Quite often we are asked the questions, ‘Is it possible to chant while performing various activities? What if we are talking or doing some intellectual activity? Is it still possible to chant?’
The answer to this is, ‘Yes’. However this level of chanting happens at a much later stage in our spiritual journey when the chanting centre is well established in the sub-conscious mind. Let us understand how continuous chanting is possible.
Ordinarily, each of us can focus our attention on eight things simultaneously. These eight points of attention are through the five sense organs 1. ears, 2. skin, 3. eyes, 4. tongue and 5. nose (which are referred to as the external sense organs), 6. conscious mind, 7. sub-conscious mind and 8. intellect (these last three are the internal sense organs).
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Let’s understand this in more detail from the below example of a girl crossing a busy street. Let us look at how each of her eight points of attention performs its respective function simultaneously. We have depicted the internal sense organs, i.e. the mind and intellect as an aura around the girl’s body. Please note that our mind and intellect are not physical organs such as the brain but they are in fact subtle, i.e. intangible and extend around us.
As she negotiates crossing the road she is bombarded with and processes various stimuli through her 5 external sense organs all at the same time. She simultaneously looks at the traffic around her, listens to the sound of vehicles, becomes aware of some smell on the road or of being pushed by someone and tastes the sweet in her mouth all at the same time.
Thus while her external sense organs are operational, through her internal sense organs (depicted as the white aura around her) she thinks about crossing the road, intellectually takes a decision about that and is simultaneously reminded of some other task to be performed.
All of us will have experienced this time and again while performing activities in our life.
Now, consider the scenario in which the girl has been doing the spiritual practice of chanting the Name of God for some years. In this case, along with the above eight-fold attention, her mind is also chanting even though she may not be consciously aware of it.
The following paragraphs will explain how this is possible:
- Every individual possesses the ability of eight-fold attention . Since every organ can perform its own function, even when reading an important document the eyes and intellect function while the mind can chant. Also even if one is talking, the mouth and intellect may be engaged in this activity but the mind is free to chant.
- However it is only once the chanting centre is established in the sub-conscious mind that the chanting continues regardless of any activity we are performing. This would begin after a seeker attains the 50% spiritual level. This type of chanting is non-verbal and is a function of the Bliss experienced while breathing or chanting the Name of God. At this stage the external signs are that the person’s focus and thoughts are more on spiritual growth than on worldly pursuits. Once this stage occurs, chanting continues even in sleep; that is, it occurs continuously for twenty-four hours. Here not only is the person not making any conscious effort at chanting, many times he may be unaware that his chanting is going on.
Until this point is reached chanting takes place with conscious effort. Here chanting is happening only when a person is aware of himself chanting. A person at this stage would not be able to chant while doing some intellectual activity as the sub-conscious mind is incapable of continuing the chanting once one stops chanting with effort.