23 One should not concoct chants and mantras

One Should Not Concoct Chants And Mantras

One does not have to search for or concoct a name of God to chant. The sastras recommend particular names such as the Hare Krsna mantra:

[Svayambhuva Manu said, in trance]: The entire cosmic manifestation is the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, who has millions of names and unlimited potencies. He is self-effulgent, unborn and changeless. He is the beginning of everything, but He has no beginning. Because He has created this cosmic manifestation by His external energy, the universe appears to be created, maintained and annihilated by Him. Nonetheless, He remains inactive in His spiritual energy and is untouched by the activities of the material energy.

The Lord's activities are many, and according to His activities He has many names. He appeared as the son of mother Yasoda, and also as the son of mother Devaki, and therefore He is named Devaki nandana and Yasoda nandana. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate: the Lord has a multitude of energies, and therefore He acts in multifarious ways. Yet He has a particular name. The sastras recommend which names we should chant, such as Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. It is not that we have to search for some name or manufacture one. Rather, we must follow the saintly persons and the sastras in chanting His holy name.

– Srimad Bhagavatam 8.1.13

One should chant the maha mantra and not concoct new types of chanting:

Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta−sangah param vrajet: simply by chanting the holy name of Krsna, one is liberated and returns home, back to Godhead… One should not, however, manufacture different types of chanting. One should adhere seriously to the chanting of the holy name as recommended in the scriptures:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

– Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23−24v

One should not concoct a maha mantra of one's own:

Taking advantage of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there are many unscrupulous devotees who manufacture a maha mantra of their own. Sometimes they sing, bhaja nitai gaura radhe syama hare krsna hare rama or sri−krsna−caitanya prabhu nityananda hare krsna hare rama sri radhe govinda. Actually, however, one should chant the names of the full Panca−tattva (sri−krsna−caitanya prabhu nityananda sri−advaita gadadhara srivasadi−gaura−bhakta−vrnda) and then the sixteen words

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

but these unscrupulous, less intelligent men confuse the entire process. Of course, since they are also devotees they can express their feelings in that way, but the method prescribed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pure devotees is to chant first the full Panca−tattva mantra and then chant the maha mantra 

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.4

Concocted chants cannot help us advance in devotional service:

I thus explain the truth of the Panca−tattva. One who hears this explanation increases in knowledge of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. While chanting the Panca−tattva maha mantra, one must chant the names of Sri Caitanya, Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara and Srivasa with their many devotees. This is the process.

The Panca−tattva is a very important factor in understanding Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are sahajiyas who, not knowing the importance of the Panca−tattva, concoct their own slogans such as bhaja nitai gaura, radhe syama, japa hare krsna hare rama or sri krsna caitanya prabhu nityananda hare krsna hare rama sri radhe govinda. Such chants may be good poetry, but they cannot help us to go forward in devotional service. In such chants there are also many discrepancies, which need not be discussed here. Strictly speaking, when chanting the names of the Panca−tattva, one should fully offer his obeisances:

sri−krsna−caitanya prabhu ninyananda
sri−advaita gadadhara srivasadi−gaura−bhakta−vrnda.

By such chanting one is blessed with the competency to chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra without offense. When chanting the Hare Krsna maha mantra, one should also chant it fully:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

One should not foolishly adopt any of the slogans concocted by imaginative devotees. If one actually wants to derive the effects of chanting, one must strictly follow the great acaryas. This is confirmed in the Mahabharata. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah: "The real path of progress is that which is traversed by great acaryas and authorities."

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.168−69

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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