CHANTING HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA – IMPORTANCE, TIPS AND COMPLETE PROCEDURE!
IMPORTANCE OF THE CHANTING (JAPA) OF HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA
Why Chanting is given this much of importance? Why not any other practices in this kaliyuga?
Because, Chanting is the dharma recommended in this kaliyuga to liberate one from the material bondages and take him back to Krishna.
If you like to come out of darkness (maya), Chant Hare Krishna Maha Manthra with dedication and love on Krishna while following regulative principles (disciplinary codes)!
Also read: 32 WAYS OF HOW NOT TO CHANT.
The Manthra proved to be able to purify any person of any stage is Hare Krishna Maha Manthra:
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”
Simple to chant but very effective in results!
SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM (12.3.52) says:
“krte yad dhyayato visnum tretayam yajato makhaih dvapare paricaryayam kalau tad dhari-kirtanat”
MEANING: “Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Visnu (Dhyana), in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices (Homa) and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet (At temples) can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra”
Some may ask: Should we spend about 1-2 hours every day for chanting in this busy life?
A day has 24 hours. Let us spend 7 hours to sleep; 1 hour to eat; 9 hours for work; 5 hours for any other important works you have! Can’t we spend just 2 hours (say about 8% of time every day) for Chanting Krishna’s Name & following devotional practices? Should we make ourselves that much busy? Can we live without His Mercy?
No excuses, please! We have no value without Krishna! Therefore we should not miss Him in this rare human birth! We should catch Him Strongly!
Chanting purifies our consciousnesss and keeps bad elements away from us. For example, sincerely chant atleast one round of Hare Krishna Maha Manthra before going to bed. You will get a deep & sound sleep without bad dreams! Try!
MEANING OF HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA
Meaning of “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama hare Hare”:
‘Hare’ means ‘the energy of Lord’. ‘Krishna’ means ‘All attractive Lord’. ‘Rama’ means ‘Supreme Enjoyer’.
Thus the Hare Krishna Maha Manthra means: “Oh, Energy of Lord! Oh, All Attractive Lord! Oh Supreme Enjoyer! Please Engage me in your service!”
“MANTHRA” MEANS: “THE SOUND THAT LIBERATES OUR MIND FROM IGNORANCE!”
“MAHA MANTHRA” MEANS: “THE MOST POWERFUL SOUND THAT LIBERATES OUR MIND FROM IGNORANCE!”
Hereafter, chant with more dedication since you now know the meaning! It will be more Effective!
UNABLE TO CONCENTRATE IN CHANTING?
If you find it difficult to focus your concentration on chanting, you may keep a picture of Krishna or any of His forms in paper/mind while chanting, so that you can avoid thoughts material things, people, worries, dreams, etc!
Take sincere efforts to avoid offences while chanting! I request all the devotees to memorize all points of offences against chanting given at the end of this article & avoid them so as to get the best out of chanting and achieve the Mercy of Krishna!
THINGS TO BE AVOIDED / FOLLOWED WHILE CHANTING
(1) You may commit any number of rounds a day if you have not received diksha (initiation) from the guru. Let it be liberal and manageable.
(2) The initiated devotees should chant a minimum of 16 rounds every day.
(3) In the daily target, include only those rounds of chanting that were done as an exclusive activity after doing the morning body cleaning processes! If you had committed 8 rounds a day (108 times x 8), try to include only those rounds that were done as an exclusive assignment!
(4) Though you can chant even while doing works, do not count them in calculation;
(5) Do not include in the targeted rounds, those chanting rounds that were done while watching T.V, Computer, using Mobile phone, while eating, while lying on bed or while chatting with others!
(6) Try to wake up before 4.30 am (don’t scold me), brush, clean your face, have some milk if you need it & Chant preferably before Sunrise or atleast before 7AM! Start daily duties after chanting in the early morning.
(7) However, in unavoidable circumstances like your schedules of Job timings/ shifts, etc, you may chant in any time of the day convenient for you. Or, you may chant a part of chanting rounds in the early morning and the remaining rounds in your free time during the day.
(8) Chanting can be done even in a house where a death has happened recently!
(9) Women can chant even during monthly periods! (However, they may avoid using tulasi mala for chanting, the rituals like performing pujas, offering food to Krishna, etc, during monthly periods)! Only Consciousness matters here!
(10) If you feel itching in nose, ears, hairs or other body parts, don’t rub or impurify your fingers while chanting! Stop chanting, make body comfortable & start chanting again! If any one calls you while chanting, stop chanting, go, attend, come back & continue chanting.
(11) Don’t chant while taking bath or in toilet! This is the respect we show to Krishna!
(12) Don’t talk to others or watch any other media while chanting!
(13) Chant in a peaceful atmosphere without TV, Radio, disturbing persons, disturbing thoughts, etc.
(14) Don’t overload your stomach since you may feel sleepy & be affected by gastric/ acidic issues!
(15) ‘JAPA’ means ‘Speak softly’. So, chant in low voice! You can sing loudly but don’t chant loudly!
More the sincerity, faster the spritual advancement & going back to Krishna!
(16) PRONOUNCE THE MANTHRA CLEARLY & DISTINCTLY WITH A SINGLE MIND THAT IS NOT WANDERING ALL OVER!
(17) IMPORTANT: SCRIPTURES SAY: “WHEN YOU CHANT HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA, KRISHNA STARTS PERSONALLY DANCING ON YOUR TONGUE! THEREFORE, DO NOT TAKE CHANTING AS JUST ANOTHER RITUAL!
HOW TO COUNT THE NUMBER OF CHANTING?
There are different methods to count the 108 times of chanting of Maha Manthra.
(i) One method is using the fingers. The difficulty in this method is that we have to spare a part of our attention to the counting with the fingers! It affects our concentration in chanting.
(ii) Chanting can also be done using beads placed inside a bag.
(iii) You may also use handy counting devices.
CHANTING TIPS FROM THE WRITINGS OF “H.H.BAKTHI VIKAS SWAMI”
(Written from my memory)
(1) “A round (108 times) of chanting will take 5.5 to 8 minutes depending on the experience. Thus, if a person completes a round within 5 minutes, that means, he has (i) not concentrated on manthra or (ii) omitted some terms of manthra, or (iii) skipped some beads (less than 108 times).
(2) Quality of Chanting is important.
(3) We should avoid taking Chanting Beads to Bathroom or toilet.
(4) Each strand of JAPA BEADS contains 108 beads & one large bead (the master bead to identify the starting/ closing point). Start chanting on a bead next to the master bead and gently roll the beads one by one between the thumb & middle finger of your right hand after you chant the full Hare Krishna Manthra every time. Move to the next bead and repeat the process.
(5) In this way, chant on each of the 108 beads until you reach the master bead again. This is THE one round of Japa. Then, without chanting on the master bead, reverse the mala & start the second round on the last bead you chanted on. This method not only helps to you fix your attention on the holy name, but it also helps you to count the no. of times you chant the manthra daily.
(6) Once you have fixed a certain no. of rounds of chanting daily, try to complete it every day without fail. When you feel you can chant more, increase the minimum no. of rounds you chant every day. But, don’t fall below that number. You can chant more than your fixed number, but you should maintain a set minimum each day.
(My Note: In case you are unable to complete the committed rounds of chanting on any day because of genuine reasons, compensate the missed rounds the next day by chanting more.)
(7) Please note: The beads are sacred. Never allow it to touch the ground and never put it in an unclean place.
(8) To keep your beads clean, it is best to carry them in a special bead bag. (Both the beads & bead bags are available in all ISKCON temples worldwide).
(9) Since Krishna is all powerful & Merciful, he has kindly made it very easy for us to chant. HE HAS ALSO INVESTED HIS POWERS IN THEM.
(10) Initiated devotees must do a minimum of 16 rounds (16×108) daily! No relaxation! However, new devotees may find this difficult. They can start from 2 or 4 or 8 and increase the number of rounds stage by stage.
MY NOTE: However, decide the no. of rounds considering your situation/ background. Even if you chant 2 rounds, do it properly. Do not stick to 2 rounds daily. Develop a wish to increase the no. of rounds & do it! If you are free on any day (say, holidays), do not hesitate to chant 16 rounds on that day. (Many wake up only after 9 am on holidays, half heartedly). If we are not ready to sacrifice even an hour for Krishna, it is not good. We are zero, if Krishna’s Mercy is not there! We should always keep this in mind.
HOW TO CHANT HARE KRISHNA PROPERLY?
(THE PROPER WAY OF CHANTING)
In spite of our care and alertness, we may commit 1 or 2 offences, since we are human! Therefore, before starting the chanting, we have to pray the exalted vaishnavas and acharyas to forgive these offences!
Therefore, Before starting the chanting, recite the following manthras: (i) Guru Pranama Manthra, (ii) Srila Prabhupada Pranama Manthra and (ii) Pancha Tatva Manthra holding the Master bead on your fingers. The acharyas will recommend Krishna to excuse the offences!
(1) GURU PRANAMA MANTRA
In case you had got initiation (diksha) from any guru, you have to recite your guru’s pranama manthra first. This manthra is not necessary if you had not got initiation (diksha) from any guru. They can start from the stage (2) below:
(2) SRILA PRABHUPADA PRANAMA MANTHRA
Nama Ohm Vishnu Paadaaya Krishna Preshthaya Bhuthale
Srimathe Bakthivedantha Swamin Ithi Namine
Namaste Saraswathe Deve Gauravani pracharine
nirvisesha sunyavadi paschatya desa tarine
(3) PANCHA TATVA MANTRA
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda
Sri Advaitha Gathathara Srivashadhi Gaura baktha vrindha.
After reciting the above manthras before chanting, you can start chanting Hare Krishna NON-STOP as much as possible!
(4) HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama hare Hare
GLORIES OF HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA
Sri Chaitanya Maha Prabhu says:
“Harer Nama Harer Nama Harer Namaiva Kevalam;
Kalau Nasty Eva Nasty Eva Nasty Eva Gathir Anyatha”
“IN THIS AGE OF KALI (QUARREL & ANXIETY), THERE IS (i) NO ALTERNATIVE, (ii) NO ALTERNATIVE , (iii) NO ALTERNATIVE (Says 3 times) FOR SPRITUAL PROGRESS OTHER THAN CHANTING OF THE HOLY NAMES OF GOD!”
UNABLE TO DO CHANTING?
Many people say that they find it difficult to concentrate in Chanting & other sadhanas because of anarthas or a certain situations.
This site has plenty of posts on chanting and facing the issues in the process of chanting. Read them using the search box or under the category “Chanting Tips” and get clarified.