Dear Sirs:

I am very confused about the pronunciation of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. If you could properly instruct me on the correct pronunciation, I would very much appreciate that. Also, I am curious about the importance of correct pronunciation.

Daniel R. Eastwood
Deep River, Connecticut

In the Hare Krsna maha-mantra—Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—the three seeds are the names Hare, Krsna, and Rama. The word Hare is pronounced huh-ray. The word Krsna is pronounced krish-na. And Rama rhymes with “comma.”

Success in chanting the maha-mantra doesn’t depend on the “correctness” of one’s pronunciation. Rather, it depends on one’s sincerity and devotion. The chanting of a Sanskrit scholar who can pronounce each word with perfect correctness will not be effective without devotion, whereas even though one’s chanting may be faulty to the ear of a scholar, it will be accepted by the Supreme Lord Himself if one chants with sincere devotion. Sincere chanting and hearing is the essence of the process. As Srila Prabhupada once instructed a disciple, “Just try to hear yourself chanting sincerely.”

Also, to taste the mature fruit of love of God that is available by chanting Hare Krsna, it is necessary that one receive initiation from a spiritual master in the disciplic succession that comes from the Lord Himself. In the Padma Purana it is said that unless one receives initiation from such a bona fide spiritual master, one will not be able to obtain the desired result from chanting the mantra.

To get the full benefit of chanting Hare Krsna, one should hear the chanting from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord. The insincere chanting of nondevotees should be avoided; it is compared to milk touched by the lips of a serpent, because it has a poisonous effect on one’s spiritual life.

Authorities confirm that the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is the most recommended method for spiritual realization in the present age. If one searches through the entire Vedic literature, one will find no method of spiritual advancement superior to the chanting of the maha-mantra—Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

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Dear Editors:

In an old copy of The World Book Encyclopedia there are approximately 170 different religions listed in the United States. (There are many more today, I would imagine.) I have often wondered why we find such division within Christianity, since the Bible is the basis of the Christian religion. How is one to know which religion is the true religion?

(Mrs.) Margaret Knight
Lansing, Michigan

Not only among Christians but also among Hindus, Muslims, Jains, and adherents to all the other religious sects of the world, we find so many differences of opinion. Here is Srila Prabhupada’s explanation of why this is so and what true religion is:

“Unless one comes to the Absolute Truth, there is no possibility of agreement. Nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam: it is said that a great learned scholar or sage cannot be exalted unless he disagrees. On the material platform, there is no possibility of agreement; therefore there are different kinds of religious systems. However, the Absolute Truth is one, and when one is situated in the Absolute Truth, there is no disagreement. On that absolute platform the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshipable, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah). On the absolute platform, the worshipable Deity is one, and the process of worship is also one. That process is bhakti (devotional service).

“There are many different religions throughout the world because they are not all on the absolute platform of devotional service. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (18.66), sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. The word ekam means ‘one,’ Krsna. On this platform [the platform of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, or Krsna], there are no different religious systems. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.2), dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra. On the material platform, religious systems are different. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes them from the very beginning as dharmah kaitavah, cheating religions. None of these religions are actually genuine. The genuine religious system is that which enables one to become a lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the words of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6):

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati

‘The supreme occupation [or religious principle] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to completely satisfy the self.’

“On this platform there is nothing but the service of the Lord. When a person has no ulterior motive, there is certainly oneness and agreement of principles. Since everyone has a different body and mind, different types of religions are needed. But when one is situated on the spiritual platform, there are no bodily and mental differences. So on the absolute platform there is oneness in religion.”

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