SRILA PRABHUPADA DID NOT WANT HIS FOLLOWERS TO CHANT HARE RAMO
By Palaka das (ACBSP)
Believe it or not, there are no “O”‘s anywhere in the Hare Krsna maha-mantra despite what you might have heard . If you’d like to know what our Srila Prabhupada had to say about this apparent harmless little change to how he taught us, then please check out Dandavats “Who Is This Ramo”
After writing the above article, I found many still refuse to accept that Srila Prabhupada actually made such a heavy statement “You are ruining our movement”, to His Holiness Vishnujana Swami when he heard him chanting this Hare ramo. So I continued my research, which unearthed one very revealing first hand account how Srila Prabhupada did not want this chanting of Hare ramo introduced in ISKCON. I am very grateful to Nanda Kumara Das Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant, for his direct experience in this regard. After receiving his reply to my question , I felt compelled to go back and readdress this “Who is this Ramo” issue, and share with the greater devotee community here on Dandavats this very important desire by our founder, Srila Prabhupada.
I asked Nanda Kumar das Prabhu if he had ever heard about Srila Prabhupada telling His Holiness Vishnujana that he was ruining our movement by his Ramo chanting and this was his response
“i did not hear that said personally to His Holiness Vishnujana Swami, but i heard Srila Prabhupad say it to others on numerous occasions… I remember when it started, quite innocently, after devotees who had attended the Mayapur Festival when they had kirtan contests with Bengali Vaishnavas who chanted ramo… putting an o at the end of words that have an a is just a particular Bengali accent… just like in every country, there are accents from various areas… in the UK, someone from Manchester speaks much differently than someone from London or Scotland… in the US, the southern accent is very different from the New York or New England accent… i remember wanting to immerse myself in everything Bengali, since our movement and our dear Srila Prabhupad were from there, and trying to adopt the ramo and krishno accent for a day or so after hearing it… but right away, it didn’t feel right since Srila Prabhupad didn’t do it, and soon after, His Divine Grace started correcting us… the main point is to avoid changing things, since keeping things as they are is where the potency is… it’s what Srila Prabhupad did with everything He did…. writing, cooking, chanting, Deity worship, etc, etc… He kept everything as it is and gave credit to that fact for the success of the movement…” Nanada Kumara Das (ACBSP)
The question remains, Srila Prabhupada doesn’t chant that Bengali ramo style and told his disciples not to either when it first, rather innocently, started to make its way in our movement, then why should we? Especially when he went as far as saying “It’s ruining our movement”. I strongly believe most devotees only chant this ramo and krishno way because they never heard what Srila Prabhupada has said in this regard. Primarily because in Srila Prabhupada’s time, it was a non-issue, meaning we really didn’t chant that way. I for one never even heard this Hare ramo introduced in the Washington DC temple kirtans until 1990, and yes I dutifully chanting along. However, like Nanda Kumara Prabhu, I too didn’t feel comfortable and stopped soon after.
Please share so others in ISKCON may now know how innocently this ramo started and how seriously Srila Prabhupada did not want it to continue in his society.
All Glories To Srila Prabhupada !