How to Enhance Chanting?
Although one receives immense benefit however and whenever one may chant Hare Krishna, the great spiritual masters who are authorities on chanting suggest that the practitioner employ certain practical techniques that will enhance the chanting and bring quicker results as well.
1. Following the regulative principles of purification: The four regulative principles of Krishna consciousness namely, no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, and no gambling should be followed. Everyone can practice this tapasya (austerity) quite easily. Then the chanting of Hare Krishna will become successful without delay.
These four regulative principles are related to the four pillars of religion.
a. Daya(compassion) is destroyed by killing or meat-eating,
b. Tapah(restraint and austerity) are destroyed by intoxication,
c. Satyam (truthfulness) is destroyed by lying and gambling, and
d. Saucam (cleanliness) – both external and internal—is destroyed by illicit sexual relationships.
2. One should regularly read the Vedic literatures, especially the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. If one simply hears about God, His uncommon activities and transcendental pastimes, the dust accumulated in the heart due to long association with the material world will be cleansed. By regularly hearing about Krishna and the spiritual world, where Krishna enjoys eternal pastimes with His devotees, one will fully understand the nature of the soul, true spiritual activities, and the complete procedure for obtaining release from the material world.
3. In order to be more fully immunized against material contamination, one should eat only vegetarian foods that have been spiritualized by being offered to the Supreme Lord. There is a karmic reaction involved when one takes the life of any living being (including plants), but the Supreme Lord states in the Gita that if one offers Him vegetarian foods, He will nullify that reaction.
4. One should offer the fruit of one’s work to the Supreme Lord. When one works for his own pleasure or satisfaction, he must accept the karmic reactions to his activities, but if one dedicates his work to God and works only for His satisfaction, there is no karmic reaction. Work performed as service to the Lord not only frees one from karma, but awakens one’s dormant love for Krishna.
5. As much as possible, one who is serious about chanting Hare Krishna should associate with other like-minded persons. This gives one great spiritual strength. Srila Prabhupada formed the International Society for Krishna Consciousness so that persons who are sincere about becoming conscious of God and their eternal loving relationship with Him may benefit from associating with others who are also on the path back home to the spiritual world.
Eventually, serious chanters will want to take initiation from a bonafide spiritual master. Initiation is recommended in the Vedic scriptures, for it dramatically helps one in chanting Hare Krsna and assists in the awakening of our original spiritual consciousness. There are qualified spiritual masters in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness throughout the world who are willing to assist anyone sincere about becoming God conscious.
Srila Prabhupada has indicated that those desirous of taking initiation must follow the regulative principles mentioned earlier and chant each day on beads a minimum of sixteen rounds. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Krishna who popularized the chanting of the holy names five hundred years ago in West Bengal, India, introduced the system of chanting a fixed number of rounds each day. Careful completion of sixteen rounds daily will help the disciple to remember Krishna always.
That, in essence, is what Krishna consciousness is all about-always remembering Krishna and never forgetting Him. And chanting is the simplest way of maintaining this constant state of God consciousness, for the mystical potency contained in the mantra’s vibration will always keep you in touch with God and your own original, spiritual nature. All of God’s innumerable spiritual potencies, including His transcendental pleasure principle, are contained in His holy names. Therefore, the pleasure you will feel as you begin to chant will be far, far greater than any material happiness you have ever experienced. And the more you chant Hare Krishna, the happier you will feel.