Chapter 62: Chanting and Following the Principles
Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 62
Chanting and Following the Principles
It was easy to understand that Śrīla Prabhupāda enjoyed chanting japa. He always stressed the importance of chanting our 16 rounds. He once told me that as a householder, he used a simple process for completing 16 rounds that we could apply.
"When I was a householder," he said, "I would chant four rounds before each meal and four rounds before retiring in the evening. In this way 16 rounds could be chanted without difficulty." He laughed and said, "If you don't take prasadam before chanting your four rounds then you will be sure to get them chanted."
In New Dwaraka he told me, "In the evening, if I get tired, I walk and chant. If you are tired, then walk and chant like I do. Sometimes, if I am tired, I pace back and forth in the room. Simply, in one room you can do everything. If you are tired, you can stand up and chant, like I do."
It was common to see Śrīla Prabhupāda walk in his quarters or sit in his rocking chair while he chanted rounds. In the evening he sometimes chanted rounds while I massaged him in bed.
"There, I'm finished," he would say.
One day I was in his sitting room in New Dwaraka cleaning around his desk. He was sitting behind his desk chanting japa. As he pulled down a counter bead he looked at me with a beautiful smile and said humorously, "There, I have finished my 16 rounds. Now I can do any damn thing I want."
Devotees often asked Śrīla Prabhupāda about following certain rules in regards to Ekadāsī or following Caturmas.
"My disciples, they cannot even chant 16 rounds and follow the principles," he responded. "What is the use of these other rules and regulations. First, just do these things. Do the simple things that I ask you to do. Don't concern yourself with all these rituals. First, chant your 16 rounds and follow the principles."
One day a
"Marriage. Why do you think marriage is going to solve your difficulties?" Śrīla Prabhupāda answered. "You should chant. Just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Chant your 16 rounds."
Many times devotees went into Śrīla Prabhupāda's room with a problem they were hoping would be solved with some particular arrangement. His solution was always the same. "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, chant your 16 rounds." He developed the phrase, "Just do it!" long before Nike.
"If there is some difficulty, you chant loudly," he told one disciple. "If there is some agitation, chant out loud."
One time it was brought to his attention that a senior devotee was not attending mangala arati or chanting rounds, at least with the other devotees.
"Do it to set the example for the other devotees," Śrīla Prabhupāda said. "You, yourself are very advanced. You do not need to attend mangala arati, but you should set the example for those that require it."
Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda, for being the Acarya. You always taught by example. You chanted rounds. You said three Gayatri mantras a day, rose early in the morning and put tilak on your transcendental body. You never asked any disciple to do something you were not doing yourself. You always practiced what you preached. You showed us how a pure devotee conducts himself. I have been in illusion since time immemorial, but I pray that I am never deluded into thinking that this process of devotional service is only for the neophyte.