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The Bhagavad-gita explains that the state of consciousness at the moment of death determines where the soul goes in the next life. Therefore, the aim of man should be to think of God at the moment of death so as to be able to return to God. To achieve this ultimate goal, one must learn to fix one's consciousness on God while still alive. This is called meditation (directing one's consciousness on God).



The often misunderstood term Yoga literally means "union with God" and refers to the various divinely revealed paths of salvation.

In Latin, there is a well-known word with the same meaning: religio (from religare, to reconnect). Therefore, religion and yoga originally mean the same thing.



At the highest level of yoga (religion), the soul realizes that its eternal, natural fulfillment lies in serving God with pure love and devotion (Bhakti). Bhakti is the goal of all yoga processes. Therefore, the Bhagavad-gita explains that Bhakti-Yoga is the best and most direct path to self-realization and realization of God. Bhakti-Yoga is a process of active meditation that connects all aspects of life with God: thoughts, words, and daily activities. The fundamental practice of Bhakti-Yoga is meditation on the names of God.

"Hallowed be Thy Name!" Singing and praising the names of God is recommended by all religions, as it is the most effective process to find inner and outer peace and to focus consciousness on God. God has an unlimited number of names. Krishna and Rama are Sanskrit names for God, and in other cultures, the same God is called Jehovah, Allah, Manitou, and so on.



The Vedic scriptures transmit the names of God in the form of sacred mantras (prayers, praises). Mantras are spiritual sound vibrations and have the power to purify the consciousness of people from materialistic tendencies and influences. This enables them to recognize their natural position as servants of God and to act accordingly.


The Hare Krishna mantra, known as the Maha Mantra (the "great mantra"), is composed of the divine names of God:

Hare Krishna Mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

The word "Krishna" means "the all-attractive one," and "Rama" means "the source of all pleasure." "Hare" is an invocation of the eternal, divine energy. The Hare Krishna mantra is a prayer to God (Krishna) with the meaning: "O Supreme Lord, please engage me in Your devotional service!" It can be chanted collectively or individually in personal meditation.

Mantra meditation is simple and sublime, recommended in the current age to elevate consciousness to higher dimensions and cultivate love for God.


In the jargon of Krishna devotees, "chanting" means praising, singing, or softly reciting the holy names of God. In a deeper sense, it signifies devotional service, turning toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead – living in the transcendental sound vibration. One who remembers the Lord is chanting. One who constantly remembers the Supreme Lord in all circumstances is always chanting. Thus, chanting also includes reading spiritual literature, hearing spiritual discourses, speaking about God to others, working for the Supreme Lord, offering Him respect, praying, etc. Chanting can involve the body, mind, and heart. The lowest form is chanting with the body, such as mechanically uttering the holy name. The next higher form is chanting in the mind, and the highest form is chanting purely from the heart or soul.

The quality of chanting the holy names has three stages: The first and lowest stage is chanting with offenses against the holy name. These offenses will be explained later. The next stage is chanting without offenses or at least almost without offenses. The highest stage is pure chanting; at this stage, spontaneous devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, awakens.

The preceding two stages are merely preparatory stages for pure chanting, akin to the dawn or increasing brightness before the actual sunrise. They are meant for purification, where all unwanted sinful activities and material attachments are gradually eradicated.

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"O King, incessantly chanting the holy names, following the examples of great authorities, is certainly the guaranteed and fearless path to success for everyone—whether they are free from all material desires, desiring all types of material enjoyment, or even those self-satisfied through transcendental knowledge."

Srimad Bhagavatam, Verse 2.1.11


When the Vaisnavas speak of "chanting," they specifically mean chanting the Holy Name on a prayer bead. This is a form of meditation that is thousands of years old and has similarities to the Catholic rosary, and is regularly practiced by monks and hermits for hours or even practically the entire day.

Chanting on meditation beads is easy. The meditation bead necklace consists of 108 wooden beads of the same size plus a slightly larger bead that connects the beginning and end of the string. Such meditation bead necklaces can be bought, but you can also make your own (see illustration). Ideally, the spiritual master gives them to his student during a traditional initiation after he has chanted on them for a round. Chanting the Holy Names, however, does not depend on an official initiation ceremony. The prayer beads are usually kept in special cloth bags, which can also be bought. Since the prayer bead necklace is sacred, it should be kept in a clean place and not come into contact with the floor. You can also chant without a meditation bead necklace at all, although this is very helpful, especially for the newbie, to better concentrate and know the amount of chanting.

o chant the Holy Name, take the first bead after the large bead between the thumb and middle finger of the right hand (see illustration) and chant the Maha-Mantra:


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

This is the prayer particularly recommended by the Vedas for our time. Then you move on to the second bead and chant the Maha Mantra again. Then to the third and so on until you have chanted the Maha Mantra 108 times and have reached the large bead. Chanting the Maha Mantra 108 times on the prayer beads is called a round. If further rounds are chanted, you do not skip over the large bead, but start with the 108th bead and then chant up to the 1st bead. The next round starts again with the 1st bead, the round after that with the 108th and so on.

You should chant the Holy Names in a calm voice, clearly, distinctly and fluently. At the same time, you should concentrate on the sound of the Holy Name and try not to think of anything else. After a little practice, one round takes an average of about 10 minutes. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati instructed his students to chant 64 rounds a day. AC Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada required his students to chant at least 16 rounds a day. The best time to chant is early in the morning, when the mind is still relatively calm. But late in the evening is also good. It can also be practical to divide the chanting up over the day. To each his own.



"Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us that we should only pray to God to be engaged in His service life after life. That is the true meaning of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra. When we chant, we are essentially turning to God and His energy Hara. Hara is Krishna's internal potency, Srimati Radharani or Lakshmi. Jay radhe! This is daivi prakrti (internal spiritual energy), and devotees seek refuge in daivi prakrti, Srimati Radharani. Therefore, Vaishnavas worship Radha-Krishna, Lakshmi-Narayana, and Sita-Rama."

At the beginning of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra, we first address Krishna's internal energy, Hare. So, we say, "O Radharani! O Hare! O energy of the Lord!" When we address someone in this way, they usually respond, "Yes, what would you like?" The answer is, "Please engage me in Your service." That should be our prayer. We should not pray, "O energy of the Lord, O Krishna, please give me money. Please give me a beautiful wife. Please give me followers. Please give me a prestigious position. Please make me president." These are material desires that we should avoid. Buddha taught that we should renounce all material desires. It is not possible to become desireless, but it is possible to give up material desires. It is the nature of living beings to desire, and it is not possible to be without desires. If one is without desires, one is dead. Desirelessness means purifying one's desires, and our desire is purified when we desire only to serve Krishna.

– A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, The Teachings of Sri Kapila, Verse 32, Page 226

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