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Questions People Ask About Chanting Hare Krsna

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

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Q; Does chanting Hare Krsna have anything to do with reincarnation?

A. Definitely. The whole process of reincarnation depends on what you’re thinking about at the time of death. If you’re thinking about a dog, you could become a dog in your next life. If a husband is thinking about his wife, he could become a woman. Similarly, if the wife is thinking about her husband, she could become a man. But if you are thinking about Krsna, you will go to the spiritual world. There you’ll have a spiritual body, so that you can associate with Krsna. If you are not thinking of Krsna, you’re sure to take birth again in this material world—perhaps as a human being, perhaps as an animal or a plant. This is not desirable of course, because everyone who takes birth in the material world must undergo the miseries of disease, old age, death, and rebirth. So, as the Vedas explain, we should remember Krsna at the time of death. And the easiest way to do this is to chant His holy names, the Hare Krsna mantra.

Q. Does chanting Hare Krsna give you good karma?

A. No. The. Hare Krsna mantra gives you no karma whatsoever. Good karma means you will get riches, aristocratic birth, advanced education, and beautiful bodily features. But in order to enjoy these opulences you have to take on another material body. This is a bad bargain, because no matter how good your karma is, you will still have to get old, get sick, die, and take birth again—perhaps as a poor, ignorant, ugly, or lowborn person, or even as a plant or an animal. This is called the cycle of birth and death. So whether you have good karma or bad karma, it is all actually bad. It is like being on a ferris wheel. Sometimes you’re going up, but the next moment you’re headed back down. You take birth, die, and take birth again endlessly.

But by chanting Hare Krsna you free yourself from both good and bad karma. You don’t have to take on a material body to enjoy the results of good karma or suffer the results of bad karma. You attain to your svarupa-siddha, your original spiritual identity. Actually, everyone has a unique, timeless relationship with Krsna in the spiritual world. You may become one of Krsna’s servants or friends. As such, your body will be free from karma, and full of eternity, knowledge, and bliss.

Q. Is chanting Hare Krsna a form of yoga?

A. Yes. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna affirms that of all forms of yoga, bhakti-yoga (devotional service to Him) is the highest. And the best way to perform bhakti-yoga is to chant Krsna’s names. In Sanskrit yoga means “to link up” with the Supreme Person, and the Hare Krsna mantra is a transcendental sound vibration that puts you directly in touch with Lord Krsna Just as the sound vibration of a telephone puts you in touch with friends in distant places.

Q. Where does the Hare Krsna mantra come from?

A. Sometimes people say that it’s from India, but really the Hare Krsna mantra is like the sun: it may appear first in the East and only later appear in the West, but that doesn’t make it Indian. As an old Bengali song informs us, “The sound of the Hare Krsna mantra is coming from Krsna’s planet in the spiritual sky.”

Q. What’s the history of the Hare Krsna mantra?

A. Great sages were chanting the Hare Krsna mantra millions of years ago, in fact, the Vedic literatures say that the Hare Krsna mantra is nitya, timeless. Five hundred years ago Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya taught that chanting Hare Krsna is the best way for everyone to become self-realized in the present age. He predicted that the Hare Krsna mantra would reach every town and village in the world. In 1965 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to America and began fulfilling that prediction, and his disciples are carrying on his work.

Q. What is a mantra?

A. The word mantra comes from the ancient Sanskrit language. Man means “mind,” and tra means “release.” So a mantra is a combination of transcendental sounds meant to release the mind from all the anxieties of material life. The Hare Krsna mantra is known as the maha-mantra, or great mantra. It is the essence of all mantras.

Q. What does the Hare Krsna mantra mean?

A. The Hare Krsna mantra is the sound representation of Krsna Himself. So it is impossible to talk about the meaning of the Hare Krsna mantra in the same way we would discuss the meaning of an ordinary word. The meaning of the Hare Krsna mantra is self-contained.

This is not true of ordinary words. For instance, the word “water” is different from the substance water. If you are thirsty and say “water, water, water,” you will remain thirsty. But Krsna is not different from His name. So when we say “Krsna,” He is actually present. We can experience His Qualities of eternity, knowledge, and bliss in the sound vibration of His name. That is the meaning of the Hare Krsna mantra. But you can’t understand it intellectually—you’ll have to chant the Hare Krsna mantra and experience its transcendental meaning for yourself.

Q. How will I know if the chanting is working for me?

A. It will be self-evident. If you eat a good meal, you know when you’re satisfied. You don’t need to be told. In the same way, when you chant the Hare Krsna mantra, you’ll know beyond a doubt that it’s working for you. The Vedas say that by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, you will experience transcendental pleasure—a spiritual pleasure much more satisfying than the pleasures of the bodily senses. So one of the first signs that the mantra is working for you will be that you’ll lose interest in gross pleasures like gambling, intoxication, illicit sex, and meat-eating. By experiencing a higher pleasure, you’ll forget about lower pleasures. That’s how you’ll know the chanting is working.

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