I am unable to carry out my regular religious ablutions at proper times, owing to my circumstances, as well as my laziness. Will it have any effect if I do not do it in proper time? Can Gayatri Mantra be recited without performance of Sandhya Vandanam?
Whatever you do will certainly have their effects. Unless you are a Gayatri-upasak, you should not chant the Gayatri Mantra as and when you wish. You can chant it as many times as you wish with proper purity, and following the appropriate guidelines prescribed for it in our Scriptures.
I performed ‘Girivalam’ at Tiruvannamalai this Sivaratri. I chanted Rama Nama all the while, though the fellow-devotees asked me to chant the Shiva mantra. Am I right in doing what I did?
You can chant the ‘Rama’ mantra to any deity. In fact, Lord Siva Himself chants the ‘Rama’ mantra all the time. Hence you are absolutely right in chanting the Rama mantra. Can anyone else be so gullible as Him?
Is “only chanting of a mantra (Guru mantra or Mahamantra ) sufficient for self realization?
While there is no doubt in my mind that Nama chanting is the surest way in kaliyuga for liberation, sometimes i get frustrated when i see the suffering around me. We stay in Maharashtra, where we read about farmers committing suicide every single day. Around us there are so many slums where people consider themselves lucky when they are able to get two square meals a day. I understand that “Nama Prachar” is the main motto of our mission, can we not do some sort of service for these people?
A tree is infected with some pests. One way of combating pests is to spray pesticides on the leaves and fruits. The other, more efficient way is to treat it at the root. Social service is akin to the former whereas spiritual transformation (by way of Chanting the Nama) is like treating at the root.
I chant mantras like’Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’ and ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’. Do you recommend that the ‘Hare Rama..’ mantra is better and I chant that instead?
You can chant the ‘Hare Rama ..’ Mantra in addition to all the mantras you are currently chanting, whenever you get time.
I read somewhere that it is an offense to preach the glories of the holy name of the Lord to the faithless. Then what is the way to get the faithless to chant?
There are scriptures. The same scriptures also state that one should follow the words of the Guru without any doubts or questions and act accordingly. Going by that rule, all our masters starting from Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are crying aloud to make the people chant the Holy Name to have them liberated! So we take that path.
Every rule has an exception too!
What is the experience connected with chanting Mantras? When does one get mantra siddhi?
Each Mantra has its own Siddhi. One is said to attain Mantra Siddhi when he is able to see the deity pertaining to his Mantra, by incessant chanting of the Mantra.
Although I have been initiated into the Mahamantra, is it okay if I also chant other Divine Names sometimes like Rama Nama or Arunachala Siva? Or should I chant only the Mahamantra?
The Mantra initiated by the Guru contains a special power. That is the reason why it is recommended that one chant it incessantly. That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong in chanting any Divine Name of God.
Is chanting while doing work considered as meaningful chanting ? Since most of the days , I am continuously doing house chores one after the other, I don’t get time to sit and do ‘Japa’. But if we chant while doing house chores, does it have same effect ?
Yes. It is definitely great. The Gopis did exactly that way.
Sometimes I start chanting or writing the Mantras without taking bath. Is this allowed? How do I quit this habit?
If you are chanting the Mahamantra, it is harmless. You are not allowed to chant the other Mantras without taking bath. Instead of changing your bathing habit, change over to the Mahamantra. That will prove good for you.