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It is said to chant mantra with faith and sincerity. But what does it exactly mean?

Does it mean uttering the mantra by recalling the image of the corresponding god or uttering it slowly or uttering it with a discipline (for example, we thought to chant it 108 times, is it doing so without any disturbance?).

Or if we are chanting the mantra to get a desire fulfilled, is it chanting the mantra by visualizing a mental image of the desire being fulfilled? or chanting the mantra in the thoughtless state or does it mean chanting the mantra by recalling the meaning of the mantra?

Also, what is chanting with faith for a person who expects nothing in return from the mantra?

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    how did the child learn how to walk? first every step is carefully kept and all attention has to be paid for each step. A small slip results in fall thus the child has no problem concentrating. The child begins to practice constantly walking day and night, falling on few occasions but never stopping. Continuous attention is paid to each step. Now the child has grown and walking is such a involuntary and subconscious action. Similarly chant the mantra consistently, continuously, day and night. Do not worry about 'faith' or 'visualizing'. Just chant. Slowly u will be absorbed in dat state Sir! – Sai Dec 15 '14 at 2:38
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    As for 'what is chanting with faith for a person who expects nothing in return from the mantra?' If one expect nothing in return from the mantra, and one still continue to do it, just for the fun of chanting, then they are a great karma yogi! – Sai Dec 15 '14 at 2:39
  • Isn't he great Bhakti yogi? :) Why did you say karma yogi? Thank you. – user12458 Dec 15 '14 at 4:09
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    Sri Krishna says in the Gita 6,1 that karma yogi performs prescribed actions without worrying about results. The general rule is this: What is your motivation for chanting? If they are because of fulfilling desires then that is called world yoga hehe. If they are for 'fun of chanting' or 'for sake of doing' or 'duty' then it is karma yoga. If it is 'for being myself' 'for being who I am' 'dwelling on the real I' then it is jnana yoga. If it is for the Lord and the Lord alone, that is if it is for Sri Krishna and only for Sri Krishna (or any other God your Ishta God) then it is bhakti yoga!! – Sai Dec 15 '14 at 4:21
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    However it must be pointed out that there really is no difference between the three yogas. all are one and the same for the wise. It is like this: looking at a cup which is half-empty and half-full. The karma yogi calls the cup 'half-full' the jnani calls it 'half-empty' the bhakta calls it as 'neither full nor empty cup'. All three are saying same thing in different ways.That's all. All the best sir! :) Chanting is good, whatever the motivation is :) – Sai Dec 15 '14 at 4:22
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Below is one perspective based on a Gaudiya scripture and mostly my own explanation based on some experience in regular chanting, under guidance of some senior teachers.

Generally Sraddha is the word used for faith and in it's highest degree, Lord Caitanya equates it with dhrda Visvasa (firm conviction) in Krishna.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains Sraddha as follows:

CC Madhya 22.62 — “Sraddha is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krsna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service.

Faith: In terms of chanting, we hear from sadhu, sastra about the importance of holy names. We may have never chanted before but we read from scriptures, see the sadhus chanting, find out about the practical impact on people's lives and start chanting. This is a demonstration of faith. As you chant more, based on your personal experience and scriptural knowledge your faith increases. Faith in its highest stage is firmly beleiving and execute with firm conviction as cited by Caitanya Mahaprabhu above.

Sincerety: A simple dictionary meaning is "free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings". Sometimes this is also used to mean how comitted we are to the practice. Say I make a commitment to chant, I claim I have faith that this is the most important thing but I always keep it on the low priority of my 'to do' list. I get up, read news, play, go to office and when there is nothing else to do I chant. This means I am not sincere, I made a pledge of faith that it is most important but it is not genuine. If it was most important I would have done it at the first available opportunity, i.e, in the morning before doing other tasks and not kept it to the end of the day.

Process of chanting: Chant at earliest possible time, like in the morning before sunrise. First we focus on hearing the syllables of the mantra distinctly. We chant little loudly so that we can hear the sound of our own chanting. This way our tongue and ears are both engaged in the holy name. The holy name is very powerful and as it enters our heart through our ears it can eventually reveal the form and pastimes of the Lord. It is said the name will eventually reveal the form and pastimes of the Lord. We do not force our selves to think of the form but just focus on hearing. We can chant in front of the deities of Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Laksmi-Narayana etc. so our eyes are also engaged in seeing Their beautiful forms.

Also, what is chanting with faith for a person who expects nothing in return from the mantra?

I don't fully understand your question but it seems you are asking about the faith in the highest stage. A person who attained highest faith in the name of the Lord doesn't see the Lord and His name to be different. They are not afraid of any impediments put in their chanting. Faith of Haridas Thakura (an associate of Caitanya Maha Prabhu) is an example of this. He was beaten to death but he didn't give up chanting and the Lord saved him. You can read the story here We also see this in the case of Prahlada, who was threatened by his demoniac father Hiranya Kasipu but the body didn't give up His devotion to the Lord. Lord Hanuman is also another good example who has firm faith in the name of Lord Rama.

  • For the last question, I mean for a person who doesn't chant the mantra for either worldly desires or for spiritual desires or for his own sake or for the sake of others or to union with supreme being, I am saying just chanting the mantra just because he likes to do it. What is faith to such a person? – user12458 Dec 14 '14 at 9:05
  • @srinivasacarya: Very nice answer! Thanks for sharing the inspiring life story of Sri Haridasa. – Jatin Nov 28 '16 at 5:12

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