Hare Krishna Mahamantra: Special Feature of Mahamantra

                                                                  Q. I have a question that is bothering me. I went last year to see MATA AMRITANDAMAYI also known as AMMA. She is a big devotee of Lord Krishna, always speaks of Lord Krishna's glories. She has the same message to humankind that our place is with the Lord and that we have to go back to Lord Krishna. My question is, I have seen devotees of amma chanting "om nama shivaya". So I am confused. What is the difference between the maha mantra and this mantra?

                                                                  I hope you would enlighten me on this.

                                                                  Q. I have always have heard about the benefits of meditation. The calm and absolutely quiet meditation, where people try to stop any type of thought, has been life-changing for many of my friends. Today I feel really good doing my 16 rounds a day of the Hare Krishna Mantra, but I still have some questions. How would you compare the benefits for Self-Realization between these two forms of meditation?

                                                                  Meditation, when rightly done, is a valid and effective practice -- both for calming the turbulent mind, as well as for aiding in self-realization.

                                                                  But the impersonal, vacant type of meditation that you have refered to is: