Hare Krishna Mahamantra and Its History
What is Hare Krishna Mahamantra?
Hare Krishna mahamantra (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.) is a Vaishnava mantra. This mantra is the best of all which Sanatan Hindus chant to express thier love or to invoke the Supreme God. I would like to explain the importance of Hare Krishna mahamantra and its history in this post.
How is Hare Krishna Mahamantra Formed?
Hare Krishna mahamantra is formed with three different names of Almighty. These names are Hare, Krishna and Rama. Here, Hare is used for eight times and each name of Krishna and Rama is used for four times. The name, Hare is used two times more than the names, Krishna and Rama. Hare or Hari is Almighty Himself and Krishna and Rama are His two incarnations descended on this planet in Treta and Dwapara yuga. So, I think, there is a logic behind the use of these names. As per Gaudiya Vaishnavism, one’s consciousness and destination in life should be the love for Almighty. The word Hare in the mantra is actually used to address Hari or Shrihari (The supreme personality of Godhead who liberates us from this materialistic world or makes a way for moksha). In another sense, Hare is derived from Hara (who abducts) and the personification of this act is Hari or Almighty God. It is also mentionable that the name of Radha Rani (the consort of Krishna) is uttered eight times in Kali Santaran mantra.
What’s the Importance the Mahamantra?
The name of Hari is very important to a Hindu devotee. I would like to explain it through a divine story. Once Devarshi Narada asked Shrihari what the importance of His (Hari) name is. Then Shrihari smiled and said that He (Hari) would not answer to that question just then. Instead, He (Hari) proposed Narada that they would go to the world to get the appropriate answer. Then Lord along with Devarshi came to the world and met first a beetle. Shrihari told Devarshi to ask it the question. As soon as Devarshi Narada asked it the question, it (beetle) died. Then Devarshi wondered. After a while they met a fawn. He (Devarshi) asked it the same question. No sooner had it (fawn) heard the name of Hari than it died. After this, they met a calf of a cow. It also died when it was asked the same question. Thus Narada asked the question to different creatures of this world eighty four thousand times. But all of them died in the same way. At last Narada met a human being and he (Narada) asked the man the question. The man answered that he knew the importance of the name of Hari. He (man) added that the creatures who died previously were none but his (man) different physical forms. For the cyclic existence or reincarnation, he got the life of a human being when he gradually realized the importance of the name of Hari after eighty four thousand lives. At last Devarshi understood the importance of the name and bowed to Shrihari uttering “Narayana, Narayana”.
Where Was the Mahamantra Mentioned First?
Hare Krishna mahamantra was first mentioned in Kali Santaran upanishad which was written before 1500 AD. This mantra is also associated with Krishna Yajurveda. If one utters this maha mantra loudly, he or she will be liberated from all the bad effects of Kali yuga. Among all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, this mantra is very popular. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the most prominent spiritual leader of Goudiya Vaishnavism sect of Hinduism, made this mantra popular throughout India, particularly in Bengal and Odisha. This mantra gained more popularity for Bhakti Andolan (Devotional Movement) through the spiritual teaching of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu since 16th century. Since the 60s of the past century, the mantra has spread around the planet by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as well as his organization, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Now this maha mantra is heard to chant all over the world by the Sanatan Hindu devotees.
What is the Importance of the Mahamantra in Kali Yuga?
The name of Shrihari or Hare Krishna mahamantra is so powerful that a devotee can transform his heart into Vrindavana by hearing and chanting it again and again. The mantra can cleanses a devotee’s mind freeing it from anxiety and illusion. Many devotees of this materialistic world got moksha by chanting this mahamantra. In this regard, I would like to mention the names of Lakshahira Bai, Jagai-Madhai, Ratnakar and Ajamil. So, we should chant Hare Krishna mahamantra to get moksha as it is the only way to get moksha in Kali yuga. Really it is the yugadharma of Kali yuga. Chanting of Hare Krishna mahamantra in Kali yuga is equal to fifty or sixty thousand years’ meditation in Satya yuga. This mahamantra can remove all the sins. In Vrihannaradia Purana we get-
Harernam Harernam Harernamaiva Kevalam|
Kalou Nastyev Nastyev Nastyev Gatirnytha||
Hare Krishna mahamantra can be chanted in many ways. But the best way is to chant it on beads. To chant 108 beads is called a round. A devotee should complete sixteen rounds of chanting daily. It is mentionable that a devotee should chant Panchatatva mantra (Jaya Shri-Krishna-Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda Shri Advaita Gadadhara Shrivasadi Goura Bhaktavrinda) before chanting on beads.
Hare Krishna mahamantra has an immense spiritual power. The Hindu intellectuals and spiritual teachers realized this truth hundreds of years ago. This mantra is the best of all other mentioned in Hindu scriptures. Now, its popularity has crossed the border of the sub-continent and all the devotees across the planet are chanting –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.