Chapter 7- Chanting Hare Krishna
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
to Prabhupada's explanation & kirtan below
The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama,
Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method
of reviving our Krsna consciousness. As living spiritual souls
we are all originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our
association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness
is now polluted by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere,
in which we are now living, is called Maya, or illusion. Maya
means "that which is not." And what is this illusion?
The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material
nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent
laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful
master, this is called illusion. In this polluted concept of
life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material
nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled
in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a
hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on
her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped
at once by the revival of our Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness
is not an artificial imposition of the mind; this consciousness
is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the
transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. And
this is the process recommended for this age by authorities.
By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting
this maha-mantra or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can
at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the
spiritual stratum. And when one is factually on the plane of
spiritual understanding-surpassing the stages of the senses,
mind, and intelligence-one is situated on the transcendental
This chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna,
Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this
sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness-namely
sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore,
to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need
for mental speculation or any intellectual adjustment for chanting
this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual
platform, and as such, anyone can take part in the chanting without
any previous qualification, and dance in ecstasy.
We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part
in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it. Of course,
for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little
more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially
engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly.
When the mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love,
it has the greatest efficacy on the hearers, and as such, this
chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the
Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible,
chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided. Milk
touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.
The word Hara is the form of addressing the energy of the
Lord, and the words Krsna and Rama are addressing the Lord Himself.
Both Krsna and Rama mean "the supreme pleasure" and
Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to hare
in the vocative. The supreme pleasure energy of the Lord helps
us to reach the Lord.
The material energy, called Maya, is also one of the multi
energies of the Lord. And we, the living entities, are also the
energy-marginal energy-of the Lord. The living entities are described
as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in
contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises;
but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the
superior energy, called Hara, the living entity is established
in his happy, normal condition.
These three words, namely Hare, Krsna, and Rama, are transcendental
seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for
the Lord and His internal energy, Hara, to give protection to
the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine
cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hara helps the devotee
achieve the grace of the supreme Father, Hari, or Krsna, and
the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra
No other means of spiritual realization, therefore, is as
effective in this age as chanting the maha-mantra:
Hare Krsna, Hare
Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Caitanya Mahaprabhu dreaming of Radha-Krsna
How often and where should one chant?
Srila Prabhupada set the rule that one should chant at least
sixteen rounds a day if one is initiated. The best time for chanting
is in the morning hours. Though Lord Caitanya mentions that there
are no hard or fast rules for chanting, it is still important
to know that the chanting is accompanied by following the regulative
principles. However, since there are no hard and fast rules one
can chant anytime and at any place. The most recommended way
to chant is in association of devotees. It is also advantageous
to chant in front of Tulasi devi. One main point that Mahaprabhu
stressed is the attitude while chanting:
trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada hari
"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble
state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw on the street,
being more tolerant than a tree and always ready to offer all
respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the
holy name of the Lord constantly."
In regards of chanting during kirtan, there are certain rules,
e.g. specific melodies and songs to be chanted in the temple.
The classical melodies can be heard on the Vaisnava Songs link.
If you came to this page from the 'Introduction to Krishna
Consciousness' please click the back button on your browser to
continue reading the introduction. If you are participating in
the bhakta program use the links below to continue your study.