Can the Hare Krishna mahamantra be chanted in any tune?

We have been told that maha-mantra is the highest of all sound vibrations. Sometimes we start chanting maha-mantra in Bollywood or Hollywood tune. So will that give same benefit as we chant normally? And sometimes all the day long we chant mantra in that tune only. Is it beneficial?

Answer by Niraj Bidawatka:

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam, kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha: It is stated that one should chant the holy name. There is no specific prescription in what tune one should chant. The chanting of the holy names will bestow the greatest benefit, provided they are chanted without any offences.

It is stated in Srila Rupa Goswami’s Padyavali,

sakrid api parigeetam shraddhaya helaya va

bhrgu vara nara matram tarayet krishna nama

The holy name of Krishna is competent to deliver one from material nescience notwithstanding whether it is chanted respectfully or mockingly. So even if one chants mockingly or in some Bollywood or Hollywood tune, one will surely get the results, provided one is free from offences. The Holy Name will act.

Devotees chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in Vrindavana, the eternal abode of Krishna

Devotees chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in Vrindavana, the eternal abode of Krishna

Now, we see that many sahajiyas and professional Bhagavat reciters also chant the Holy Name in Bollywood style tunes. Such sahajiyas and professional reciters do not get the mercy of Holy Name because they are acute offenders to the holy name. Such offenders diligently maintain their attachment to material sense enjoyment and hence they do not get any spiritual benefit. As long as one is attached to material sense enjoyment, one will not attain any benefit even if one chants in the traditional tunes of the great Acharyas.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu states bahu janma yadi kare shravana kirtana / tabhu ta na paya krsna pade prema dhan: “Even if chants for millions of years, one will not attain love for the lotus feet of Krishna.” This statement of Mahaprabhu is applicable to all the offenders of the holy name, who although make a gregarious show of chanting regularly, but still maintain attachment to their worldly prestige, social position and mundane assets. Such offenders have no aspiration or inclination to give up their attachment for worldly sense pleasures. Such persons cannot attain krishna-prema even if they chant for millions of births.

murkho vadati vishnaya pandito vadati vishnave

ubhayasya phalam tulyam bhava grahi janardana

So Krishna is bhaav grahi – He sees the emotion and feelings and does not pay any attention to any grammatical or such other flaws in our chanting. If we are sincere and ready to undergo spiritual reforms in our life, the Holy Name will act – it does not matter how it is chanted.

But the Holy Name will not act if we want to remain attached to material sense gratification. You will find that the sahajiyas hold regular krishna nama sankirtan but such sahajiyas do not get any mercy of the Holy Name because their sankirtan is simply a show to invite public adoration. Such sahajiyas do not want to leave their prestigious material position as they are attached to mundane sense enjoyment. Even Lakshmi devi, the Goddess of Fortune, was not allowed entry in Vrindavana because She was not ready to give up Her prestigious body as the Goddess of Fortune.

So if one is innocent, free of offences and ready to give up dirty material possessions, the Holy Name of Krishna will surely act even if it chanted in Hollywood or Bollywood style tunes.

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