Five hundered years ago, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared on this earth and revealed that the process of chanting and hearing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is the easiest and most effective means of contacting and associating with Lord Krishna.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna wound up His transcendental pastimes in this mortal world 5000 years ago. But He is still in our midst in the form of His holy names.
The sound incarnation of the Supreme Lord, the Hari-nama, is as powerful as the Lord and is non-different from Him. So we can still get in touch with Him by chanting and hearing His names. This chanting and hearing is called japa.
When a piece of iron is placed in fire for a long time, it becomes red hot and fire-like. Similarly, when we associate with the holy names of the Lord through chanting, we are established in our pure state of existence and can experience the eternal life full of knowledge and bliss.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said: kali-kale krishna nama-rupa avatara: In the age of Kali, Krishna has incarnated as His name. Knowing that chanting the holy name invokes the divine presence of the Lord before us, one should at every opportunity chant the maha-mantra.
The maha-mantra will become our eternal companion in life, both in good and bad times.
The first step in self realization is to understand that we are not these bodies. We are spirit souls and we are entrapped in this material body. This body is just a vehicle and is operated by the soul who is seated in the heart as the driver of this vehicle. The body is temporary and perishable; whereas the soul is deathless and eternal. Today’s materialistic civilization is simply taking care of the body, while starving the soul or the driver.
When we nourish the body with food, the body develops and provides us bodily strength. Similarly, the soul is nourished by the chanting of the divine spiritual sound of Krishna Nama.
There are no specific dos and don'ts as far as chanting the holy names of Krishna are concerned. There is no specific pre-requirements of deha-suddhi like bath, particular time, a place like puja-room, etc., to chant the maha-mantra. It can be chanted anytime and anywhere in all situations of life. You can chant while sitting, standing or walking, with your eyes open or closed. The important principle is to hear the sound of the holy name without distraction.
Just as a new born baby develops its body gradually by being fed with milk every day, our sleeping soul needs to be fed with the food of chanting and
hearing the holy names (Hari-nama) with devotion, every day, in a disciplined manner.
Food for the body costs money, but food for the soul is available free of cost. We only require to vibrate the sound (holy names) with our tongue and hear the same with faith and devotion. Any intelligent person who knows this will accumulate as much food for the soul as possible for quick spiritual growth.
Whatever advancement we make in our materialistic life: our education, wealth, relationships etc., are all temporary and we have to leave them behind at the time of death. But every utterance and hearing of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra accumulates into an eternal asset and goes onward with the soul at the time of death.
If we wish to experience happiness, the real spiritual happiness, then we have chant the holy names. Spiritual happiness is dormant in the soul, just as a banyan tree is dormant in a banyan seed. The banyan tree manifests from the seed by the process of regular watering. Similarly the more we water the soul by chanting and hearing the holy name of Lord Krishna, the faster the soul will experience real happiness.
Having taken the sankalpa to chant every day, you are making a statement for yourself that you care for your authentic self - the soul - and shall invest at least 15 minutes out of 24 hours every day, for feeding your soul with 108 maha-mantra sounds (one mala or one round).
It is the greatest and most auspicious of all decisions you have taken in your life. It will eventually bestow eternal life,free from the bondage of repeated birth, death, old age and disease.
You have two lives from today. One for the soul (atmadharma) and another for the body (sharira-dharma). Just as a baby does not grow overnight, the soul also needs to be regularly fed to see the visible difference in your spiritual growth.
However, the instant you begin to do japa of one mala of this maha-mantra, you are being blessed by Lord Krishna. Thus from Day One of your faithful japa, you will experience Krishna actively involves as a friend to guide you with intelligence from within in dealing with the daily sukha and duhkha that comes as per your past karma. reciprocation from Lord Krishna. This reciprocation will be in the form of providing you intelligence (buddhi) and strength (shakti) to help you handle your sukha and duhkha in a manner that is eternally good for your soul.
May Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishnachandra, the presiding Deities of the ISKCON temple at Hare Krishna Hill, Bengaluru, bestow Their blessings upon you.
Chanting the holy names of Krishna is not a practice or ritual of any sectarian religion. The existence of the soul and God, the Supreme Father, is a spiritual truth, not any particular religion. Love of God is beyond any particular religion, as there can be only one God, called by different names in different religious cultures.
God is not Hindu, Muslim or Christian. God is God by His qualities, just as gold is gold by its qualities, irrespective of what it is called in different languages.
Just as calling out to your father is a matter of love, so also, calling out to your spiritual father with love is an absolutely loving activity. Our Supreme Father is Lord Krishna and calling out His name cannot be labeled as any particular religion. When we call out in faith and devotion to our Supreme Father Krishna in japa, He will turn His attention to us just as a father turns his attention to a child’s call.