This morning I was reading from the Forth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam about the process of mantra meditation. I have always loved this story of Druva Maharaja, and his determination in meditation, on the form of the Lord. We have included the entire text and purport.
O son of the King, now I shall speak unto you the mantra which is to be chanted with this process of meditation. One who carefully chants this mantra for seven nights can see the perfect human beings flying in the sky. (SB4.8.53)
…Another point established in this verse is that meditation should be carried on with the chanting of a mantra. Chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is the easiest process of meditation in this age. As soon as one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, he sees the forms of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma and Their energies, and that is the perfect stage of trance. One should not artificially try to see the form of the Lord while chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, but when the chanting is performed offenselessly the Lord will automatically reveal Himself to the view of the chanter. The chanter, therefore, has to concentrate on hearing the vibration, and without extra endeavor on his part, the Lord will automatically appear.
This morning I was reminded of the importance of chanting sixteen rounds. Sometimes I think my work or service is more important than my chanting…but in the following verses and purports Srila Prabhupa makes it very clear; “One may have other duties to perform under the direction of the spiritual master, but he must first abide by the spiritual master’s order to chant a certain number of rounds.”, and I thank the devotee who reminded me of this important instruction.
…There are many regulative principles in the śāstras and directions given by the spiritual master. These regulative principles should act as servants of the basic principle-that is, one should always remember Kṛṣṇa and never forget Him. This is possible when one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Therefore one must strictly chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra twenty-four hours daily. One may have other duties to perform under the direction of the spiritual master, but he must first abide by the spiritual master’s order to chant a certain number of rounds. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we have recommended that the neophyte chant at least sixteen rounds. This chanting of sixteen rounds is absolutely necessary if one wants to remember Kṛṣṇa and not forget Him. Of all the regulative principles, the spiritual master’s order to chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential. (from purport Madhya-lila 22.113)
…Of all the sacrifices, the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare is the purest representation of Kṛṣṇa. (from purport Bg 10.25)
…Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja comments in this connection, “One can become perfectly successful in the mission of his life if he acts exactly according to the words he hears from the mouth of his spiritual master.” This acceptance of the words of the spiritual master is called śrauta-vākya, which indicates that the disciple must carry out the spiritual master’s instructions without deviation. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that a disciple must accept the words of his spiritual master as his life and soul. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu here confirms this by saying that since His spiritual master ordered Him only to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, He always chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra according to this direction (‘kṛṣṇa-mantra’ japa sadā,-ei mantra-sāra). (from purport to Adi-lila 7.72)
One of the most used books in our temple room is the songbook. Everyday it seems, I am flipping through the “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas”, singing one of the many songs or reciting some of the numerous pranams (prayers) as part of my daily sadhana. The following post is the first 13 pages of songbook, which in my mind is a nice way to start the day and is a good prelude to other devotional service.
from the Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas
SRI GURU PRANAMA
om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
om-address; ajnana-of ignorance; timira-by the darkness; andhasya-of one who was blinded; jnana-anjana-by the ointment of spiritual knowledge; salakaya-by a medical instrument called a salaka, which is used to apply medical ointment to eyes afflicted with cataracts: caksuh-eyes; unmilitam-were opened; yena-by whom; tasmai-unto him; sri-gurave-unto my spiritual master; namah-obeisances.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.
I ran across this above image this morning on Facebook, and was inspired to do a post on chanting.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
“Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and be happy. Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture & Initiation Seattle, October 20, 1968)
“…chant dance, take prasadam and be happy.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter to Saksi Gopala 6 December, 1975)
“Following in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is distributing the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and inducing people all over the world to chant. We are giving people an immense treasury of transcendental literature, translated into all the important languages of the world, and by the grace of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu this literature is selling profusely, and people are chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra with great delight. This is the preaching process of the Caitanya cult. Since the Lord wanted this cult preached all over the world, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is acting in a humble way so that the vision of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu may be fulfilled all over the world, especially in the Western countries.” (purport to Sri Caitanya-caritamrta 1975 Adi-lila 16.19)
Vedic sanskrit references for chanting the Hare Krishna Maha MantraMore
George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher (1982)
This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series The Beatles and Hare Krishna
George: It’s really the same sort of thing as meditation, but I think it has a quicker effect. I mean, even if you put your beads down, you can still say the mantra or sing it without actually keeping track on your beads. One of the main differences between silent meditation and chanting is that silent meditation is rather dependent on concentration, but when you chant, it’s more of a direct connection with God.
I have been going through my older files of late, and ran across this fine article posted by Hansadutta Prabhu some years ago on his site Krsna World.
Although Srila Prabhupada wrote many books, he one day asked me, “So why did I write all these books?” I said, “So we can know the philosophy, learn the philosophy.” He said, “No, the purpose of all these books is to convince you to chant the holy name of Krishna.”
The Holy Name Is All There Is
by Hansadutta das
Chanting is exactly like the simple method of inhaling and exhaling. Although it seems like a very simple act, it is nevertheless the essence of the whole thing. Without that inhaling and exhaling, none of the other activities can take place. We also understand that no one simply inhales and exhales, but all the other activities are supportive of the inhaling and exhaling.
“In the sastra it is said this Kali-yuga is full of faults, so many faults. It is the ocean of faults. But there is a very nice thing, asti hy eko mahan gunah, a very great quality. What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. If you simply chant Hare Krishna mantra, then you become perfect. Is it very difficult? Chant Hare Krishna and you become perfect. But we are so unfortunate, we are not even prepared to chant. This is our position. So you have to make little determination that ‘I shall chant henceforward Hare Krishna mantra.’ Then everything is all right.”
Srila Prabhuapda: Generally a human being is interested in religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, but love of God is above all these. A bona fide spiritual master chants the holy names-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare-and the transcendental sound vibration enters into the ear of the disciple, and if a disciple follows in the footsteps of his spiritual master and chants the holy name with similar respect, he actually comes to worship the transcendental name. When the transcendental name is worshiped by the devotee, the name Himself spreads His glories within the heart of a devotee. When a devotee is perfectly qualified in chanting the transcendental vibration of the holy name, he is quite fit to become a spiritual master and to deliver all the people of the world. The chanting of the holy name is so powerful that it gradually establishes its supremacy above everything in the world. The devotee who chants it becomes transcendentally situated in ecstasy and sometimes laughs, cries and dances in his ecstasy. Sometimes the unintelligent put hindrances in the path of chanting this mahā-mantra, but one who is situated on the platform of love of Godhead chants the holy name loudly for all concerned. As a result, everyone becomes initiated in the chanting of the holy names-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. By chanting and hearing the holy names of Kṛṣṇa, a person can remember the forms and qualities of Kṛṣṇa. (Teachings of Lord Caitanya – 1968 Edition, Chapter 18)
Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified. (SB 1.1.14)
… It is stated herein that the name of Kṛṣṇa is feared even by fear personified. This indicates that the name of Kṛṣṇa is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the name of Kṛṣṇa is as powerful as Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. There is no difference at all. Anyone, therefore, can take advantage of the holy names of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa even in the midst of greatest dangers. The transcendental name of Kṛṣṇa, even though uttered unconsciously or by force of circumstances, can help one obtain freedom from the hurdle of birth and death. (from purport)
“Our prayer of the Hare Krishna Mantra means addressing Radha and Krishna for being engaged in Their service. Hare Krishna means “Oh Hare, Oh Radharani! Oh Krishna! Please engage me in Your service so that I can get relief from the service of Maya.” (Letter to Subala das July 8, 1969)
” Simply our prayer should be, My dear Krishna, please remind me to always chant Your Holy Name, please do not put me into forgetfulness. You are sitting within me as Supersoul, so you can put me into forgetfulness or into remembering You. So please do not put me into forgetfulness. Please always remind me to chant, even You send me into the hell, it doesn’t matter, just so long as I can always chant Hare Krishna…” (from Srila Prabhupada’s letter to Devananda dated Nov.23,1968)
…In the Sixth and Eighth Chapters of Bhagavad-gītā, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, explains that the eightfold yoga system is a means to control the mind and senses. This method, however, is very difficult for people to perform, especially in this age of Kali, an age characterized by ignorance and chaos.
Although this eightfold yoga system is particularly recommended in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord emphasizes that the process of karma-yoga, action in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is superior.
…No one really wants to sit down and meditate. Why should we? We’re meant for positive activity, for recreation, for pleasure. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness, our recreation is dancing and chanting, and when we get tired, we take prasāda. Is dancing difficult? Is chanting difficult? We don’t charge anything to dance in the temple. If you go to a ballroom, you have to pay to enter, but we do not charge. It is natural to enjoy music and dancing and palatable foods. These are our recreations, and this is our method of meditation. So this yoga system is not at all laborious. It is simply recreation, susukham. It is stated in the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (9.2) that this yoga is susukham—very happy. “It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” It is natural, automatic, and spontaneous. It is our real life in the spiritual world. (The Path of Perfection)
This morning I was reading from the Nectar of Devotion the chapter entitled “The Mahā-mantra”. We have posted the entire chapter as well as some other related quotes from the Nectar of Devotion on the Maha-mantra.
In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement: “For any person who is chanting the holy name either softly or loudly, the paths to liberation and even heavenly happiness are at once open.”
When a mantra or hymn is chanted softly and slowly, that is called japa. The same mantra, when chanted loudly, is called kīrtana. For example, the mahā-mantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare) when uttered very softly only for one’s own hearing is called japa. The same mantra, when chanted loudly for being heard by all others, is called kīrtana. The mahā-mantra can be used for japa and kīrtana also. When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kīrtana is performed it is for the benefit of all others who may hear.
In the Liṅga Purāṇa there is a statement about glorifying and singing about the Lord. It is said there: “A brāhmaṇa who is constantly engaged in singing the glories of the Lord is surely elevated to the same planet as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kṛṣṇa appreciates this singing even more than the prayers offered by Lord Śiva.”
In the Viṣṇu-dharma there is a statement glorifying this process of congregational chanting: “My dear King, this word ‘Kṛṣṇa’ is so auspicious that anyone who chants this holy name immediately gets rid of the resultant actions of sinful activities from many, many births.” That is a fact. There is the following statement in Caitanya-caritāmṛta: “A person who chants the holy name of Kṛṣṇa once can counteract the resultant actions of more sinful activities than he is able to perform.” A sinful man can perform many, many sinful activities, but he is unable to perform so many that they cannot be wiped out by one single uttering of “Kṛṣṇa.”
“Anyone who is engaged in chanting My transcendental name must be considered to be always associating with Me. And I may tell you frankly that for such a devotee I become easily purchased.”
In the Padma Purāṇa also it is stated: “The chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is present only on the lips of a person who has for many births worshiped Vāsudeva.” It is further said in the Padma Purāṇa, “There is no difference between the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself. As such, the holy name is as perfect as the Lord Himself in fullness, purity and eternity. The holy name is no material sound vibration, nor has it any material contamination.”
..Simply by chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa:Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Haresimply by chanting the holy name…,”kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya,“he becomes free from all these contaminations, by one thing, simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa.”
Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya, mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
…although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
This is a very important sloka (verse), as can be confirmed by the number of times Srila Prabhupada has cited it. I was curious about this verse so I went to the incomparable web page Vani Quotes and did a search on the phrase kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya, mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet, and was surprised to find just how many times Srila Prabhupada used this verse in his preaching. I think this will be the next verse I try to memorize.
kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
kaleḥ—of the age of Kali; doṣa-nidheḥ—in the ocean of faults; rājan—O King; asti—there is; hi—certainly; ekaḥ—one; mahān—very great; guṇaḥ—good quality; kīrtanāt—by chanting; eva—certainly; kṛṣṇasya—of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa; mukta-saṅgaḥ—liberated from material bondage; param—to the transcendental spiritual kingdom; vrajet—one can go.
My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom. (SB 12.3.510
“In the sastra it is said this Kali-yuga is full of faults, so many faults. It is the ocean of faults. But there is a very nice thing, asti hy eko mahan gunah, a very great quality. What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. If you simply chant Hare Krishna mantra, then you become perfect. Is it very difficult? Chant Hare Krishna and you become perfect. But we are so unfortunate, we are not even prepared to chant. This is our position. So you have to make little determination that ‘I shall chant henceforward Hare Krishna mantra.’ Then everything is all right.” (Srila Prabhupada from Lecture)
and this from Srimad Bhagavatam 8.5.23
When Kṛṣṇa appeared, He gave His orders, and when Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared as a devotee, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He showed us the path by which to cross the ocean of Kali-yuga. That is the path of The Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared, He ushered in the era for the saṅkīrtana movement. It is also said that for ten thousand years this era will continue. This means that simply by accepting the saṅkīrtana movement and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the fallen souls of this Kali-yuga will be delivered. After the Battle of Kurukṣetra, at which Bhagavad-gītā was spoken, Kali-yuga continues for 432,000 years, of which only 5,000 years have passed. Thus there is still a balance of 427,000 years to come. Of these 427,000 years, the 10,000 years of the saṅkīrtana movement inaugurated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu 500 years ago provide the opportunity for the fallen souls of Kali-yuga to take to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and thus be delivered from the clutches of material existence and return home, back to Godhead.
He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me…is sure to reach Me.
…In this verse Lord Kṛṣṇa stresses the importance of remembering Him. One’s memory of Kṛṣṇa is revived by chanting the mahāmantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa. By this practice of chanting and hearing the sound vibration of the Supreme Lord, one’s ear, tongue and mind are engaged. This mystic meditation is very easy to practice, and it helps one attain the Supreme Lord. (from purport to Bhagavad-gita 8.8)