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The Art of Chanting Hare Krishna by HH Mahanidhi Swami Maharaj

Book Review
The Art of Chanting Hare Krishna
by HH Mahanidhi Swami Maharaj
In order to advance on the spiritual path, the chanting of the holy Name is the most essential thing. When we first begin to chant, we are full of bad habits and offenses that hinder us from progress and prevent us from tasting the bliss and nectar of Krishna's association. To improve our japa, therefore, is always a prime concern.
Maharaj's book is an invaluable reference and textbook for anyone who is serious about improving the quality of chanting.
Beginning with an exposition of the identity of the holy Name, Maharaj leads us through a systematic review. From there we progrerss to the glories of the holy Name-and convincing arguments for the absolute necessity of harer nama in this age of Kali-yuga.

The third chapter addresses Nama-aparadha, with detailed explanations of offenses to the holy Name, and ways by which each offense can be rectified. Everyone will find something in this chapter they can relate to, and remedies they can put to practical use.

Maharaj leads us step by step into a discussion of Hare Krsna japa, with plentiful quotes from Srila Prabhupada and useful tips on the actual practice of japa. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Siksastaka is discussed in depth, and other prayers are given to inspire and awaken the heart of the most stonelike devotee.

This book is above all a hands-on practice manual. It is meant to be used, not theoretically, but practically. Techniques for improving concentration and attentiveness are outlined clearly, making it easy to move from study into actual practice. There are chapters addressing the meaning of the Mahamantra, the holy Name and Krishna's Form and Qualities, and gloriously detailed descriptions of Krishna's pastimes for the chanter to meditate upon. The book concludes with words from previous acaryas on chanting, and a chapter on chanting 64 rounds.

Maharaj gives us concrete, clear assistance with this book to address the most vital activity of a devotee's life: chanting the holy Name. Without being abstract or theoretical, this book is loaded with useful how-to information. The wealth of information is fully supported with references from sastra and guru, and guides us towards the goal of offenseless chanting.

I would recommend this beautifully-bound, ribbon-bookmarked volume to any devotee, new or advanced. The easy to read typeface and high quality, glare-free paper make it a pleasure on the eyes as well as the heart. It is a book one can easily incorporate into daily sadhana, and that contains such a wealth of information that it will always be a dearly sought after companion.

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