Mantra - Free the Mind

For some, the repeated recitation of God’s names may seem a mechanical and somewhat elementary spiritual practice. How can the utterance of mere sounds - linguistic formulations - transform consciousness and invoke spiritual experience?

The holy name of Krishna has extraordinary spiritual potency because the name of God is non-different to God Himself. Language, in the material sense, is merely representative and symbolic; it does not itself embody the reality it seeks to represent. God, on the other hand, is absolute, and thus there is no difference between Him and His name. When one chants the names of God with pure intention and dedicated attention, they actually come in direct contact with Him. In the Absolute realm, symbol embodies reality.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is considered the most important activity for spiritual and mental wellbeing. The mantra essentially a prayer that means “O energy of the Lord (Hare), O all-attractive Lord (Krishna), O supreme enjoyer (Rama), please engage me in Your service."

Chanting as a personal meditation is known as japa. The best time for japa is the early morning since the atmosphere is quiet and the mind is not yet preoccupied with the activities of the day. If that’s not possible, set aside another suitable time slot in the day. Japa meditation is best performed on beads, which assist us in counting the mantras and keeping good concentration.

Hold the beads in your right hand, between the thumb and middle finger. Begin chanting after the big centre bead (which is known as the ‘Krishna bead’) (see diagram)

Chant the mantra softly but distinctly, pronouncing it in such a way that you can hear it clearly.

Then move onto the next bead, and repeat the mantra.

By the time you get back to the Krishna bead, you will have chanted the Hare Krishna mantra 108 times. This is called one ‘round’.

Then turn the beads around and start the second round without crossing over the Krishna bead.

In the beginning, one round may take you fifteen minutes or so but as you get used to chanting you will usually speed up to between six and eight minutes. You can begin with one round a day and gradually increase. Once you commit to chanting a certain number of rounds daily, try not to go below this number. It’s far better to chant two rounds every day than eight rounds one day and none the next. Consistency is essential for our spiritual progress.

The main principle of chanting is to attentively listen to the sound vibration. The mantra is chanted by the tongue and immediately caught by the ear. If any distracting thoughts come into your mind, bring your focus back to the sound of the Hare Krishna mantra and those thoughts will eventually disappear. In this way, our original spiritual consciousness is gradually reawakened.

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