Question: Significance of Chanting on Japa Beads?
I have noticed that you mention chanting 16 rounds on japa beads. Nowadays we find some devotees using alternative counting methods. Is there any significance to chanting at least 16 rounds on japa beads?
Answer: Japa Beads Empower Our Chanting
I have seen a tendency in our movement of inventing something new. This is not a good tendency. We should stick to the orders coming down from Srila Prabhupada and the previous authorities. Srila Prabhupada told us to chant "round the beads." Why we should try to invent something new that was not given to us by Srila Prabhupada? Did Srila Prabhupada ever give someone a clicker at the time of initiation? No, he did not. He always gave his disciples japa mala beads because this was what the disciple is to use to count h
is daily vow of Hare Krishna japa.
There are many examples in our tradition of chanting on beads. Lord Krishna has a japa of 108 beads that He uses to count the cows. Lord Caitanya chanted on beads. Haridas Thakur and the six Goswamis all chanted a prescribed number of rounds daily of the Hare Krishna mantra on beads. Chanting with beads is prescribed by Santana Goswami in the Hari Bhakti Vilasa. Where is the authorization in the scriptures to introduce some new type of counting system such as the so-called clicker? Clickers (as picture below) cannot be substituted for japa beads.
It is not on the basis of blind faith that we accept japa beads for chanting instead of clickers. There is a practical value in chanting on the beads. Because at the time of initiation we receive the beads that were chanted on by our spiritual master, our beads are sacred. The more we chant on our beads, the more they become surcharged with spiritual energy. And the more they become surcharged with spiritual energy, the more they can assist us by empowering us to dive deeper and deeper into the holy names. By chanting on japa beads we are connecting with Srila Prabhupada's order to chant on beads and thus we gain his transcendental association and his powerful blessings to assist us in taking complete shelter of the holy names. And by taking complete shelter of the Lord's holy names we will quickly achieve spiritual perfection. Clicker chanting does not have the same potency.