Why chant the Hare Krishna mantra? Aren't all Krishna mantras beneficial?
Yes, all genuine names of the Supreme Person are absolute and good for everyone to say and hear; spiritually speaking, there's no difference between God and His names. However, to make tangible spiritual progress it is recommended that one receive mantras in disciplic succession, from master to student.
Along with the mantra, the spiritual master gives the process for chanting it, includes regulative principles to be followed and ten offenses to be avoided. The process is simple and straightforward, but it requires discipline and dedication. Without following the recommended process, one may chant for millions of years without making noticeable spiritual advancement.
Just as there are conditions that must be met in order to start a fire (fuel must be dry) or to successfully bake a cake (proper temperature, properly measured ingredients), the science of chanting mantras requires careful attention to certain rules so that the desired result—love of God—can be achieved.
Vedic literature specifically recommends the Hare Krishna mantra as the most important mantra for the present age. All the great teachers, acharyas in the disciplic line of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have chanted the Hare Krishna mantra and taught the process of chanting it to their followers.
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 8.16.24, purport:
" Unless one follows this parampara system, the mantra one receives will be chanted for no purpose. Nowadays there are so many rascal gurus who manufacture their mantras as a process for material advancement, not spiritual advancement. Still, the mantra cannot be successful if it is manufactured. Mantras and the process of devotional service have special power, provided they are received from the authorized person."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.8.53, purport:
". . . one may receive a published mantra anywhere, but unless it is accepted through the chain of disciplic succession, the mantra does not act. It is said by authoritative sources that any mantra chanted without having been received from the disciplic succession has no efficacy."
- Science of Self Realization, 2:
" As it is said in the Padma Purana:
mantras te nishphala matah
"Unless you are initiated by a bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, the mantra that you might have received is without any effect.""