Compiled by Mahesh Raja, UK

Japa Mala

Why 108?
Lecture – San Francisco, February 18, 1967

Now, so there are Upanisads. Generally they take eleven Upanisads primarily, but there are 108 Upanisads. Sometimes the explanation is given that "WHY WE HAVE GOT 108 BEADS?" "BECAUSE THERE ARE 108 UPANISADS." SO CHANTING OF HARE KRISHNA WITH 108 BEADS MEANS THAT WE ARE SURPASSING THE STUDY OF 108 UPANISADS. ANOTHER MEANING IS THAT THERE ARE 108 DAMSELS WHO SERVED KRISHNA WITH ALL RESPECT AT VRNDAVANA. SO THAT IS ALSO ANOTHER EXPLANATION, 108. WE ARE SERVING KRISHNA'S SERVITORS, HUNDRED AND…, CHIEF DAMSELS OF, AT VRNDAVANA. So these 108 Upanisads are described, isa kena katha prasna munda mandukyo taittiri… You can count how many: Isopanisad, Kenopanisad, Kathopanisad, Prasnopanisad, Mundakopanisad, Mandukyopanisad, Taittiriyopanisad. Then aitareyas ca chandogya brhad-aranyakam tatha. Then Aitareya Upanisad, Chandogyopanisad, Brhad-aranyakopanisad, Brahmokaivalyopanisad, Jabalopanisad. There are so many Upanisads, 108 Upanisads. Aruneyopanisad, Garbho, Narayano, Hamsa. This Hamsaduta, the name, the Hamsa Upanisad, it comes from Hamsa. Garbho narayano hamso binduro narada sikah. Sika-upanisad, Narada Upanisad.

Lecture – Detroit, July 18, 1971

Come on. Next. Who's this? Oh, all right. Then how many still remaining? All right. (chants japa) First of all grains mixed up. (more japa) Come on. Take your. Come on. Whose beads are lying on the floor there? Whose beads? OH, YOU NEVER PUT IT IN THE FLOOR. WHEN THERE IS NO BAG, YOU PUT LIKE THIS.

Note: Engaging the sense of touch by touching the tulasi beads – tulasi is a pure devotee of the Lord.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.4.18-20

Maharaja Ambarisa always engaged his mind in meditating upon the lotus feet of Krishna, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord's temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Krishna or about Krishna. He engaged his eyes in seeing the Deity of Krishna, Krishna's temples and Krishna's places like Mathura and Vrindavana, HE ENGAGED HIS SENSE OF TOUCH IN TOUCHING THE BODIES OF THE LORD'S DEVOTEES, he engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasi offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the Lord's prasada. He engaged his legs in walking to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord, and all his desires in serving the Lord, twenty-four hours a day. Indeed, Maharaja Ambarisa never desired anything for his own sense gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.

Conversation – April 20, 1974, Hyderabad

Pancadravida: …such devotees that they do service, they may be very big, they attract so many people, they are successful, kirtana and everything, but we know they are not chanting japa. What can we do in that situation? Are we…

Prabhupada: Situation, he is doing some service. He is doing some service.

Pancadravida: Yes.

Prabhupada: So because on account of that service, if he could not, that can be excused. But not that practice should be taken as permanent business. The regulation is that if you cannot finish your chanting that day, then next day you should forget sleeping and eating and must finish it.

Pancadravida: Some persons we encounter they don't even chant at all, and yet we are in association with them, and they are…

Prabhupada: No, if you miss on account of busy-ness, then next day you must finish it. You should not go to sleep. You should not… Yes, that day you should forget all other business. FIRST OF ALL COMPENSATE THIS.

Nectar of Devotion: Chap 7 Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles
In the Naradiya Purana it is directed, "One should not accept more than necessary if he is serious about discharging devotional service." The purport is that one should not neglect following the principles of devotional service, nor should one accept the rulings of devotional service which are more than what he can easily perform. For example, it may be said that one should chant the Hare Krishna mantra at least one hundred thousand times daily on his beads. BUT IF THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE, THEN ONE MUST MINIMIZE HIS CHANTING ACCORDING TO HIS OWN CAPACITY. GENERALLY, WE RECOMMEND OUR DISCIPLES TO CHANT AT LEAST SIXTEEN ROUNDS ON THEIR JAPA BEADS DAILY, AND THIS SHOULD BE COMPLETED. BUT IF ONE IS NOT EVEN ABLE TO CHANT SIXTEEN ROUNDS, THEN HE MUST MAKE IT UP THE NEXT DAY. HE MUST BE SURE TO KEEP HIS VOW. If he does not strictly follow this out, then he is sure to be negligent. That is offensive in the service of the Lord. If we encourage offenses, we shall not be able to make progress in devotional service. It is better if one fixes up a regulative principle according to his own ability and then follows that vow without fail. That will make him advanced in spiritual life.