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Chant RAM or RAMA?

Prabhupada-Chants-on-Devotees-Beads

 

Pusta Krsna das

“As Srila Prabhupada’s secretary and more than once in any case, I sat before Srila Prabhupada chanting my japa. Sometimes we hear people, and myself, saying “Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare”. Srila Prabhupada would stop me and (more than once) say to me: “Chant the entire mantra” and he would proceed to do so. It is Ra-ma.
(As told by Pusta Krishna das ACBSP)

 

As Pusta Krishna Prabhu witnessed Srila Prabhupada’s correction, in our chanting  we want to please the spiritual master and chant the mantra correctly.

Another important point to consider in deciding if we should chant Ram or Rama is if in our chanting we do not say the whole RAMA but just say RAM without the last “A” sound then it will not be a 32 syllable mantra.

Throughout the vedas the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra is referred to as the 32 syllable mantra.

Here are a few references:

 

The Ananta-samhita states:

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare |hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ||
sodazaitani namani dvatrimzad varnakani hi |kalau yuge maha-mantrah sammato jivatarane ||
varjayitva tu namaitad durjanaih parikalpitam |chandobaddham susiddhanta viruddham nabhyaset padam ||
tarakam brahma-namaitad brahmana gurunadina |kalisantaranadyasu zruti-svadhigatam hareh ||
praptam zri brahma-zisyena zri naradena dhimata |namaitad-uttamam zrauta-paramparyena brahmanah ||
utsrjyaitan-maha-mantram ye tvanyat kaepitam padam |mahanameti gayanti te zastra-guru langhanah ||
tattva-virodha-saoprktam tadrzam daurjanam matam |sravatha pariharyam syadatma-hitarthina sada ||
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare |hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ||

“‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama RamaRama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ — This sixteen-name, thirty-two syllable mantrais the maha-mantra in the age of Kali by which all living beings can bedelivered. One should never abandon chanting this maha-mantra and take toother so-called purificatory processes which are practiced by rascals, orengage in chanting other metrical compositions of the name of Krishna thatare against the pure conclusions of the scriptures, or are filled with rasabhasa.
About this divinely spiritual maha-mantra, which delivers one from materialexistence, the original guru, Lord Brahma, has said, kali-santararadi srutite, ‘Thesrutis have declared this mantra to be the best means of deliverance in the ageof Kali’. Having all heard this from Brahma, the sons and disciples of Brahma,beginning with Narada, all accepted the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and,having meditated on it, attained perfection.”

 

 

In Sri Radha Tantra it is said:

srnu matarmahamaye visva-bija-svarupini | hari namno mahamaye krama vad suresvari ||

“Hear me, O mother Mahamaya, seed of the universe personified, mistress of the gods! Please explain the sequence of Hari-nama.”

hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare | hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare ||
dvatrim sadaksaranyeva kalau namani sarvadam | etanmantram suta srestha prathamam srnuyannarah ||

Tripura-devi said: “O best among sons! The maha-mantra for Kali-yuga bestows all perfection. This maha-mantra, is composed of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables: ’Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’. Therefore, a person who desires his own welfare should first hear this Hare Krsna maha-mantra from a bonafide spiritual master.”

 

 

In the Padma Purana it is stated:

dvatrimsad-aksaram mantram nama-sodasakanvitam |
prajapan vaisnavo nityam radha-krsna-sthalam labhet ||

“Those Vaisnavas who always chant the maha-mantra composed of sixteen names divided into thirty-two syllables (Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) attain Sri Vrndavana, the abode of Sri Radha-Krsna.”

 

 

In the Sri Caitanya Bhagavata (1.14.143-147) Srila Vrindavana Das Thakura describes Lord Caitanya’s instructions to Tapana Misra as follows:

sadhya-sadhana-tattva ye kichu sakala |
hari-nama-sagkirtane milibe sakala || 143 ||
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam |
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha || 144 ||
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare |
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare || 145 ||
ei zloka nama bali laya maha-mantra |
zola-nama batriza-aksara ei tantra || 146 ||
sadhite sadhite yabe premagkura habe |
sadhya-sadhana-tattva janiba se tabe || 147 ||

“Everything is accomplished by Hari-nama sankirtana, including the goal of life (sadhya) and the means for its attainment (sadhana). In this age of Kali, the only means for deliverance is the chanting of the names of Hari. There is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way. ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.’ This verse of names is called the maha-mantra. It contains sixteen names of the Lord, consisting of thirty-two syllables. Chanting this mantra again and again will awaken the sprout of prema within the heart, and thus the goal of life and the means for its attainment is understood.”

 

 

Hopefully this article sheds some light on weather we should chant Ram or Rama.

 

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  1. andrew marks
    andrew marks01-29-2014

    you are of course correct. i can only comment that when i chant WITH Prabhupada’s japa tape—it comes out “running together” at least to my “musician’s ears” and i also understand that i am not SP! i also want to improve my chanting so thank you! also, my personal belief is that my chanting quality is most improved when i am avoiding offending others—period. end of story. thank you for the post prabhu.

    ys,

    aghari das

  2. RS
    RS02-26-2014

    I am confused. Srila Prabhupada chanted RAM. We can hear it clearly in His japa recordings. But here He is suggesting to chant RAMA, according to Pusta Krishna das ACBSP. Please clear this huge doubt.

    • Krishna Path
      Krishna Path02-26-2014

      Hi RS, good question!
      In the article itself it is mentioned “Another important point to consider in deciding if we should chant Ram or Rama is if in our chanting we do not say the whole RAMA but just say RAM without the last “A” sound then it will not be a 32 syllable mantra.
      Throughout the vedas the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra is referred to as the 32 syllable mantra.”
      Then the article gives Vedic references to back this up.

      The most important thing is the instruction of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada has instructed us to chant Rama, and that is also backed up by the Vedas themselves, which also instruct us to chant RAMA when we chant the Maha Mantra. Our hearing of Srila Prabhupada may be faulty, we are conditioned souls with the four defects, such as: imperfect senses, we commit so many mistakes, we are illusioned and we have the propensity to cheat.

      Take for example offering food to the deity. We offer Bhoga to the deity and we are told that the deity eats it, but yet we see with our imperfect senses (the eyes) that the foodstuffs are still there after the deity has eaten it. How are we to understand, it is inconceivable. We must simply accept it because there is no way for our imperfect senses or mind to understand. According to our mundane logic we will say “No, Krishna has not eaten, the food is still there.”

      So similarly how can we trust our ears we must simply follow the instructions of the spiritual master.

      The instructions of the spiritual master and the Veda’s are there to guide us. Due to being conditioned souls all we can do is simply follow the instructions of Srila Prabhupada as are given in his original authorized books.

      If we try to change anything, or speculate with our imperfect senses and mind then we are lost.

      This is another reason to only read the original books. Because the books that have been edited by conditioned souls with imperfect senses are like milk touched by the lips of the serpent – it has a poisonous effect.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ