What if I feel more excited while chanting the Names of Krishna than Hare Krishna Maha Manthra?
A Girl devotee (Name Hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna prabhuji. When i chant Hare Krishna my mind gets diverted very much. But then i started chanting ‘Krishna Krishna’ and ‘Radhey Radhey’ and i can concentrate a lot on this chanting and even while chanting Krishna Krishna i feel so ecstatic, my heart races and sweating and i cry sometimes. But this doesn’t happen when i chant Hare Krishna. Why is this happening prabhuji? Can i chant Krishna Krishna and Radhey Radhey along with 1 or 2 rounds of Hare Krishna mahamantra?”
Again, I am forced to write the reply frankly without hiding some facts, for the clarification of the devotees.
See, there are two types of devotion, ie, Bhakti:
(i) Vaidhi (Vidhi) Bhakti
(ii) Raganuga Bhakti (Simply, Natural Prema)
(Can Vaidhi Bakthi lead one towards Raganuga bhakti? (ie, Can the devotional rules make us Perfect Devotees?) READ HERE!
The Gopis come under the second case. They did not spend whole day in chanting Hare Krishna maha manthra. They were simply remembering Krishna all the time. No force. No practices. No rules. They did not need Vaidhi bakthi, ie, devotional rules.
How was it possible for them?
Because they had no heavy load of material contamination while taking birth. They had done many penances in their previous births as rishis to get the direct association of Krishna.
So, they were getting more and more purified in their previous births itself.
When they took birth as Gopis, they were able to instantly develop Prema when they saw Krishna in their group.
(Who are gopis? Can I love Krishna like Gopis? But, my parents want me to marry a boy. What to do? READ HERE!)
What about us?
We have so much of material contamination accumulated from previous births into the basket of karma.
So, we have so many preferences in our life.
We want Krishna, but, we also want to achieve in this material world.
We expect different kinds of benefits in our life pushed by our previous samskars (Karma).
Had we died with the longing of not marrying in our previous birth, we long for marriage now and pleasures.
So, our dedication to Krishna are not up to the level of Gopis or some pure acharyas.
But, only when we come to the level of such pure acharyas or gopis, we can get direct association of Krishna.
So, to cleanse us from our pending karma that is slowing our getting purified down, we need to follow a certain set of devotional rules.
(HOW CHANTING CLEARS OUR KARMA OF EVEN WILFUL SINS? READ HERE!)
This is where Vaidhi Bhakti comes.
By following a certain set of rules, we will gradually get cleansed and become pure in future.
When we do not have any material attachments and expectations, it shows our attaining sufficient purity.
At that stage, we will spontaneously remember Krishna all the time.
To develop our dedication, we are advised to chant Lord’s Names.
The people generally get confused here.
Sri Ramanuja said that the Manthra of “OM NAMO NARAYANA” gives the Lord Himself in this kaliyuga. He did not speak about Hare Krishna Maha Manthra.
So, the devotees in SRI Sampradhaya chant OM NAMO NARAYANAYA.
Sri Chaitanya maha prabhu came and advised us to chant HARE KRISHNA MAHA MANTHRA to get relieved from material bonding and to go back to Krishna.
So, the devotees in Gaudiya vaishnava Sampradhaya chant Hare Krishna Maha Manthra.
What these two examples show?
All the names of Krishna are capable of taking one to Krishna.
The scriptures have advised to chant the Lord’s Names BECAUSE THEY SAY THAT KRISHNA LIVES IN HIS NAMES IN KALIYUGA. They did not insist ONLY on Hare Krishna Maha Manthra or Om Namo Narayana.
Then, why do we chant Hare Krishna Maha Manthra?
If you study class 10 in the CBSE syllabus, you should follow the books of CBSE (NCERT)
If you study in the State Board syllabus, you should read the books released by the State Government.
Both teach the same science, history, maths, etc.
But, the depth and way of teaching may differ.
This can be applied in Manthras also.
Like schools and colleges, we have sampradhayas in devotional learning. Sampradhayas means SCHOOLS OF DEVOTIONAL LEARNING.
(READ HERE THE DETAILS ABOUT FOUR SAMPRADHAYAS).
So, you are in a position to follow the Manthra recommended by the sampradhaya with which you are associated with or interested.
If you follow SRI Sampradhaya, chant OM NAMO NARAYANAYA.
If you follow Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradhaya (ISKCON, gaudiya Mutt, etc), chant Hare Krishna Maha Manthra.
Or, if your sampradhaya or group recommends “Krishna Krishna”, “Radhe Radhe”, chant that.
All are Krishna and His associates’ names only.
If I tell that the names “Krishna” or “Rama” “Radhe” “Govindha” “Madhusudhana”, “Mukunta” etc will not take you to Krishna, I will be an offender.
They too are equally powerful.
But, since we are associated with a sampradhaya, we have chosen Hare Krishna Maha Manthra. Since the Manthras are more powerful and fast if we receive them from a guru, we chant Hare Krishna that was given by our gurus.
So, if you are comfortable with the other names of Krishna, chant that. No barriers.
But, if you follow a guru/ sampradhaya, do chant the manthra that he recommended/ gave to you.
(Is chanting many manthras of other sampradhayas correct ? READ HERE!)
Why should we confuse in this?
We are chanting Hare Krishna 16 rounds as recommended by our gurus.
It is his choice and he has authority to recommend 16 rounds. So, he recommended. We chant.
If you are unable to chant 16 rounds, postpone accepting a guru till you become comfortable to chant 16 rounds.
So, if you follow Gaudiya vaishnava school of learning and practice, chant Hare Krishna upto the daily committed rounds. After that or along with that, you may chant any name of Krishna.
It is absolutely permitted and valid and also equally effective
This is the very balanced and honest advice from me. All of you know that I never go rigid without understanding the reality because I am reading the teachings of all the sampradhayas for the sake of preaching. So, I always advice in a balanced manner and no one can refute it because it is the fact.
Hope this helps.
(Also Read THIS POST: How to chant 1 lakh Hari Nams a day as said by Sri Caitanya? How Haridas Thakkur chanted 3 lakh Hari Nams a day?)