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The Magic of Sixty-four Rounds

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The Magic of Sixty-four Rounds


Sri Chaitanya's Wish - Sixty-four Rounds


By citing the following verses, Bhaktivinoda Thakura and the previous acharyas have proven that chanting at least one nirbandha (sixty-four rounds of japa) will give one all perfection. In addition, Lord Chaitanya will personally take food from the hand of one who chants sixty-four rounds daily.


prabhu bole-harinama ei mahamantra, iha japa giya sabe kariya nirbandha iha haite sarva-siddhi haibe sabara, sarvaksana bala ithe vidhi nahi ara


"Lord Chaitanya personally taught, 'Please happily hear form Me the maha-mantra of Lord Krishna's names:


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare


'Everyday chant one nirbandha of japa of this maha-mantra, and you will attain all perfections. Chant at any time and in any circumstance, because there are no other rules for chanting.'" (Cb. Madhya 23.75-78)


prabhu bale-jana 'laksesvara' bali kare? prati-dina laksa-nama ye grahana kare se janera nama ami bali 'laksesvara' tatha bhiksa amara, na yai anya ghara


The Lord replied: 'Do you know who is laksesvara? He is someone who chants one laksa, or one hundred thousand holy names everyday. I call such a person a laksesvara. I only take meals in that person's house, no one else.' (Cb. Antya 9.121-2)


Sarasvati Thakura on Sixty-four Rounds


"Everyone living in the Gaudiya Math must make an effort to chant one lakh (sixty-four rounds) of holy names 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 daily chant one lakh of holy names per day and also perform his other allotted duties." (Art of Pure Devotion)


"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." (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura)


64 Rounds - The ISKCON Standard


Following the perfect example of his predecessors, Srila Prabhupada tried to introduce a daily standard of 64 rounds for his initiated disciples in the early days of ISKCON. The disciples responded to Srila 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 Srila Prabhupada uttered his famous quote, "Impossible is a word in a fool's dictionary." Out of compassion for his struggling followers, Srila Prabhupada relented, and reduced the minimum daily quota to sixteen rounds. And that became the standard for initiation in ISKCON.


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 purushottama Sri Chaitanya, is so easily offering all perfections for a mere few rounds in trade. By the movement of 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 us by while mumbling to ourselves, "Impossible! Impossible! Impossible!" Take strength from Sri Guru and Gaurahari and kickout 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 daily rounds. Sixty -four rounds is Mahaprabhu's magic number of 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 and more. The instructions of Srila 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."


Here is a brief history of the transition from sixty-four rounds a day to sixteen:


"In 1967 at San Francisco, Srila Prabhupada asked me [Mukunda dasa], 'What is your definition of Krishna?' I said, 'Krishna is God. He is the Supreme Being. Our duty is to worship and serve Him.' Swamiji [srila Prabhupada] seemed fairly satisfied, and then he said, 'You must chant sixty-four rounds per day on your beads.'


"I was shocked at this and could not answer. I did not know if there was any need to answer. I just kept looking at Swamiji, and he looked at me. After sometime he said, 'Or at least you can chant thirty-two rounds a day.' Still silence. I considered it to be ery difficult to chant even sixteen rounds. I was wondering how I could possibly chant thirty-two rounds. After some time, Swamiji said, 'At the very least you must chant sixteen rounds every day.'" (Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta)


Hayagriva dasa described the same incident in Hare Krishna Explosion: "Now that you have beads," Swamiji says the next morning, "you should chant sixty-four rounds everyday.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 time.All right," Swamiji says, "Thrity-two rounds.Impossible," we say. "We'll never be able to do it. It's a way too much.All right," Swamiji says. "Sixteen rounds. No less."


"We have our students to finish sixteen rounds chanting minimum. Sixteen rounds is nothing. In Vrindavana there are many devotees that chant 120 rounds. So sixteen rounds is the minimum. Because I know in the western countries it is a difficult job to finish sixty-four rounds or 120 rounds. The minimum of sixteen rounds must be finished." (NOD Lecture 20/10/72)


Some years later in 1975, Srila Prabhupada again mentioned sixty-four rounds while explaining the need to increase the daily quota of Hare Krishna japa.


Prabhupada: "then he should try to chant Hare Krishna maha mantra. Instead of sixteen rounds, sixty-four rounds. That is the way. Sixty-four is the minimum. Otherwise Haridasa Thakura was chanting 300,000 names daily. 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 "I must be Krishna conscious fully." (SPC 14/5/75)


Lokanatha: Some devotees have fixed a different number than sixteen. Some are chanting twenty minimum or twenty-five.


Prabhupada: Yes. It should be increased. But 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 recommending twenty as a minimum.


Prabhupada: So who forbids? Who says that "Don't do it?" That is wanted. But because you cannot do it, therefore we have fixed up this minimum. Sankhyata asankhyata. Sankhyata means with a vow, numerical strength. And asankhyata means there is no limit. (SPC 10/11/75)


"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, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that unless one chants at least sixty-four rounds of japa (100,000 names), he is considered fallen (patita). According to his calculation, practically every one 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 Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is famous as patita-pavana, the deliverer of the fallen." (NOI mantra 5 p.)


A Practical Approach to Sixty-four Rounds

Srila Puri Maharaja once gave the author the following practical advice on chanting sixty-four rounds daily: "It is not hard to chant a lakh (100,000 names or sixty-four rounds) a day. It only takes four sittings a day of two hours each! Listen, you get up at four a.m., chant till 6 a.m. and you will have done sixteen rounds. Then do whatever, like bathing, puja, reading and taking a little prasadam. Then sit and chant 16 rounds before noon. That is 32 rounds by 12:00! Then sit down two more times and finish 32 rounds by evening. So it's easy. You only need four sittings of two hours each to finish 64 rounds a day. At most it takes only eight hours to chant 64 rounds. You still have sixteen hours left to do other things.


It may not be as easy as the Maharaja says to chant sixty-four rounds every day. But whenever we get the time or situation in our lives where we can , then certainly we should try our best to chant sixty-four rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare


- Excerpts from Srila Mahanidhi Swami's 'Art of Chanting Hare Krishna'.


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vancha-kalpa tarubhyas ca

krpa-sindhubhya eva ca

patitanam pavanebhyo

vaisnavebhyo namo namah


I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone, and THEY ARE FULL OF COMPASSION for the fallen conditioned souls.



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  • 2 years later...

I wondered, since I have had Radiology treatment round my neck, mouth and throat I have lost my saliva glands my mouth is constantly dry like the desert and i also experience a locking up of my jawmuscles including pain after chanting for an hour or so, i can only talk/chant for that time in one go, even if I pause and start again after maybe two hours its starts again ,just sooner and i have to stop again, it seems that the upper row of my teeth is dislocated from the lower part..so i work part time and do what i can. In these circumstances is it okay to listen lets say to Srila Prabhupadas chanting and chant together with Him in my mind, or simply chant in my mind? its obviously not the same but something.


Iwill never be able to chant 64 rounds or even 16 verbally, only in my mind and i would love being able to chant properly again.


I am just glad I got my ears to hear:)

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little question.. when 1 chant, 1 will listen to ones voice and the mantra.. instead of chanting, can one constantly listen to kirtans instead? or is it not the same thing? the importence of hearing the mantra?

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Re: The Magic of Sixty-four Rounds


Awesome! This is the standard to aspire for.


In a practical sense, by the time I've finished sixteen straight-through rounds, I feel warmed-up, like my mind is just beginning to focus well, but I've done the required, and am too lazy to continue.

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Govinda Das: The importance of your chanting is in your developing your individual relationship with Krishna. You can hear others for inspiration, of course.


Sanatan: Why is 16 the required, after which you can stop? That's the minimum -- when people wouldn't get 64 together, Prabhupada prescribed 16 rounds and "service all day long". That is the minimum. Otherwise, go chant more! Prabhupada didn't mean "minimum 16" as "16 done and then I'll flip on the TV". :smash:


In deeper terms, the "required quota" is only filled when you have attained success in chanting; before that, you're just warming up, even if you chant three lakhs (192 rounds) a day. The feeling, "I have not chanted as much as I should have, nor as well as I should have" is at the heart of progress. The thoughts, "I have chanted enough now" and "I have chanted well enough" eliminate the scope for advancement in a grand number of ways.

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Govinda Das: The importance of your chanting is in your developing your individual relationship with Krishna. You can hear others for inspiration, of course.



that what i thought :)


better to ask then speculate :P

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Can you give a brief explanation on japa that is 'upamsu' (muttered)...?

It's like this: umummuumamamaummmm :P


The word upAMzu means "whispering" or "in a low voice", as well as "secretly".


In upAmzu-japa, the chanter moves his tongue and lips, but this does not result in anything very audible. You may or may not exhale through the mouth; doing that would cause a soft murmuring sound, activating your vocal cords.


I personally prefer to always inhale and exhale through the nose for added clarity of mind. Never inhale through the mouth!

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Somehow, i think that increasing nama japa also necessitates increasing the personal sacrifice that one must accept.

Like Namacarya Srila Haridas Thakur, he accepted extreme self-effacement and humility to make his nama bhajan authentic.


Increasing the number of rounds with a mood to enjoy the Holy Name or for the purpose of personal salvation will not produce the desired result.


Increasing the number of rounds with a desire to enjoy Krishna or experience ananda and rasam will never succeed.


Nama bhajan must be tempered with self-sacrifice, self-effacement and self-abnegation.

Without these things we can chant 24-7 and never attain perfection.


If the guru says to decrease the number of rounds and increase service duties, then that is the key to success.


If the guru wants less rounds and more work, then chanting more rounds will never produce the effect we desire.


The spiritual master will come to you at the time of death and take you back home, back to Godhead is he so pleases.

It's all a matter of pleasing the spiritual master enough that he will come and deliver us at the time of death.


The number of rounds is not as important as pleasing the spiritual master according to his wishes.

If he wants less rounds and more service - then that is the only way to get his mercy.


We cannot manufacture our own process.

We MUST accept the process given my our saviour and guru.


If our guru is not our saviour, then he is NOT guru.


I know for certain that Srila Prabhupada has taken fallen disciples back to Godhead. He did this out of his mercy because of the service they performed for him.

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For example;

Sudama Goswami?

He fell down.

he died from aids.

Srila Prabhupada delivered him back to Godhead.

I know this by revelation.

True, Sudama did have to chant 64 rounds in a day before Srila Prabhupada took him back to his home, back to Godhead.

But, it only took Sudama a few days to finish up his business and go back to Srila Prabhupada's home - back to Godhead.

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when Sudama passed away he left his body and went to the temple room in L.A. and bowed down before the murti of Srila Prabhupada.


Srila Prabhupada appeared through his murti and asked Sudama if he was ready to go back to Godhead. Sudama said "yes Srila Prabhupada". Srila Prabhupada then told Sudama that according to his spiritual master anyone who chants less than 64 rounds a day is considered fallen and that when Sudama could chant 64 rounds in one day then Srila Prabhupada would take him back home, back to Godhead.


Srila Prabhupada then handed Sudama a set of japa beads to chant on.

Sudama then played around for a few days and visited a few old friends in his ghost body.

He came to my home also. (I knew Sudama Maharaja)

After a few days of goofing around, Sudama sat down in the temple room in L.A. and chanted 64 rounds in one sitting.

Srila Prabhupada then took him by the hand and they flew through the sky to Vrindavan, India.

As Sudama noticed they were entering Vrindavan, India - he soon realized that his was back home back to Godhead in his gopi form and was washed clean of his material ego and all his sinful life.


the end.

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To understand the magic of 64 rounds one need only to chant 64 rounds. It's a world where surrender becomes second nature.


The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. Such a satisfying dessert. Never look back.


Yesterday I listened all day to Srila Prabhupadas chanting and in the same time run a slideshow of Radha Krishna Pics & Srila Prabhupada on my comp nonstop as well as chanting sometimes loud and sometimes inside, and as a result I became more then very happy and it is true, at such a time surrender is the only nature.



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chanting 64 rounds a day takes about 8 hours.

In other words, chanting 64 rounds a day is a full time job.


If we take chanting as seriously as we take our careers and jobs, then we can chant 64 rounds a day.


I am not there yet.


I have chanted 50 rounds a day regularly for a few months at a time.


I was feeling almost like liberated soul at that time.

I didn't feel like I was of this material world.

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With a bit of practice, it can take much less than eight hours, too. Most sadhakas I talk with who do it focused at one sitting say it takes three to four hours, maximum five. They do mostly upamsu and manasika. Even in vacika, one can do one of the two others when inhaling. The technique of chanting where chanting is stopped during inhalation makes the flow of names interrupted and takes a good deal of more time. (About 1/3 more -- 8 hours becomes 5½ hours.)


Lokanatha Gosvami instructed Narottama Das Thakur (Prema-vilasa, ch. 11):


narottama lakSa nAma laya saGkhya kari |

nAma laile gaurAGgera sarva-zakti dhari ||


"Narottama! Take a hundred thousand names while counting; taking the names, you shall bear all the powers of Gauranga."


Hearing such words, who would not be curious and eager to experience this?

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