How to chant Japa (Mantra Meditation):
Chant on one bead then move to the next, go forward and not backward. If you twirl the bead when you chant the tendency is that you might chant on more than one bead for one mantra.

1) Hold on to the bead tightly (for dear life) like a drowning man in the ocean of birth and death holds on to the rope cast by the spiritual master in the boat of devotional service.

2) Get bigger beads ! If people question you why you're chanting on huge beads tell them because your hand is a rascal cheater who must be taught to chant the proper number.

3) Timing it ! take the beads out of the bead bag and time how long it takes you to chant one round after three times timing it you know how long it takes you.

4) Use that timer to check if you are chanting properly. If the time falls shorter then it means your fingers slipped on the beads. You should hold on to the Krishna or end bead and chant until you reach your allotted time and count that as one round.

5) If you think that you may not be chanting the full mantra then tape yourself and check now and then.

6) Post the mantra on the wall and read it while chanting.

7) As long as the devotee's mind is not firmly fixed then it should be slow enough so that he can hear it. (8 to 10 minutes per round)

8) If the devotee can fix the mind on chanting without any distraction then they may chant faster. (5 minute per round)

9) It is important to chant attentively. If you are not then you are asking for offenses.

10) Chanting should always be going on. 16 rounds is the minimal.

11) Why we use tulasi beads? Because it is tulasi sanga - association of Tulasi Devi.

1. Sit erect so that you don't feel drowsy.

2. Walking is done if you feel drowsy or you can go on parikrama as long as you can concentrate on the name. It should not be radar japa.

3. In a well illuminated place.

Attentive Chanting
1. Withdraw the mind from sense objects and concentrate on the sound. As one deepens the concentration on the sound then the form of Krishna becomes manifest then the qualities. How do we know the qualities are real or not? Compare them with the authorized verses of Bhakti Rasämrita Sindhu, Srimad Bhagavatam etc

2. Memorizing verses of Krishna's beauty is a stimulus for this. Verse like SB 10.21.5/10.23.22 , Bhakti Rasämrita Sindhu 3.3.79

3. Pronouncing clearly. CC adi 17.32 purport. Better slow and distinct then fast and unclear.

4. As long as one's body is healthy one should chant loudly and clearly. Be  considerate of other devotees nearby, if the other devotee is chanting too  loud you can use ear plugs. Living with the Holy Name Living by always chanting it and distributing it.Results of giving up chanting SB 4.20.26 - you become just like an animal.Chanting at the time of death. SB 5.3.12/8.3.1 you should memorize and chant nectar about Krishna and you can use these in tight, dangerous situations. Ex amogha das - chanted passages from Krishna book before passing out (due to blood loss) while leaving his body.Canakya niti sastra - if one wants sense gratification he should think " I'll live forever" if one wants self - realization he should think " I maydie today" Harinamastakam says the same thing.

REPORT ON A JAPA WORKSHOPof His Holiness Srila Jayapataka Swami Maharaja

It was so simple, yet powerful. HH Jayapataka Swami brought 'Harinama cintamani' with him and every day he would read something out of it, for inspiration. He stressed that we should accept The Holy Name as a person, as Krsna, and relate to It in the same way. The point of the japa workshop was to chant together and mainly these two things were stressed:

1. Srila Prabhupada said that it takes 6 minutes for an experienced devotee to chant one round. Of course, we can't achieve this immediately, for e.g. if we just started chanting not long ago. But this should be our goal.

2. The mantra should be pronounced clearly and we should try to hear it. Put some effort into it.

Why is it so?

If we chant faster, we have to give more attention to pronouncing the maha-mantra (so that we don't skip some parts and so that the mind can follow the pronunciation of the whole mantra). Otherwise we start to mispronounce the names or skip them.

 The first day Jayapataka Maharaja was checking how the devotees hold their japa. He said that the way vaishnavas hold their japa (with the middle finger and the thumb) is a way to achieve perfection in devotional service. If you hold it with the forefinger and the thumb it is for cursing, and holding it with the thumb and the little finger is for achieving mystic powers. A bonafide japa starts with the big grains, and ends with the small ones. And the first eight grains should be separated with some cloth or thread. These 8 grains remind us of eight principal gopis.

The guru was also going from one devotee to another, listening how they pronounce the maha-mantra, giving advises, approving and encouraging them. Each time one of his disciples would stopwatch and after 5 minutes he woul let us know every next 15 seconds what the time is so that we could know how long we chant. I have to say I am very inspired by him taking care of every individual devotee, he was listening to the chanting of every devotee. Another thing is that before the workshop It took me 7'30 minutes to chant one round and I never thought I could go below that, if I want to pronounce the whole maha-mantra clearly. However, on the workshop I finished my round in 6'51 min, which is a huge advancement - almost 40 sec. It means that my mind was all this time wandering around, who knows where. On the last day the guru invited all the devotees who had some problems with chanting to come and chant with him.

reported by bhn. Martina Donelli

This is teaching through practical realization, as some time ago people used to observe that HH JPS's japa was not that attentive. He took the observation and using it as a means of constructive criticism improved his personal japa, and is now helping others with theirs.