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Question: I have heard that Srila Prabhupada has said that we should simply hear while we chant, we should not think about anything, but it is very difficult to keep the mind focused only on the sound vibration. So, is it bona-fide to think of our favorite Krishna Deity or picture or even Gaur-Nitai Deity or picture and pray to them while chanting as actual picture it is not always possible to see. Also, is it bona-fide to think about Krishna’s pastimes, qualities, instructions, etc.,while chanting?

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Jayapataka Swami: While chanting you can watch the Deities or picture of Krishna or spiritual master. In this way you can hear and with your eyes you are watching. Naturally when you see a picture of Krishna and chanting Hare Krishna, you may start to think or remember some pastime of Krishna, so that’s something that happens spontaneously, we don’t have to try to do it. It’s something that happens. You can try to listen. But, you may think of some pastime of Krishna, that’s all right. I, being the manager in Mayapur, many thoughts would come to my mind, and they would disturb my chanting, so I had a notebook, I would take a note then I would go back to chanting. And if any thought came up, I would just write in my notebook if it was some material thing I had to do. So changing the tune, chanting louder or softer, going for a walk and chanting while walking, these are all systems to focus on the mind, focus on Krishna with the mind.