How to chant the Mahamantra?

I have heard that Srila Prabhupada asked us to chant in the mood of a helpless child crying out for its mother.I have also heard that devotees experience bliss when they chant.I don't understand how both can be done simultaneously.Please clarify my doubt.Also, when we're chanting, should we focus only on the sound vibration or should we visualize Krishna and chant?Also, I read somewhere that we can chant anytime and anywhere and it will always be of benefit to us. But wouldn't we risk committing offense if we're not able to give our complete attention at these times and places?Thanks in advance. Hare Krishna!

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  • E-Counselor

    Hare Krsna Prabhuji,


    Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the yugapurusha and he came to give the yugadharma for Kaliyuga, which is harinam sankirtan. He preached congregational chanting for various reasons -

    1) He is aware of the restless nature of mind. If you chant only mentally, then even you dont know whether you are chanting or sleeping or thinking something else. In Dwapar yuga, Arjuna is telling Krishna - chancalam hi manah...., when he is so qualified, at an age which is more conducive to bhakti than kaliyuga, who is personal friend of the lord Himself, having personal association of the lord, who has conquered sleep, cannot control his mind - then where do we qualify.

    2) He came to deliver the most fallen - then the qualification of being able to control the mind is not there to chant at all.

    3) It is said - even inattentive chanting will give results. That is the extent of Mahaprabhu's mercy.

    4) At that time, society was very much divided on religious and caste lines. Congregational chanting served to unite the masses, as well as deliver them.

    On an absolutely practical level, we all know our minds are very restless, not in our control. Where does the mind tend to roam - to see what the person next to us is doing. In sankirtana, the person next to us is also chanting the harinam, so the mind does not get any place to roam, it helps to keep the attention on harinam.

    I hope I have made some sense to you.



    • Thank you so much. It makes sense to me now. Hare krishna!
  • Hare Krishna!

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    But if that is the case, why did Sri
    Caitanya Mahaprabhu who is the supreme personality of Godhead himself encourage the congregational chanting of the holy names rather than just asking us to chant in our minds?

    Please clarify this doubt that is a hurdle for me to know my Maker.

    Hare Krishna!
  • Thank you all so much for your replies, Matajis. Thanks to your sincere advice I can now chant with more focus!
    Hare Krishna!
    • Hare Krishna, Dean prabhu
      All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

      Thank you so much for your reply.
      But I am a little confused now. In the following links, Srila Prabhupada clearly states that we must focus on the sound vibration without mental speculation. So we should just focus on the sound vibration sincerely, right?

      Please forgive me for my ignorance.
      Your servant
    • Hare Krishna! Thank you for that wonderful reply. It shows your love for our dear Lord and I hope it keeps growing forever.

      I noticed that you chant in your mind. I used to do it too because my family isn't very encouraging when it comes to KC(though they're moderate Hindus). But then I spoke to a devotee about it and he asked to chant softly even if only I could hear it as it is important to listen to the sound vibration. So, I did. Now I close my bedroom door and chant away.
      After that change, I've observed that I feel more focused as my voice doesn't let my mind wander. I hope this helps.

      That being said, I too am a starter in KC. I believe that the association of devotees is very crucial as they can point out errs to neophytes like us which we may have earlier thought of as right. I sincerely hope my reply helps you.

      • Thank u very much sir. I will do as u say.

        Hare Krishna.

    • Love and Respect are the only feelings u must be sure to keep in mind while chanting. U can ask how to get these two gems at the time of chanting. For it let me tell u what I use to do. I dont have a definite time slot for chanting Hare Krishna. Whenever I get time I chant or just simply think about Krishna's beautiful face, his heroic pastimes etc or listen to bhajans. Before I start chanting, I tell loudly to myself with some imagined feeling of love that Krishna is the hero of my soul and from the very time I was first send to material world till now my soul has been waiting to get united with him. Then I think about his lovable pastimes and the instances when he had rushed to his devotees who were in trouble. I imagine the sweet music of his flute (for this u can listen to the flute music of "Cute Krishna- Enchanted Flute" from youtube. Though this music is not of Krishna's but it makes me quiet mesmerized.)  and his postures when he used to play it. These imagination really makes the magic - Love for Krishna suddenly overfills my heart and flows over to my whole body and the best thing is that I could feel it. Tears well out of my eyes for no reason. Then for respect I would think about the Viratroopa of Krishna and also about his pastimes of Subduing Kalia, Lifting up of Govardhana Hill, Taking Arjuna to the Spiritual world and also of his saving Draupadi. These feats are beyond a powerful demigod's strength. It can be done only by the Supreme God, Krishna who is the creator, destroyer and also the saviour of this world. By this I automatically get respect for Krishna. I get faith when I think of the merciful nature of Krishna.

      This will take a mere 30 sec. to do but after thinking of them I just get overwhelmed. Then I start chanting the mahamantra. The result is pure bliss and transcedental happiness. I had always loved the name "KRISHNA" and so while I chant I give a special emphasis to the Lord's name. I just take my own time chanting "KRISHNA". Chanting this beautiful mantra along with the feelings, which I had created in my heart before the chanting, just makes the atmosphere charged and also my mind gets automatically surrendered to Krishna. Concentration on the Mahamantra's words also increases. I wont feel like going back to study and stop chanting. I become rather ecstatic and feel like dancing. I actually chant in my mind rather than with my lips as for me my own mind's voice makes me more concentrated to the mantra's words than my real voice.

      A special request to all the devotees- Since I am a starter in Krishna Consiousness, I dont know if there is any wrong in the above method of mine. If there is please let me know.

      Hope so this will work for u also Darshan Mohan sir. Please feel free to share with me if my method really worked for u too. Have a happy KC life ahead.

      Hare Krishna.

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    I highly suggest listening to Srila Prabhupada's chanting (which is found all over youtube). Try to understand that and get a feel for it. But as Rashmi Mataji said, the purification will happen on automatically when you chant Krishna's names.

    Slightly off topic, but since Rashmi Mataji mentioned it, is it offensive to touch our tulsi beads without taking a shower. I've always avoided it since I wasn't sure if that was offensive, and I always chant after taking my bath. 

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