WHY 16 ROUNDS OF CHANTING IS RECOMMENDED?
We should perform endless practices for Krishna because His mercy is countless.
Whatever we do in return, it can not compensate the blessings showered by Krishna on us.
Because this human birth itself is a mercy of the Lord.
He has given this birth to us as an opportunity to serve Him and go back to Him.
Therefore, there is no need for any limits for our chanting process.
However, we have the tendency that we will not do anything as a routine unless there are certain specifications.
The numbers are just a guidance to help us to follow a discipline and regulation in our devotional practices.
These numbers are just MINIMUM to follow. Not maximum.
Follow atleast these minimum recommendations.
We can see such advices in all cases, not only in devotion.
It is advised to the students to read for atleast two hours daily.
It is advised to walk atleast two kilometres daily.
It is advised to attend the temples atleast once a week.
It is advised for an Olympic runner to run a fixed Kilometers to remain fit, but it is not the Kilometers but the skill and enthusiasm of the runner that wins him the medal.
Similarly, we also chant a fixed rounds. However it is not the number but our enthusiasm to chant and devotion that pleases Krishna.
It is not that by number you achieve Krishna but by your love in which we chant our fixed number of rounds.
The Vedic system was designed to balance and satisfy the need of every individual. So 1/3rd of the day (8hrs) was reserved for economic/ family activities, 1/3rd (8 hrs) for personal need (eating, sleeping. bathing etc), 1/3rd (8 hrs) for advancement in spiritual life.
Chanting 64 rounds will take about 6-8 hrs a day.
Lord Caitanya Maha Prabhu also promised that he would personally give blessings and come to the house of person who is a lakhpati- One who chants at least One lakh names of Krishna every day. This comes to about 64 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati (Guru of Srila Prabhupad) recommended:
(1) 64 rounds a day for pujaris and those living in Holy places. They can fill their time by chanting the Holy names with intense service attitude.
(2) 32 rounds a day for retired vanaprasthas. Remaining time can be used by taking care of their old bodies or by serving the need of society by guiding the younger generation.
(3) 16 rounds a day for Grahasthas who have many responsibilities for family maintenance (cooking, feeding, serving family deity etc.) and 16 rounds for Brahmacaris who have many services in the temple.
In this way, everyone is given maximum opportunity to develop their spirit of service for Krishna, the Supreme Lord, even while living in the busy material world.
Therefore, such MINIMUM recommendations too become necessary in devotional life.
If there are no such MINIMUM recommendations, we will not do even 5-6 rounds of chanting every day because of laziness or diversions.
Therefore, let us welcome, accept and follow such a minimum level of recommendations.
AIM FOR 16 ROUNDS OF CHANTING EVERY DAY! DO THAT! OR, ATLEAST TRY TO DO THAT.
Lord will make you achieve 16 rounds with love.