A lot has been spoken about mantra japa and sadhana. However in all sadhana there is one important aspect that demands attention. In any sadhana the most important feature that participates is the mind. When the mind gets suffused in the sadhana process , the most subtle aspect of the mind that is the citta gets affected. The citta is the gateway to the spiritual world. Unless the grossest aspect of the mind gets submerged in the limbs of sadhana for a prolonged period , there is no question of the citta getting involved with the sadhana process at all.
It should be noted that our mind stuff is a sum total of what we eat. Unless one constantly eats prasadam , there is no question of the mind becoming stable and becoming capable of Sadhana. Hence in the Vaishnavic process , the prasadam is the most important aspect of the bhajana process. Once we make it absolutely compulsory to only consume offered food , our mind cannot become stable. Even in prasadam there needs to be care taken. Prasadam should be cooked by devotees especially sajatiya otherwise the instability in the quality of prasadam will induce distortions in the mind. The mind stuff is so dynamic that a little instability will cause daunting disruptions in the mind. This is the initial step.
One’s material life is an inner reflection of the mind stuff collected over millions of life times , further affected by the food intake. Thus our external world is a complex distortion of what lies within the unconscious and conscious realms of the mind. The mind holds within itself Karma like prarabdha, sanchita, aprarabdha and beeja. When by some untold good fortune one understakes Deeksha , the sanchita,aprarabdha karma dissolves immediately. Yet beeja and prarabdha can remain. These become the main constituents of the mind. Our family , job, our friends and other visible entities are part of the prarabdha and beeja. Beeja represents the hidden unknown aspects of our personality , if unattended will result again into aprarabdha and sanchita karma.
The entire range of karmic deposit is on the mind and the depth of this is also on the citta. Our compulsive behaviour is due to these distortions of the mind. When one takes up sadhana in the Gaudiya Vaishnava way one is trying to tackle beeja and prarabdha. Initially one takes up limited chanting , it is only as a matter of practice. The goal of sadhana is to obtain direct service to the divine couple. However many stages have to be overcome as one takes up the chanting service. The Gopala Mantra, the Radha Mantra and the Guru Mantra are very important mechanism to clear the mind of the debris of worldly living. The aspect of Vrindavana has to be achieved internally and externally through constant meditation and Siddha Pranali. The mind , when engrossed in the Leelas and constant chanting , gets slowly rid of materialistic thoughts and engagements. Although a living entity , by the force of prarabdha may get involved with materialistic activity, is constantly internally focussed on chanting and ashtha kaliya Leela. Only constant practice of the Guru Mantra and the instructions of Srila Gurudeva , one will be slowly released from the grip of external maya. If one realizes that it is mind and mind alone which is the cause of one’s burden , it becomes easier for a sadhaka to immerse one’s mind into sadhana and slowly emerge into a world which is free of anxieties while still encaged in the material body in this material world , whereby this material body and material existence will be completely spiritualized. The more one gets involved with the glories of Sriman Mahaprabhu and sings His glories in the form of Gaudiya Geeti , which is a great form of Sadhana , one will observe that one is easily elevated to the platform of the leaf of a Lotus flower. There will be no more attachment to the visible world and one would have transcended all material transactions and one will physically and spiritually enter the unassailable land of Vrindavana.