Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama ..." />Hare Krishna FAQ -- Questions People Ask About Chanting Hare Krishna | Krishna.org


Chanting ISKCON Hare Krishna Devotee Preaching to Guests at Hawaii Temple on Lawn

Published on November 12th, 2013 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

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Hare Krishna FAQ — Questions People Ask About Chanting Hare Krishna

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

1978-08-32

Q. I want to get back in harmony with nature. Can chanting Hare Krishna help me do that?

A. For sure. Say you’re walking along a forest path at 6 a.m. As you notice the sandy floor under your feet, the stream flowing nearby, the sun on the horizon, the cool breeze, and the sounds of the birds, you’re experiencing what the Bhagavad-gita singles out as the five basic natural elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Beyond these five are subtler elements like your mind (which takes in all these experiences) and your intelligence (which sorts them out). As the Gita also explains, the source of all these natural elements is Lord Krishna. So when you chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, you’re in harmony with nature, because you’re in harmony with nature’s source.

Q. Can’t I harmonize with nature by backpacking, jogging, or surfing?

A. Perhaps, in some limited sense. But we also have to realize that no matter how much we harmonize with nature, she’ll finally stop the music. We’ll all have to get old and diseased and die, and then our backpacking, jogging, and surfing days will be over. But in Lord Krishna’s transcendental world everyone lives in lasting harmony, and by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra we can go there. That way we’ll never have to come back to this world of birth and death. (Otherwise, by the law of karma, a backpacker might come back as a mountain goat, a jogger as a terrier, a surfer as a shark.)

Q. Can chanting Hare Krishna help me to see God in nature?

A. Yes. Of course, even without chanting, you can still get something of a glimpse of Him. For instance, in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, “Of bodies of water, I am the ocean…. I am the light of the sun and moon…. I am the pure taste of water.” So whether you chant or not, the ocean shows you something about His greatness; the sun and moon. His brilliance; and the taste of water, His purity. And when you chant the maha-mantra, the more you’ll see Krishna’s presence in all these things. And what’s more, when you chant you’ll experience Krishna’s full personality, because the Lord is fully present in His names.

Q. Can chanting help me get in harmony with my inner self? If so, how?

A. Yes, chanting Hare Krishna can also help you do that. As we were saying earlier, all the basic natural elements (the elements that make up our surroundings and our bodies) come from Lord Krishna. And so does the spiritual or conscious element—the inner self. The inner self is the soul, which animates the body with consciousness. Most people aren’t aware of the inner self. They think the self is the body, and they try to satisfy the body instead of the real self within. But when you chant Hare Krishna, you feel harmony with your inner self, because your inner self is in harmony with Krishna, the Supreme Self.

Q. I’ve read that if I chant Hare Krishna, I’ll become self-realized. But I’ve also read that if I chant Hare Krishna, I’ll become God-realized. Which is it?

A. It’s both. Say you want to look at yourself, but you’re out in the countryside on a pitch-black night; you’ll have to wait till you see the sun coming up. In the same way, if you want to realize your self, you’ll have to realize Krishna, the Supreme Self: when the Krishna sun comes up, your darkness about self-realization will disappear. When you chant Hare Krishna, you’re becoming both God-realized and self-realized.

Q. How long will it take me to become self-realized by chanting Hare Krishna?

A. Why not right away? The Vedic literatures give many examples of people who have taken up the chanting of Hare Krishna and have quickly achieved the highest level of self-realization. Generally, of course, self-realization is a gradual process. It may not happen all at once. But if you chant sincerely and patiently, then Krishna will disclose everything to you, even in this one lifetime.

Q. What if you chant Hare Krishna but don’t achieve full realization in this life?

A. In case you don’t complete the process in this lifetime, you’ll get a chance in your next lifetime to take up where you left off. As the Bhagavad-gita assures, you’ll be born in a rich or scholarly family, so that you’ll have facility for completing your self-realization. This is one of the great benefits of chanting Hare Krishna even a little bit, because if someone doesn’t chant at all, his karma will likely carry him to a lifetime as a plant or animal.

Q. To chant Hare Krishna, do I have to be a vegetarian?

A. No, but it helps. If you’re eating flesh, it’s not possible to experience the full benefit of chanting Krishna’s names. It’s best to eat prasada, “the Lord’s mercy,” vegetarian foods that have been offered to Krishna with love. By eating this spiritual food you’ll purify your body and mind, and then the chanting will act more powerfully for you. Amazingly, self-realization begins with the tongue: you taste spiritual food and chant Krishna’s names. If you do these two things as often as you can, you’ll experience an ever-increasing spiritual pleasure.

Q. How can I be sure I’ll see Krishna just by chanting His name?

A. As with practically everything else you do, you have to start out with a little faith. Suppose you go to a travel agent, and he says he can give you a ticket to fly to Paris. Now, if you’re not going to believe him, then what’s the sense in going to him? You have to have a little faith that if you get the ticket and board the plane, you’ll get to Paris. In the same way, you’ll need a little faith to take up the process of chanting Hare Krishna. But if you do take it up, you’re sure to see Krishna in the end.

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

On the lawn of the Hare Krishna movement's center In Miami, the center's president, Narahara dasa, answers questions about chanting Hare Krishna.

On the lawn of the Hare Krishna movement’s center In Miami, the center’s president, Narahara dasa, answers questions about chanting Hare Krishna.

Q. I’m afraid I’m a rather materialistic person. I want a compatible mate, a reasonable amount of money, healthy children, and things like that. Can I still chant Hare Krishna?

A. Definitely. Whoever you are, whatever you do, and whatever it is you want out of life, just chant Hare Krishna, and your life will be sublime.

Q. I get the feeling that if I start chanting Hare Krishna, then sooner or later I’m going to have to give something up. What’s the catch?

A. There are no hard and fast rules for chanting the maha-mantra. So you never have to give up anything. But if you’re actually serious about achieving self-realization, the Vedic literature says there are four things you should avoid: intoxicants, meat-eating, illicit sex, and gambling. These four items are material contaminations—the soul doesn’t need them at all—and if we want to become spiritually pure, we should try to get free from them. And chanting Hare Krishna makes it easy. By chanting Hare Krishna, you come directly in touch with Krishna, the supreme reservoir of pleasure. So the pleasure you taste by chanting Hare Krishna is more than enough to make the so-called pleasures of material life seem just completely insignificant.

Q. But what if I don’t want to give up these things? What if I’m not ready?

A. Then chant Hare Krishna anyway. It’s up to you. But if you’re actually serious about spiritual life, why not become ready? Why keep doing things that just get you more materially entangled? It’s common sense. If you’re trying to build a fire, why pour water on it?

Q. I’ve heard about all kinds of mantras besides Hare Krishna. Is there any difference?

A. We don’t even have to talk about so-called mantras like “VROOSH” and “ZING.” But you may have come across some of the thousands of authentic mantras that appear in ancient India’s Vedic literature. As this same literature explains, the Hare Krishna mantra is more powerful than all the rest combined, and in this age it’s the best mantra for bringing you complete self-realization. So you can understand why it’s called the maha-mantra, “the great mantra.”

Q. I’ve read about plants responding to sound. If you chant Hare Krishna, does it have any effect on them?

A. Yes. A great spiritual master named Haridasa Thakura once said that the maha-mantra benefits even lower life-forms, like plants. All living beings (plants included) are actually spirit souls. It’s just that they’re wearing different kinds of bodily garments, depending on how much they’ve developed their consciousness in past lives. Plants have a comparatively undeveloped consciousness, but if you expose them to the sound of the maha-mantra, that will restimulate it. But mainly, the maha-mantra will develop your consciousness. It’s already much more developed than the plants’, and if you use it to chant Hare Krishna, then when this lifetime is over, you’ll be ready to return to the spiritual world.

Q. Does the Hare Krishna mantra improve your self-awareness?

A. Yes. It acts much the way an alarm clock wakes you up from a dream. For instance, when you’re asleep you might think you’re a king living it up at your palace, or a skindiver being eaten alive by a shark—but when the clock goes off, “Wait. I’m really John So-and-so.” And you know you were just dreaming, because it only lasted a few minutes and then it was over. Now, the thing is, the feeling of being “John So-and-so” is only going to last sixty or seventy years, at most, and then it will be over, too. So what is it but a long, drawn-out dream? People spend lifetime after lifetime as “John So-and-so,” “Bill Such-and-such,” and on and on. But the “self they’re aware of is just a temporary body in a temporary situation—just a dream. If you want to enjoy complete self-awareness and wake up to your inner self, even within this lifetime, then you can chant the maha-mantra. The sound of Krishna’s names keeps you aware of who you really are: a spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit, Krishna.

Q. Can chanting Hare Krishna help me to see God?

A. Yes. Actually, the only reason we can’t see God now is that our hearts are covered over with “dust.” This dust is our ignorance—the misconception that we are the body, and that we can be happy only by enjoying material pleasures. But when we chant Hare Krishna, we’re in immediate contact with God, because He’s nondifferent from His name. This spiritual contact thoroughly cleanses the dust from our hearts. We realize that we’re not the body, and that only by associating with Krishna can we be truly happy. It is then—when we’re fully purified—that Krishna reveals Himself to us, just as the sun reveals itself to us through a clean window.

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

Hare Krishna Devotee Showing Young Man How to Chant Hare Krishna on Japa Beads

Q. Can I chant Hare Krishna while I’m doing yoga?

A: Chanting Hare Krishna is yoga. Yoga means “linking up with the Supreme,” or Krishna—and Krishna is present in His name—so if you chant Hare Krishna, you’re doing the ultimate yoga. You’re in direct touch with Krishna.

Actually, the original purpose of yoga exercises was simply to quiet the mind and senses so that the yogi could meditate on Krishna in his heart: Now opportunists have watered yoga down and turned it into a health fad.

So … yes, chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra while you’re doing your yoga exercises. And chant it anytime and anywhere. Stay “linked up” with Krishna. That’s real yoga.

Q. I don’t understand Sanskrit. Will the Hare Krishna mantra work for me?

A. Absolutely. The maha-mantra is like fire: it will bring you warmth and light, whether or not you understand it.

Q. What if I’m tired of formulas for spiritual enlightenment? What !f I just want to relate to people?

A., That’s fine, If you chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, you’ll enter the ultimate interpersonal relationship. Krishna, the Supreme, is present in His name. So by chanting His name purely, you’ll rediscover your unique relationship with Him.

In the spiritual world, some liberated souls relate to Krishna as the Absolute and meditate on Him with awe and reverence. Others relate to Him as master and serve Him with a sense of duty and respect. And still others relate to Him as a friend and joke and play with Him. Some even relate to Him as their child and take care of Him. And others relate to Him as their lover.

If you think about it, you’ll begin to see that whatever relationships you’ve experienced in this material world are feeble, short-lived imitations of the lasting relationships that the residents of the spiritual world enjoy with Krishna. The way to revive your own relationship with Krishna is to chant His names.

Q. Why should I start chanting Hare Krishna?

A. For starters, here are four good reasons: birth, old age, disease, and death.

Sooner or later, we all have to face old age, disease, death, and birth (or shall we say rebirth). Of course, in our modern world we’ve managed to push these miseries fairly well out of sight. We’ve isolated the old people in the nursing homes and the diseased, dying, and newborn in the hospitals. And our TV screens, feature films, newspapers, and billboards bombard us with images of youth, beauty, and health.

But we can fool ourselves only so long. Our turn will come. And then we’ll have to trade in our present body and get another, and on it will go, life after life. India’s Vedic literatures call this phenomenon the cycle of birth and death.

But if we chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, we’ll revive our long-forgotten relationship with Lord Krishna. And Krishna promises He’ll be our swift deliverer.

Q. Would it be a good idea to tell a dying person to chant Hare Krishna ?

A. It would be a great idea. The Vedic literatures say, ante narayana-smrtih: remember Krishna at the end. of your life and you’ll go to live with Him in the spiritual world. And the best way to remember Krishna is to chant His names.

What you’re thinking about when you pass away will determine what happens to you in your next life. If you’re thinking about your pet dog, you might come back with four legs instead of two. But whatever you come back as, you’re sure to get old and diseased and die, and, you’re sure to get another material body-unless you remember Krishna.

If you chant Krishna’s names, you’ll return to’ the spiritual world and live there forever.

Q. I’m aware that chanting is the best way to get ready for death. But why rush it—why not just wait until we get old?

A. How do you know, you’re not old already? Actually, “old” just refers to someone who’s about to die, and who can be sure the “someone” isn’t him? You don’t have any guarantees that you’ll live to be ninety. Better to start chanting the maha-mantra now.

Another thing to consider: when you die, your mind and body will be going through all kinds of changes, and it will be impossible to chant unless you’ve been practicing.

Q. Why so much talk about death? What about happiness here and now?

A. You’re right. W e all want happiness here and now. But we have to know where to look for it

Trying to find happiness in satisfying your body is like trying to eat pudding that has sand in it.

Whatever bodily happiness you experience is temporary; it won’t last. And besides, it comes mixed with old age, disease, death, and rebirth. So when you opt for bodily happiness, you get a huge quotient of sand.

But the spiritual happiness you’ll find in your relationship with Krishna is one-hundred-percent pure, and it lasts forever. And if you chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, you can experience this lasting spiritual happiness for yourself, here and now.

Q. How can just a sound give you so much happiness?

A. The Hare Krishna maha-mantra isn’t an ordinary sound. Krishna is present in His names, and because Krishna is the reservoir of all spiritual pleasure, His names are also full of pleasure. That’s why a great spiritual master once said he wanted millions of ears to hear Krishna’s names and millions of tongues to chant them.

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

1978-11-07-1

Q. How can I find more time for chanting? I like it, but I’m usually too busy.

A. We’re all busy, but eventually we have to die. And then what? By the law of karma, anyone who is not God-realized will have to stay in the cycle of rebirth and death. So our real business should be to become God-realized and get out of the karmic cycle. And chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the surest way to do that.

Q. If I want to take up chanting, do I need a teacher?

A. Not to start. But if you want your chanting to give you lasting results, then you’ll take instruction from a bona fide spiritual master. As the Vedic literatures point out, “Unless one receives instruction from a bona fide spiritual master in the authorized disciplic succession, then his mantra will have no effect.”

Q. If I chant Hare Krishna, will I be able to levitate?

A. Even if you could overcome the law of gravity, you’d still be under the law of karma. You’d still have to undergo old age, disease, death, and rebirth. But if you want to overcome the law of karma and, when you pass on, levitate all the way to the spiritual world, then chant the mahamantra.

Q. Why not keep the Hare Krishna mantra secret, like other mantras?

A. If something can actually do some good for others, then who but a rascal would keep it secret and sell it for a fee? The flare Krishna maha-mantra can deliver everyone from the karmic cycle of rebirth and death. So Sri Krishna Caitanya, the incarnation of God for this age, ordered His followers to spread the maha-mantra “to every town and village.”

Q. If you chant a mantra in public, won’t it lose its power?

A.A mantra can never lose its power. (Here we’re not talking about the nonsense syllables that phony gurus are marketing nowadays. These “mantras” never had any power to begin with.) At any rate; a mantra is a combination of sacred sounds—names of God and His energies. So just as God is inexhaustible, a mantra is inexhaustible. Unlimited numbers of people can chant it unlimitedly, and it will always have its power. And the Hare Krishna mantra is known as the maha-mantra. Maha means “great,” or “the most powerful.”

Q. I don’t see that everybody has to chant Hare Krishna. Don’t all paths lead to the same place?

A.If you take a flight to Paris and your friend takes a flight to London, you’ll go to Paris and he’ll end up in London. It’s not that you’ll both arrive in Paris. Now, the Vedic literatures explain that life’s highest destination is to revive our relationship with Lord Krishna in the spiritual world, and that the path is the chanting of the Lord’s names. So if you’re doing something else, you’ll end up in a different place.

Q. God is everywhere. So why chant Hare Krishna? I’m already “back to Godhead,” right here and now.

A. That may be, but there’s a difference. For instance, the state government is running both the university system and the prison system. So it’s all the same, in a way, but where would you rather be—UCLA or San Quentin?

Similarly, God controls both the spiritual and material worlds. But the material world is a place where people who’ve forgotten Him go through all kinds of trouble—until, finally, they come to their senses and revive the relationship. And the best way to do that, is to chant God’s names. Then, as you say, you’ll be “already back to Godhead, right here and now,” and when you pass away you’ll live with Krishna eternally in the spiritual world.

Compiled from a series articles in Back to Godhead Magazine

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8 Responses to Hare Krishna FAQ — Questions People Ask About Chanting Hare Krishna

  1. Jatin says:

    Hello sir..I am a devotee of Sri Ram . I am truly devoted to sir ram . But I also want to to become a devotee of Sri Krishna …. Can it be possible..

  2. Chaven Yenketswamy says:

    Goodday

    I was reading the verses from the Gita yesterday Chapter 11 The Universal form verses 50 to 53. It is apparent from these verses that the two handed form that Krsna displayed after the four handed form and Universal form was not the same as the two handed form Arjuna was accustomed to seeing. It was only by being given transcendental vision that he was able to perceive these forms.Could this not explain why Krsna was difficult to see by the demigods what to speak of the warriors on the battlefield.

    • NO. Krishna’s two handed form is the original form of Krishna. It is the same two handed form Arjuna is used to seeing. Nondevotees can not recognize Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead when He is physically present. Krishna is present in the temple in the form of the Deity but nondevotees can not perceive Krishna in the form of the deity. They think Krishna is a marble statue. So it is the same thing when Krishna is present walking around in Vrindavan or Mathura. Nondevotees can not realize He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Vrindavan also the devotees in Vrindavan do not recognize Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are thinking Krishna is their friend, their son, their lover, etc. So this is yoga-maya that covers the intelligence of the devotees so they do not realize Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead because if they did they could no longer relate to Krishna as their friend on an equal level or as a superior mother or father. So for these relationships to go on with Krishna the mercy of Yogamaya is needed. And the nondevotees are covered by mahamaya so they can not recognize Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead…

      • Bidyut Bikash Sharma says:

        Jai shree krishna

        As per gita Arjun required Divine eyes to see Lord krishna’s divine form…therefore, we also require divine sense organs to see to touch to smell to hear and to taste divine krishna’s form….now i want to know how by chanting mahamantra we can achieve god…does the mahamantra provide us divine sense organs….

        • We can see Krishna even with our present material senses. Krishna is so merciful. If you read Gita you will see Krishna is saying things like “I am the taste of water”, “I am the light of the sun and moon”, so many things. So when you taste water you are experiencing Krishna, when you see the sun and the moon you are seeing Krishna. So Krishna is everywhere and He can be appreciated with our existing senses.

          That is why Krishna appears in the temples in the form of the Deity. So we can see Him and worship him with our existing senses.

          So you do not have to wait to develop divine senses to see Krishna. You can see him with your existing senses.

          Of course as your senses become purified by performing devotional service you will see Krishna more clearly and your senses will gradually become divine also. But it is a process. You have to follow the process. Read Srila Prabhupada’s books, learn the process, follow it, become a pure devotee of Krishna and you will have divine senses…

  3. Rahul arora says:

    hello sir, i have a question.
    i love a girl so much but she doesn’t love me.
    i do not have any lust feelings for her but i can not live without her. without her i always feel a sense of loss, a sense of self-defeat. i love her so much and do not want to live without her.
    what should i do according to lord krishna?
    please reply me

    • Hare Krishna Rahul

      You are in maya, in illusion. You have to become Krishna conscious to get out of maya. That is the only solution to your problem. There is no actual love in the material world. Love is not a one-way thing, it is reciprocal. You can not be in love with someone who is not in love with you. That is not love.

      So it is all nonsense. Forget about it and chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa



About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna."I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can.That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental!That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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