Japa vs Sankirtana

If Sankirtana is the method, for Kali Yuga, Japa, the method for Krita yuga, why is so much importance given to Japa and not Sankirtana?


Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.52

krte yad dhyayato visnum

tretayam yajato makhaih

dvapare paricaryayam

kalau tad dhari-kirtanat


krte -- in the Satya-yuga; yat -- which; dhyayatah -- from meditation; visnum -- on Lord Visnu; tretayam -- in the Treta-yuga; yajatah -- from worshiping; makhaih -- by performing sacrifices; dvapare -- in the age of Dvapara; paricaryayam -- by worshiping the lotus feet of Krsna; kalau -- in the age of Kali; tat -- that same result (can be achieved); hari-kirtanat -- simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.


Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Visnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord's lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.


A similar verse is found in the Visnu Purana (6.2.17), and also in the Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 72.25) and the Brhan-naradiya Purana (38.97):

dhyayan krte yajan yajnais

tretayam dvapare 'rcayan

yad apnoti tad apnoti

kalau sankirtya kesavam

"Whatever is achieved by meditation in Satya-yuga, by the performance of sacrifice in Treta-yuga, and by the worship of Lord Krsna's lotus feet in Dvapara-yuga is obtained in the age of Kali simply by glorifying the name of Lord Kesava."

Srila Jiva Gosvami has further quoted from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana concerning the degraded condition of people in Kali-yuga:

atah kalau tapo-yoga-

vidya-yajnadikah kriyah

sanga bhavanti na krtah

kusalair api dehibhih

"Thus in the age of Kali the practices of austerity, yoga meditation, Deity worship, sacrifice and so on, along with their various subsidiary functions, are not properly carried out, even by the most expert embodied souls.

Srila Jiva Gosvami has also cited the Caturmasya-mahatmya of the Skanda Purana concerning the necessity of chanting Hare Krsna in this age:

tatha caivottamam loke

tapah sri-hari-kirtanam

kalau yuge visesena

visnu-prityai samacaret

"In this way the most perfect penance to be executed in this world is the chanting of the name of Lord Sri Hari. Especially in the age of Kali, one can satisfy the Supreme Lord Visnu by performing sankirtana.''

In conclusion, massive propaganda should be made all over the world to induce people to chant the Hare Krsna mantra, by which human society can be rescued from the dangerous ocean of the age of Kali.



When Haridas Takore was asked how do you preach a non believer without committing an offence/Namaparada?

Haridas Takore Said,

"This the way by which the whole world will be inundated
with the chanting of the holy name: with loud congregational
chanting, the holy name is to be propagated widely among the
masses.  Those who are faithful will come forward and choose a
bona fide spiritual master, receiving instructions and initiation
in the name from him.  By sincere chanting they will surely
obtain love of Godhead, Krsnaprema."


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  • Volunteer
    I never say, its optional but its a part of process which comes after japa. I never say to give up sankirtana but it can only be done at the liberated stage. For conditioned souls, it's japa. Only dey can inundate the world with love of Godhead in whom d supreme love of godhead shows its fuller manifestation, like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Haridas Thakur, Meerbai, Tukaram. Srila Prabhupada himself in one of his interviews mentions, Dancing and singing and sankirtana are done at the fully-liberated stage. At the conditined stage, we ask men to practice japa. When one is fully liberated, one will spontaneously dance and sing. Unless dancing and singing are spontaneous acts, one is not fit for sankirtana. Japa cleanses ur heart and washes away all ur desires and makes you fit for spreading the supreme love for godhead that you have achieved among evryone. That is what He says.
    • Volunteer

      can you quote an Acharya or Mahaprabhu the Sankirtana is only at the liberated stage?

      Fogive me, if I offend you Gourab Saha or Prakash Prabhus,

      Sankirtana is not a long jump and neither is japa a short hand.

      You guys are both speculating. Such speculation can lead one only to Hell. Same goes with following any speculative philosophy.

      Sankirtana is not optional. It is a necessity. Not performing Sankirtana is a clear Namaparada in our disciplic succession coming from Caintanya Mahaprabhu (Not obeying instruction of spiritual master is one of the Namaparada and Sankirtana is an instruction of our spiritual master Srila Prabhupada)

  • Volunteer

    Prabhu I am really touched by your reply. Saint Tukaram and Meera are two of my favorite devotees and the thought never occured to me that they both went to Godhead in the same body.


  • Volunteer

    Hare Krishna!! I personally feel that sankirtana is like beckoning everyone to the path of perfection, hence its performed in open streets. But unless we ourselves r perfect, how can ask others to be perfect. Sankirtana is a scientific process of infusing the hladini shakti into everybody's heart so that they r spontaneously attracted to the spiritual path. But it is done when the hladini shakti has fully awakened in the one who leads sankirtana as was in the case of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Meerabai.  A mere touch of them would infuse Krishna consciousness into others. So first, we have to awaken our laten hladini shakti by practising japa, and when it fully awakens, we can join sankirtana and spread torrents of divine ecstasy across streets and people will naturally get attracted. Sankirtana can only be led by Nitya-siddhas, fully liberated souls like Chaitanya Mahaprabahu and Meerabai whose hearts r brimmed with love for Godhead. Sankirtana is like gifting everybody the love of Godhead. Unless we possess it, how can we give it to others??  So japa is the primary step, sankirtana comes much later.

    • Volunteer

      Gaurab Prabhu, please accept my respects, forgive me if I offend you.

      what you are saying is not authorized by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We are not the one giving Krishna Prema. Its Krishna Himself. The Names of Krishna are Krishna Himself. Its Lord Krishna dancing on the tongue of the devotee performing Sankirtana, that is distributing Krishna Prema. (books too)

      Sankirtana can be performed with no conditions. Anyone can do it and distribute Krishna Prema.

      The theory that our body is a battery and that it needs to be charged with japa and discharged through Sankirtana is not based on scriptures. (although you may not mean exactly this), a lot of people beleave this nonsense and as a result give themselves up to Maya.

      Thanks for your answer. You reveal some fascinating things about the power of Harinama Sankirtana

      • Volunteer
        I have a frnd of mine who joined a local sankirtana , a Hare Krishna procession, conducted by our local Iskcon, Kolkata. Dere he met a girl who too participated. I noticed that he was gradually getting deviated frm his spiritual path and getting more intimate with d girl. He himself was hating dis but he couldn't help. Den his guru advised him to stop joining sankirtana and practice japa. Only den, he could overpower his feelings for dat girl and came back to d spiritual path. So sm risks r dere u see. Considering dis, I gave dis post. I think japa and sankirtana must go on simultaneously. Each  is great in its own place. Japa is saving urself, and Sankirtana is saving ourself and saving oders too through d chanting of Mahamantra and singing.
        • Volunteer

          Your example of this guy meeting a girl on Sankirtana party does not support that everyone should give up Sankirtana and do only japa.

          One day a lady came to a friend of mine performing Harinam with a few people and she confessed, "I was contemplating suicide and hearing you made me change my mind". I asked my friend, "Man are you so powerful?", then my friend, clarified, "Its not me, Its KRISHNA. When you sing Krishna's Names, Krishna Himself is dancing on your tongue and giving Himself (Krishna Prema) freely to all". And he is absolutely right, we have no powers. Only by the mercy of devotee of Krishna that one comes in contact with the Holy Names of Krishna and develops as they cultivate Love for Krishna and enhanced manyfold by serving Krishna devotees. No better way to serve the devotees, both awakened and dormant through Sankirtana. Sankirtana movement was established by Krishna Himself, as Caitanya Mahaprabhu and we must not see this as an optional activity. Instead see it a a PRIMARY activity, method of devotional service.

          Hare Krishna

        • Volunteer
          Dere r many fake devotees who in d name of joining sankirtana desire d association of d opposite sex and giv demselves to Maya. I think that one should practice japa in a solitary place unless he  awakens d divine love for Godhead and shields himself well from material lusts. Den when he is fully liberated he can join Sankirtana. Liberated souls like Haridas can transform a prostitute to virtuous woman, we, ordinary souls can't since love for Godhead shows its greater manifestation in liberated souls and dis supreme love has got d all-attracting power of Krishna, and it attracts everybody to d path of Godhead. By practicing japa, we awaken dis dormant love for Godhead and den we spread dis love thru Sankirtana. First let us awaken it, den we wil distribute it. D party led by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu consisted of fully liberated souls. Hence, dey could attract everyone . Just a mere touch of Mahaprabhu would make even d basest individual liberated. We can't do dat. So, japa should be given more prominence.
  • Volunteer

    Sankirtana is the 1st instruction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the Acharyas including Prabhupada. Not performing Sankirtana is a Namaparada in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, because it will be disobeying the  instructions of the spiritual master.

    It is nice that they perform Rathayatra. However Sankirtana must be carried on everyday.

    One must perform Sankirtana, even if there is laws against performing Sankirtana. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has established this by His civil disobedience when the Kazi ordered against congregational chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna in the streets. Later he passes a law that Sankirtana must be allowed freely in his area/district.



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