" Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare "
– yajnanam japa-yajnah asmi –
Of sacrifices, I am the chanting of the holy names (japa).
‘ In this age of Kali, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, is the incarnation of Lord Krishna.’
‘ Chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities.’
The Vedic scriptures state that spiritual life begins when one inquires into the nature of the absolute truth, the Supreme Godhead. Gaudiya Vaisnavas are monotheists and know the personality of Godhead as Krishna, the All-attractive. But it is also recognised that the Supreme has unlimited names such as Rama, Buddha, Vishnu, Jehovah, Allah, etc. The ultimate goal of Gaudiya Vaisnavism is to develop a loving relationship with the Supreme Godhead. To understand knowledge of self-realisation one must approach a genuine spiritual master. The Vedas also tell us that the understanding of the self, as being non-material or spiritual by nature, is the preliminary stage of realisation of the absolute truth. To understand knowledge of self-realisation one must approach a genuine spiritual master, just as one learns the essence of any subject from a perfected practitioner. The congregational chanting of the maha-mantra,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,
as promoted by Sri Caitanya, is accepted by the Vedas as the most effective means of self-purification in this age. The Vedas describe the mantra as a prayer to the Lord, “Please Lord, engage me in Your service”. Devotees may accept formal initiation into the chanting of the Holy Name vowing to abstain from intoxication, gambling, illicit sexual connections and the eating of meat, fish or eggs. ISKCON members believe indulgence in the aforementioned activities disrupts physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and increases anxiety and conflict in society. At the time of initiation devotees also agree to chant a prescribed number of mantras each day.
Significance of the Maha-Mantra
Maha means “great” and mantra means “sacred chant for deliverance.”
Of all mantras in the Vedas, one is called the maha-mantra, or great mantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The words “Hare” (pronounced ha-ray), “Krishna” (pronounced krish-na), and “Rama” (rhymes with “drama”), are Sanskrit words. “Hare” is an address to God’s energy, known as Radha, and “Krishna” is name of God meaning “He who is attractive to everyone.” “Rama” means “one who gives pleasure and enjoys life.”
When chanted the maha-mantra is a petition to God: “O Krishna, O energy of Krishna, please engage me in Your service.
Srila Prabhupada on Chanting
‘ With our lips we should be chanting,
with our ears we should be hearing
& with our heart we should be
crying out for the Lord like a
baby does for its mother.’
– Chant Hare Krishna & Be Happy –