I get confused as to which God’s name I need to chant. There are so many gods in our religion and hence so many Names. I used to chant the Shiva Nama and after reading Bhagavatam and Bhagavat Gita, I chant the Mahamantra. Please clear my confusion.

Do not confuse yourself. You are the child of Krishna. Chant the Mahamantra and that is enough. You can also take this as the initiation. Continue to chant the Mahamantra and you will see for yourself how Krishna brings auspiciousness and happiness into your life.

I know only Maha Mantra. Is it enough if I just chant this alone to reach His abode?

You are really fortunate to know only the Maha Mantra. Ignorance of other diverse forms of worship or other Mantra Sadhanas is indeed a boon and fortune, as they distract a Sadhak from concerted efforts. Concentration on chanting the Maha Mantra alone is enough. Catch hold of it. It is more than sufficient to take you to his abode.

Great mahatmas like Bhagavan Ramana who worshipped the Arunachala Mountain as Lord Siva, Seshadri Swamigal who worshipped Sri Krishna – all have worshipped only one form of God. Since Nama (the name of the God) and the Naami (the Named, who is the Lord Himself) are one and the same, chanting the Maha Mantra day and night, all the time will certainly lead one to liberation without an iota of doubt. So continue chanting the Maha Mantra alone and Lord Krishna will take you unto His fold.

Is it right to Chant the Maha Mantra using the Japa Mala or we should chant it like the Kirtan?

You can chant the Maha Mantra either way. Whether you perform Nama Kirtan or chant it with japa mala, you should do it with love and devotion. That is the most important criteria.

Can Mahamantra be written (like Rama Nama)?

Definitely. Do it.

Does the Rama Nama in the Mahamantra denote Lord Ramachandra or Balarama?

It denotes both of them.

Mahamantra has done a lot of good to me and takes me on the right path. These days, I cannot stand the negative attitude of people around me, and this is intolerable. Is this because of the Mahamantra?

When you progress in spirituality, your mind becomes more sensitive day by day. There are a lot of negative things around us. The mind tries to observe all these negativities. What you have to do is, try to neglect such observations and do more and more Japa. It will be alright slowly.

I am chanting maha mantra and following a normal life. How long will it take to attain the Lord? I want to know whether these sufferings will be there in my whole life.

You are already one among the blessed few, picked by the Lord Himself. Don’t get bogged down by any troubles or sufferings on your path. It might be a test for your devotion and faith on the Almighty. Hold on to the Maha Mantra strongly and continue to chant it with the same love and devotion. A sparkling bright future awaits you if you remain steadfast in your chanting.

During the Japa of Mahamantra should I concentrate my mind on my soul?

You would not know the exact location of the soul. Hence you will not be able to concentrate on the soul. Hence, during the Japa, concentrate on your mind.

I hear that the Mahamantra is from the Kali Santarana Upanishad. Hence, is it okay to chant it anywhere without any conditions, or are there rules associated with chanting these? I am asking this because I have heard that Veda mantras have strict rules.

Unlike the other Veda Mantras, the Mahamantra has absolutely no rules and restrictions.

Is chanting Gayathri Mantra enough, instead of chanting Mahamantra? When I go to satsang, I chant the Mahamantra. But, personally when I am in my room, I chant Gayathri Mantra.

There are rules and regulations to chant the Gayathri Mantra. They require appropriate ‘Nyasa’s . It mandates purity and cleanliness in all respects. You can chant the Gayathri Mantra only while sitting or standing. You cannot chant it while moving about. Unlike Gayathri Mantra, Mahamantra can be chanted at any time and any place with absolutely no restrictions at all.

Hence, whenever you are pure and clean, and find the appropriate time and place, chant the Gayathri Mantra. At all other times, chant the Mahamantra.

Will chanting the Mahamantra give the same results as that yielded by Atma Vichara?

All roads lead to the same destination called liberation. What is ‘Atma Vichara’. Contemplating in order to realize the Self. This may be done, either through Bhakti or Jnaana. In either case, the end result is the same. In the other paths, you take some effort and then wait for God’s grace. In Bhakti, you depend only on the grace of God and nothing else. That makes Bhakti an easier way to attain the end-state.

Let me give you an illustration for better understanding.

A hungry person arrives at a house. The householder welcomes him and feeds him with cooked food, and his hunger is immediately appeased.

In the second case, when a hungry person enters a house, he is accorded a welcome and given the stove , rice, vegetables, utensils and other cooking materials required to prepare the food. This person has to prepare it all by himself and then partake of the food.

The former instance can be likened to the path of Bhakti, where God take care of you.

The latter instance can be likened to the path of Jnaana, where you are required to put in effort in order to attain the goal.

In the case of Jnana Marga, the lord shows you the path to attain the goal, while in Bhakti, He verily takes you to the destination.

By chanting the Mahamantra, you are having God Himself take you to the destination.

I want to chant the Maha Mantra always. In the workplace I am not able to chant properly due to my work load. Still I think about Krishna. Please let me know a solution by which I can chant the Maha Mantra always.

Chant it during your off-office hours. In due course, the Lord will enable you to chant it in your mind and still carry on with your work. You are indeed blessed to reminisce Krishna always. The lovable Lord Krishna will fill your heart with abundance of eternal pure love (‘prema’).

I chant the Mahamantra only when I am unable to bear the suffering in my life. I never feel Bhakti or love towards Krishna. Will Krishna help me?

Most certainly. You come to Krishna only even for mundane worldly matters. He is your father, mother, friend, philosopher, Guru, guide and well-wisher. He loves you so much – much more than you love yourselves.

Do we not need a formal initiation for the Maha Mantra? I hear and read that initiation from a Guru is indispensable for one to take up a Nama and chant it incessantly and thereby attain liberation, as while initiation, the Guru transfers a part of his spiritual powers to the disciple which creates a spiritual awakening in him. So without initiation, am I without any hope for liberation?

For the un-initiated, it is important to be initiated. However, you do not need to wait until you get initiated by a proper Guru. You can start chanting the Maha Mantra. In due course, the merciful Lord will definitely send a Guru at an apt time. At that time, you can take the Mantra from Him.

Why is ‘Aum’ not included in Mahamantra? Is it because its efficacy is already in the Mahamantra? Does Mahamantra represent all the three states (viz. wakefulness, dream and deep-sleep) that ‘Aum’ represent?

Whatever importance is accorded in the Vedanta to the ‘Aum’ syllable is accorded to the ‘Rama’ Nama in Bhakti Shastras.

Can the doshas that we incur in the day to day life for leading a path opposite to what is written in the Shastras be washed away completely by uttering Naama?

100%! Certainly! There is no doubt about it. You can take my word for it.

If Mahamantra can give us everything, then is it necessary to recite other slokas?

If you have such a strong conviction and faith in the Mahamantra, then the rest are not necessary.

I used to chant the Maha Mantra even when I circumambulate the Ganesha temple. Even if I start with Ganesha Pancharatna, automatically I would end up chanting the Maha Mantra. The same is with Shiva Temple etc. Why does this happen? This is confusing me. Please help!

The Mahamantra is the most invaluable and precious gem in the world and not to be taken lightly and discarded on the streets. You are indeed fortunate and blessed to be chanting the Maha Mantra all the time. The Lord will be definitely happy at your steadfastness. There is nothing to worry. You are definitely on the right track, or shall I say, you are only on the right track!

We are chanting the Maha Mantra for one of my friend’s problems. But we are not able to concentrate because I am depressed about their state and they are crestfallen because of their problems too. An elderly family person keeps watching TV as we chant Nama and the cacophony disturbs our concentration. How do we correct this person?

When you perform Nama Kirtan, others’ condition will disturb you. But you should not give too much importance to that and continue with your Nama Kirtan. Faith is very important. Even if others influence us against chanting the Maha Mantra, we should not lose that confidence. In the same way, others will also try to disturb and distract us because of their noisy worldly affairs. Initially it will be difficult to gain the concentration, but over time, the Lord will give us the required concentration. We can also chant on behalf of them so that Bhagavan Sri Krishna gives them also the required devotion and faith in the Divine Name.

Is there any need to count the numbers while chanting the Maha Mantra?

When a child calls out his mother’s name with love, he would not count the number of times he called out. Would he? When Nama Kirtan is done with true love and devotion, the count doesn’t matter. Though it is a fact that you are liberated even if you chant the Maha Mantra once, chant continuously if you desire a sorrow-free journey through life and if you wish to see God face-to-face within this lifetime.

In our western countries, some gifted artists chant Mahamantra on non-traditional airs or with a western influence. If the melody inspires devotion or joy, do you think, that may be also valid?

Yes, to some extent.

Some people say that if we chant the Maha Mantra loud, we can benefit only 25%, if we whisper 50% benefit, but if we chant in our mind without any sound, we get 100% benefit. Yet some others do not agree with this. Please explain the correct way.

These conditions and percentages do not apply for the Mahamantra.

I have been chanting the Mahamantra for quite a while. But day by day, I am becoming poorer financially and as such losing mental peace. Is there anything wrong going on?

There is nothing going wrong with respect to your chanting. Persist in chanting and efforts to get better financially. Nama can only help you in this journey. Mahamantra knows only to bless.

I feel lazy to chant the Maha Mantra. So I play a Maha Mantra audio CD and keep listening to it. Is it as good as chanting?

It has been said that hearing ('sravanam') yields the same punya as chanting the Maha Mantra. That is the reason behind 'karna mantra' (chanting the Lord's Name in the ears in one's deathbed). However if you slowly practice chanting it, then in due course, you will taste the sweetness of the Maha Mantra in your tongue.

I seem to understand that everything else except Nama is immaterial in this world. However I am not able to concentrate on my chanting for a long period of time.

Continuously chant the Nama -- as much as you can, whenever you can and leave the rest to Him. He will take care of you.

Does Maha mantra chanting also need initiation from Swamiji or it can be chanted anytime? I want to have Swamiji as my Guru while chanting. Does this need initiation or can the Maha Mantra be chanted without initiation?

Mahamantra can be chanted anytime, anywhere and by anyone. However it gives multi-fold benefits if chanted after initiation from a Guru.

My friends chant Mahamantra after eating non-vegetarian food. Is it good or not?

Chanting mahamantra is always good

Even while trying to chant the 'Mahamantra', my mind wanders, and thinks about how others have wronged me. With such a corrupted mind, how can I let go of the past?

When mind wanders while chanting Mahamantra, understand that it is very natural for a mind to wander as it carries the burden of past tendencies. Allow the mind to wander and when it returns continue chanting. What you resist persists. Do not judge other thoughts as terrible or normal. Instead of fighting the mind, allow it in its way and continue chanting. Soon by the strength of Nama and prayers, mind gets the maturity to let go of unnecessary past.

I am devotee of Sri Balaji Bhagavan. i do worship to Him. I chant the MahaMantra regularly. When I chant, my mind wavers. So I have to concentrate it on something. I get confused whether I should meditate on Balaji Pratima or on the Mahamantra. Please help.

You chant the Mahamantra thinking of the divine compassion and love of Balaji Bhagavan. That is the best meditation.

In one of your answers, it is said that five bodies cover the Atman and shattering the five bodies makes one Jeevan Mukta . Can I reach that stage by chanting only Maha Mantra?

Yes there is no doubt about it.

When is the best time to chant the Mahamantra? Must it be chanted for 108 times only or can we chant as we wish?

You can chant the Mahamantra any time. The more you chant, the closer you get to your goal.

Which one is better - Mahamantra Japa or Mahamantra Kirtan?

Mahamantra Kirtan is Mahamantra Japa.

"Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare" What is the meaning of HARE?

“Hare” refers to Lord Narasimha.

What is the difference mahamantra and Rama Nama?

Rama Nama is in Mahamantra

I am chanting Mahamantra and I am interested in spreading it to my friends. Is it right to tell about it to a person who is not interested? I am trying to tell to my friends but some are in vain. How can tell them to chant Mahamantra?

Before you go out for this task, first, pray to Lord Krishna. He will make it successful for you. Even those who are not interested now may change in future. Who knows! Our duty is only to take the Nama to people. We will not bother about the results. We are not making anyone chant. It is Lord Krishna who does that. So everything will happen according to His wish.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advocated the Mahamantra as “Hare Krishna…Hare Rama”, while you are preaching the Mahamantra as “Hare Rama…Hare Krishna”. What is the difference?

The Mahamantra “Hare Rama…” is found in the Kali Santarana Upanishad.

Upanishads are held sacred and are regarded as the highest form of Jnana. The Shastras say that the Vedas and Upanishads can be learnt and chanted only by a specific sect of people, because of the rigorous tone and intonation involved.

Mahaprabhu, a great mahan that he was, did want to liberate the masses from this ocean of Samsara through the Mahamantra, and at the same time not violate the Shastras. Hence he preached it as

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

When repeated continuously, this indeed reads the same way as stated by the Upanishads.

There are other Saints and Mahans, like Swami Abhedananda of Tiruvananthapuram and innumerable saints of Brindavan who have, out of their sheer mercy and compassion given the Mahamantra as is from the Upanishads, as in this Kali Yuga where none of the rules laid out in the Shastras can be practically followed in spirit.

Thus, irrespective of the way in which it is chanted, it gives the same benefit.

I chant Nama daily. My father says that we should not face South direction while reciting slokas or while chanting. Is it correct? Why is it so?

South is the direction of the Pitrus (dead ancestors). Hence that direction is usually avoided for all spiritual practices. However, for Mahamantra Kirtan, there are no rules or regulations. That is the greatness of this path.

I chant the Mahamantra when at work. Is it fine to chant in the mind or should I chant only by opening my mouth?

What you are doing is perfectly right.

If the word Vishnu means Omnipresent then everything in this world is God. In this aspect, Advaita philosophy is acceptable and easily understandable. Shall I follow this principle along with the chanting of Mahamantra? Or shall I chant Mahamantra alone?

Just chant the Mahamantra. That will indeed lead you to the true philosophy.

I might have committed innumerable sins. Will Maha Mantra cleanse me of all of them and liberate me?

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Prahlada says that it is impossible for one to perform sins to the extent that cannot be destroyed by singing the God’s Name. Hence you not entertain even a wee bit of doubt about the fact that Mahamantra will cleanse you of all your sins.

After chanting Mahamantra regularly, I can see a change in myself in thinking about God always. I want to serve God in continuation of my Karma and work. How can i serve God? Please advice.

Chanting the Mahamantra itself is a great service to Lord Krishna. Further, if it is even possible for you to make one other person chant the Mahamantra, that is the greatest service you can do to Him.

I have wasted about 40 years of my life by not chanting the Mahamantra regularly. It is only since the last 6 months, that I have started chanting regularly. Even then worries, fear in life, etc. have not gone from my mind. I heard that only after several births we will attain the lotus feet of lord Sri Krishna. Kindly tell me even after chanting regularly the Mahamantra, we will have to take birth?

Not necessarily. Keep chanting. We cannot recover the past. We are not sure of the future. It is only the present that is at our disposal. So don’t waste it. Chant, chant, chant!

In doing Nama kirtan, people need to have appropriate attitude, commitment and trust in oneself. Do you agree and what are your thoughts?

If you have all those, it is well and good. But do not even worry about all these things. Just chant the mahamantra, even if mechanically. Slowly the Nama will take control over you and guide you appropriately

Sri Swamiji says that the only way to liberation in Kali Yuga is to chant the Maha Mantra. Some saints say that the Gayatri mantra is the Maha mantra for this kali yuga and it is the most potent mantra. This is quite confusing. So are we to chant both the mantras daily. What is the correct thing to do?

Gayathri mantra is definitely powerful and is cited in the Vedas. But there are strict rules for chanting it as prescribed by the Vedas. However, Maha Mantra too is prescribed in the Upanishads, and it is clearly said therein that there is absolutely no rules or restrictions chanting the Maha Mantra.

The more you chant a Mantra, the quicker you realize its potency. From that perspective, one gets the unlimited privilege of chanting the Maha Mantra any where and anytime. So this Mantra is alone enough.

We have heard of great Mahans chanting the Rama Nama or the Krishna Nama towards attaining God-Realization. Are there other Mahans besides Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who have chanted the Maha Mantra to attain the Lord? Moreover I have read that a Sadhak should stick to one name and form. The Mahamantra has both Rama and Krishna's names. So to avoid the mind from wavering can I contemplate on my Guru while chanting the Maha Mantra?

The beauty and power of the Divine Name is that it completely takes over. All you need to do is chant. when you chant do not bother whether your mind wavers or not. Nama will take care of that.

Though there maybe so many names and mantras, this mantra is specifically prescribed by the Upanishad for this age (Kali Santarana Upanishad). Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Swami Sivananda, Swami Abhedananda, numerous sadhus in Vrindavan, advocate this mantra as the simplest solution in this Yuga.

Bhagavan Ramana used to say that the doubt whether one would be able to attain liberation is the greatest hurdle and nothing else. Faith is the bedrock of anything in this world. For certain questions, any amount of intellectual analysis will not help find a decisive answer and they will always remain. The secret is to hold on to a path advocated by the Guru and proceed doubtlessly with faith in the words of the Guru and the experience the bliss Yourself.

I am chanting the Nama with Mala. I chant whenever I get time. In the evening I perform it as a Kirtan. Is it the right way to do it? Is there any special procedure that I need to follow? While chanting, I am not able to control my mind it starts moving here and there. Why does this happen?

Nama Kirtan has absolutely no restrictions. You can chant it with mala or without Mala. There are no prescribed procedures, no rules or regulations. Hence you can chant it any way, at any time and any place.

When someone plans to travel abroad, he needs to apply for his passport, get his visa stamped and book his tickets in advance. Similarly, chanting the Nama is the preparation for our journey towards God. Don’t bother about difficulties, road blocks or miseries on your path. Come what may, if you continue to chant the Divine name with steadfast faith and devotion, one day, you will definitely reap the sweet fruit!

I chant the Mahamantra daily, but even then, there is no purity in my mind and thought. I can very well realize that the Almighty knows about my thoughts and impurities in my mind. How do I overcome these impurities?

First of all, expecting results immediately is wrong. Doing so will make you give up your practice very soon. You have to understand that the change will come only slowly.

A person is extremely devoted. At the same time, he has some nasty habits. Can it be said that his Bhakti itself is fraudulent? No. His Bhakti is true; and so are his bad qualities.

When cattle devours a newly planted mango sapling, it struggles to live and grow more leaves. But surpassing these struggles, when the plant grows into a tree, then the cattle is no more a threat to the tree.

Likewise, when your devotion is in its initial stages, the ills of the world affect you to a great extent. When you continues to chant, with patience and perseverance, your bhakti becomes strong enough and the ills of the world don't affect you any more.

This will take time. But you can rest assured that your efforts will never go in vain.

The Mahamantra itself is so pure that you can take it any where but my friend was singing a Kirtan when he was in the wash room. Is it alright?

Yes. There is nothing wrong in it.

How does mere chanting of Mahamantra lead one to the ultimate truth? If we are chanting it mechanically most of the time, how can one realize the self? To chant means to have a mind and a memory. So, does this not contradict the fact that Mahatmas have no minds?

Mahatmas talk! Don't they? Does it disqualify them as mahatmas, because as per your idea, talking can happen only when there is mind and memory, so if they talk they cease to be Mahatmas! If a Mahatma’s teaching made you think so, he has talked too! So, if that would disqualify him as a Mahatma, there is no need to read his teachings further! So something is wrong in the assumption? Is it not?

The ego, the mind has to be made silent. Chanting works on ego and dissolves it into its source. Mechanical chanting is the starting phase. It will soon graduate to mental chanting and soon this mental one-pointed chanting will lead to the source of the chant, which is the truth. So just like mere mechanical reading of books, soon starts working as understanding or 'doubt' in the mental level, chanting mechanically also leads to mental absorption.

Many saints have realized with the help of God's grace just by chanting Mahamantra. There are infinite paths to infinite bliss. Truth is pathless. Infinity and zero are but two ways of telling this fact. In geometry, a theoretical question of how many sides does a perfect circle have, has two answers to depict the same truth - zero and infinity!

Understand that great sages like JK, Ramana Maharshi, Yogi Ramsuratkumar all have realized that one truth and are only speaking in different tones. Yogi Ramsuratkumar Maharaj says chanting is sufficient to realize. Easier way for normal people is to chant, even if it appears mechanical to start with.

I chant the Mahamantra whenever I get time, either at home or at work. A part of my job is to pull up people who shirk their duty. However this is not liked by my colleagues and they cause disturbances. What should I do?

What you are doing is right. Be as you are. Pray sincerely to God to bring change in others so as to enable you to carry out your job in a perfect manner. Continue to chant the Mahamantra. Everything will be alright.

Which is the best option to concentrate while chanting the Mahamantra? 1. Concentrate on the sound of the holy names 2. Thinking of Lord Rama or Lord Krishna or both in some shape or form. 3. Meditating on my ‘kula deivam’ in addition to Rama and Krishna

Don’t strain too much on your meditation. Concentrate on any form that you feel comfortable with and gives you joy. Once you decide on that form, stick to it forever.

During Upanayanam, the child is initiated into Gayatri Mantra and it is said that chanting the Gayatri Mantra is good. If Mahamantra is really powerful and can do good to anyone who chants it, why not give Mahamantra as the Upadesa?

There are two distinct Dharmas prescribed– the Vaideeka Dharma and the Bhagavata Dharma.

In Ramayana, we see that Rama protected the ‘Yagna’ (austerities) of the rishis This is Vaideeka Dharma. We also see that Rama blessed Ahalya. This is Bhagavata Dharma.

The most sacred sound in Vaideeka Dharma is ‘Om’. ‘Rama’ is the equivalent in Bhagavata Dharma. While Vaideeka Dharma talks about rituals and rites, Bhagavata Dharma talks about love for God. The former is for a few to follow, while the latter is meant for everyone.

Gayatri Mantra is a very powerful Mantra in the Vaideeka Dharma. Mahamantra is a very powerful Mantra in the Bhagavata Dharma. Thus one cannot substitute the other. They cannot be mixed.

When I chant Maha Mantra I meditate on the thoughts of my Guru who initiated me into the Mantra rather than Lord Krishna. I wish to meditate in the same way. Is it okay?

You can meditate in any way that you feel comfortable.

Can one attain self-realization in this birth itself just by chanting the mahamantra? How should the Mahamantra be chanted so that realization happens?

Chanting the Maha Mantra for attaining liberation is not a process.

We believe in the soul, life after death, sins, karma, punya, other lokas, re-birth, liberation and similar concepts. Why? Because it has been prescribed in the Shastras. Why do we believe in the Shastras? Because that is verily God’s mouthpiece Hence anything prescribed in the Shastras, should be taken as the eternal law and the final verdict, without questioning it any further.

One should not apply his intellect here.

Let me give you this illustration. A beggar comes to our door and begs for alms. What do we do? Do we care about his pitch and intonation or the number of times he calls out? No. If we are merciful enough and are in a position to help, we provide alms. That is all. Is it not?

In exactly the same way, by chanting the Mahamantra, we declare our incapacity to overcome this ignorance called ‘Maya’ by our own efforts and condescendingly beseech Him for His divine grace and help.

The Lord Almighty is an infinite ocean of love and mercy. After you are done with enjoying the fruits of your karma according to your ‘prarabdha’, in your deathbed, He will give you Jnana and Vairagya in a fraction of a second and liberate you, just as Bhagavan Ramana liberated his own mother and the cow Lakshmi.

While chanting the Mahamantra, my mind wanders, but still the mouth chants. Will there be any effect?

Definitely. Continue it. You will experience the bliss by yourself.

Can a Sri Vaishnava who has performed prapatti/sharanagati/bharanyasam unto his Sri Vaishnava Acharya chant the Maha Mantra ? Is there any conflict in chanting the Maha Mantra and yet being a Prapanna ?

A 'prapanna' should have 'maha viswasa' (unshakable faith) towards his Acharya (Master). He should not worship any other deity than Vishnu and should always chant the 'Dhvaya' and the 'Ashtakshara' Mantras.

And how should he spend the rest of his life? It has been said that he has to eagerly await the day of going to Vaikunta just as an engaged couple wait for the day of marriage.

His life has to be spent singing the glory of Sriman Narayana always -- singing His praise without taking on any other Guru or Acharya.

Maha Mantra is nothing but the glory of Sriman Narayana, and does not need initiation. While the mantras that are given during initiation have restrictions for chanting, Maha Mantra does not have any!

So it is absolutely fine for a prapanna to chant the Maha Mantra.