Hare Krishna – The Transcendental Vibration

Purport by His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare – Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method of reviving our transcendental consciousness.

As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called mäyä, or illusion. Maya means “that which is not.” And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, he is said to be in illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krishna consciousness.

Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original, natural energy of the living entity. When we hear this transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revitalized. And this process is recommended by authorities for this age. Also by practical experience we can see that by chanting the maha-mantra or the great chant for liberation, one can immediately feel a transcendental ecstasy coming down from the spiritual realm.

When one is actually on the plane of spiritual realization – having left behind the stages of the senses, mind and intelligence – one has reached the transcendental plane. This chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare – Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare comes directly from the spiritual plane and surpasses all the lower stages of consciousness, namely the sensual, the mental and the intellectual. It is therefore not necessary to understand the language of the mantra, nor does it require mental speculation, nor any intellectual consideration to chant this maha-mantra. It arises automatically from the spiritual plane, and therefore anyone can participate in this transcendental sound vibration without any prior qualification and dance to it in ecstasy.

Hare Krishna Mantra2aWe have seen this in practice. Even a child can participate in the chanting and dancing, or even a dog. The chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided because it has a poisoning effect just like milk touched by the lips of a snake.

The word Hara is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama mean “the supreme pleasure,” and Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to Hare in the vocative. The supreme pleasure energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.

The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. And we, the living entities, are also the energy, marginal energy, of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.

These three words, namely Hare, Krishna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother’s presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father’s grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

Demzufolge ist kein anderes Mittel spiritueller Erkenntnis in diesem Zeitalter des Streites und der Heuchelei so wirksam wie das Chanten des maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare – Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

The meaning of the Hare Krishna Maha mantra

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

O supreme energy of God, O Lord Krishna,
please engage me in Your devotional service.

The Hare Krishna mantra is a prayer to God (Krishna) asking to be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord.

“Hare” refers to God’s spiritual energy, “Krishna” means the “all-attractive one” and “Rama” can be translated as “the source of all joy”. The entire Hare Krishna mantra is therefore a prayer in the form of an invocation to the person of God and His energies, combined with the request to be engaged in the service of the Lord (bhakti-yoga).

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us that we should only ask God to allow us to be engaged in His service life after life. This is the real meaning of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. When we chant ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare‘, we are basically addressing God and His energy Hara. Hara is Krishna’s inner power, Srimati Radharani or Laksmi. Jay Radhe! This is daivi prakriti, (inner divine energy) and the devotees take refuge in daivi prakriti, Srimati Radharani. Consequently, the Vaishnavas worship Radha-Krishna, Laksmi-Narayana and Sita-Rama.

Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta ManorAt the beginning of the Hare Krishna mantra, we first address the inner energy of Krishna, Hare. So we say: ‘O Radharani! O Hare! O energy of the Lord!‘ When we address someone in this way, they will usually say, “Yes, what do you want?” The answer is, “Please engage me in Your service.” That should be our prayer. We should not pray, ‘O energy of the Lord, O Krishna, please give me money. Please give me a beautiful wife. Please give me devotees. Please give me a prestigious position. Please give me the presidency.’ These are material desires to be avoided. Buddha taught that we should give up all material desires. It is not possible to become desireless, but it is possible to give up material desires. It is the nature of the living being to desire, and it is not possible to become desireless. When one is desireless, one is dead. Desirelessness (in the spiritual sense) means to purify one’s desire, and our desire is purified when we desire only to serve Krishna.” –

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, The Teachings of Sri Kapila, verse 32, page 226 –

“O King, incessant chanting of the Holy Name after the example of great authorities is the undoubted and fearless path to success for all – even for those who are free from all material desires, for those who desire every conceivable material enjoyment, and even for those who are self-satisfied by transcendental knowledge.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, verse 2.1.11)

Confirmation of the chanting of Hare Krishna in the Vedic scriptures:

harer nāma harer nāma / harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva / nāsty eva gatir anyathā

“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, chanting the holy name of the Lord is the only way to liberation. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” (Brihad Naradiya Purana)

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
iti ṣoḍaśakaṁ nāmnāṁ / kali-kalmaṣa-nāśanam
nātaḥ parataropāyaḥ / sarva-vedeṣu dṛśyate

“In all the Vedic scriptures one cannot find a more sublime method of religion for this age than the chanting of Hare Krsna.” (Kali Santarana Upanisad)