Though a full understanding of practices and lifestyle leading to life in Krishna’s abode is complex, anyone can step onto this ancient path, either alone or in the company of devotees, by beginning a few simple activities……
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
The maha mantra is very blissful to repeat both as japa as well as kirtana.
Japa means repetition. When we repeat the maha mantra (seen above) audibly, it creates a peaceful but energized state of mind for the chanter and all who hear it. Through these holy sounds, Krishna has a direct presence in the material world. Initiated devotees typically chant 16 malas or rounds of the maha mantra daily, each round 108 repetitions. This takes 1 and 1/2 to 1 and 3/4 of an hour. Neophytes will chant as little as one round per day, an 8 or 9 minute investment of time. The beads are turned one at a time through the fingers with each repetition of the mantra.
Kirtana is call-and-response congregational chanting of mantras or prayers. A leader sings out a line and those assembled respond by singing it back in the same melody. Typically maha mantra is played and sung, as its sound takes us directly into the spiritual world. Kirtana singing may be accompanied by of hand instruments such as mridanga (drum), harmonium (organ) and kartals (cymbals).
Seva is selfless service devoted to Krishna. By performing our work with the attitude of seva, we renounce the fruits of our actions. One offers the results of one’s labors to Him. Practicing seva enables us — ultimately — to renounce the sense that we, rather than Krishna, are the actual “doer” of our actions.