Our most asked question is “Why do you chant Hare Krishna?” Chanting Hare Krishna is a particularly important part of our lives, considering that serious students chant the mantra 108 x 16 times each day! You may have heard the Hare Krishna mantra when our devotees dance in the street, or even in popular songs from Beatle George Harrison, Boy George, or jazz and rap musicians. The chant has a deep and powerful meaning to us. Because Krishna is the reservoir of pleasure, and He is non-different from His name, chanting Krishna’s names makes us happy. In this blog, we’ll share what we understand by the Hare Krishna chant, some of the reasons why it is so important to us, and how you can chant Hare Krishna yourself.
A Purifying Sound
The Hare Krishna mantra is made up of Krishna’s names. When we hear His names, we become connected with Him, and our consciousness is purified. The word mantra is made up of two syllables, man (or mind), and tra (to deliver or free). So, a mantra is a sound that delivers your mind from the miseries of life. The mantra is made up of Krishna’s own unique names, so we call it the mahā (or great) mantra. Because we hear as we chant, this form of meditation helps to clarify our consciousness and to fix our minds on our relationships with Krishna. The name Krishna means ‘all-attractive.’
According to the world’s scriptures, God has uncountable names, each of which refers to one of His activities. They include Jehovah, Rama, Allah, Buddha, and Krishna. By chanting the names of God that are most familiar to you, you can connect directly with Him (and Her, because Hare refers to Krishna’s female energy, Hara, or Radharani).
The Hare Krishna Maha-mantra – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare – is made up of three names. As I mentioned, Krishna means the all-attractive. Hare is a call to His merciful feminine counterpart to engage us in Krishna’s service, and Rama (another name of Krishna) means the reservoir of pleasure.
How to Chant Hare Krishna
Anyone, of any age can chant the Mahā-mantra in any condition of life.
Serious students of bhakti-yoga vow to chant a regular number of mantras each day, whatever that number may be. We use a japa mala (or personal meditation beads) to keep track. A string of japa beads has 108 beads strung in a circle (mala), with one large bead added to mark the start or endpoint. We chant one Hare Krishna mantra on each bead. Registered students chant sixteen ‘rounds’ of their malas each day.
Hold the bead between your thumb and ‘middle’ (or second) finger of your right hand and quietly say Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Chant this mantra on every bead until you have chanted on all 108. This is called one ‘round.’ Then turn the beads and start going in the other direction (traditionally we don’t chant on the big bead or cross over it). Each round should take about 5-7 minutes, or longer to start with. The main thing is to pay attention to hearing Krishna’s names.
Join our Facebook Group
If you enjoyed practising the Hare Krishna mantra and would like to join a community of like-minded people in Melbourne, come and join our Hare Krishna Melbourne Community Facebook Group. You can keep up to date with our latest events, learn more about our restaurants and yoga retreats, and find out more about the Hare Krishna lifestyle.