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Questions People Ask About Chanting Hare Krishna

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

1978-08-32

Q. I want to get back in harmony with nature. Can chanting Hare Krsna help me do that?

A. For sure. Say you’re walking along a forest path at 6 a.m. As you notice the sandy floor under your feet, the stream flowing nearby, the sun on the horizon, the cool breeze, and the sounds of the birds, you’re experiencing what the Bhagavad-gita singles out as the five basic natural elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Beyond these five are subtler elements like your mind (which takes in all these experiences) and your intelligence (which sorts them out). As the Gita also explains, the source of all these natural elements is Lord Krsna. So when you chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, you’re in harmony with nature, because you’re in harmony with nature’s source.

Q. Can’t I harmonize with nature by backpacking, jogging, or surfing?

A. Perhaps, in some limited sense. But we also have to realize that no matter how much we harmonize with nature, she’ll finally stop the music. We’ll all have to get old and diseased and die, and then our backpacking, jogging, and surfing days will be over. But in Lord Krsna’s transcendental world everyone lives in lasting harmony, and by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra we can go there. That way we’ll never have to come back to this world of birth and death. (Otherwise, by the law of karma, a backpacker might come back as a mountain goat, a jogger as a terrier, a surfer as a shark.)

Q. Can chanting Hare Krsna help me to see God in nature?

A. Yes. Of course, even without chanting, you can still get something of a glimpse of Him. For instance, in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says, “Of bodies of water, I am the ocean…. I am the light of the sun and moon…. I am the pure taste of water.” So whether you chant or not, the ocean shows you something about His greatness; the sun and moon. His brilliance; and the taste of water, His purity. And when you chant the maha-mantra, the more you’ll see Krsna’s presence in all these things. And what’s more, when you chant you’ll experience Krsna’s full personality, because the Lord is fully present in His names.

Q. Can chanting help me get in harmony with my inner self? If so, how?

A. Yes, chanting Hare Krsna can also help you do that. As we were saying earlier, all the basic natural elements (the elements that make up our surroundings and our bodies) come from Lord Krsna. And so does the spiritual or conscious element—the inner self. The inner self is the soul, which animates the body with consciousness. Most people aren’t aware of the inner self. They think the self is the body, and they try to satisfy the body instead of the real self within. But when you chant Hare Krsna, you feel harmony with your inner self, because your inner self is in harmony with Krsna, the Supreme Self.

Q. I’ve read that if I chant Hare Krsna, I’ll become self-realized. But I’ve also read that if I chant Hare Krsna, I’ll become God-realized. Which is it?

A. It’s both. Say you want to look at yourself, but you’re out in the countryside on a pitch-black night; you’ll have to wait till you see the sun coming up. In the same way, if you want to realize your self, you’ll have to realize Krsna, the Supreme Self: when the Krsna sun comes up, your darkness about self-realization will disappear. When you chant Hare Krsna, you’re becoming both God-realized and self-realized.

Q. How long will it take me to become self-realized by chanting Hare Krsna?

A. Why not right away? The Vedic literatures give many examples of people who have taken up the chanting of Hare Krsna and have quickly achieved the highest level of self-realization. Generally, of course, self-realization is a gradual process. It may not happen all at once. But if you chant sincerely and patiently, then Krsna will disclose everything to you, even in this one lifetime.

Q. What if you chant Hare Krsna but don’t achieve full realization in this life?

A. In case you don’t complete the process in this lifetime, you’ll get a chance in your next lifetime to take up where you left off. As the Bhagavad-gita assures, you’ll be born in a rich or scholarly family, so that you’ll have facility for completing your self-realization. This is one of the great benefits of chanting Hare Krsna even a little bit, because if someone doesn’t chant at all, his karma will likely carry him to a lifetime as a plant or animal.

Q. To chant Hare Krsna, do I have to be a vegetarian?

A. No, but it helps. If you’re eating flesh, it’s not possible to experience the full benefit of chanting Krsna’s names. It’s best to eat prasada, “the Lord’s mercy,” vegetarian foods that have been offered to Krsna with love. By eating this spiritual food you’ll purify your body and mind, and then the chanting will act more powerfully for you. Amazingly, self-realization begins with the tongue: you taste spiritual food and chant Krsna’s names. If you do these two things as often as you can, you’ll experience an ever-increasing spiritual pleasure.

Q. How can I be sure I’ll see Krsna just by chanting His name?

A. As with practically everything else you do, you have to start out with a little faith. Suppose you go to a travel agent, and he says he can give you a ticket to fly to Paris. Now, if you’re not going to believe him, then what’s the sense in going to him? You have to have a little faith that if you get the ticket and board the plane, you’ll get to Paris. In the same way, you’ll need a little faith to take up the process of chanting Hare Krsna. But if you do take it up, you’re sure to see Krsna in the end.

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