Why Chant Loudly?

Why should we chant the Hare Krishna mantra loudly? And why shouldn’t we show our beads to others?
 —Ramapriya Govinda Dasa

Our reply: We can learn about the art of chanting from Namacarya Srila Haridasa Thakura, who was accepted as the authority for chanting Hare Krishna by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In one conversation with Lord Caitanya (Cc. Antya 3.67-72), Srila Haridasa Thakura mentions that the loud chanting of Hare Krishna mahamantra not only enters the chanter’s ear-holes but also those of millions of living entities that are around. Loud chanting is a simple way to selflessly benefit others while benefitting oneself. Living entities in sub-human species like plants, insects, birds, animals etc. also benefit by someone else’s chanting if it is audible to them. Thus, loud chanting is preferable to silent chanting. Only in situations where there is a possibility of severe criticism due to someone’s offensive mentality do we choose to chant softly rather than audibly.

We chant on beads within our bead bags primarily to protect our beads from getting unclean, not to hide our beads from others. Also, we show our respect for the beads (since they help us chant Lord Krishna ’s name) when we keep them safe in a bead-bag just like we keep our most valuable possessions in a safe place. (Srila Prabhupada, conversation with a Jesuit, May 19,1975 in Melbourne).

Keeping your chanting beads a secret is one of the five things to be kept secret as per Hari-bhakti-vilasa. This injunction is also to treat the beads as sacred since the beads signify our relationship with Lord Krishna and therefore we should carefully protect our beads.

Insufficient Protein

My five-year-old son doesn’t want to eat any non-vegetarian items. I support him in this. But my wife feels that this will not ensure proper protein intake for him. Do vegetarian foods not contain sufficient protein?
 —Sougata Bhattcharya, by email

Our reply: Those who suggest eating meat products for protein intake neglect the fact that along with the protein, excess cholesterol and animal fat are also ingested into the human system. According to many doctors, this causes different fatal diseases. Also, since meat industry is a business, to keep it profitable there is administration of different drugs and antibiotics to the animals to keep them healthy even in unclean and congested environments. Regular consumption of meat from such animals leads to resistance to antibiotics administered to human beings later in case of (human) diseases.

Meat production is also responsible for the release of greenhouse gases leading to global warming. Also, it leads to a lot of water pollution.

The protein needs of an average human being can be easily met through a lacto-vegetarian diet available in milk, lentils, grains or nuts. Too much protein when consumed is not only wasted by means of excretion but also ends up damaging the body by creating nitrogenous waste that burdens the kidneys.

From a spiritual perspective, meat products keep us away from the Supreme Lord by being unfit to be offered to the Lord.

Simple contemplation on these points should help your wife understand that a meat-based diet is not necessary for your child.

Peaceful Quotes

I receive many non-spiritual quotes on social media, and they give me peace of mind. Is there anything wrong in meditating on these quotes?
 —Janardan S

Our reply: When we know what the real goal of life is, we earnestly try every moment to achieve that goal. We put every bit of energy to minimize the gap within minimum time.

Some quotes being freely distributed on social media might give us peace of mind. If that is their only contribution, they can be helpful in reaching the real goal of life, which is permanent and unmotivated love for Lord Krishna . However, if these quotes become our primary meditation because of the peace that they give us, these quotes have a potential to divert us from our understanding of the goal of life. Also, very soon our firm conviction to achieve Krishna -prema may also get diluted by pseudo-spiritual principles prevalent in the world today. Soon, we might treat any person who makes even an intermittent reference to God as a saint without evaluating his foundational message and standards of purity. We might treat any philosophy that has some distant reference to God as bona fide without evaluating the premises and the professed goals of such philosophies. This situation is extremely precarious just as we see in the present times when people have been cheated not just in social, financial and cultural transactions but also in the matter of religion.

In the name of becoming “broad-minded,” we must not accept dilution. “Broad-minded” means that we evaluate everything with an open mind but we don’t compromise the standards set by the acaryas.

Scriptures offer many verses just suitable for our meditation. If we really wish to achieve love for Krishna , we shall hear from authorized saints in parampara & we are ready to overcome any obstacle to come close to Krishna .

The above answers were written by Nanda Dulal Dasa.