[Advaita-l] What does "Hare Krishna" Mean?

Aravind Mohanram psuaravind at rediffmail.com
Wed Dec 17 23:04:25 CST 2003


>Because it can't.  There is no "magic spell" that can give anyone moksha.
>Bondage is caused by ignorance so only the opposite of ignorance can
>result in liberation.  It's not a question of whether one recites one name
>or 100,000, if it is done without jnana it will not avail.

May I know the sastric basis for the above statement? 

>Because knowledge is good and ignorance is evil.  Beware of any so-called
>Guru who tries to persuade you to stop reflecting and learning.
>The custom of chanting names is an integral part of our philosophy dating
>back to its' very beginnings (for example namaka and chamaka in the
>Vedas.)  But it is a part of a comprehensive program of sadhana not a
>replacement for it.  It was with the medieval sants that the extravagant
>claims for nama-sankirtan arose.  Satya Sai Baba is an inheritor of those
>currents as are North Indian Vaishnava movements of which ISKCON is a
>modern offshoot.  In many cases what such people mean by Moksha is also
>markedly different from what Advaitins believe.

jnana and bhakti go hand-in-hand. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, tesam satata yuktanam... (10.10)  - to those who are constantly devoted to me, I give the understanding by which they come to Me. There have also been cases (when people are not able to understand the imports of sastras), pure chanting has made people advance in spiritual life or achieve liberation. Chanting is one of the nine processes of devotional services. In ISKCON, chanting is emphasized because of several reasons. First, nama-sankirtanam is considered the means for self-realization in this age of Kali. Second and more important reason for emphasizing chanting over other devotional activities is that chanting is a call for service (pls see below) and so is the pre-requisite for all other activities. No one is encouraged to neglect other activities such as learning/reading scriptures but, nama-sankirtana gets the priority because of the reason stated above. Further, it can be done at anytime and by anyone. And, is especially meant for people in this age because people are always disturbed and anxious. But, one should try to do this chanting without offenses. Ajamila chanted the name of Narayana and was saved from the pangs of death - it is important to note that this quick result was possible because he chanted without offenses, in a state of helplessness. So, one should strive to chant the names of Krishna concentrating well on the sound vibrations and avoiding offenses. By constant chanting, one's consciousness is purified of material contamination and the chanter raises above the three modes. 

The moksha of Vaishnavas is different from that of Adavitins. There are 5 kinds of moksha, that I have heard of. But, interestingly, the goal of Krishna conscious devotees is not even moksha which is considered the final goal of life by Hindus. They actually look down upon liberation!!!. All they long for is eternal service for Krishna and His devotees, either in hell or heaven (please read the prayers of Prahlad Maharaj and other devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam). This is why chanting and Krishna conscious activities are purely selfless activites if done with proper consciousness and in a mood of service and humility. 

> > Actually i wanted to know what this simple Mantra mean
> > and who composed it and in what language is it
> > composed (sanskrit or hindi?)
> >
>It is only the names Hari and Krishna in various combinations.  There is
>no shastraic basis for it and it was probably invented by the 15th century
>Bengali saint Chaitanya.

The Hare Krishna Maha-mantra means, 

"On, Internal Potency of the Lord (Hare), Please Engage Me in the Service of Hari". The mantra is found in the kali-santarana upanishad (which some may consider not authentic, although I haven't come across a good reason to reject). It's not "invented" by someone but given and made popular by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If you wish to know the meaning of the mantra and its potencies, please begin by reading the books of Srila Prabhupada or by joining egroups that are dedicated to discussing Krishna conscious philosophy, just like if I want to know about Sankara and Advaita, I should join groups such as this. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says,

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha 

In this age of Kali, there is no other way there is no other way there is no other way except for chanting the names of Lord Hari.

You can chant any authorized names of God, if you are used to doing that, such as  Vishnu, Narayana, Nrsimha, Rama etc.,. 

The chanting of Hare Krishna maha-mantra quickly brings one to the platform of goodness (sattva-guna), situated on which one can begin to understand the science of Krishna consciousness. To understand the efficacy of chanting, I encourage you to try it atleast for a week or more (108 times or multiples of it).  

Thanks. Sorry for the long email. 

in your service,

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