This transcendental vibration of chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
is the sublime method of reviving our Krishna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter since time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by the material atmosphere.
In this polluted concept of life, we are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. This illusion is called maya – or hard struggle for existence for winning over the stringent laws of material nature.
This illusory struggle against material nature can at once be stopped by the revival of our Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. It is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived.
By practical experience, also, we can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or “the great chanting for deliverance,” one can at once feel transcendental ecstasy from the spiritual stratum. When one is actually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind, and intelligence, one is situated on the transcendental plane.
This chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower stages of consciousness, namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual platform, and as such anyone can take part in this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualification and feel the ecstasy. We have seen it practically-even a child can take part in the chanting.
The word Hara is a form of addressing God’s energy. Krishna and Rama mean “the highest pleasure.” Hara is Krishna’s supreme pleasure potency. This potency, addressed as Hare, helps us in reaching Krishna.
The material energy, known as maya, is also one of God’s multipotencies. The living entities are described as an energy that is superior to matter. When the superior energy is in contact with inferior energy, it becomes an incompatible situation. But when the marginal potency is in contact with the supreme spiritual potency, Hara, it becomes the happy, normal condition of the living entity.
The three words, namely Hare, Krishna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra, and the chanting is the spiritual call for God and His internal energy, Hara, for giving protection to the conditioned soul. The chanting is exactly like genuine crying by the child for his mother. Mother Hara helps in achieving the grace of the supreme father Hari, or Krishna who reveals Himself to such a sincere devotee.
maha means “great”
mantra means “sound that frees the mind from ignorance”
You can chant the mantra anywhere and at any time, but it is best to set a specific time of the day to regularly chant. Early morning hours are ideal.
The chanting can be done in two ways: singing the mantra, called kirtana (usually done in a group), and saying or reciting the mantra to oneself, called japa (which literally means “to speak softly”). Concentrate on hearing the sound of the mantra. As you chant, pronounce the mantra clearly and distinctly, in a prayerful mood. When your mind wanders, bring it back to the transcendental sound.
It is good to chant on japa beads. This not only helps you fix your attention on the mantra, but it also helps you count the number of times you chant the mantra daily. Each strand of japa beads contains 108 small beads and one large bead, the head bead. Begin on a bead next to the head bead and gently roll it between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand as you chant the full Hare Krishna mantra. Then move to the next bead and repeat the process. In this way, chant on each of the 108 beads until you reach the head bead again. This is one round of japa. Then, without chanting on the head bead, reverse the beads and start your second round on the last bead you chanted on.
Initiated practitioners chant at least sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily. But even if you can chant only one round a day, a good principle is that once you commit yourself to chanting that round, try to complete it every day. When you feel you can chant more, then increase the minimum number of rounds you chant each day-but try not to fall below that number. You can chant more than your fixed number, but do your best to maintain a set minimum each day.
The japa beads are considered sacred and it is therefore recommended to keep them in a clean place. To keep your beads clean, it’s best to carry them in a special bead bag. (available from the temple store)