How to chant without diversions? Do we need a guru to start chanting?
Dear sir, I m confused. I have no guru so far. Can I chant or wait for guru. Advise me to chant without distraction. Thank you.
(1) The Brahma Muhurtha time, ie, about 2 hrs before the sun rise is the best time to chant because, during that period, we will be under the control of satva guna. So, the best time for chanting is: Between 4-7 am.
(2) There are two benefits in doing this in this time:
(i) If you complete chanting before sunrise, the chanted Maha Manthra will be with you throughout the day and protect you and guide you in satva guna throughout the day.
(ii) Another benefit is that you get 2 hrs extra duration to perform your daily works. Thus, waking up early will help you to reduce tension and will give you more time to perform regular duties.
(3) Waking up early may be difficult for you initially, as the people go to bed only after, after completing all the tele-serials and movies and when ghosts start to walk. But, when you practice to get up earlier, your body clock will alter itself accordingly. It is better to go to bed at around 10 pm.
(4) Six hours of sleep is sufficient for a normal person. Only children need extra sleep.
(5) It is better to complete all the rounds before 7-7.30 in the morning. However, if you find it impossible, you can chant as much as possible in the early morning and the remaining at any time convenient for you. But, try to finish the rounds that day itself.
(6) Have a policy of chanting this a certain number of rounds like 4 rounds, 8, or 16, like that according to your situation. If you commit, do that at any cost on that day.
(7) If you come to the level of chanting 16 rounds a day, stage by satge, that will be good. One round means 108 times of chanting Hare Krishna Maha Manthra.
(8) Though your mind fluctuates initially, it will become controlled when you develop a taste of chanting in due course of time. Your mind will have disturbances ONLY UNTIL you develop taste in chanting. It will come naturally in due course of chanting for days, months or years. So, don’t stop chanting just because your mind is diverted. Continue chanting though you chant with offences initially. Just keep on taking corrective steps. Everything will be alright in future. Don’t worry.
(9) Your next question: GURU. Yes. You need a guru to guide you in devotional practices. What are you going to lose just because you have a guru? Why should we hesitate to have a guru? Is he claiming all your properties? Is he asking you to be with him all the time? What is wrong in being humble and accepting a good Vaishnava as a guru for you?
A devotee loses nothing by accepting a guru. If that guru is a good Vaishnava, this devotee will gain Krishna Himself through that guru.
However, chanting is independent of any other factors and Lord Name itself is originally powerful. So, you need not wait till you get a guru. Start serious chanting now itself. If you like to proceed further in your devotional practices and like to dedicate yourself seriously to the service of Lord, you will need a guru. A guru is needed to purify us and to help us in going towards Lord and to guide us. But, the point is: You need not wait to start serious chanting till you get a guru.
(10) Pray to Krishna to show you a good living guru. Don’t rush in selecting guru. Just Chant sincerely. If Krishna wishes to arrange a good guru for you, He will show a guru to you in due course of time. If you sincerely pray to Krishna , He will show you a good guru.
(11) Just visit the nearest sathsangha during every sunday regularly. Observe what other devotees do. Analyse how things are going on. Consult the temple authority there and Get his advices. After that decide ON YOUR OWN whom to accept as guru without any pressures.
(12) If you do not like to rush for a guru right now, read related to Krishna. A.C.Bakthi Vedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON has written so many books that can help to advance in your devotion to Krishna. Visit the center, buy those books and read. These readings will guide you and you will automatically decide how and when to get a guru.
Hope this helps.
All the best.