|How To Chant
On Japa Beads
1. Hold the beads in your right hand.
2. There's one head bead, a bead that's bigger than all
the rest. Grasp the first bead to one side of the head
bead (the one which is the largest) with your right
thumb and the middle finger of your right hand. (Your
index finger doesn't touch the bead.)
3. Chant -- Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna,
Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The word Hare is pronounced huh-ray. Krishna is
pronounced Krish-na. And Rama rhymes with the English
word drama. Say each syllable of each word as clearly as
you can. Concentrate your attention on the sound of each
word of the mantra. (As an option you can roll the
bead back and forth between your thumb and middle finger
when chanting the first half of the mantra and hold it
still while chanting the second half of the mantra.
Srila Prabhupada sometimes did this.)
4. After you've chanted the complete mantra one time,
move your thumb and finger to the next bead and chant
the mantra again.
5. Chant on the next bead and then the next, until you
have chanted on all 108 beads. You have now reached the
other side of the head bead and have completed one full
6. Do not chant on the head bead, and don't cross over
it to continue. Instead, turn the whole set of beads
around in your hand and chant in the other direction.
The last bead of your first round is the first bead for
your next. Chant on this bead, then the next. and then
the next. Stop when you reach the side of the head bead
again. Then you'll have completed your second round.
7. Keep reversing directions in this way to chant your
third and fourth rounds, and keep going. (How many
rounds can you chant? Initiated devotees chant at least
sixteen rounds a day.)
8. Treat your beads respectfully. Don't let them touch
the floor, your feet, or any unclean place. Don't take
them into the bathroom.
9. You can keep your beads in a bead bag, (available
from ISKCON centers). This keeps your beads nicely while
you chant, and when you're not chanting you can hang the
bag around your neck to keep your beads handy. When you
put your beads away, store them in the bag in a clean
place. (If you don't have a bead bag, you can wrap your
beads in a clean cloth and keep them in a drawer or on a
One final word. Try to find time to chant a fixed number
of rounds every day. You can start with two rounds or
even one -- but chant regularly, without fail,
preferably in the early morning. This regularity of
chanting, coupled (if possible) with a regular program
of study, will give you a firm basis for further
progress in Krishna consciousness and enable you to quickly
advance along the pathway to complete spiritual