Mukunda: The maha-mantra was prescribed for modern times because of the fast-paced nature of things today. Even when people do get into a little quiet place, it's very difficult to calm the mind for very long.
George: That's right. Chanting Hare Krishna is a type of meditation that can be practiced even if the mind is in turbulence. You can even be doing it and other things at the same time. That's what's so nice. In my life there's been many times the mantra brought things around. It keeps me in tune with reality, and the more you sit in one place and chant, the more incense you offer to Krishna in the same room, the more you purify the vibration, the more you can achieve what you're trying to do, which is just trying to remember God, God, God, God, God, as often as possible. And if you're talking to Him with the mantra, it certainly helps.
Mukunda: What else helps you to fix your mind on God?
George: Well, just having as many things around me that will remind me of Him, like incense and pictures. Just the other day I was looking at a small picture on the wall of my studio of you, Gurudasa, and Syamasundara, and just seeing all the old devotees made me think of Krishna. I guess that's the business of devotees-to make you think of God.
Mukunda: How often do you chant?
George: Whenever I get a chance.
Mukunda: Once you asked Srila Prabhupada about a particular verse he quoted from the Vedas, in which it's said that when one chants the holy name of Krishna, Krishna dances on the tongue and one wishes one had thousands of ears and thousands of mouths with which to better appreciate the holy names of God.
George: Yes. I think he was talking about the realization that there is no difference between Him standing before you and His being present in His name. That's the real beauty of chanting-you directly connect with God. I have no doubt that by saying Krishna over and over again, He can come and dance on the tongue. The main thing, though, is to keep in touch with God.
Mukunda: So your habit is generally to use the beads when you chant?
George: Oh, yeah. I have my beads. I remember when I first got them, they were just big knobby globs of wood, but now I'm very glad to say that they're smooth from chanting a lot.
Mukunda: Do you generally keep them in the bag when you chant?
George: Yes. I find it's very good to be touching them. It keeps another one of the senses fixed on God. Beads really help in that respect. You know, the frustrating thing about it was in the beginning there was a period when I was heavy into chanting and I had my hand in my bead bag all the time. And I got so tired of people asking me, "Did you hurt your hand, break it or something?" In the end I used to say, "Yeah. Yeah. I had an accident," because it was easier than explaining everything. Using the beads also helps me to release a lot of nervous energy.
Mukunda: Some people say that if everyone on the planet chanted Hare Krishna, they wouldn't be able to keep their minds on what they were doing. In other words, if everyone started chanting, some people ask if the whole world wouldn't just grind to a halt. They wonder if people would stop working in factories, for example.
George: No. Chanting doesn't stop you from being creative or productive. It actually helps you concentrate. I think this would make a great sketch for television: imagine all the workers on the Ford assembly line in Detroit, all of them chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna while bolting on the wheels. Now that would be wonderful. It might help out the auto industry, and probably there would be more decent cars too.