Category Archives: Chanting

Is Dattatraya God?

Que: Whether Dattatraya is God and whether we can chant His name?

Ans:
1. Whether any entity is to be accepted as God or His incarnation is not the matter of anyone’s personal opinion, faith or desire. But it is to be learnt from authorised sources i.e.

a) firstly from authorised scriptures, and

b) from message imparted by bonafide representatives of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in disciplic succession.

2. Srimad Bhagavatam (1.3.28) contains following verse regarding the source of all incarnations of the Lord.

ete camsa-kalah pumsah
krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
indrari-vyakulam lokam
mrdayanti yuge yuge

(All the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Shri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.)

Srila Prabhupada has specified in the purport of this verse that all the incarnations of the Lord, including the Lord Himself, descend on the different planets of the material world as also in different species of life, ‘To fulfill particular missions’.

Originally the Lord is full of
1) all opulences,
2) all prowess,
3) all fame,
4) all beauty,
5) all knowledge, and
6) all renunciation.

When they are partly manifested through the plenary portions or parts of the plenary portions, it should be noted that certain manifestations of His different powers are required for those particular functions.

Dattatraya, Matsya, Kumara and Kapila exhibited transcendental knowledge.

3. Srimad Bhagavatam (1.3.11) specifies about incarnation of Lord as Lord Dattatraya in following verse,

sastham atrer apatyatvam
vrtah prapto ’nasuyaya
anviksikim alarkaya
prahladadibhya ucivan

(The sixth incarnation of the purusa was the son of the sage Atri. He was born from the womb of Anasuya, who prayed for an incarnation. He spoke on the subject of transcendence to Alarka, Prahlada and others (Yadu, Haihaya etc)).

Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport that the Lord incarnated Himself as Dattatraya, the son of Rsi Atri and Anasuya. The history of the birth of Dattatraya as an incarnation of the Lord is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana in connection with story of a devoted wife. It is said there that Anasuya, the wife of Rsi Atri prayed before the lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as follows: “My lords, if you are pleased with me, and if you desire me to ask from you some sort of blessings, then I pray that you combine together to become my son.” This was accepted by the lords, and as Dattatraya, the Lord expounded the philosophy of the spirit soul and especially instructed Alarka, Prahlada, Yadu, Haihaya, etc.

4. Accordingly these above mentioned references show that Lord Dattatraya is an incarnation of the Lord and as He is a partial expansion of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, His Holy Name can be chanted as well in order to get His causeless mercy and to learn transcendental knowledge under His guidance. However in this age of Kali, the chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra is recommended which includes prayers to all other incarnations.

Hare Krishna Mahamantra

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

Rama or Ram!

Q. In the mahamantra can you please explain to me why do people pronounce Rama instead of Ram?

A. Usually people do not pronounce it deliberately. Sometimes when they are intensely chanting then they may be chanting Rama in stead of Ram. However Lord is pleased by the endeavor of His devotees. It is said that chanting should be like a crying of a child for its mother.
Yes, when they are performing kirtan, it is many times pronounced as Rama. However if someone is doing it for the pleasure of the Lord then it is alright. If someone is pronouncing it to make a show then Lord is not at all pleased with that.

Chanting while driving

Q. I have to go to office on bike. It takes two hours. So can we chant on bike by counting on hands or beads?

A. It would be completely unsafe both materially and spiritually, especially if you are chanting your prescribed number of rounds while riding on the bike. The principle is kirtaniya sada hari – to always chant the names of Hari. But it is advisable not to chant on the bike considering the condition of roads and the traffic.

Technique to chant progressively

Q. Is it necessary to chant a minimum of 16 rounds to please Lord Krishna or he gets pleased even if we chant less than 16 rounds as I am finding it very difficult to chant 16 rounds.

A. In the beginning one finds it difficult to chant more than a couple of rounds daily. However you can set a quota of chanting a certain number of rounds daily, even if only one or two. Once having set that quota, please try never to go below it.

The Krishna consciousness movement prescribes sixteen rounds daily because people in this age cannot concentrate for long periods while chanting on beads. Therefore the minimum number of rounds is prescribed, but in the highest stages pure devotees chant the holy names constantly, day and night, in the profound ecstasy of love of God and they never find it difficult.

Best time for chanting

Q. Please tell me the best time for doing chanting meditation.

A. The best time for japa is in the early morning hours, when the atmosphere is still quiet and the mind is not yet preoccupied with daily activities. If that is not possible, any time will do. Simply repeat the mahamantra “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” softly but distinctly. You should pronounce the mahamantra in such a way that you can hear it clearly.

Selecting your mantra

Q. What is the difference between chanting Hare Krishna & mantras of the other bonafide sampradayas?

A. If a mantra has been invented or pieced together from other mantras, it simply won’t have any effect. If it is sold for someone’s personal gain, or received by someone who is materially motivated, it won’t work either. There may be effects like relaxation or stress reduction, but there will not be the transcendental effect of liberation from material bondage. In other words, there won’t be a permanent spiritual effect but at best a temporary effect on the material body or mind.

In the Brihad-Naradiya Purana we find a very specific injunction about selecting the best mahamantra : In this age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Krishna .

The Hare Krishna mahamantra is specifically mentioned in the Kali-santarana Upanishad . Besides the Hare Krishna mahamantra , there are many other bona fide mantras used by devotees of Krishna . But the Vedic scriptures declare that simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra one receives the benefits of all other mantras. Therefore, chanting Hare Krishna is the most important spiritual activity.

Chanting with concentration

Q. While chanting my mind gets diverted a lot. Please tell how to concentrate on chanting?

A. The uncontrolled mind always distracts the intelligence away from the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. The main principle of chanting is to listen attentively to the sound of the mahamantra . The mahamantra is chanted by the tongue and immediately caught by the ear. If any distracting thoughts come into your mind, just focus your full attention on the sound of the Hare Krishna mahamantra, and the thoughts will leave. Just try to hear the mahamantra, and the purifying effect will take place. Somehow, just have faith in Krishna’s Holy Name and all success will follow

Regulate your japa

Q. I am new to chanting and I want to know what it means to chant 16 rounds everyday? How many mahamantras should I chant everyday?

A. You can begin with one round a day and gradually increase. Initiated devotees in the Hare Krishna movement chant sixteen rounds every day. This takes about two hours. Once you chant a certain number of rounds daily, never go below this number. It is far better to chant two rounds every day than eight rounds one day and none the next. Regulation is important in making spiritual progress.

Chanting means a prayer

Q. It is said that when one chants he should do so helplessly to derive complete benefit from it. What exactly is meant by chanting helplessly?

A. The chanting of the holy name is not, a mechanical process depending merely upon contemplative prowess. It is a devotional art, a form of prayer, and thus one must chant with reverence and devotion. The Hare Krishna mahamantra is a prayer for protection and deliverance, a prayer to the Lord for His divine presence and for the opportunity to serve Him. Chanting is compared to the helpless cry of a child for its mother. My dear Lord Krishna , please rescue me from the ocean of material suffering and again engage me in Your service.

Chanting with Motives

Q. I’ve been a BTG subscriber for the past three years. Even though I am not a full-time Krishna devotee, I manage to chant eight rounds a day. As I am still in my college years, I always get attracted by material comforts. I want to know if material comforts are obtainable through chanting. If they are, then is such chanting an act of sin? Will we get punished by doing so?

A. We shouldn’t chant Hare  Krishna to fulfill material desires. The goal of chanting Hare Krishna is pure love for Krishna, which is fully satisfying. The maha-mantra means “O Lord, O energy of the Lord, please engage me in Your service.” We’re supposed to chant Hare Krishna with the understanding that by awakening our Krishna consciousness, we’ll be completely happy. Besides, a devotee knows that Krishna will automatically take care of his material needs. We don’t need to ask Krishna for such things.

One of the offenses in chanting is to cherish our material attachments. Naturally in the beginning we will have attachments, but we should chant for purification, not for other things. Krishna can give us eternal life in His association. To chant with some other motive is like a foolish person’s asking a millionaire for a trinket.