Significance of the Mantra
This hymn is called with reverence as Maha Mantra, the great invocation and that shows the importance it occupies in the realm of Bhakti, the devotion. It is a sixteen-word mantra dedicated to the great Avatars of Lord Vishnu, Krishna, and Rama, and reads as under:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
This is made up entirely of the three sacred names of the Lord, Hare, Krishna, and Rama. ‘Hari’ is another name for Lord Vishnu and the term ‘Hare’ has evolved out of it, denoting Vishnu himself. The word is also said to refer the Shakti, the energy of the Almighty. Rama and Krishna are the highly popular incarnations of the lord, in which he lived a full life among other beings and showed to the world the righteous way of life, through both, words and deeds.
Krishna is also said to denote divine attraction, while Rama, the divine joy. Hence, this mantra can bless one with immense satisfaction and exuberance.
This is a hymn not only for chanting, but also for singing and dancing, individually and collectively, and these can be done by anyone, anytime and at any place, not only in places of worship but also in public places and even in streets. The vibrations that emanate out of invocation are so powerful that they can purify the mind, and remove illusion and worries.
History of the Mantra
This mantra is said to have emerged out first from Kali Santarana Upanishad, an ancient scripture. Therein, Lord Brahma tells sage Narada that one can sail through the vicious Kaliyuga, protect oneself from its evil effects and get out of the eternal cycle of birth and death, just by taking the name of the Supreme Lord Narayana. It is in that context that Brahma gives this powerful hymn to Narada, for the redemption of the entire humanity. This mantra formed the lifeline of the divine experiences of the great saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his teachings. He went around all over the country, chanting and singing this hymn and preaching the value of devotion among the masses. Thus, Hare Krishna Maha Mantra became the anthem of devotion then and contributed to the origin of the highly popular Bhakti movement of the 15th century AD, which swept through the length and breadth of our land like a tornado.
The benefits of chanting the mantra are many and far-reaching.
The results of the past actions keep on accruing in one’s account as Karma and the divine law of Karma ordain that one has to necessarily experience the effects of one’s actions, both good and bad, in that birth or in the ones that follow. It is believed that the divine energy generated by the chanting of this powerful mantra can help to dissipate the negative Karmas and improve the store of positive ones.
The demands of the present day existence make contemplation a near-impossible exercise, while the vices like ego, avarice, anger, lust, etc. cloud our mind to the brim. Chanting of this mantra can generate powerful spiritual vibrations, which can cleanse the soul, develop consciousness and make us understand our true selves. This can also quell internal turbulence, bring in composure and bestow peace of mind to sincere practitioners.
When peace comes, can happiness be far behind? ‘Ananda’ is something that remains as the much sought-after thing even for the ascetics and this joy will descend in when this auspicious mantra is chanted with devotion.
With the mind soaked in peace and joy, it will become the ideal location for love to grow and blossom. This love will link one’s consciousness directly with that of God. Thus enveloped with the pure love of God, the self can be enlightened and start on its journey towards Moksha, the ultimate liberation.