Manonatha Maharaj, please accept my humble obeisances. What is the significance of the number 16? Why are we instructed to chant 16 rounds of Japamala and not some other number?
Dear Bhaktin Divya,
Please receive my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Haridasa Thakura used to chant the whole day, leaving just few minutes for bodily necessities.
Calculating how long it takes to chant one round, we discover that we could chant 192 rounds at day.
Since there was a mission to build, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati instructed his disciples to chant “only” 64 rounds every day. One third of what Haridasa Thakura used to chant. 192 divided by 3 is 64.
Less than that, he said, they would have been patita (fallen).
When Srila Prabhupada came to the west he tried to have his disciples to do the same, to chant 64 rounds of japamala every day, but he was told that it was impossible.
Then he said the half, 32, and that also resulted not possible.
Then he cut that 32 by the half, 16, and he said that it was not any more negotiable. They had to chant 16 rounds every day.
This is how the number 16 came to be.
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
THE NEW ARCHIVE: www.isvara.org
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