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How to Chant on Beads

Bhakti yoga practice includes chanting the Hare Krishna mantra softly to oneself. This is called japa.

While chanting, one generally keeps the sacred japa beads in a bead bag to keep them clean and off the floor. One side of the bag is large enough to insert your hand. Your index finger coming out the smaller hole on the other side helps you hold on to the bag. Place your beads in the bag, and you’re ready to go.

Chanting “Rounds”

japajapa

Bhakti yoga practitioners decide on a minimum number of mantras they want to chant each day. The main purpose of the beads is to keep track of the number of mantras chanted. Fingering the beads also help one focus on the sound of the holy name of Krishna.

There are 108 beads and one larger bead, known as the head bead, or Krishna bead. Beginning with the bead next to the head bead, gently roll the bead between the thumb and middle finger of your right hand while chanting:

listenHare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Then move to the next bead and repeat the mantra.

In this way continue chanting on each of the 108 beads in the strand. This is known as one round of japa and takes between five and ten minutes for most people.

You can also chant the Pancha Tattva mantra before each round - this is a prayer to Lord Chaitanya and his associaties to help avoid offenses whilst chanting:

listensri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu-nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda

“I offer my obeisances to Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasa and all others in the line of devotion.”

If you are going to chant more than one round of japa, then without chanting on the head bead - reverse the direction of your chanting to begin the second round.

If you have a string of counter beads tied to your bead bag, keep track of the number of rounds you have chanted by moving one counter bead for each round you chant.

Chant clearly and try to hear the holy names with attention. Some chanters find that looking at the mantra or a picture of Krishna helps them concentrate. If that works for you, that’s fine. But remember that the goal is attentive hearing.

Chant Hare Krishna and Be Happy

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Chant Hare Krishna and Be Happy

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