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Why Chant Only 16 Rounds of Japa?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:51 pm
by backtohome
Question: Why Chant Only 16 Rounds of Japa?

I am getting your mails on a daily basis and am learning a lot from them. Thank you very much.

I just had the doubt why the Hare Krishna mantra chanting is done for only 16 rounds a day on the chanting beads and not more or less than that. What is the importance of the number sixteen?

With Regards,

D.G. Vittal


Answer: 16 Rounds is the Minimum

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur explains that the prema-ruruksu devotees (those who earnestly strive for ascending up to the region of prema) chant 192 (3 x 64) rounds daily. If one were to chant each round in 7.5 minutes, these 192 rounds would completely fill up with his 24 hours leaving him no time to eat, sleep, earn a livelihood, or even go to the toilet. If one were to speed up his chanting and complete each round within 5 minutes, his chanting would still take 16 hours leaving him only 8 hours daily for sleeping, earning a livelihood, commuting, etc. The point is that for most people this much chanting is not possible. But still is it in described by Srinivasacarya "saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna" that one must maintain numerical strength while chanting the holy names. Therefore Srila Prabhupada has mercifully fixed up a number of at least 16 rounds of Hare Krishna chanting daily for us. This is a number which can be practically accomplished on a daily basis along with our other numerous material duties. He encouraged us to also to increase our chanting beyond 16 rounds as far as our daily schedule allows.

To become perfect in chanting we must obey the spiritual master's orders. Therefore at least 16 rounds daily of japa mala must be completed, if we are at all serious about attaining spiritual perfection. The disciples are always encouraged to chant more if possible, but not less.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari