seeing through the eyes of scriptures
Vaisnava Amrta chapter 14 Srila Prabhupada chanted 64 rounds and this instruction is his Adi Vani
Srila Prabhupada was introduced to chanting 64 rounds of the Hare Krsna mantra when he met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada.
One Brahmacari , Narottamananda would sometimes meet Srila Prabhupada in his house in Kolkatta and described that Srila Prabhupada chanted 64 rounds
prior to his initiation in 1932.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada did not give diksa to anyone not chanting 64 rounds .When I got reinitiation in Gaudiya Math Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja also asked me to chant 64 rounds daily this is the Gaudiya math standard.If Srila Prabhupada has stopped chanting 64 rounds at any stage in his life he would have been deviating from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada.When Srila Prabhupada stayed in Kesavaji Gaudiya math for some time before taking sannyasa in 1958 Srila Prabhupada also chanted 64 rounds daily.Srila Narayana Maharaja and many devotees witnessed Srila Prabhupada chanting 64 rounds daily. There is no question of being a proper sannyasi in Gaudiya math and not chanting 64 rounds daily , of course many no longer chant 64 rounds but that is a deviation .
When Srila Prabhupada gave his first initiations Srila Prabhupada asked for 64 rounds this is recorded in the Hare Krsna explosion by Hayagriva das
FIRST INITIATION BY SRILA PRABHUPADA
The Hare Krishna Explosion, p. 63, by Hayagriva dasa, Palace Press
"Now that you have beads," Swamiji says the next morning, "you should
chant sixty-four rounds every day." "Sixty-four rounds?" To pronounce
every word of the mantra distinctly, we require five minutes to chant
a round. Sixty-four rounds would take over five hours. "Impossible!"
we say. "We'll never have the time." "All right," Swamiji
says. "Thirty-two rounds." "Impossible," we say. "We'll never be able
to do it. It's way too much." "All right," Swamiji says. "Sixteen
rounds. No less.
When I presented to devotees that Lord Caitanyas standard is minimum 64 rounds ,Rocana das a disciple of Srila Prabhupada asked me :
1. Do you disagree that Srila Prabhupada instructed his disciples to chant 16 rounds?
2. Can you show us where Srila Prabhupada qualified that instruction by saying "only chant 16 for a certain period of time, then begin chanting 64"?
3. Can you show us where Srila Prabhupada made statements like yours, that we cannot go back to Godhead unless we chant 64 rounds?
Answer to number one is obvious Srila Prabhupada allowed minimum 16 rounds because Srila Prabhupada philosophy was often better something than nothing .I recall having heard Bhurijana Prabhu retell how Srila Prabhupada would often use this term and you also see this in the conversations with Srila Prabhupada
The answer to number two is obviously that 16 rounds is not the standard of our Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya 64 rounds is
Srila Prabhupada noted : Nectar of Instruction, Verse 5, purport:
"The Krishna consciousness movement prescribes sixteen rounds daily because people in the Western countries cannot concentrate for long periods while chanting on beads.
Therefore the minimum number of rounds is prescribed. However, Shrila
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that unless one chants at least
sixty-four rounds of japa (one hundred thousand names), he is considered fallen
(patita). According to his calculation, practically every one of us is fallen,
but because we are trying to serve the Supreme Lord with all seriousness and
without duplicity, we can expect the mercy of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
who is famous as patita-pavana, the deliverer of the fallen."
I recall when I first visited the Hare Krsna temple in Sweden in 1979 I started chanting many rounds right away though I did not have much understanding on the way from the temple back to my apartment in Denmark was around 10 hours train ride I chanted all the way except for taking some time to take prasadam and read Srila Prabhupadas Krsna book so even a brand new bhakta can chant 64 rounds or more
Srila Prabhupada did not want to argue or fight with his neophyte disciples he just encouraged them to chant minimum 16 rounds and follow 4 regulative principles, this was way more than he expected.
My answer to question 2 is Srila Prabhupada said 16 rounds minimum ,anyone that reads Srila Prabhupadas books and letters will find unlimited quotes where Srila Prabhupada encouraged more chanting .
Srila Prabhupada on a Morning Walk, November 10, 1975, Bombay:
Lokanatha: "Some devotees have fixed different number than sixteen. Some are chanting twenty minimum or twenty-five.
Prabhupada: Yes. It should be increased.
Lokanatha: Is it recommended for our...
Prabhupada: But don't decrease. Don't decrease; increase. Therefore one number is fixed. "At least this much I
shall do." That is sixteen rounds.
Lokanatha: But you are recommending sixteen as a minimum, and some devotees are choosing twenty as a minimum.
Prabhupada: So who forbids? Who says that "Don't do it"?
Lokanatha: They can chant?
Prabhupada: Yes. That is wanted. But because you cannot do it, therefore we have fixed up this minimum. Sankhyata asankhyata Sankhyata means
with vow, numerical strength. And asankhyata means there is no limit."
I was often accused by various devotees of chanting to much ,it was obvious to me they did not really want to follow Srila Prabhupadas order to chant 64 rounds and 16 rounds had become and excuse not to chant more.
In my own devotional service I have always chanted more than 16 rounds mostly in ISKCON Denmark and Sweden I would chant 32 rounds in the morning and 32 rounds in the evening I did this for years,sometimes I chanted less. However Srila Narayana maharaja since 1989 advised me to always chant 64 rounds daily and often in Vrindavana I would chant 120 rounds or more.Even on traveling sankirtana going for hours I would just constantly chant and those who I traveled with me can give testimony I was always chanting .Same in other places .When I sold paintings in ISKCON Germany in 1983 I chanted 64 rounds daily .So yes it can be done we can follow Srila Prabhupada where these is a will there is a way.
Srila Prabhupada once told me in a dream ,if you knew how many devotees do not chant 16 rounds daily in ISKCON you will faint. I know it is true, many do not attend morning and evening programs.Of have one by themselves if not with other devotees .
The answer to question 3 is tricky because we do not want to offend Srila Prahbupadas minimum 16 rounds but same time any intelligent devotee should know right from wrong. I have met one devotee that told me I am initiated but the holy name is so powerful I just chant 1 round of japa I said where is the vow you took to Srila Prabhupada and your Guru to chant at least 16 rounds and follow 4 regs ?
Tamal Krsna Maharaja wrote :TKG's Diary June 10:
"Many years ago, he (Shrila Prabhupada) was chanting sixty-four rounds, then gradually less, until a number of years ago it was sixteen."
He claims in his Diary Srila Prabhupada stopped chanting even 16 rounds , which I find so offensive .Anyone can read Maharaja Diary and see for themselves, I was shocked when I read this.At the end when Srila Prabhupada was so weak I do not know how much Srila Prabhupada chanted but I am convinced personally Srila Prabhupada stuck to the vow to his Guru Maharaja to chant 64 rounds daily .
Here are some quotes by Srila Prabhupada everyone should read and know:
Morning Walk, May 14, 1975, Perth:
Devotee (1): "Srila Prabhupada, how can the position be reconciled if in Krishna consciousness one of the two, the husband or the wife, wants to enjoy sense
gratification, but the other does not? Should there be separation then?
Prabhupada: No... They should be trained up. Sense enjoyment means not advanced in Krishna consciousness. As soon as one is advancing in Krishna consciousness, his sense
enjoyment spirit will be reduced. That is the test. Bhaktih pareshanubhavo
viraktir anyatra ca [SB 11.2.42]. The test is, how you are advancing in Krishna
consciousness is the proportionate diminishing of sense enjoyment. That is the
test. Just like cure of the disease means diminishing the fever, temperature.
This is the test.
Devotee (1): What if that (material) fever is not being diminished?
Prabhupada: Then he should try to chant Hare Krishna mantra, instead of sixteen rounds, sixty-four rounds. That is the way. Sixteen rounds is the minimum. Otherwise
Haridasa Thakura was 300,000. So you have to increase. That is the only remedy.
If one has got determination, he will make progress without any trouble. That
determination is very difficult, that determination, "I must be Krishna
conscious fully." That determination. Dridha-vratah."
Letter to: Indira (Iris Mendoza), Ekayani (Esther Mendoza), San Francisco, 17 December, 1967:
"I am very glad to learn you are chanting 48 rounds. Actually it is all right that one should chant 64 rounds, even 16 rounds, so if one is able to chant more than 16 rounds
up to 64, it is very good. You fix up your rounds. Try to increase it but never
Letter to: Hamsaduta, Hawaii, 23 March, 1969
"Yes, it is very good if you can chant 64 rounds; this is very nice if you can do it."
Letter to: Bhaktijana, Los Angeles, 12/2/1968:
"I shall advise you again to chant always, increasing the counting, namely, 16 rounds is generally prescribed, but for the time being you can stop all other activities
and increase the chanting to 64 rounds."
Shrimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.70 purport:
"That is the instruction given by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastakam 3. Kirtaniyah sada harih: [Cc. adi 17.31] "The holy name of the Lord should be
chanted twenty-four hours daily." Therefore in this Krishna consciousness
movement we request the devotees to chant at least sixteen rounds on their beads
daily. Actually one has to chant twenty-four hours daily, just like Thakura
Haridasa, who was chanting the Hare Krishna mantra three hundred thousand times
daily. Indeed, he had no other business."
HH Kavichandra Swami asked me the following questions :
Q. 1: ¨If Srila Prabhupada did not himself chant 64 rounds, then why
did he ask that of his students, in the begining?¨
¨...Of all the regulative principles, the spiritual master’s order to
chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential.¨ - Cc 2.22.113
Q. 2: ¨If Srila Prabhupada did himself chant 64 rounds, why did he not
instruct his senior students before departing from this world, to
Again and again Srila Prabhupada said minimum 16 ,at least 16 ,for Ekadasi we always learned and read Srila Prabhupada said minimum 25 rounds .
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita Antya-lila 3.137 purport:
"Surrender is the ultimate instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, but for one who cannot surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, it is better to chant the Hare Krishna mantra
constantly, under the instruction of Haridasa Thakura.
In our Krishna consciousness movement we are teaching our followers to chant the Hare Krishna mantra continuously on beads. Even those who are not accustomed to this practice
are advised to chant at least sixteen rounds on their beads so that they may be
trained.[...] Sada means "always." Haridasa Thakura says, nirantara nama lao:
"Chant the Hare Krishna mantra without stopping." [...] One's real duty is to
surrender to the lotus feet of Krishna, but if one is unable to do so, he should
adopt this process, as introduced by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His most
confidential servant, Namacarya Shrila Haridasa Thakura. This is the way to
achieve success in Krishna consciousness."
The Nectar of Devotion, Vrindavana, 20/10/1972:
"Just like we have asked our students to finish sixteen rounds chanting minimum. Sixteen rounds is nothing. In Vrindavana there are many devotees, they chant 120 rounds.
Like that. So sixteen rounds is the minimum. Because I know in the Western
countries it is difficult job to finish sixty-four rounds or 120 rounds, like
that. Minimum sixteen rounds. That must be finished."
I send Satsvarupa Maharaja my GBC proposal to encourage more devotees to chant 64 rounds and wrote me back :
Some of the Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas are known for chanting many rounds of Hare
Krishna mantra on beads. Foremost is Namacharya Haridasa Thakura, who chanted
three hundred thousand names a day. Raghunatha dasa Goswami used to chant a
hundred thousand names a day, and other Vaisnavas also spend great quantities of
time on their beads. When Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura formed his Gaudiya
Math, he required his initiates to chant sixty-four rounds a day—a feat which
takes quite a few hours. Nevertheless, he considered it so important that he
made it a requirement. When His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupada came to America, he saw that the young men and women were not capable
of such sustained chanting. There is a famous conversation recorded in Srila
Prabhupada-lilamrta between Prabhupada and his young disciple Mukunda dasa.
Prabhupada told Mukunda dasa that he should chant sixty-four rounds, and Mukunda
dasa said he could not do it. Prabhupada asked if he could chant thirty-two
rounds a day. Mukunda dasa said no, he could not do that either. Prabhupada then
asked him, “Can you do sixteen?” Mukunda agreed, and out of this informal
conversation came the institutional requisite for initiation into the Hare
Krishna movement, or ISKCON. Every initiated devotee must chant sixteen rounds.
Some devotees chant more than sixteen rounds; they have vows of seventeen,
eighteen, twenty, twenty-five or thirty-two rounds. Some devotees chant an extra
hour without counting. Some devotees chant sixty-four rounds on Ekadasi and
Is there any benefit in chanting larger numbers? Yes, there certainly is.
Prabhupada was right in ascertaining that his devotees could not chant
sixty-four rounds every day because they lacked the concentration. Also, he
assigned them so many other duties to do for active preaching. But on several
occasions, he remarked to his disciples in conversations that it would be good
if they could chant more than sixteen rounds. If you chant over sixteen rounds,
you feel like you are doing more than your bare duty. You get extra strength.
You go beyond the period of boredom at chanting “extra,” and enter a stage which
is actually advanced, just like the previous Acharyas who chanted many rounds.
So it is good advice to try to chant a little more than the bare sixteen and
make a higher quota for oneself, if at all possible. The benefit will be
self-evident in the good feelings and the strengthening that comes with the
I think his will be a typical ISKCON leader response however the fact remains Srila Prabhupada said : NOW YOU HAVE BEADS YOU SHOULD CHANT 64 ROUNDS
So Srila Prabhupadas Adi vani is 64 rounds, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Harinama Cintamani has written one should gradually increase ones rounds and get to 64 rounds of Japa daily
In Caitanya Bhagavata we can read Lord Caitanyas order to Chant 64 rounds daily :
shri gaurasundera balibena-"jini pratidina laksha-nama grahana karibena, tanharai grihe bhagavan sevita hana.
Shri Gaurasundera spoke as follows-"The Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts service only in the home of those who chant one hundred thousand names daily.
"jini laksha-nama grahana karena na, tahara nikate haite bhagavan naivedya svikara-dvara seva-saubhagya pradana karena na.
"Those who don't chant 100,000 names (64 rounds) daily, are never awarded the great fortune of rendering service to the Lord by offering Him naivedya (bhoga). This is because the Lord never accepts (svikara) their offerings.
"bhagavad-bhakta matrei pratyaha laksha-nama grahana karibena natuva vividha visaye asakta haiya bhagavad-seva karite asamartha haibena."
The Lord continued-"Those who consider themselves devotees of the Lord must compulsorily chant 100,000 names of Krishna everyday otherwise they will gradually but surely become attached to varieties of sense-objects and thus become incapable to rendering any kind of service to the Lord."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada comments
tajjanyai shri chaitanyadevera ashrita sakalai nyuna kalpe laksha-nama grahana kariya thakena. natuva gaurasunderera udeshya pradatta naivedya tini grahana karibena na.
(Shrila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada continues) "Therefore all the devotees who have taken shelter of Lord Chaitanyadeva perform the chanting of a minimum of 100,000 names of Krishna daily as their first and primary duty. Because they know that if they don't do so then Lord Gaurasundera will never accept the very bhoga (naivedya) which they cook for Him daily.
shri chaitanya bhaktagana abhaktera sahita sambhashana karena na. jini bhaktivyatita karma, jnana o anyabhilashara kathaya pradatta tahara sahita bandhutva karibe na.
"The devotees of Lord Shri Chaitanya never talk with such non-devotees. They never do friendship with those who are engaged in the cultivation of karma, jnana or other desires which are devoid of bhakti.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhu here writes on is a non devotee if one is not chanting 64 rounds daily
Mahanidhi Swami wrote:
"Following the perfect example of his predecessors, Shrila Prabhupada tried to introduce a daily standard of 64 rounds for his initiated disciples in the early days. The disciples responded to Prabhupada's order with silence and astonishment. They argued about the shortage of time, and some flatly rejected saying "impossible." Perhaps this is the time when Shrila Prabhupada uttered his famous quote, "Impossible is a word in a fool's dictionary." Out of compassion for his struggling followers, Shrila Prabhupada relented, and reduced the minimum daily quota to sixteen rounds. And that became the standard for initiation.
But why should we just chant sixteen rounds of japa and stop? Who wants to be considered "fallen" in the eyes of his grandfather? Stand up and fight. Maintain the high standard of our exalted spiritual tradition coming down from Lord Chaitanya. The merciful Lord of love, prema purusottama Shri Chaitanya, is so easily offering all perfections for a mere few rounds in trade. By the movement of a few fingers one can achieve the most valuable treasure in creation. The golden avatara of unlimited compassion, Lord Gauranga, is extending His soft sweet hand to eat from ours-purified by Tulasi's touch and a count of sixty-four.
Are we so lazy, fallen and foolish that we will let the divine magic pass by us while mumbling to ourselves, "Impossible! Impossible! Impossible!" Take strength from Shri Guru and Gaurahari and kick out the word "impossible" from your dictionary. The number of rounds "should be increased" from 16 a day, to 20, to 32 and then 64 per day. But never decrease the number of rounds. Sixty-four rounds is Mahaprabhu's magic number for peace, happiness and all spiritual perfection in love of God.
We should cry out to Krishna for mercy, and with great determination try to chant more and more. The instructions of Shrila Prabhupada are eternal. At any time or place, or in any circumstance one can sincerely surrender and become spiritually empowered to fulfill Prabhupada's order. "You must chant 64 rounds a day on your beads."
Our dear friend Aindra Prabhupada used to say you should chant 16 rounds and cry out to Sri Sri Radha Krsna with every holy name in the Mahamantra and when you have completed 16 rounds like this ,then you chant another set of 16 rounds in the same mood knowing that at every moment we can die .He chanted 120 rounds daily when I last met him in March of 2010 plus his daily chanting for hours daily in Kirtana the Mahamantra.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada about Chanting 64 Rounds, and Other Acaryas
22. "Bhagavan will not accept anything which is offered by a person who doesn’t chant Harinama one-hundred thousand times daily and such a person is considered a ‘patita’.
23. By sincerely endeavoring to chant Harinama without offenses and remaining fixed in chanting constantly, one’s offenses will fade and pure Harinama will arise on the tongue."
Srila Bhakti Pramod Puri Gosvami Maharaja about his guru, Om Vishnupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada, in his Vyasa-puja offering:
“Unfailingly as a daily vow, he used to chant one hundred thousand names of the Lord (64 rounds) and his instruction to all his disciples was to do likewise. Keeping this vow intact, he would allot his times incredibly to cover all his preaching schedules and literary work, being a source of inspiration to all who came in contact with him."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur in an article in The Gaudiya, 1934:
"Those who have chanted laksha harinama (100,000 Holy Names daily) for fifteen or twenty years should know such things (rasa-shastra, pastimes of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna). The beginners need not hear these topics or they will misunderstand."
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada states as quoted in the Art of Devotion and elsewhere:
“Everyone living in Gaudiya Math must make an effort to chant one lakh (100,000) of holy names (64 rounds of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra) daily. Otherwise, different types of material attachments may creep in one’s heart that will hamper one’s devotional service. In fact, the Lord does not accept food offerings from one who does not chant one lakh of holy names. One should balance his time so that he can finish one lakh of holy names per day and also perform his other allotted duties.”
“The name should be chanted keeping a careful count. One should try to increase this to one lakh of holy names daily. Not being able to do so means one is simply ‘fallen’. One should rise up from this state by chanting seriously.”
“One of the best ways to counteract bad association is to increase the chanting of the holy names. Atheists cannot present any impediments to your devotional service if you chant one lakh of nama everyday. Please try to adjust your time so you can chant one lakh (64 rounds) of holy names daily. Otherwise, one is considered fallen. One should attempt to transcend this fallen state.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur about chanting 64 rounds:
Sadhu-vritti, Sajjana Toshani 11/12:
tinei sad-grihastha-jini pratyah laksha-nama grahana karena, tanhara grihei shuddha-vaish nava-gana prasada grahana karibena.
“Only those devotees are sad-grihasthas (true and ideal householders) who chant 1,00,000 names of Krishna (64 rounds) daily. The pure devotees should accept prasada (foodstuffs) only in the homes of these sad-grihasthas and nowhere else
From Hari-nama-cintamani it is said:
mane habe-aja laksha nama ye kariba;
krame krame tina laksha nama ye smariba.
mahagraha habe citte namera sankhyaya;
acire jabe jadya sadhura kripaya.
“When one’s mind desires to chant and remember one hundred thousand holy names (64 rounds) daily and further desires to slowly increase it to three hundred thousand and when one’s mind becomes very attached and eager to complete the fixed number of rounds daily and pushes one to complete the sankhya everyday, then it is understood that very soon the laziness or apathy in chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra will vanish by the mercy of the devotees and one’s chanting will bring one the desired fruit of pure love for Krishna.”
Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji
The main teaching of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja is as follows:
“If you want to achieve perfection in Krishna consciousness, you must take a vow to chant a minimum of two hundred thousand or otherwise one hundred thousand of holy names every day, and you must execute that without fail. Before you retire at night you must finish this specific number of rounds, then you can achieve perfection in Krishna consciousness.”
From Narottama-vilasa 10th Vilasa:
"Rupamala, the queen of a distant country became so happy on getting initiation from Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura that she took a vow to take 100,000 Harinama (64 rounds of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra) daily. Seeing her determination, everyone began to sing the glory of Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura Mahashaya."
Shri Rasika-mangala, Eastern part, 6th Wave:
“When Shri Rasikananda was a child, he did not waste time playing games like other children. Rather, he would meditate on the Maha-mantra. His daily practice was to chant 100,000 Holy Names (64 rounds). He would refuse to accept his mother’s foodstuffs until he completed his above chanting.”