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How to Chant Mantra

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Chant !

Anyone can chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Hare (ha-RAY) addresses the energy of the Lord; Krishna, the original name of the Lord, refers to His all-powerful and all-attractive form; and Rama (rhymes with drama) refers to the first expansion of the Lord, the abode of all pleasure.

To start, you can simply repeat the mantra, or sing it to any melody you like. There are no hard and fast rules, but it's best to clearly pronounce and hear the name as you chant it. The longer you chant and the more you hear, the more you'll feel the spiritual effect of the mantra purifying your mind.

Usually when devotees chant together, one person leads by singing the mantra to one of many melodies, and everyone else chants the mantra in response. This group chanting is called kirtana. You can get some standard melodies on tape or CD at our Krishna,com Store.

You can also repeat the mantra softly to yourself, in a flowing way. This personal chanting is called japa, and is usually chanted with the help of a set of 108 beads, called a japa-mala. One full mantra chanted on each of the 108 beads makes one round.

When you've chanted the full mantra on each of the 108 beads, you've completed one round.

Initiated devotees chant at least 16 such rounds daily, which takes about two hours. Most people find the peaceful early morning hours the best time to chant.

In his address on the tenth anniversary of ISKCON in Washington D.C., on 6/7/76, Srila Prabhupada said: "Actually, to practice yoga, one has to undergo so many austerities, penances, and rules and regulations. In one or two cases these practices may be successful, but not for the general mass of people. People in this age are very unfortunate and disturbed by so many external factors; therefore it is very difficult to execute the yoga system or perform costly sacrifices. Therefore, because the other systems will not be successful in this age, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu introduced these two things, sankirtana [chanting the names of God] and Srimad-Bhagavatam."

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

"In this age of Kali, there is no other religion than glorifying the Lord by utterance of His holy name, and that is the injunction of all the revealed scriptures. There is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way." (Brihan-naradiya Purana)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Srila Prabhupada: "These three words, namely Hare, Krishna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely. "The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness. As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere.

"The word Hara is the form of addressing the energy of Supreme Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Supreme Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama mean "the supreme pleasure." 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."

(Chanting of holy name Rama once gives the same effect as chanting the thousand names of Lord Vishnu once. Chanting of holy name Krishna once is as effective as chanting the holy name Rama three times.)

"The chanting should be heard, however, from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that the immediate effect can be achieved. As for as possible, chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of serpent has poisonous effects."