Two articles in this issue deal with the topic of japa, or the devotee’s individual chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra while counting on beads. Kalakantha Dasa’s “Japa and the Opening Heart” analyses Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Shikshashtaka (“Eight Prayers”) to gain insight into this essential spiritual practice. In “Japa Retreat: The Perfect Cure for Self-Neglect,” Karuna Dharini Devi Dasi reports on a japa workshop held in New York state’s Catskill Mountains.
Contemplative chanting of God’s names may seem alien to what goes on in scientific laboratories, but Navin Jani shows in “The Science of Knowing God” that the practices of Krishna consciousness, which include japa, can legitimately be called science. Through this expanded science, the spiritual scientist can perceive higher truths, including God Himself. Progress in the science of Krishna consciousness leads to pure vision, or as Mohini Radha Devi Dasi explains, “Eyes to See God.”
To pursue the spiritual path to knowledge requires dedication rooted in the individual’s freedom to make his or her own choices. In “The Choice,” Madhava Smullen tells of growing up in the Hare Krishna movement and realizing that the decision to pursue the science of Krishna consciousness is one he alone can make for himself.
Hare Krishna.—Nagaraja Dasa, Editor