becomes rarely available, now you have to pay 300 Rs. What will you do? You will buy it by paying 300 Rs! This spare 100 Rs is called “bhogu-vritti”. In economics, the cost is decided by demand and supply. But when you are not considering demand and supply and instead you are buying the product for your satisfaction, it is called “bhogu-vritti”.

2) In the same way, when you complete 64 rounds of japa, you don’t know about quality or quantity. Even if you do quantity and leave the quality aside, it also brings some satisfaction to you. Same satisfaction brings some sort of happiness to you. What I mean to say, anyhow you just chant without thinking of quality, but I know all “you will not do”.

It is correct to focus on quality, but how will you decide whether it is of quality or not? So, for this reason, you should just focus on quantity; when it will be achieved, gradually you will also realize about quality. From quantity achieve the quality.

Q: [Disciple quotes Tulasi das]:
“Tulasi mere raam ko reez bhajo ya kheez, bhumi pade jaame sabhi ulta sidha beej”
[“By anyhow, either in anger or praising you remember the Lord, it will be effective as like the seed that falls in the soil will always grow”]

A: Yes, exactly. Everything will grow, just chant anyhow. By chanting the reverse of the name [“mara” instead of “rama”], Valmiki became brahma-rsi [the highest class of sages].

“Ulta naam japat jag jaana,valmiki bhaye brahma samana

Valmiki chanted “mara mara” instead of “rama rama”. You achieve the higher level only by passing through the lower one.

So don’t try to get quantity from quality, rather try to get quality from quantity; from quantity to quality only. Then gradually while chanting a fixed number of rounds, remembering namarupaguna and lila... this is quality.

(...) tistham vraje tad-anuragi-jananugami (...)

(Sri Upadesamrta 8)
This is quality.

In this way out of ten japa at least one will be of quality. Don’t worry, it will gradually happen.

[Translated from Hindi by Sushant Krishna Das Prabhu]