Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The eighteen syllable Gopal (Krishna) mantra, highlighted in the Gopal Tapani Upanisad, is the actual diksha mantra for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas. In Brhad Bhagavatamrita, Sri Sanatana Goswami reveals the inconceivably amazing power and effect of the Gopal mantra.

In his narrative of an archetypal, young Vrajavasi cowherd named Gopa-kumar, Sri Sanatana Goswami explains that this simple, uneducated boy attained the topmost spiritual perfection just by chanting the Gopal-mantra received from his Guru.

Sitting on the same asana in the same place, his Govardhan home, and in the same body, Gopa-kumar, by his diksha mantra-purified mind and consciousness, attained and experienced many positions and realms or regions of both material and spiritual reality, wherein one lives for thousands or even millions of years!

Commenting on his own verse (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.9), Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “Gopa-kumar did not die, or give up his present body to accept another body. Rather, his young cowherd body became so refined and pure that he was able to “travel” to all these different regions or planes of reality, and finally enter the supreme spiritual abode.”

During his galactic spiritual odyssey, Gopa-kumar encountered the lokas of Svarga, Tapa, Satya, Shiva, Visnuloka and sakshad darshan of Sri Lakshmi Narayan.

At last, by the mercy of Sri Guru and the power of chanting his diksha Gopal-mantra, Gopa-kumar attained his cherished spiritual perfection. He received an eternal, blissful spiritual body (siddha svarupa/deha) of a cowherd boy, and entered Goloka Vrndavana.

Bhagavan Govinda Gopal greeted Gopa-kumar and locked him in a loving embrace of eternal fraternity. Now, Gopal, Gopa-kumar and all the boys will play and sport together for time eternal in the forests, rivers, lakes and pasture lands of the happy realm of Nanda Vraj!

The most significant point is that Gopa-kumar achieved all these phenomenal experiences, realizations and realities of consciousness even though he received practically no association or personal instructions from his diksha Guru.

Gopa-kumar himself explains, “I received diksha in the Gopal-mantra, but then my Guru, overwhelmed in bliss, immediately went away. I didn’t have the slightest idea how to chant the mantra, mantra –katham –sadhaniya, gyatam –na –kinchana.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.1.122-24)

Sri Sanatana Goswami comments: “Just by the power of Guru and chanting his diksha Gopal-mantra, Gopa-kumar’s mind became pure and free from lust, envy and greed, and he developed deep faith, japena –chitta –shuddha, sraddha –ajayata.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.1.126)

In these days of world-class Gurus, most disciples get practically no association or personal teachings from their Gurus. The example of Gopa-kumar’s full faith in Guru, and his daily diksha mantra chanting is most encouraging for all Krishna bhaktas.

Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “Even without association of one’s diksha Guru, just by a few words directly heard from Guru, and also by the inspirations and indications received indirectly from Guru, a disciple will learn all the necessary spiritual truths needed for perfection, kinchin –mukhena –sanketan –abhyavedayat.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.5)

Ah, what astonishing power Sri Guru possesses! Like the diksha mantra, which has unlimited power because it is non-different from Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Sri Guru also has unlimited power because the Guru is being directly blessed and fully empowered by Sri Krishna, Sri Guru and one’s own Guru parampara.

Thus Sri Sanatana Goswami establishes the astonishingly inconceivable and unlimited power of the Gopal diksha mantra so kindly bestowed upon a disciple by one’s most merciful and loving eternal master, Sri Guru.

At their last meeting, Gopa-kumar’s Guru blessed him saying, “You are dear to me so I have given you everything I have. By the power of the Gopal diksha mantra you will understand and attain everything on your own, svayam –gyasyasi –lapsyase.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.6)

Sri Guru ki jai! Gopal-mantra ki jai! Sri Guru diksha ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

For the last 500 years, Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas have directed their students to chant Hare Krishna nama japa while remembering, even in a small way, the eternal Vraja lila of Radha and Krishna.

This practice is called japa with lila-smaran. The Gaudiya Vaisnava mahajanas have written several famous books to acquaint sadhakas with Radha-Govinda Yugala’s eight-fold daily pastimes i.e. asta-kaliya-lila in the spiritual realm, i.e. Krishnainika Kaumudi, Govinda Lilamrita, Krishna Bhavanamrta and Bhavanasara Sangraha.

However, we have often heard followers of Sri Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada repeatedly tell all newcomers and each other, “Srila Prabhupada said, ‘No need to think of Krishna’s lilas. Just chant japa and HEAR THE NAME!’”

Agreed! Each of Sri Krishna’s transcendental eternal names is a complete, totally pure cintamani gem that will fulfil all desires. But if one examines Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, one finds that right from the very beginning of his spiritual mission, Prabhupada was directing disciples to chant japa AND MEDITATE ON KRISHNA LILA!

Not only that, but in his BBT KRSNA BOOK published in 1969, Srila Prabhupada even encourages his disciples to practice asta-kaliya-lila smaran by recommending they READ the classic Radha-Krishna asta-kaliya lila grantha, “Krishna Bhavanamrita” written by the great Vraja rasik Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada.

The following direct quotes of Srila Prabhupada give very clear instructions about the practice and benefits of lila smaran while chanting Hare Krishna nama japa.

51 years ago in 1968, a disciple asked, “Srila Prabhupada, is it offensive to think of Krishna’s pastimes while chanting?” Srila Prabhupada: “You should know that it is not offensive, but rather IT IS REQUIRED!” (bbt folio: Letter, 4Dec.1968)

While commenting on the Srimad Bhagavatam “gopi yugal-gita”, Srila Prabhupada said, “By constantly CHANTING the Hare Krishna mantra AND REMEMBERING the transcendental pastimes of Krishna, one can be fully in Krishna consciousness and thus make his life sublime and fruitful.” (bbt folio: KRSNA BOOK ch.35)

Now regarding the doubt, “Is it bonafide to read asta-kaliya-lila books like Govinda Lilamrita and Bhavanasara Sangraha”, Srila Prabhupada said, “Devotees can remain absorbed in Krishna thought by reading such books as Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada’s “Krishna Bhavanamrita”, which is full with Krishna’s pastimes. (bbt folio: KRSNA BOOK 46)

Some devotees will respond to these quotes by preaching here and there, “Ok, that’s fine. But only very advanced pure devotees are qualified to read such books. We are just neophytes full of anarthas. So we should just read Bhagavad-gita and chant Hare Krishna.”

But what about the instructions of Srila Prabhupada? What about the teachings in his books? And what about the fact that Radha-Krishna’s immaculately pure and transcendental intimate pastimes have such power and mercy that Shukdev Goswami says (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39) that even gross materialists, non-devotees, will attain para bhakti i.e. the supreme form of Krishna bhakti by hearing Radha-Krishna’s Rasa Lila?

vikriditam -vraja-vadhubhir -idam -ca -visnoh
sraddanvito -nusrnuyad -atha -varnayed -yah
bhaktim -param -bhagavati -pratilabhya -kamam
hrd-rogam -asv -apahinoty -acirena -dhirah

“Anyone who faithfully hears or describes Sri Krishna’s playful affairs with the young gopis of Vraja will attain para bhakti, the highest form of pure Krishna devotion i.e. Vraja madhurya rasa; quickly destroy lust, the disease of the heart, and immediately become steady, pure and saintly.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39)

Srila Prabhupada: “If one hears Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis, which seem to be lusty affairs, the lusty desires in his heart, which constitute the heart disease of the conditioned soul, will be vanquished, and he will become a most exalted devotee of Krishna.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.1.30)

Now please consider this. What follows is a most astonishing instruction wherein Srila Prabhupada gives the SECRET OF SUCCESS in spiritual life.

In 1968, Srila Prabhupada sent the following letter to a former “hippie” turned disciple who was deeply involved with all the illicit acts so popular in America in the 1960-1970’s.

In this letter, which basically is a teaching or instruction for every devotee in Kali-yuga, Srila Prabhupada not only agrees with the Bhagavat siddhanta cited above, but he is practically endorsing the practice of reading about Radha Krishna’s transcendental romantic affairs as the “SECRET OF SUCCESS IN SPIRITUAL LIFE”!

Srila Prabhupada said, “Another secret of success is that when one is very much sexually disturbed he should THINK of Lord KRISHNA’S PASTIMES WITH THE GOPIS, and he WILL FORGET his SEX URGE. To think of Krishna’s pastimes with Gopis, but not to try to imitate.” (bbt folio: SPLetter 8Nov1968)

Sri Sri Radha Krishna Rasa Lila ki jai! Jai Sri Radhe!

Jai Srila Prabhupada!

The conclusion is that it’s perfectly all right and recommended to mix japa chanting with lila smaran, and thereby quickly become love-filled, pure and eligible to relish Krishna’s Vraja madhurya.

What follows is a summary of Radha-Govinda Yugala’s asta-kaliya-lila for devotees who want a sprinkling of asta-kaliya-lila in their nama japa, but don’t have the time to patiently hear and read the wonderful lila books of our acharyas like Govinda Lilamrita.

  1. Late Night Pastimes (nishant-lila 336-6 am)

Fearing the imminent sunrise, Vrndadevi orders some parrots to sing sweetly to awaken Radha-Madhava. A refreshing, flower-scented wind wafts through the kunja. With charming calls, the cuckoos, parrots, peahens and peacocks praise Priya-Priyatama’s pastimes.

The birds sing, “O Vrajaraja-nandana! O Nikunjeshvari! We want to see You, so please arise!” Although Lila Yugala awaken from the sweet chirping, They tightly embrace again and fall asleep, weary from amorous play. The more Vrndadevi tries to waken Radha-Madhava, the more They drowsily pretend to sleep because They don’t want to separate. As a last resort, Radha’s old pet she-monkey Kakkhati cries out, “Jatila! Jatila!”.

Everyone jumps up in fear of Radha’s mother-in-law, Jatila, and scrambles out of the kunja. The sakhi/manjaris then enter the kunja to redress Radha-Madhava and conceal the signs of Their loving intimacies. Yugala Bihari joke each other as Lalita-sakhi performs mangal arati. Then Krishna, Radha and the gopis run to Their respective homes. Nishant lila is also called kunja-bhanga lila.

  1. Sunrise Pastimes (pratah-lila 6-836)

Radha-Krishna lie in their beds in Nandagrama and Yavata. Seeing Radhika burning in the fire of Shyam’s separation, Sri Rupa and Tulasi manjari comfort Her and sustain Radha’s life. Yashoda and Paurnamasi rouse Krishna, and Jatila and Mukhara, Radha’s Nanny, rouse Radha from Her slumber.

The friendly sakhi Shyamala comes to cheer up Radha with sweet memories of Her times with Shyam. The sakhi/manjaris then bathe, dress and ornament Srimati so beautifully that Radha wants to immediately run to Krishna to please His admiring eyes.

Radhika and Her sakhi entourage then travel to Nandagram to cook Krishna’s breakfast. Kishori cooks and supervises 100 different stoves in preparing a variety of tasty, nourishing dishes for Krishna. Naughty Madhava accosts Swamini on the path and many hilarious pastimes ensue.

When Yashoda Ma stirs Shyam and sees scratches on His chest she sadly says, “Lala’s body is softer than lotus petals. So why have the pesky gopas hurt my tender boy by wrestling frivolously? Ha Hanta! Hanta! What can I do to stop this?”

Out of love for His mother, Krishna quickly jumps out of bed and runs to the goshala to milk the cows. Then Krishna, enjoys a wonderful joking breakfast with Madhumangala and the boys, and goes out for go-charana lila. Sri Radha and Her confidential sakhis take Krishna’s madhura prasadi and return to Yavata.

  1. Morning Pastimes (purvahna-lila 836-1048)

Sri Krishna and the gopas take the cows to the forest to pasture and play together. Nanda Baba, Yashoda Ma and other Vrajavasis follow Krishna and repeatedly say good bye, fearing even a moment’s separation from their most beloved Nandulal.

Using a clever excuse, Krishna, restless and eager to meet Radha, slips away from the sakhas at Manasi Ganga and rushes off to Radha-kunda with Subala and Madhumangala. Radha waits in Yavata for a sakhi to bring news of Krishna before going out to Surya Kunda for Surya puja.

  1. Midday Pastimes (madhyahna-lila 1048-1536)

For six hours in the day and night, Radha-Krishna enjoy a continuous variety of pastimes together full of blissful intimacies. They wander, joke, sing, laugh, swing, swim, picnic, gamble, drink, steal, worship, and dive deeply in the fathomless ocean of Their ecstatic love sports.

  1. Late Afternoon Pastimes (apurvahna-lila 1536-1800)

After Surya puja, Radhika goes home, bathes, dresses and cooks five special sweets for Krishna on Yashoda’s request. Sriji steals a sweet and joyful glimpse of Shyam as He passes through Her village with His cows and boys returning to Nandagram.

Krishna lovingly greets Nanda and Yashoda, who cleanses the dust from His face with the end of her sari before performing Krishna’s arati. Then Yashoda Ma breast-feeds Lala and sends Him off to milk His beloved cows.

  1. Evening Pastimes (shayan-lila 1800-2024)

Yashoda then attentively bathes Krishna, dresses Him in beautiful clothes, and fondles Krishna in the many ways mothers do. Krishna milks the cows, and Yashoda lovingly feeds Him the sweets sent by Radha.

The sakhi/manjaris witness these lilas and immediately bring Krishna’s food remnants and the good news to Radha’s eager ears. Then Sri Radha enjoys Krishna’s nectar-lips prasadi along with Her confidential sakhis.

  1. Evening Pastimes (pradosh-lila 2024-2248)

Radharani sends more cooked foods to Nandagram. Yashoda affectionately greets Radhika’s maidservants and then serves Radha’s delicacies to Kanai Balai, and other family members. Krishna enjoys an evening of entertainment in the palace theatre featuring recitals, music, dramas, gymnastic feats and magic shows.

Yashoda Ma sings a lullaby as Krishna pretends to fall asleep. Then Shyam secretly slips away from the palace, and runs into the dark forest to meet His sweetheart Srimati Radharani.

Yashoda gives Krishna’s prasadi to the manjaris who take it to Sri Radha and inform Her of the evening’s meeting place. Radha’s kinkaris tell Her all about Krishna relishing Her preparations, and then prepare Radha for abhisara, love journey to Krishna in the kunja.

  1. Midnight Pastimes (ratri-lila 2248-336)

The love anxious, Playful Pair Radha-Madhava finally meet under the soothing moon of night. Their dearest sakhi/manjaris worship and expertly serve Them in many tasteful ways. Krishna and all the gopis sport the night away with forest rambling, singing, rasa dancing, Yamuna bathing, forest snacking, honey-nectar drinking, resting and enjoying confidentially.

Radha’s loyal and dedicated kinkari maidservants serve Radha-Madhava by fanning, offering flavourful betel tambula, massaging Their feet and so on. Finally, Rasika Yugal drift off to sleep, and enjoy tender hugs and kisses in Their svapna-vilasa -amritam.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe Shyam! Radha-Krishna asta-kaliya-lila ki jai!

In closing, we offer you Sri Jiva Goswami’s beautiful prayer “Yugalashtakam”, crying out to the wonderfully kind and merciful eternal Loving Pair, Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

1) Radha is made of Krishna prema and Hari is made of Radha prema. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

2) Radha is Krishna’s treasure and Hari is Radha’s treasure. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

3) Radha pervades Krishna’s prana, and Hari pervades Priya’s prana. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

4) Radha is completely melted into Krishna, and Hari is completely melted into Radha. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

5) Radha is permanently within Krishna’s body, and Hari is permanently within Hari’s body. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

6) Radha is permanently fixed in Krishna’s heart and Hari is fixed in Hers. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

7) Radha wears Shyam blue clothing, and Hari dons Radha golden clothes. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

8) Radha is Vrndavaneshvari and Hari is Vrndavaneshvara. In life or death, Radha-Krishna are my one and only eternal shelter!

Jai Jai Radhe! Jai Jai Shyam! Jai Jai Sri Vrndavana Dham!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Devotees often say, “There are no hard and fast rules in chanting Hare Krishna.” Thus anything goes in the name of nama-japa: chanting on tulsi beads a fixed number of rounds of the maha-mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare—Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Since there are no restrictions, many devotees think it’s okay to chant japa while surfing the I-net, driving a car, listening to a lecture, lying in bed, shopping, watching a video etc. etc. To prove their no rules argument, such devotees cite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Siksastakam verse 2: niyamitah –smarane- na -kalah, “there are no restrictions regarding REMEMBERING the holy name of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

Lord Gauranga only says here that there are no rules about remembering (smarane). Gauranga does not say there are no rules in nama-japa. Mahaprabhu comments on this verse saying: khaaite -shuite yathaa -tathaa -nama -laya, kaala-desha-niyama -naahi, sarva -siddhi -haya, “There is no regulation (niyama) regarding taking the name (nama laya), even while eating or lying down; it will grant all perfection (sarva siddhi).” (Caitanya Caritamrita 3.20.18)

Using Mahaprabhu’s comment, many devotees conclude, “Just see Lord Caitanya said it’s okay to chant nama-japa while lying in bed, eating prasada, or doing anything…”

Sorry, this argument is completely wrong!

In His comment above and in the entire Siksastakam, Sri Gauranga is glorifying the unlimited power, mercy and benefit of Sri Hari Nama-SANKIRTANA (param -vijayate sri-krishna-sankirtanam!). In these two verses, Sri Caitanya Deva is not describing nama-japa, He is talking about the congregational chanting Sri Krishna’s sweet Holy Names.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is saying you can remember or take Sri Krishna’s name anywhere, anytime in any circumstance. Of course, we should always remember Sri Krishna, and never forget the Lord for even half a moment (lava nimesha). And to do this we must always remember Sri Nama Prabhu, sing His holy names with every breath, and chant “Hari! Hari!” between every bite of food.

Yes, basically there are no rules regarding kirtana or sankirtana. BUT THERE ARE RULES IN CHANTING NAMA-JAPA. If we ignore these rules and chant japa incorrectly, then offenses will arise, and we will never attain our cherished goal of pure love for Radha-Govinda.

The mantra shastras, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and the Gaudiya Vaisnava lawbook, Hari-bhakti vilasa no. 17, state many rules regarding chanting Hari-nama japa, the Gopala-mantra and other diksha mantras. One should try his best to follow the rules below to quickly achieve success in chanting Hare Krishna nama-japa:


  1. Avoid the ten offenses to Sri Nama Prabhu.
  2. Daily chant the same fixed number of malas. (ganitrikaam grhita ca mantram Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.71, 191) “After vowing to chant a certain number of rounds daily (16, 32, 64) one must chant every day without fail, and not chant less than that.” (17.191)
  3. Chant on 108 tulasi beads mala.
  4. Beads should be ROUND in shape. The mala should be arranged in order from the biggest bead to the smallest. (Hari Bhakti Vilasa17.89)
  5. One should not chant with unclean hands, or in an impure state e.g. without bathing, dirty cloth or in bed. (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.132, 137)
  6. One must not chant japa while talking, lying down, walking or yawning.


  1. Concentrate on Nama by withdrawing your mind from ALL other attractions (distractions).
  2. Cleanliness of mind, body, cloth, asana and chanting place.
  3. Chant Nama while continually meditating on the meaning of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
  4. Observe strict silence while chanting japa.

Hari Bhakti Vilasa (17.132-3) confirms this point: “If one speaks while chanting nama-japa, his japa will be fruitless. If while chanting nama-japa one engages in speaking, walking, lying down on bed, thinking of something else, sneezing, hiccupping, yawning, or having an agitated mind, one cannot attain perfection in his nama-japa.”

In other words, it is best not to speak ONE WORD until you finish your daily quota. If you do this, your mind will become very strong, pure, peaceful and determined. Then you can call yourself a Krishna bhakti-YOGI, a serious practitioner of devotional sadhana.

Obviously, any form of “interaction” with one’s mobile phone is breaking this law of silence. Be careful, perfection is not a joke. Will you take your mobile to Goloka Vrndavana?

  1. Maintain a peaceful mind, heart and attitude during nama-japa.
  2. Chant japa with intense eagerness, interest and enthusiasm.

There are three ways of chanting Sri Krishna Holy Names: loudly, softly or silently. Loud chanting means speaking the maha-mantra loud enough that someone can hear it. This is kirtana or sankirtana; IT IS NOT NAMA-JAPA.

It is said that Namacarya Thakura Haridasa daily chanted 192 rounds; 64 chanted loudly as kirtana, 64 inaudible whispering japa (upamshu), and 64 silent in the mind (manasic).

In ISKCON’s beginning days, Srila Prabhupada set the example of early morning chanting by sitting in the temple with his disciples and chanting ONE round loudly. This anecdote however, does not mean that nama-japa should be chanted loudly.

Although there are three forms of chanting Hare Krishna, there are only two forms of chanting nama-japa on beads: inaudible whisper (upamshu) and silent mental chanting (manasic). Hari-sauri personally told me that Srila Prabhupada chanted very softly to silently in upamshu.

In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami describes sankirtana and japa as two distinct practices. Of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti-sadhana, number 32 is sankirtana (uccair bhasha), “loud euphoric congregational chanting of Hare Krishna” and number 33 is japa, “silent meditative chanting on beads.”

The specific japa verse says: mantrasya su laghu uccharo japa ity abhidhiyate, “very, very silent muttering or utterance of the maha-mantra is called japa.” In correct upamshu japa, one mentally focuses on the meaning of the maha-mantra while fine tuning his hearing to the silent movement of the maha-mantra inside the mouth.

The tongue and lips are barely moving as the mantra almost silently resonates within the mouth. The more one meditates on the meaning and concentrates on the “silent sound within his mouth and heart,” the more and more silent the chanting becomes.

Eventually, the mantra meaning and sound merge in the totally absorbed, silent chanting of Hare Krishna within the mind. Soon Sri Krishna’s sweet all-attractive form arises from the concentrated mind, heart and internal hearing. This is manasic japa.

The basic point is that japa chanting is a solitary and silent contemplative practice. We say “I am chanting japa”, but here the word chanting really means “silently speaking” or mentally uttering inside the mouth; unheard outside of one’s lips.

Nama-japa is a deep, powerful form of meditation requiring seriousness of purpose, sense and mind control, and the utmost absolute concentration. Nama-japa brings one face to face with Radha-Krishna within the silent recesses of one’s pacified and pure heart.

Please take your nama-japa very seriously. Attentive, concentrated nama-japa is the best, quickest, easiest and most blissful way to fall in love with Krishna, and enter the eternal realm of joy-filled Vrndavana to lovingly serve Radhe-Syama forever. HARE KRISHNA ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Chitta is a representative of the mahat-tattva within a human being. The Srimad Bhagavatam (3.26.22), says that chitta by nature is pure and peaceful. In pure chitta, one can see Bhagavan Sri Krishna and one’s eternal spiritual form too.

But due to material actions, desires and samskaras accumulated over many lives, the chitta becomes sullied and contaminated like murky water or a dirty mirror. Thus Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu commands ceto darpana marjanam, “Purify the mirror of chitta or consciousness by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.” (Siksastakam 1),

Chitta is the subconscious mind or the finer aspect of intelligence which links the atma or living entity with the material body via the ahankara, buddhi, mana and indriya (ego, intelligence, mind, senses). Embedded within the chitta are samskaras and vasanas. One’s consciousness (chitta) is made up of two types of impressions (samskara): those acquired in previous lives (praktana), and this lifetime (adhunika).

Samskaras are inclinations, proclivities, impressions and experiences from this and former lives which cause various vasanas or desires to manifest at particular times. The desires or wants appear as thought waves (vrttis) or thinking about a particular object and how to attain it or reject it. An infinite number of vrttis or thought waves, which disturb the mind with tension, anxiety and restlessness, continuously rise and fall within the ocean of chitta.

Concentration is impossible without mental peace and tranquillity. Mental purity produces perfection in practice. Therefore, one must carefully supress or ignore the thought waves i.e. vrttis, ever-rising from the ocean of chitta. This is best done by absorbing the mind in the transcendental name, form and sweet pastimes of Sri Govindadeva with attention and love. Association with saintly devotees also helps create new, positive and divine “bhakti samskaras” which in turn remove the material samskaras, or inclinations for sense enjoyment.

Krishna nama and bhakti bhajan are indeed the most powerful ways to purify the mind and attain spiritual perfection. Along with bhakti, however, you must also cultivate the proper mentality (abhimana) and physical behaviour, sadacara, to purify and steady the mind. You must always watch and monitor your thinking, feeling and acting.

In all times and places, you should remain equipoised, balanced, unbiased and friendly in all dealings. Be loving, understanding, compassionate, and kind to all. Don’t be envious, hateful or judgemental of anyone.

Time is your most valuable asset. Use it wisely for Krishna’s seva and attaining spiritual perfection. Don’t waste your precious human form of life with “time eating monsters” like gossiping, fault-finding, net surfing, face booking, selfies, mindless messaging, and useless twitter-chatter. Krishna prema will quickly come to one who spends maximum time and energy in spiritual practices.

With enthusiasm, patience and determination you should spend all your free time to realize and see Radha and Krishna right now in this life. At all times, you should feel the urgency: “I absolutely must attain and taste Krishna’s sweet love in this life. Nothing else really matters.”

Pitamaha Sri Brahmaji says: “The fire of sadhana absorption will burn the entire stockpile of your karmic desires, karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti bhajan. (Brahma-samhita 54) Keep tuned in here for more posts on chitta and concentration.

Ekanta Krishna bhajan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Because they are the ideal periods for meditation and divine absorption, the three best times to chant Hare Krishna nama japa are:

1) Early Morning: 3 AM to 6 AM

2) Half Hour Before Sunrise: New Delhi today appx. 545 AM—615AM

3) Half Hour Before Sunset: New Delhi today appx. 6PM—630PM

Timings will vary according to your location.

The following answer regarding why these are the best meditation periods comes from the Vedas, Upanisads, Yoga and Mantra sastra, and from the tradition and experience of enlightened souls past and present.

Period one is called the Brahma Muhurta period because these three hours are sattvika, serene, saturated with prana, and blessed with the vibrations of visiting saints, rishis and devas like Rishi Narada and Sri Brahmaji.

During this time, many liberated souls and elevated saints are wandering over the earth (especially in Vrndavana and other divine dhamas) to see and bless anyone performing spiritual sadhana during these three precious hours.

Period two and three are very unique because for everyone, ONLY at these two time junctures i.e. night to day and day to night the air passing through both nostrils is equal and balanced. In yogic terms, this means the heating Sun breath moving through the right nostril (pingala), and the cooling Moon breath moving through the left nostril (ida) are both equal.

When the air flows equally in both nostrils, the Sushumna nadi activates and alters the body chemistry so that meditation becomes EASY. All physical and mental desires are suspended. The mind becomes calm because no mental fluctuations exist at these times.

The synergistic balance of the Moon and Sun breaths at these two times enables one to have mystic experiences, spiritual visions and darsana of one’s beloved ista-devata such as Radha-Govinda. All human beings breathe through both nostrils just before death.

In other words, these are the easiest and most beneficial times to deeply meditate on the meaning of the maha-mantra, and the transcendental forms and pastimes of Radha and Krishna.

To take advantage of these amazingly, auspicious times, temples and devotees daily worship their ista-devatas just before sunrise (mangala aratika), and just before sunset (sandhya aratika).

It is a phenomenon that every day about half hour before sunrise the temperature drops and the wind blows. Why? The sadhus say the wind is caused by the swift departure of the visiting rishis and devas returning to their celestial abodes. As the saints wander the earth before sunrise, at dusk, Mahadeva Siva and his associates roam the planet to bless the devotees doing bhajan then, and harass the impious engaged in sense pleasures.


Pranayama and meditation are vast subjects. We just shared a few points to help devotees get the best from their Hare Krishna nama japa. Basically, the idea is you that should arrange your daily schedules so at one, two or even all of these special three times, you are sitting peacefully chanting japa.

For example, if you are busy family person and can’t get up at 3, 4, or 5AM—then at least make sure you are chanting japa during the 30-40 minutes before sunrise or later before sunset. You can do all other things after this.

Before chanting diksa mantras one must fully bathe, apply tilaka and dress in clean clothes. However, for Hare Krishna nama japa no ritual or physical purity is needed. Just wash your face, feet, hands, do acamana, sit down, chant and meditate.

Absorbed Hare Krishna japa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Yes, there are and yes there are no rules in chanting Hare Krishna nama japa! In Siksastaka (2), Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, “In each of His unlimited names, Bhagavan Sri Krishna manifests all His transcendental power. There are no strict rules regarding REMEMBERING these names, niyamitah smarane na kalah.”

Commenting on this verse Mahaprabhu says:

khaite suite yatha, tatha nama laya
kala desa niyama nahi, sarva siddhi haya

“Regardless of time or place, one who chants the holy name, even while eating or sleeping, attains all perfection. (Caitanya Caritamrita 3. 20.18)”

One may think these verses mean that there are no rules in chanting and therefore anything goes! But actually Mahaprabhu is not saying that there are no rules. Sri Gaurahari is glorifying the unlimited and merciful power of Krishna nama by saying that one can REMEMBER nama at any time, even while eating or sleeping.

And due to His infinite power and love, Sri Hari Nama Prabhu will give one all spiritual perfection. Definitely one should not think that Mahaprabhu is saying here that you can chant your rounds while taking breakfast in bed!

In fact, there are specific rules in chanting japa. And Mahaprabhu personally instructed and empowered Sri Sanatana Goswami to describe them, which he did in “Hari Bhakti Vilasa”.

Let us take shelter of Mahaprabhu to better understand the idea of rules and no rules. 500 years ago, Sri Caitanyadeva Mahaprabhu introduced the ultimate transcendental philosophy as acintya bheda-abheda-tattva—simultaneous, inconceivable oneness and difference.

In other words, the transcendental Absolute Truth, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is inconceivably, simultaneously one and different from everything and everyone. Besides being a transcendental doctrine of reality, the principle of acintya bheda-abheda can be applied everywhere.

For example, the atma or soul is one with and different from the body. The husband is one with and different from his family. The citizen is one and different from the country. The student is one with and different from the school. The driver is one with and different from the car. “Hey you hit me” which means his car. The bhoga is one with and different from the refrigerator.

Similarly, in chanting Hare Krishna nama japa there are no rules regarding remembering, or the time and place. But then again there are rules. One must avoid the ten offenses in chanting, nama aparadha.

To help nama sadhakas quickly perfect their chanting of Sri Krishna’s sweeter than sweet Holy Names, we will now present a few helpful rules from Sri Sanatana Goswami. In 274 verses, the Hari Bhakti Vilasa (17) describes the Puruscarana Vrata for attaining siddhi or perfection in chanting diksa mantras. Although the many rules and benefits there describe diksa mantras, they can also apply to chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.


  1. Japa chanting is fruitless if you chant with—dirty hands, no asana, covered head, talking to others. 132
  2. You will not attain perfection in chanting (mantra siddhim navapnoti) if you chant absentmindedly, or while walking, lying down, sneezing, yawning, or hiccupping. 133
  3. One should chant a fixed number (japa sankhya:16, 32, 64) of rounds every day without fail. (199)


Beginning with the best, the 3 types are manasic—silent in mind; upamsu—whispering; and vacika—loud or soft. (155-156)


Manasic is silent mental japa along with meditation on each syllable of the mantra. (158) Manasi japa is thousands of times more beneficial than the other two because it equals meditation on Bhagavan Sri Krishna (sahasro manasah prokto yasmad dhyana samo hi sah). (159)

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: All types of chanting are equally powerful, nija sarva sakti. However, if one has the inner purity to mentally chant it will be most beneficial because it demands the most concentration on Krishna which means more absorption in Krishna and therefore faster results. Whereas in upamsu or vacika chanting one’s mind may be distracted or inattentive, and thus bring slower results due to distance from Krishna.

In all places and conditions (sarva dese sarva da), there are no faults in manasic japa (na dosa manaso japye). If one steadily chants this way, one will attain the benefits of all types of yajnas and homas (sarva yajna phalam labhet). Such yajnas do not yield even one-sixteenth part of the benefits of nama/mantra japa yajna. (161-162,164)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika: “Because manasic japa (silent, mental japa) is faultless it is the best type, and manasic japa chanters are also the best.”

Conclusion: Sri Krishna Nama japa contains unlimited transcendental powers. Sri Harinama is eternal, sweet and blissful. Krishna’s beautiful names elevate and energize anyone who chants them anywhere at any time. Whether young—old, strong—weak, following—not following, living—dying, all will benefit by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

However, if one wants to attain complete success in japa and the blissful eternal prema seva of Radha and Krishna in Goloka Vrndavana, one must surrender to Sri Guru, follow rules and regulations, and always with the greatest humility serve Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the merciful Vaisnavas.

Sri Sanatana Goswami highly extols the supreme efficacy of manasic Krishna nama japa. But unless one has a balanced and sufficiently pure mind (antah karan) it will be difficult to chant silently within the mind. Therefore, most Gurus recommend loud chanting to start with. Then progress to upamsu, whispering, and finally manasic or silent chanting when qualified with mental serenity and a satisfied heart.

Sri Krishna nama japa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Confusion has arisen regarding which fingers to use while chanting Hare Krishna Nama or Diksa Mantras. The clear truth is found in Hari Bhakti Vilasa as follows:

Siva Agama:
andmamadhyamakramya japam kuryyattu manasam madhyama 
madhyama kramya japam kuryyadupamsukam tarjjanirh
tu samakramya japam naiva tu karayet

While chanting manasic japa (silent in the mind), one should hold the beads with the thumb and ring finger.
However, when chanting upamsu (softly), one should hold the beads with the thumb and middle finger. Never use the index finger while chanting  (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.114).

tarjjanya na sprset sutram kampayenna vidhiinayet 
angustha parvva madhyastham parivarttam samacaret

Don’t touch index finger to mala while chanting japa.
Don’t swing, rattle or shake beads while chanting.
Use the thumb and middle finger to move from one bead to another. (if you are chanting softly, upamsu japa, Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.123)

Conclusion: Two ways to chant and both are correct. Thumb and ring finger for silent, mental manasi japa.
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.114);
Thumb and middle finger for soft chanting, upamsu japa.
Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.114, 123
Nama Acarya Sri Haridas Thakur ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Just before my merciful mentor left this world to enter Sri Radha’s eternal seva, we discussed the merits of different bhakti sadhana practices. Throughout that most wonderful and unforgettable Harikatha, he repeatedly stressed and proclaimed, with the firm conviction of a 101 years practice: “HARI NAMA WILL DO ALL THINGS! You need to chant Krishna nama and you will get everything—EVERYTHING!!!” Jai Gurudeva!

With lightning speed, he then quoted the following slokas to support his conclusion, and strengthen my faith and conviction in Sri Hari Nama-sankirtana. We hope these slokas will inspire everyone, and ignite their enthusiasm to chant more and more and more.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

The last verse of the 18,000 in the Srimad Bhagavatam (12.13.23) says:

nāma-saṅkīrtanaṁ yasya, sarva-pāpa praṇāśanam
“Nama-sankirtana destroys all sins.”

Throughout the Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally teaches about the power and benefit of Sri Hari Nama-sankirtana.

bhakti-sādhana-śreṣṭha prabhu upadeśa nāma-saṅkīrtana
Mahaprabhu said, “Nama-sankirtana is the best bhakti practice. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.6.241)

kale kalera dharma krishna nama-sankirtana
Mahaprabhu said, “Krishna nama sankirtana is the dharma for the age of Kali.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.98)

kṛṣṇa-sevā vaiṣṇava-sevana
nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana

Mahaprabhu said, “Serve Sri Krishna and the Vaisnavas and constantly chant Krishna Nama-sankirtana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.15.104)

vaiṣṇava-sevā, nāma-saṅkīrtana
dui kara, śīghra pābe śrī-kṛṣṇa-caraṇa

Mahaprabhu said, “By serving Vaisnavas and doing Nama-sankirtana, you will very quickly attain the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2. 16.70)

bhāgavata karaha vicāra, pābe sūtra-śrutira artha-sāra
nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana, helāya mukti pābe prema-dhana

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “By studying the Srimad Bhagavatam you will understand the essence of Sruti and Vedanta Sutra. And by constantly chanting Krishna Nama-sankirtana, you will attain liberation and the wealth of Krishna prema! (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2. 25.153-154)

nava vidhi bhakti sarva-śreṣṭha nāma-saṅkīrtana
niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana

Mahaprabhu said, “Nama-sankirtana is the best form of sadhana bhakti. Chanting without offense gives the treasure of Krishna prema.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.4.71)

During the final days of His Puri lila, Sri Caitanyadeva plunged into the ocean of separation from His Prana-pati Vrajendranandana. Deep in the night, hidden inside the latern lit cave of the Gambhira, Mahaprabhu savored the sweet bliss of madhurya-rasa (rasa-asvadane) in the sanga of Damodara Svarupa and Ramananda.

Wrapped in a magical melody of joy, lamentation, anger, humility, anxiety, grief, intense eagerness and satisfaction, Mahaprabhu mercifully spoke the essence of Krishna consciousness. While sighing in bliss, overwhelmed in mahabhava, His molten heart pulsing with compassion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:

nāma-saṅkīrtana haite sarvānartha-nāśa
sarva-śubhodaya, kṛṣṇa-premera ullāsa

“Nama-sankirtana destroys all anarthas, brings the rising of all good fortune, and thrills one with Krishna prema.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.11)

saṅkīrtana haite pāpa-saṁsāra-nāśana
citta-śuddhi, sarva-bhakti-sādhana-udgama

Mahaprabhu cried, “Hari Nama-sankirtana destroys sins and samsara. It cleanses the heart and manifests all types of bhakti sadhana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.13)

kṛṣṇa-premodgama, premāmṛta-āsvādana
kṛṣṇa-prāpti, sevāmṛta-samudre majjana

“By Nama-sankirtana, Krishna prema will appear in the heart. One will taste the nectar of Krishna’s love; attain Krishna, and submerge in the nectar ocean of Krishna’s eternal seva.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.14)

khāite śuite yathā tathā nāma laya
kāla-deśa-niyama nāhi, sarva siddhi haya

Sri Gauranga said, “For chanting Krishna nama there are no rules regarding time and place. If one chants Krishna nama even while eating or sleeping, one will attain all perfection i.e. Radha-Krishna nitya prema seva in the kunjas of Vrndavana.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 3.20.14)

Sri Krishna nama sankirtana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

After the fiendish, ghost-like witch named Putana Raksasi attacked her six-day old baby Gopala Krishna, Yasoda Mata and other elderly Vraja gopis chanted the following mantras mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

bhūta-preta-piśācāś ca / yakṣa-rakṣo-vināyakāḥ
unmādā ye hy apasmārā / deha-prāṇendriya-druhaḥ
svapna-dṛṣṭā mahotpātā / vṛddhā bāla-grahāś ca ye
sarve naśyantu te viṣṇor / nāma-grahaṇa

“The various subtle, invisible, evil beings (aka ghosts, hobgoblins) like bhutas, pretas, pisacas, yaksas, rakshasa and vinakayas, who especially prey on children (balak/arbhak), by troubling their bodies and causing loss of memory, madness and bad dreams, ARE ALL DESTROYED BY CHANTING VISNU/KRISHNA NAMA! (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.28-29)

Srila Prabhupada on Wearing Kavacas

Srila Prabhupada: “Dear Jayapatka! Regarding the Narayana Kavaca mantra, the HARE KRISHNA MANTRA IS EVERYTHING! (SPLetter 76-12-04)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

This article about the absolute and unlimited power of Sri Krishna Harinama to remove and destroy all types of negative vibrations, situations, environments, people, ghosts and mental monsters will conclude with a conversation between the author and his wisdom teacher.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Should adult devotees wear Nrsimha Kavacas for protection, auspiciousness, or any other purpose?

Wisdom Teacher: No, there is no need! Krishna Nama will do all things. Although there is no difference in tattva between Sri Krishna and Sri Nrsimha, Hari Nama alone is enough. Devotees should just chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, having full faith in Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: But what about babies and young children who are often harassed by subtle entities? What can parents do to protect them, since small children are not yet able to chant Hare Krishna on japa mala?

Wisdom Teacher: Still Hare Krishna maha-mantra is enough! Just follow the example of Yasoda Mata, who took exclusive shelter of Hari Nama. For small babies and children, who can’t chant Hare Krishna, then parents CAN USE A KAVACA containing the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and Yasoda’s prayer (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.22-29) written on a piece of paper.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Then when the children can chant Harinama-japa, what should they do?

Wisdom Teacher: The parents should remove the kavaca, and respectfully offer it into a sacred river like Ganga or Yamunaji.

Exclusive shelter in Krishna ki jai! Hare Krishna maha-mantra ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!