Different Mantras

Hare Krishna,


   Is the Maha Mantra the only recommended mantra or are there other mantras that are acceptable?  It is hard for me to pronounce the mantra in japa but it if fine in kirtan?  

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  • Hare Krishna Willam Prabhu,

    There are mantras to chant.. but these like om namo narayanaya and om namo bhagavate vasudevaya .. the mantras which start with om and end in Namah.. are to be chanted only when you get intitated to such mantras by a guru. You cannot chant "Om" mantras simply at any place.. in any circumstances. You need to maintain.. purity of place.. You must sit in an asan and must be chanting properly and follow some rituals.

    But Mahamantra there is no such restrictions.. that is why it is prescribed for Kaliyuga. Becoz, most of us are not really following any rules and regulations.. even when you not initiated you can start chanting this mantra. Narad muni at the end of dwapar yuga when Kali entered.. asked Brahma.. what is the mantra that these fallen people in kaliyuga so that they can chant even when their are in most impure conditions.. but still be delivered. Then Brahma replied only Lord's names can save them. Narad muni inquired further.. which lord's name.. then Brahma ji said.. 16 words and 32 syllable mantra. The Mahamantra.

    Even when a person is dying they can simply chant mahamantra even on deathbed.. there is no restriction of cleaning the place...or sitting upright.. or doing any ritual to start the mantra even when you are most inconvinent locations in circumstances where you have not even had chance to take a bath also.. This Mahamantra can be chanted.

    In Kaliyug most of us are usually unclean.., many times we don't follow strict vaishnava principles .....some of you are not even initiated.. some even take onion garlic and intoxicants but still can chant mantra. This is not the rule in case of other mantras.

    Without a guru initiation other mantras cannot be chanted it becomes a sin.  Thats the difference between nama mantras and om mantras..

    purely taking names can be done by anyone.

    Purely taking names of Lord Sri Krishna itself purifies the place... and makes you clean internally and externally and makes you eligible to chant Rama name also.

    Hare Krishna.

    • Do  initiated devotees also chant the Mahamantra or do they chant other mantras?

      • E-Counselor

        Yes, initiated devotees also chant mahamantra. There are 2 initiations in ISKCON. First initiation or harinaam initiation devotees chant mahamantra. Second initiated or brahman initiated devotees chant Gayatri mantra thrice a day in addition to mahamantra.

    • Gayatri, this is a nice post, except chanting Mantras about God is never a sin. There may be various views and regulations about who can chant what in certain beliefs in Vaishnavism but these are not always accurate. We can chant anything good about God, and no one is to limit that speech. One does not have to be initiated or even be a vegetarian to partake in the Temple Program process of Mantras that begin with "Om", because this is the process by which one becomes purified to attain the state of initiation, vegetarianism, and constant faith in the Holy Names. It is important to maintain a clean Temple atmosphere and to adhere to the regulative principles, and of course Pujaris are to be very initiated and well trained, but one has to get there first. Adherence to all the rules and regulations is not instant for everyone, for some it takes years. So there is nothing wrong with partaking in Kirtan even if one is a Neophyte while chanting other Mantras, though Kirtan is generally composed of the Hare Krishna Mantra. I don't doubt your wisdom, however I wanted to clear this up from my perspective.

      • Well, Brahmins who have undergone..sacred thread ceremony only are to be chanted Gayatri mantra.. The mantra is told in the ear to the recipient.

        Even a guru mantra is told in the ear of the recipient. When they are initiated. 

        I don't see it as a sin myself. But ya some restrictions are there to chant these old mantras which belong to Satyuga and Treta Yuga.. These mantras in those ages were good for the age as at that time..Suchi ( cleanliness )and Austerity was at the peaks.. Now a days.. we r not so clean ..  I see people chanting sitting on sofa .. and chanting sitting one chair .. or even bed also. 

        This age no one is clean.. In those days people used to take 3 times bath. Nowadays there is water restriction also... climatic conditions also not very favourable.

        Everything is going as per convenience.. 

        Well.. Even If I am chanting om namo narayanaya mantra.. Also.. I will have to chant Mahamantra before. to cleanse me.

        even to take Rama name we need to be clean bahya antar suchi.. it is called.

         अपवित्रः पवित्रो वा सर्वावस्थां गतोऽपि वा ।
        यः स्मरेत्पुण्डरीकाक्षं  बाह्याभ्यन्तरः शुचिः ॥
        Om Apavitrah Pavitro Vaa Sarva-Avasthaam Gato-[A]pi Vaa |
        Yah Smaret-Punnddariikaakssam Sa Baahya-Abhyantarah Shucih ||


        We need to have some cleanliness and austerity to take other mantras which belonged to Sat and Treta Yuga.. Becoz those people in those ages .. had those virtues and qualities.

        Kaliyug people are nowhere close them..for them.. taking "Nama mantras" is just enough for deliverance.

        I don't myself feel it is a sin.. but to take such Om mantras.. you need to first chant Mahamantra and cleanse urself first AS SRI KRISHNA NAME IS LIKE AN ACID WASH. It will clean you internally and externally then it's okay to chant other mantras also. 

        Hare Krishna.

        • Prabhupada mentions in this one of His letters that He considers all of His devotees are pure devotees.

          Letter to Tusta Krsna written from Ahmedabad:

          "Your next question, after leaving this material realm does the devotee remain forever with his spiritual master? The answer is yes. But I think you have got the mistaken idea in this connection. You speak of pure devotee, that he is saktyavesha avatar, that we should obey him only—these things are the wrong idea. If anyone thinks like that, that a pure devotee should be obeyed and no one else, that means he is a nonsense. We advise everyone to address one another as Prabhu. Prabhu means master, so how the master should be disobeyed? Others, they are also pure devotees. All of my disciples are pure devotees. Anyone sincerely serving the spiritual master is a pure devotee, it may be Siddhaswarup or others, a-Siddhasvarupa. This must be very clearly stated. It is not only that your Siddhaswarup is a pure devotee and not others. Do not try to make a faction. Siddhasvarupa is a good soul. But others should not be misled. Anyone who is surrendered to the spiritual master is a pure devotee, it doesn't matter if Siddhaswarupa or non-Siddhaswarup. Amongst ourselves one should respect others as Prabhu, master, one another. As soon as we distinguish here is a pure devotee, here is a non-pure devotee, that means I am a nonsense. Why you only want to be in the spiritual sky with Siddhaswarup? Why not all? If Siddhaswarup can go, why not everyone? Siddhaswarup will go, you will go, Shyamasundar will go, all others will go. We will have another ISKCON there. Of course, Mr. Nair must stay."

          And with regards to being clean, we should take the example from Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a powerful Saktyavesa-Avatara of Krishna, as mentioned by Prabhupada:

          Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet:

          1It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

          The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

          He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

          Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

          “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

          Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

          “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

          10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

          12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

          10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

          -The New Testament, John 13:1-17.


          Our cleanliness is internal and external, but what is the most important is the internal cleanliness, with the internal cleanliness of being a pure devotee we are in full Krishna Consciousness. But I want you to know that even the unclean are to partake fully in the process of Krishna Consciousness, so that they may one day be elevated to the Perfectional Stage. Hare Krishna.

          721214 - Letter to Tusta Krsna written from Ahmedabad - Vanisource
  • E-Counselor

    Hare Krsna,


    While the Srimad Bhagawatam states that in Kaliyuga, only Harinaam is capable of delivering the fallen souls, the mahamantra as such is not mentioned. However, in Kali Santaran Upanishad and elsewhere, this Mahamantra has been mentioned and most importantly -  when the lord appears in Kaliyuga in the form of his own devotee to deliver us, as Sri Chaitany Mahaprabhu, He has recommended chanting of this mantra. 

    Other mantras like Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevayah or Hari Om, or Om Namo Narayanayah are not recommended for this age. LIke if we have headache, we can take any pain killer. But if we want to cure our particular medical condition, we have to take the medicine as prescribed by a medical practitioner. Same way, for Kaliyuga, this mahamantra has been recommended.

    If you are facing difficulty in chanting mahamantra, maybe you could slow your pace (since you can chant in kirtans), or you could chant Pancha Tattva mantra as already posted by someone else. 

    Sing in kirtans prabhu. Srila Prabhupada mentioned once that the entire philosophy, all the books he has written, is simply to make us chant. 


    YOur servant,

    Radha Rasamayi DD

  • How about the mantra-

    Om namoh bhagwate vasudevaya?

    Is it acceptable?

    I was watching Vishnu Puran on TV and pralhada was uttering this mantra.

    • Anything we chant as God's glories or Holy Names as devotees in the Temple is acceptable, but the absolute center of it all of the matter is the Hare Krishna Mantra which you should never give up chanting. The Hare Krishna Mantra, in fact, is to be chanted forever and any other Mantra is supplementary. But as Lord Caitanya says, Krishna has invested all His Transcendental Energy into His thousands and millions of Holy Names. If you read the Caitanya Caritamrita you will find the devotees chanting the Lord's Names in different ways, even Lord Caitanya chants His Own names in a unique way, as seen in the Caitanya Caritamrita, CC Madhya 7.96::

      Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! he
      Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! he
      Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! rakṣa mām
      Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa! pāhi mām

      That is, “O Lord Kṛṣṇa, please protect Me and maintain Me.” He also chanted:

      Rāma! Rāghava! Rāma! Rāghava! Rāma! Rāghava! rakṣa mām
      Kṛṣṇa! Keśava! Kṛṣṇa! Keśava! Kṛṣṇa! Keśava! pāhi mām

      That is, “O Lord Rāma, descendant of King Raghu, please protect Me. O Kṛṣṇa, O Keśava, killer of the Keśī demon, please maintain Me.”

      But as you can see these are all names of Krishna. There are many ways to chant, but Brahma Himself, from whom our Sampradaya descends, advocated the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, so as long as you hold onto it, you will stay safe in Spiritual Life.

      Hare Hare Krishna Prabhu!

      Om Tat Sat Hare Krishna!

      CC Madhya 7.96
      • Very informative answer.  Thank-you for taking the time to write and it helps me on my spiritual journey. 

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