WHY 16 ROUNDS OF CHANTING HARE KRISHNA IS RECOMMENDED?
We should perform ‘limitless’ practices for Krishna because His mercy is also ‘limitless’.
Whatever we do, it can not compensate the blessings showered by Krishna for us.
Because this human birth itself is the mercy of the Lord.
(How to chant all the 24 hours a day as said by Sri Caitanya? READ HERE!)
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 to our chanting process.
However, we have the tendency that we will not do anything as a routine unless there are some ‘fixed’ recommendations.
“You should eat atleast three times a day”
“You should oil bath atleast twice a week”
“You should walk atleast 3 miles a day”
“You should eat atleast 2000 calories a day”
We can see such advice in all cases, not only in devotion.
“Read for atleast two hours daily”.
“Attend the temples atleast once a week.”
(Ten offences against chanting the Holy name of Krishna, by clicking here! READ HERE!)
It is advised for a sports person to run a fixed Kilometers every day to remain fit, but it is not the distance, but the skill and enthusiasm of the runner that wins him the medal.
Thus, some specifications are recommended to have optimum level of performance in everything.
The numbers of a certain rounds of chanting are also 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.
We are expected to follow atleast these minimum recommendations.
Similarly, we also chant a fixed rounds. However it is not the number but our taste, dedication and involvement to chant and follow devotion that will please Krishna.
(Is Chanting OM NAMO NARAYANA allowed for the devotees? READ HERE!)
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, ie, One who chants at least One lakh names of Krishna every day. This comes to about 64 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
(NINE REASONS FOR THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NUMBER 108 IN SPIRITUALITY! READ HERE!)
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 the society by guiding the younger generation.
(3) 16 rounds a day for the Grahasthas who have many responsibilities for family maintenance (cooking, feeding, serving family deity etc.).
(4) 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.
(FOUR CLASSES OF DEMONS AND DEVOTEES AS SAID BY KRISHNA IN BHAGAVAD GITA! COMPLETE DETAILS! READ HERE!)
Therefore, such MINIMUM recommendations too become necessary in devotional life.
If there are no such MINIMUM recommendations, we will not follow 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.
The Lord will make you follow 16 rounds of chanting without difficulty by somehow altering your daily routines.
(How to develop a taste in chanting thinking of Krishna while chanting? READ HERE!)