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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Pre-2007 QnA Swami Gaurangapada > Loud Soft Mental Chanting

Title: Loud Soft Mental Chanting

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-04-02 05:49:00


I have noticed since that i was initated that i can not mentally chant. what  is proper chanting ? i have read that loud chant is good, slient is better and  mental chanting is best. this seem impossible to me now. swami what is your  thoughts and instructions?


Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:




Thank you for your query. I am sure the reply will benefit many  devotees who have always wanted to ask this question.



 In Baul-Sangit, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states:



 maner mala japbi jakhan, mana,

keno korbi bahya visarjana

mane mane  bhajan jakhan hoy,

prema uthle pade' bahya-dehe vyapta ho'ye roy;

abar  dehe care, japay kore, dharay mala anuksana



 1) My dear mind, when you chant japa on the mala within your mind, why do you  cease the actions of chanting japa externally? When one performs qualified to  perform bhajan within the mind, and prema factually arises internally, then the  external body also becomes pervaded by those symptoms. Therefore the body rocks  and sways, while one incessantly turns their beads in chanting japa.



 In Chp 15 Bhajana-Pranali (which summarizes the whole process of japa) of  Hari-nama-cintamani, he clearly states:



 "By loudly and distinctly uttering (spastha uccharana) the names, he should  chant and remember the meaning. Gradually the chanting will become clear, steady  and blissful. At that point one should meditate on the three-fold

bending  form Lord Shyamasundara or Lord Gauranga while chanting."



 "Devotees who thirst for Prema and are on the way to it sing and realise this  Hare-Krishna-Nama by counting." (Nama Bhajan by Shrila Bhaktivinoda)

 Loud chanting with raga or attachement is done even by the siddha devotees.  Ofcourse it is a fact that smarana within the mind during chanting is only  possible by a prolonged practice of loud chanting of the holy names of the  Lord.



 SBSSTP wrote in verse 19 of Vaishnava ke:



 shridayitadasa kirtanete asa

kara uccaih svare  harinama-rava

kirtana-prabhave smarana svabhave

se kale bhajana-nirjana  sambhava



 "This Shri-dayita dasa (His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura -  the humble servant of the all-merciful Shrimati Radharani) simply desires to be  absorbed in the nectar of Lord Krishna's holy names. My dear mind, now let us  loudly chant the holy names of Krishna so we can continuously remain in the ocean  of transcendental nectar.



 The loud chanting of the holy names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna  awakens the transcendental quality of natural spontaneous loving remembrance of  Lord Gauranga-Krishna (including the Lord's form, qualities and pastimes). Only at  that time does the confidential realization and pure practice of nirjana-bhajana  (smarana on the mental level) in loving devotional service to Their Lordships  Nityananda-Gauranga and Radha-Krishna become possible."



 Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada,From an article in The  Gaudiya, 1934:



 "Those who have loudly chanted 100,000 Holy Names daily for fifteen or twenty  years should know such things. The beginners need not hear these topics or they  will misunderstand. These topics are for certain audiences, not for all. Also,  it is said, apana bhajana-katha, na kahibe jatha-jatha, ‘One should not reveal  one’s bhajana to others.’ If we disregard this instruction of our previous  acaryas then there may be a permanent fall from the realm of devotional  service."



 Letter by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta to one of his disciples:



 “One should call on the Lord through the loud chanting of the Holy Names at  all times. You should be vigilant to maintain your scheduled rounds on the beads  while loudly chanting the holy name. This will effectively remove all anarthas.  Then atheistic people will not be able to shake you with their blasphemy."



 “I am pleased to hear that your enthusiasm for chanting the holy name has  increased. Continually chanting the holy name loudly with perseverance will  eradicate all anarthas. Then the form, qualities and pastimes of Shri  Nama

will automatically be revealed. The Lord and His holy name are  non-different. But this fact can only be understood when one becomes freed from  anarthas. Offenseless chanting will help us realize that chanting the holy  name yields all perfections."



 Shrila Prabhupada Lilamrita Chp 4:



 "Sometimes as Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta paced back and forth chanting the Hare  Krishna mantra aloud while fingering his beads, Abhay would enter the room and  also chant, walking alongside his spiritual master."



 Shrila Akinchana Krishnadasa Babaji Maharaja (godbrother of Shrila Pra  bhupada) who was a topmost rasika Vaishnava used to loudly chant the japa of the  Holy Names day and night.



 In Prema Vilasa Chp 24, it is mentioned:



 % 9% 9advaita prabhur pade loila sarana

% 9% 9 tar thai bhakti sastre  koilo adhyayana

% 9% 9advaitera sthane tinho hoila diksiti

% 9% 9 tin  lakho harinama jape diva rati

% 9% 9lakho harinama mane lakho kane sune

%  9% 9 lakho nama ucca kori kore sankirtane'



 "Haridasa Thakura took shelter of Advaita Acharya Prabhu's lotus feet and  studied the bhakti shastras under Him. He became initiated by Advaita (dik****a)  and was chanting 300,000 Holy Names day and night. 100,000 Names loudly,  100,000 Names softly and 100,000 Names silently."



 On the other hand in the Gaudiya Bhashya of Chaitanya-Bhagavata Adi 16.172,  Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada specifically mentions that  Shrila Haridasa Thakura used to chant the 300,000 names either loudly or  softly:



 TEXT 172


tabe haridasa ganga-tire gopha kari'

thakena virale ahar-nisa  krishna smari'



 "Then Haridasa went and found a cave on the bank of the Ganges. He remembered  Krishna day and night as he resided alone in the cave."



 Gaudiya Bhashya:



 "While remaining in a solitary cave on the bank of the Ganges at Phuliya,  Shrila Thakura Mahasaya loudly chanted the Holy Names and passed his days and  night remembering the pastimes of the Lord. Sometimes he would chant the sixteen  name, thirty-two syllable, maha-mantra loudly, and sometimes he would chant  softly. Every day he would complete the chanting of three hundred thousand holy  names, or in a year he would chant one hundred million names of Gaurahari.



 "Some people consider that chanting the names of Krishna in asolitary place is  in the category of "upamsu-japa," or "chanting very mildly." They say that this  maha-mantra, or chanting the holy names of the Lord, should not be heard by  others; only the person who is chanting should

hear. If the lips move, or if  the holy names are recited, then they will automatically be heard by others.



 "But if such persons lack faith in the Vaishnavas who chant the holy names of  the Lord, then by the influence of Kali they dare to quarrel with those Vaishnava  chanters.

Whenever the pure names of the Lord, glorified and chanted by  sadhus who have taken full shelter of the names, do not enter the ears of  others, it is called nirjana-bhajana.



 "Such chanting of the names of Hari in a solitary place is intended only for  one's own benefit, therefore such chanting yields no benefit for others. Even if  the fixed number of holy names regularly chanted by a person who is inclined to  the service of the Lord are chanted in a solitary place, faithful persons may  still take advantage by secretly hearing from a distance."



 TEXT 173

tina-laksa nama dine karena grahana

gopha haila tan'ra yena  vaikuntha-bhavana



 "He would chant the holy name of the Lord three hundred thousand times a day,  and his cave was thus transformed into Vaikuntha."






 Another difficulty in mental chanting is that it proceeds very slowly with  proper pronunciation within, so completing 100,000 names daily which is the  order of the Lord and the ideal for all Gaudiya Vaishnavas is very difficult and  it may take more than 12 hours to do so which is greatly difficult to  accomplish.



 Any discussion about manasika-japa is incomplete without quoting the  following verses from the Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa and the Naradiya Purana to present  shastric quotations for both the aspects:











 Japa yajna is of three kinds. Please listen. Chanting with a sound vibration,  chanting with a murmuring condition and chanting within the mind. These three  kinds of chanting are respectively one better than the other .












 Chanting japa is of three kinds, higher class, lower class and svarita class  which is melodiously chanting clearly where every word can be heard by others.  That is called vacika. Any japa mantra chanted in murmuring sound,

where  ones's two lips move very minutely and one can only hear a few words out of it,  that chanting is called upansu.



 Shrila Sanatana Gosvami in his Digdarsini-tika writes that one who is chanting  japa melodiously, with high and low sounds, in a swinging condition, it is  called svarita where others can hear every sound vibration clearly. Therefore,  it is said that one should chant openly. But better is to chant japa in such a  way that one can hear it himself only.










 One hundred times better than chanting japa in clear or loud condition is to  chant japa in mumuring condition where one can hear himself. Thousands of times  better than loud chanting is chanting within one's mind, because chanting within  the mind is equal to directly meditating on the Supreme Lord.



 Shrila Sanatana Gosvami clarifies this situation in his Digdarsini-tika,  stating that chanting within the mind is one hundred times better than chanting  in murmuring condition which is one hundred times better than chanting with the  sound vibration.












 Oh best of the brahmanas, in all conditions and always one should chant japa  in one's mind because it has no faults. Therefore, anyone who is engaged in  chanting japa, gets the results of performing all kinds of sacrifices. Whatever  condition he may be, whether purified or unpurified condition, walking condition  or still (standing or sitting) condition, sleeping condition, one should take  shelter at the feet of chanting japa alone and chant japa within one's mind.



 Shrila Sanatana Gosvami remarks regarding chanting japa within one's mind,  that because chanting japa within mind has no faults, therefore one should chant  japa within one's mind. This is the best japa of all. Here "the best of  brahmanas" refers to those who chant japa. In all conditions, one should take  shelter in chanting japa without considering the time, place and circumstances.  This is the understanding here.



 At the same time we have the following verse from the Naradiya Purana quoted  by Shrila Haridasa Thakura in the Chaitanya-Bhagavata:



 japato hari namani sthane sata-gunadhikah

atmanan ca punaty-uccair-japan  srotrn-punati ca



 "Compared to that person who is attached to chanting japa mentally, the  person who performs loud chanting of the holy name of Shri Hari is one hundred  times better. This is because the person who chants silent japa purifies  himself, whereas the person who chants the holy name loudly

purifies himself,  all those who are with him, and everyone else who hear the holy vibration." (Shri  Naradiya Purana, Prahlada-vakya)



 To end with some Prabhupada quotes:



 "Unless one has come to the platform of spontaneous love of God, he must  follow the regulative principles. Thakura Haridasa was the living example of how  to follow the regulative principles. Similarly, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami

was  also such a living example. In the Sad-gosvamy-astaka it is stated:

 sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih kalavasanikrtau.



 The Gosvamis, especially Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, strictly followed all the  regulative principles. The first regulative principle is that one must chant the  Hare Krishna maha-mantra loudly enough so that he can hear himself, and one must  vow to chant a fixed number of rounds."



 (ShriChaitanya-charitamrita Antya-lila  11.24)



 "While the body is fit, one should chant the holy name of the Lord loudly and  distinctly. If one does so, it is quite possible that even at the time of death  he will be properly able to chant the holy name of the Lord with love and  faith." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.2.49)



 "Chanting involves the activities of the upper and lower lips as well as the  tongue. All three must be engaged in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. The  words "Hare Krishna" should be very distinctly pronounced and heard.



Sometimes  one mechanically produces a hissing sound instead of chanting with the proper  pronunciation with the help of the lips and tongue. Chanting is very simple, but  one must practice it seriously." (ShriChaitanya-charitamritaAdi-lila 17.32)






 So on one hand the Hari Bhakti Vilasa quotes from Yajnavalkya Smriti that  mental chanting is 10,000 times (Sanatana Goswami) better than loud chanting and  on the other hand Shri Prahlada Maharaja quotes in Naradiya Purana which was  quoted by Haridasa Thakura in the Chaitanya Bhagavata that loud chanting is 100  times more beneficial than mental chanting because it benefits millions of  living entities who even knowingly happen to hear the sound vibration.



 So you will surely want to know the conclusion. Here it is:



 (1) Mental chanting can only be bear fruti if one can properly recite and  hear the Mantras within. But our hearts in the beginning stage are filled with  so many material impressions and desires. So it is very difficult to properly  hear the sound vibration mentally within in the neophyte stage. We may think we  may be hearing inside but we are not actually chanting or hearing. So the change  of our heart is very slow. It is only when one practices constant loud chanting  for a period of at least five years one can properly pronounce, hear and  meditate on the Holy Names while chanting mentally.



 (2) If one is chanting adequate number of rounds of the Holy Name loudly  daily over a period of a few years then one can add some mental chanting to it  without giving up the loud chanting. Like Haridasa Thakura was chanting 100,000  each loudly and softly first before chanting 100,00- mentally.



 (3) Mental chanting may be personally beneficial to us more than loud  chanting when we can actually do it but loud chanting is much more beneficial to  all the souls of this world than silent chanting because one devotee loudly  chanting the holy names purifies and delivers the whole universe.



 (4) There is an easier method for silent chanting which we will be explaining  and elaborating on in later posts which is to write the syllables of the  Mantrarajas in the air or paper or to deeply meditate on the syllables while  chanting mentally which facilitates easier concentration on hearing the  Mantrarajas in the mind. Each syllable of the Mantrarajas are non-different than  the Lord so mental meditation on the syllables while chanting creates very  powerful and instant remembrance of the Lord. We will be soon teaching this  process in the form of Nityananda Yoga. "" (under  construction)



 Always chant Nityananda; Gauranga; and Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna  Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

  Jaya Gauranga Dharma! Jaya Shrila Prabhupada! Pranams and Blessings!'



Yours  in service, Swami Gaurangapada.