Srila Prabhupada explains the importance of chanting 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mantra every day and how Krishna protects you.
By Nanda Kumar Dasa ACBSP who was Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant in the early years of ISKCON.
From the time I took initiation from Srila Prabhupad in Los Angeles in June of 1969, I was blessed to be able to keep my vow of chanting 16 rounds a day for some time.
Then not long after becoming Srila Prabhupad’s cook and personal servant, I missed doing 16 rounds for the first time.
It was late in the evening and I had finished 14 of them but was having a hard time staying awake to finish the last 2.
Because we had been told that if you miss any rounds you can make them up the next day, I decided to take rest and do that, instead of pushing through the tiredness and chanting inattentive rounds.
The next morning when I went into Srila Prabhupada’s room, He looked at me and the first thing He said was… “So, are you chanting all your rounds?”
He had the mystic ability to know everything about everyone without anyone telling Him. I experienced it many times, with myself and with other devotees.
I replied… “No, Srila Prabhupad. I missed two rounds yesterday for the first time, and I’m going to make them up today.”
Srila Prabhupad said, with great compassion… “It is like a new child learning to walk. The child will fall down as they first start walking, but because they are holding the hand of the mother, they don’t actually fall… she holds them up.
It’s the same with chanting 16 rounds. Every devotee as they are growing will start to fall down, over and over, just like the child.
However, if you are chanting all your rounds, Krishna will hold you up and not let you fall, just like the mother does with the child.
If you are not chanting 16 rounds, however…” and He stopped for a moment and opened His lotus eyes very wide, moving His hand back and forth in front of His face, and He continued… “then your whereabouts are unknown!”
To understand what that really means, that our whereabouts are unknown and that we don’t have the protection of Krishna’s hand to hold us up, is a very fearful concept, all things considered.
I pray for the strength to be able to always keep my promise to Srila Prabhupad that I will chant 16 rounds a day.
I have become weak in that vow over time, and it is time for me to get serious, as there is not that much time left in this body.
To all the devotees who have kept that vow, I offer my humble obeisances.
All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada”