This page was last updated on January 15, 2004.

The Clicker Debate


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Why the Clicker Debate?
by Mayesvara Dasa
Hare Krishna 
Hare Krishna 
Krishna Krishna 
Hare Hare 
Hare Rama 
Hare Rama 
Rama Rama 
Hare Hare

I don't understand why there is so much effort being expended on the choice of clicker vs. bead bag. I am not even interested in reading these articles. Lord Caitanya clearly states in the second verse of His Siksastaki prayers that "...there are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names..."

Click Click Click
by Bhakta Jearold

I must admit this clicker "debate" is pretty funny. I'm in the military, and I find myself pulling long and weird shifts. It's not very easy for me to bust out a beadbag to chant. So I click. 1728. Utilization is the principle, right?

I'm on a 24-hour shift as I write this, and I'm rocking the clicker right now. I've got walletsize pictures I printed on my computer too. We have to be proactive— and most important, chant. One of the first devotees I ever met suggested I chant while firing my rifle at the enemy, pulling the trigger with my free finger.

Thanks and appreciation from to our sponsor and host,

Clickers: Dont Forget the Offense-Clearing Mantra
by Bhaktin Alice

If you cannot remember when to say, "Jaya Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda....," write a number table on a small piece of paper and glue it on the back of your clicker. I have it on my clicker, and I chant like this: first I happily chant the mahamantra until the number 108. I say both the mahamantra and "Jaya Sri Krsna Caitanya" on this number. Then I click to the number 109, then to 216, and I repeat the same again, etc.

I’m Not Sure What a 
Clicker Looks Like

by Bhakta Omer

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what a clicker looks like. To be even more honest, I am not pure of sin and am far from being worthy of casting the first stone. I am the kind of devotee who doesn't shave his head and sometimes does some of his rounds on the bus with one hand covering his mouth so no one will think he is talking to himself or something.

Vaisnava Lifestyle and the Beadbag
by April Hammond

For those caught up in the debate of the clicker, we need to be encouraged and encourage each other to chant, but to chant undistracted. This is difficult in these times, therefore we all need support to chant. We also need to keep the Vaishnava lifestyle alive, and with this lifestyle is the bead bag. I am thinking that chanting with a clicker is fine, but in order to stay regulated and keep the movement alive we should follow the footsteps of our Spiritual Master.

Your humble servant,
[Complete on this page.]

My Apologies
Ananta Sesa Naga das answers Urmila devi dasi

All glories to Srila Prabhupada and my apologies for a mistake that I have made re my posting on the clicker debate.

In my posting, I said regarding the chanting of Maha mantra that:

"Each round was to be preceded by certain mantras Namah Om... Sri Krsna ... Namaste... etc. "

What I should have said is that His Divine Grace instructed us to chant the Panca-tattva mantra, namely "sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda" and then the Maha Mantra.

Responses to Two Clicker Articles
by Urmila devi dasi

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

In response to the piece by Ekesuara Prabhu:

Sitting in His room, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would chant on His beads, and Advaita Prabhu would come there to worship the Lord. (Madhya 15.7)

In response to the piece by Ananta Sesa Naga Prabhu:

What is your reference for the statement that Prabhupada wanted us to chant certain prayers, mantras, etc. at the end (beginning) of each round? I know of no such instruction nor his setting such a personal example. Indeed, there are video and audio tapes that show the opposite. There's no harm, I suppose, as long as one doesn't establish such a practice as required.

Your servant,
Urmila devi dasi
[Complete on this page]

Please Stop the Clicker Debate
by Bhakta Jerry

Hare Krishna, dear devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I beg an end to the clicker debate. I was one of the first to respond, but now regret that I did. I feel quite sad and discouraged about the whole thing. Once again, this debate shows that devotees cannot agree about even the most basic practices of Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Quite discouraging indeed.

Bhakta Jerry 
[Complete on this page]

Beads: The Secret Weapon
by Janardana das

Hare Krsna,

I work for a huge corporate bank and I bring my bead bag to work every day. Yes, I try to keep them low key, as in these times anything out of the norm is looked at suspiciously. But in a world that's so increasingly mechanical and sterile, my beads are like a secret weapon in my endeavor to remain connected to the holy name. A cold lifeless clicker would be like giving in.

Janardana das
[Complete on this page.]

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Words
By Ekesuara das

After I wrote an article entitled "Mahaprabhu Chants on Tulasi Beads," there was some disagreement about this. It was my fault for not giving good evidence, and I am very sorry for this. The evidence that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chanted on tulasi beads was found in the book of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura entitled Nama Bhajana, where Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, "Hence, Sriman Mahaprabhu as mentioned in the Caitanya Caritamrta and in the Caitanya Bhagavata, Himself sang and taught jivas to count these sixteen names of thirty-two syllables on tulasi beads."

Also he says, "Devotees who thirst for prema and are on the way to it, chant and realize this holy name of Hare Krsna by counting on beads."

The Counter Controversy, Part 2
by Ravinder Sihra

What is this click…click… click business going on?

Anyone who takes chanting seriously will use Tulsi Beads for chanting. It is common sense that chanting on Tulsi beads is far superior to chanting on a mechanical clicker. Tulsi is very dear to Lord Sri Krishna but a clicker is not. You can all laugh now. Chanting on Tulsi beads is more purifying. Just the mere sight of Tulsi beads is purifying, let alone coming in contact with Tulsi beads and just thinking how fortunate you are to come in contact with Tulsi beads in the first place.

Japa Beads versus Clicker
As yet no one has answered some of my concerns
by Ananta Sesa Naga das

In several postings by Senior Prabhupada devotees some of my concerns re inattentive chanting have been answered and I agree with them. What about the following points?

How will people know when they have completed their second and third and fourth rounds, etc? His Divine Grace instructed us that each round consists of 108 Maha mantras. Each round was to be preceded by certain mantras Namah Om... Sri Krsna ... Namaste... etc. It concerns me that, In my chanting (and not being math-minded), do I just chant and chant with a view to chanting Maha mantra 1728 times, thus completing my 16 rounds, or should I continually check to see that I have chanted multiples of 108 and then chant the prescribed mantras that should precede each round?

Get Those Rounds Done! 
by Bhakta Doduff

Haribol great devotees at Chakra!

I read your site every day. It is nice to see a news network that is supporting ISKCON. Thanks. Keep up the good work. I once heard HH Tamal Krishna Goswami say that Prabhupada said that ISKCON is his body, so Prabhupada is here with us in spirit and body.

I am an insignificant bhakta, but have been studying Srila Prabhupada's books for about five years. Not that I know anything, but I am learning.

I heard once that a disciple of someone either HDG Srila Prabhupada or HH Tamal Krishna Goswami was a cab driver and did all his rounds while working (driving). His spiritual master instructed him to do at least eight rounds while not working. I am a student and have many material engagements, so 16 rounds is difficult, but I have been chanting 16 for about three months now, and I manage to get them done whether good or not....

Mental Clickings
by Madhava Ghosh

Random thoughts on minor considerations 
related to the mechanics of chanting.

When I was a boy I would go to my Lutheran church early every Sunday and count the people as they arrived. I would have to wait until after the service was going for a while so I could count the latecomers, giving me an excuse to hang out in the foyer, which was more interesting than sitting in the pews. I would count on a clicker and turn it in after I was finished. The next Sunday in the Church Bulletin distributed at the service there would be printed the attendence total from the previous week. So clickers and religion are an old association for me. Personally, I have no problem with people chanting on a clicker if it helps them in the right direction. To me, it is not about some absolute position where you are that makes things right, but rather the direction you are heading that matters. For some, clickers may be a good thing, better to click than to chant less or not at all. For others, especially those demonstrating closerness to the ideal, clicking may not be so good.

Clickers and Gayatri
by Gouranga das

In many situations, chanting on a clicker is more practical than on a set of sacred japa beads. For example, beads cannot be taken into the bathroom but there is no such restriction on clickers. I found this especially practical when I was suffering in India with dysentery. I think I was chanting most of my rounds in the bathroom in those days. Thank God I had my clicker with me.

I have a question, though. If it's all right to chant japa using a clicker, what about gayatri? 

Clickers and Their Place
by Devahotra dasa

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

As a grhasta in a demanding karmi job that often involves long hours, by necessity some of my rounds are done on a clicker. Almost always, the quality suffers, but that’s me, and not the clicker. Nonetheless, my intention is to try and chant attentively, prayerfully, and reverently, whether with beads or clicker. Of course I prefer beads, but the key is to realise that Krsna is non-different from His Holy Name.

Devahotra dasa
[Complete on this page.]

Questions about Offensive Chanting and Beads
by Urmila devi dasi

The recent discussion on Chakra about beads and clickers has raised what is, for me, some very old questions. I would appreciate answers that are clearly and unambiguously backed up with sastra, sadhu, and guru, as I have heard many answers over the years without such backing.

I would like to emphasize that I have no personal stand as to what means a devotee uses to count his or her rounds. Personally, I use my tulasi initiation beads and sometimes, when I am in places where the full mala is difficult, a smaller strand where four circles make one round. I have also counted my rounds on my fingers in various circumstances.

Sixteen Good Rounds
Umapati Swami answers Urmila dd

Urmila Mataji writes:

"A question specifically for Umapati Swami—When you chanted on that small set of twelve beads, counting nine times around for a round, did you ‘count’ that chanting towards your sixteen rounds or not? If not, why not?"


It was a long time ago, but as I remember, I did not count rounds chanted on the bus as part of my sixteen rounds because Srila Prabhupada had told me that we should chant sixteen good rounds every day, and I had time to chant sixteen rounds on my regular mala every day in the temple. Even today, I do not like to go on japa walks because there are many distractions, and I do not feel that I am chanting my sixteen rounds attentively at that time.

Of course, sometimes there are pressing situations, but that is another matter.
[Complete on this page.]

The "Debate" May Be Silly, 
but the Subject Is Not

by Babhru das

After reading His Holiness Umapati Swami's posting on the gravity of the "Clicker Debate," perhaps my own comments need to be revised yet again for clarity. In my original version, I called the debate silly and foolish. (Please note: I edited those charged words out of the second version.) Maharaja seems to think that I meant the subject is trivial and not worthy of discussion. I know Maharaja is a very careful, sophisticated reader, so I feel I must further clarify my remarks.

I do not believe the subject is trivial. In fact, I believe that the subject of how far we can bend or stretch the instructions of our acharyas without losing the essence of Krishna consciousness is so important that it should be discussed very carefully. That was precisely the point of my posts.

Comment on "Clickers Kijaya!"
by Malati devi dasi

The author states: "Now I can do anything requiring the use of both hands and still get my rounds done." This seems amazing on the one hand (pardon the pun) and troublesome on the other. This isn't about clickers, it is about being attentive when chanting. If one is engaged otherwise, to what degree can one said to be attentive to the Holy Name? Inattention becomes a distraction in the form of the eleventh aparadh, "It is also an offence to be inattentive while chanting." I would commend chanting in all circumstances, but question whether or not such chanting fulfulls the requirement of our 16 rounds.

[Complete on this page.]

Clickers and One's Rounds
by Prananatha das

We have seen some very nice quotes on the chanting of the Holy name and the conclusion appears to be very clear that there are no hard and fast rules in the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. Nobody can argue with these facts. However, is there a distinction between the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra and chanting one's prescribed 16 rounds each day? For, reading Srila Prabhupada's books we find that there are 10 offences in the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, one of which is that one should not be inattentive whilst chanting.

The Not-So-Silly Debate
by Umapati Swami

There has been some comment recently that the debate on Chakra about clickers is silly and foolish. I have to disagree. This debate is about more than where to put your thumb. The real question under discussion is, How far can we deviate from Vaisnava tradition and the instructions of Srila Prabhupada without losing something essential? I will not try to answer this question here, but rather offer some points for consideration.

There are, of course, situations where the clicker may have its value. The issue is about using the clicker when one can easily use beads, such as in the temple or in the home. In such cases, are we making a mistake when we choose the clicker over the beads simply on the basis of liking and disliking?

Let’s All Write More Deliberately
by Babhru das

[Author's note: Thakur Haridas prabhu's response to my earlier version of this note moved me to reconsider its tone. My real intent was not to belittle Ekesuara das or his passion. However, in an apparent attempt to appear more clever than Ekesuara, I allowed a snide tone to dominate the opening of the letter. That served to highlight my arrogance and, more importantly, to obscure and undermine my real purpose, which was to call attention to the way devotees often discuss issues we feel are important. Aware of the irony in doing so, with apologies to Ekesuara prabhu and all other devotees who found the harshness of my letter offensive, and with thanks to Thakur Haridas, I submit this revised version.]

Srila Prabhupada on 
Chanting the Holy Name

from Bhaktavatsala dasa (NZ)

Path of Perfection: Chapter Ten: "The Path of Perfection"

"My Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Your holy name there is all good fortune for the living entity, and therefore You have many names, such as Krsna and Govinda, by which You expand Yourself. You have invested all Your potencies in those names, and there are no hard-and-fast rules for remembering them. My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting."

Clickers Ki Jaya!
by Vedika dd

I think clickers are wonderful. If I didn’t use one, I would never get my japa done. My husband even set up special clickers for us to use when we play games on our PS2 (Sony Play Station) so we can play video games and click with our feet. I use it when I cook, drive, and even crochet! Now I can do anything requiring the use of both hands and still get my rounds done.

Yours in Krishna’s service,
Vedika dd
[Complete on this page]

Beads Or?
by Kavicandra Swami

If we spent as much time chanting as we do debating (arguing), we would be doing quite well. I don't recall that Srila Prabhupada ever said that we should not chant unless we have beads.
[Complete on this page]

Raising the Level of Exchange
by Thakur Haridas das

In response to the "Beads/Clicker ‘Debate’ Degenerates" article, is it necessary to publish words such as silly, foolishness, devolved and a generally belittling and derogatory tone? Some of the points in the article are very nice, being supported by shastra, but they would be nicer if they were not couched in a negative / critical tone toward another devotee.

Even if there was a mistake, it can be corrected in a gentle positive manner, with respect for other persons and their feelings. I, for one, would appreciate an improved editorial policy to minimize ad hominum insinuations and insults and to promote more humble respectful exchanges. After all, we are striving to become a society of Vaishnavas!

Your servant,
Thakur Haridas das
[Complete on this page]

Why I Really Like My Clicker
by Bh Christi

I use a clicker and my beads about equally. In the mornings, I chant eight rounds on my beads before leaving for work. I work in a nursing home as a nurse— not always the cleanest environment. I bring my beads with me, in my beadbag, and use them if I have uninterrupted time (never), and I keep my beadbag with me, but for when I'm out on the floor or going through the building, I have my clicker in my hand. Everyone knows me, and they know what I'm doing. It isn't a matter of wanting to hide, because they all know I'm chanting whether they see my clicker or my beadbag.

The Beads/Clicker "Debate" 
Degenerates Further

by Babhru das

A silly, so-called debate has devolved to foolishness. Apparently in an attempt to seal the argument and have the last word, Ekesuara das has asserted that anyone who reads Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita "can see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chant [sic] rounds on Tulasi beads." This devotee makes an assertion that he fails to support with any scriptural evidence. In fact, in the purport to Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita 7.37, Srila Prabhupada tells us that "Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to count on His fingers. While one hand was engaged in chanting, the other hand kept the number of rounds."

Chanting on a Clicker
by Jyotirmaya das

Dear Prabhus,

The evidence of Srila Prabhupada's instructions regarding chanting on beads and not on a clicker is overwhelming.

Chanting on a clicker, however, used to help me keep track of the number of names I’ve chanted while out running errands. In that kind of situation, using beads makes it too easy to lose my place.

Mahaprabhu Chants on Tulasi Beads
by Ekesuara das a.

In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta and Caitanya Bhagavata, all can see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu chant rounds on Tulasi beads. Also, the Vrindavan goswamis use Tulasi beads for chanting rounds. All the acaryas including Srila Prabhupada chant rounds on the Tulasi japa mala.

Japa Beads Versus Clicker: 
The Method Srila Prabhupada Gave Us

by Ananta Sesa Naga das

In my original posting, I stated that many of the early London UK devotees were without japa mala for a long time. Whilst this was true, we nevertheless counted our completed rounds done on our fingers as individual rounds. That is, we never just chanted and chanted, we kept count of individual rounds.

It may be my ignorance, but I went out and purchased a counter and used it instead of my japa mala. Several things occured to me whilst I was in the process of chanting: How will I know when I have completed my second and third and fourth rounds, etc? His Divine Grace instructed us that each round consists of 108 Maha mantras. Each round was to be proceeded by certain mantras Namah Om... Sri Krsna ... Namaste... etc.

Japa Beads vs. Clicker
by Sankarshan Das Adhikari

I noticed there was some controversy on Chakra regarding chanting on japa beads vs. chanting with a clicker. Consulting Srila Prabhupada's teachings in this regard, I found numerous instructions to us from him that we should chant on beads. For the sake of brevity I have included only a few of them here.

Also, when I was initiated, Srila Prabhupada mercifully mailed me from London a set of japa beads that he had chanted on. He did not include a clicker, nor did he ever chant on a clicker.

Clicker-Inspired Poetry
from Radha dasi

Sat-sanga das and I each wrote a spur-of-the-moment poem inspired by these talks of the use of the clicker and thought we'd share them. Sort of an ode to the clicker if you will, as Sat-sanga das put it :)

By Sat-sanga das

Click, click, click my japa goes
How many rounds? I will know
And see the numbers in the little window

The Counter Controversy
by Ravinder Shira

It is, of course, best to chant on Tulsi beads, as touching Tulsi is more purifying and there are stronger vibes and contact with Tulsi, who is very dear to Lord Sri Krishna. For devotees living in temples, chanting on Tulsi beads should be no problem. For devotees living outside and having jobs, it is not that easy, as they are always on the go. 

The Clickster
by Radha dasi

Namaste Sat-sanga das,

My name is Radha dasi, and I just wanted to drop you a line about your article posted on CHAKRA.

I just have to say that it's great that you have chanted so much over the past so many years, and if it takes a device other than what is traditional, then so be it. It is in the intention and desire that you pursue your spiritual life, not in the tools used. So good for you for doing whatever it took to do what you need to do— more power to you!

Radha dasi

Why I Occasionally 
Chant on My Counter

by Bhaktin Katie

I have occasionally found myself reaching for my silver ball so that I can get my rounds completed simultaneously performing my very important and consuming service of guiding my two children, Sridhama and Chaya Namaste. I had to find a balance between getting my rounds done, feeling frustrated if they were interrupted, and practicality.

I feel that it is not the most auspicious method of chanting Japa, and I would love to make the time to sit and chant my sixteen rounds, uninterrupted, on my mala but this is not an everyday reality.

When I First Joined, I Had No Beads
by Ananta Sesa Naga das

It has been asked if: "the method of chanting rounds with a counter is approved by guru, sadhu, sastra."

Whilst I am unsure of this, I can relate my own personal experience in relation to the question.

I joined ISKCON in London in 1970 with Purnananda das and Troylokianath das. Neither of us had japa beads for some time. 

Why I Chant Rounds with a Counter
by Sat-sanga Das

I am writing this in response to Ekesuara Prabhu who asked the question, "Why chant rounds with a counter?" He asked for approval by Guru, Sadhu, and Shastra, which is the proper Vaisnava etiquette in establishing a philosophical investigation. I employed the injunction of accepting those things favorable for devotional service as my defense presentation in my habitual use of a counter, which I affectionately call a clicker. I would like to bear my testimony as to how I came to be such a rogue.

In 1974 one of my services was to be the receptionist at the front desk of the Sri Sri Radha Govinda Mandir in Brooklyn. In a drawer I found a small chrome counting device about the size of a large walnut. It had a metal loop on it that you inserted your index finger into, and when held in this way the small button that turned the mechanics inside was then located near the thumb. 

Chanting Rounds on a Counter
by Bhakta Jerry

Hare Krishna, This is a response to Ekesuara's question about chanting rounds with a counter. I do not have any scriptural evidence to answer the question about whether or not a counter is authorized. However, I would like to give my opinion based on personal experience.

I have often wondered why devotees use counters, especially if they have initiated malas. The only reason I can think of is fear. It is to risk embarrassment or persecution to chant on your mala out in public.

Why Chant Rounds with a Counter?
by Ekesuara das a.

I would like to say something about chanting rounds on a little machine used by managers of sports stores. I see many devotees using this counter, and I ask, "Prabhu, what are you doing?"

And they say, "I am chanting my rounds."

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