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Thread: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

  1. #1

    Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    I think you also must know the

    "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"


    My questions about this are:

    1) Is it chanted and used during japa among Vaishnavas outside ISKCON or is it made up by people within ISKCON?
    2) Could you point me to the source (Scripture) of this Mantra with its meaning and explanation?

    Thank you very much for all the helpful answers!

  2. #2
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    Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    I dontthink the HK mantra is frequently used outside ISKCON.It comes from an upaniahad that is not universally accepted as authentic (can't recall the name now).The original mantra as Hare Rama first.I have no idea why they reverse it.
    namastE astu bhagavan vishveshvarAya mahAdevAya tryaMbakAya|
    tripurAntakAya trikAgnikAlAya kAlAgnirudrAya nIlakaNThAya mRtyuJNjayAya sarveshvarAya sadAshivAya shrIman mAhAdevAya ||

    Om shrImAtrE namah

    sarvam shrI umA-mahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu

    A Shaivite library

  3. #3
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    duhkhalayam asasvatam
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    Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON


    This mantra comes from Kalisantarna Upanisad, it was originally started with hare Rama .
    Shree Chetanya Maaprabhu's sankirtan movement popularised this chanting.
    According to Shree Rameshbhai Oza, I heard from him years ago, his explanation was that a mantra can not be used as Kirtan that is the reason Mahaprabhu reversed the mantra so that it can be chanted.
    Iskcon is responsible to popularise this chanting in the west but they are not the only one who use it

    Jai Shree Krishna
    Rig Veda list only 33 devas, they are all propitiated, worthy off our worship, all other names of gods are derivative from this 33 originals,
    Bhagvat Gita; Shree Krishna says Chapter 3.11 devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah parasparam bhavayantah sreyah param avapsyatha Chapter 17.4 yajante sattvika devan yaksa-raksamsi rajasah pretan bhuta-ganams canye yajante tamasa janah
    The world disappears in him. He is the peaceful, the good, the one without a second.

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    Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    Namaste Elizabeth108

    I concur to Ganeshprasad, this has been my understanding.

    As far as its use, I have attended temples, bhajans, kirtans, lectures and so on for many denominations over the span of my life, including some which are more of a denomination called Spiritual rather than a denomination of modern Hinduism or traditional Shaiva, Vaishnav, Shakta, all of which I enjoy their company and in which in no way compromises my Saiva Siddhanta affiliation.

    I am not claiming the use of the HK chant is common, but I have observed its use at many such engagements of all sorts and not just only at ISKCON (Hare Krishnas). Both with HK as the opening mantra as well as the more traditional use opening with HR. My personal feeling on this, is either way the power and Bhakti that enfolds and permeates the entire surroundings when exclaimed with love and devotion by actual Hindu devotees is WITHOUT QUESTION.

    So the only real question that matters for you, in my take on it, is whether you experience this connection to Deva and Devi. You are the one who will know, and it is your experience that will help guide. I would also add, do not overlook other bhajans, mantras, chants, and tirthas that will open doors for your soul.

    Can I suggest one?

    Om Sharavana Bhava

    If you like, take the time to research this mantra, of which SA RA VA NA BA VA is found in many bhajans as well.

    I typically close my posts with Om Namah Sivaya. Please also try this 108 times with devotion. You will be amazed.

    I love and respect the devotees of the HK movement. Like them, I also practice Bhakti Yoga. My feeling is Bhakti is the best path for those Hindus as aspirants who are born in the West. Why this is so, only Deva and Devi can explain. It is not the only way for a Westerner, it may not be your way, but it is very successful for most Westerners.

    Lord Chaitaniya lived at a time and a region in India when many Hindus feared to be very public about their Hindu faith at a time when in part persecution or political power in the hands of Muslims threatened the freedom and natural inclination of the human soul which this freedom and inclination is called Hindusm and Sanatana Dharma.

    In one way, though such persecution does not exist in the West, since Hinduism is only 100 years old in America for example, perhaps the same boldness and devotion as found in Bhakti and in the example of such Saints which includes Saiva and Tamil Saints of Bhakti as liberators makes the New World ripe for the message and Bhakti of such mystics, saints and yogis.

    I wish you all the love and success in your journey to liberation called Hinduism.

    Jai Lord Muruga

    Om Namah Sivaya
    Last edited by ShivaFan; 24 October 2012 at 10:29 PM. Reason: Changed it's to its

  5. Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    Haribol, Elizabeth,

    HK mantra is used generally by followers of Sri Caitanya, which means not only necessarily in ISKCON.

    His close associate Srila Narahari Sarkar Thakur wrote (through Lokananda Acarya) a book called Bhakti-Candrika (not to be confused with Srila Narottama Dasa' s Prema-Bhakti-Candrika) where he clearly states that this mantra starts with Hare Krsna.

    We will soon be putting up online an English translation of the whole book.

  6. #6

    Wink Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharyaji writes:
    (just posting his opinion for the conversation, I am not a follower)

    The Narayana mantra (Aum Namo Narayanaya) is known historically as the
    Tiru-mantra, and constitutes the most important Vaishnava mantra in
    existence. It was the primary mantra of the Alvars, Sri Nathamuni, Yamuna
    Acharya, and Ramanuja Acharya. It is still the primary mantra of the Sri
    Vaishnava sampradaya to this day.

    The Narayana mantra is a revealed Vedic mantra and is first recommended as
    the primary Vaishnava mantra in the Narayana Upanishad, which is one of
    the 108 traditionally recognized Upanishads, and the entire text of which
    is devoted to extolling the virtues and importance of this mantra.

    The Hare Krishna mantra has an interesting history that, unfortunately,
    almost no follower of the Hare Krishna movement knows about, and that
    almost no leader of that movement will openly acknowledge. Like the
    Narayana mantra, the mantra known as the "Hare Krishna" mantra is a
    revealed Vedic mantra. However, the actual mantra is not quite the "Hare
    Krishna" mantra that has become popular in recent decades. The earliest
    extant mention of it is found in the Kali Santarana Upanishad. The exact
    Sanskrit verse is this:

    naradah punah papraccha tannama kimiti |
    sa hovaca hiranyagarbhah |
    hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare |
    hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare |
    iti sodasakam namnam kalikalmasanasanam |
    natah parataropayah sarvavedesu drsyate |
    iti sodasakalavrtasya jivasyavaranavinasanam |
    tatah prakasate param brahma meghapaye ravirasmimandaliveti |

    The actual mantra in the Kali Santarana Upanishad is thus actually:

    hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
    hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare

    Thus, to this very day, orthodox Hindu brahmanas, panditas and Sanskrit
    experts recite the mantra in this correct fashion. All indologists, Hindu
    scholars, professional Sanskritists and professors of Hinduism Studies
    acknowledge that this is, indeed, the correct wording of the text. In
    fact, even most Gaudiya Acharyas and sannyasis with whom I've discussed
    this issue also readily acknowledge that this is the correct wording in
    the original Sanskrit.

    Interestingly, the mantra was recited in the above, correct, manner even
    in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya during the first two to three
    centuries of its history. Where this specifically changed within the
    Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya was in the early 18th Century with Sri
    Baladeva Vidyabhusana.

    According to the traditional court records, the history is this: The
    Gaudiyas residing in the Mathura/Vrindavana area at that time were known
    for being very egalitarian and open about offering mantra diksha to any
    sincere soul, regardless of their previous caste designation. This is, of
    course, in keeping with true Vaishnavism and bhakti-yoga.

    However, after several decades of disagreements between the Gaudiyas and
    certain important Mathura-based caste brahmanas, the local raja was
    approached with the brahmanas' complaints. Their specific complaint was
    that the Gaudiyas were initiating shudras, etc. with Vedic mantras, which
    they felt was not acceptable. The raja threatened to disfavor the Gaudiya
    movement if they did not cease in offering Vedic mantras to non-twiceborn

    After some serious deliberation, the Gaudiya leaders of the
    Mathura/Vrindavana community offered the compromise of switching the
    mantra - thus saying the Hare Krishna portion first, followed by the Hare
    Rama - rather than initiating people into the actual Vedic mantra. In
    this way, they were not initiating people in a Vedic mantra, would
    satisfied the caste brahmana complainants. Thus was born the "Hare
    Krishna" mantra as: " hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare / hare
    rama hare rama rama rama hare hare.

    In actuality, there is not a "Hare Krishna" mantra found in any Vedic
    scripture and never has been; and no such mantra even existed previous to
    the 18th Century. Rather, what we always had both historically and in the
    Vedic canon was what we could term the "Hare Rama" mantra:

    hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
    hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare

    Now, having said this, I do need to make one very important point clear on
    this matter. Even though the mantra was, indeed, altered only a few
    centuries ago, and cannot thus be considered a revealed or Vedic mantra in
    the strict sense of the term, this is not to say in any way that reciting
    the "Hare Krishna" mantra is in any manner wrong, offensive, devoid of
    worth, or in any way a negative thing.

    Being comprised of the sacred and eternal names of Sriman Narayana
    (specifically Hari, Rama and Krishna), whether one chants either the "Hare
    Rama" mantra or the "Hare Krishna" mantra, the holy names of God have the
    ability to purify our hearts, awaken bhakti within us, and take us back
    home to the realm of Vaikuntha. It is for this reason, understanding the
    ultimate salvific efficacy of the divine names of Krishna, that even the
    most orthodox of Vedic Vaishnavas have never seen the use of the "Hare
    Krishna" mantra as being worthy of contention.

    In giving the Hare Krishna mantra to the world, Srila Prabhupada gifted us
    all with the hari-nama, the sacred names of Narayana, the chanting and
    divine grace of which constitute the highest spiritual practice that one
    can participate in within the Kali Yuga.

  7. #7

    Smile Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON


    Topic List < Prev Topic | Next Topic > Start Topic
    Re: [Guruvayur] Chanting of Mahamantra < Prev Next >
    Posted By:
    Tue Jul 5, 2011 9:18 am |

    Dear Sir:

    I have read the same opinion as yours voiced by Svaami Chidananda Sarasvati in the Bhaktapriya Maasika. He said in a recent article that the form given in the Kali-Santarana-Upanishad need/should not be changed. He is a great Shree Mahaa-Bhaagavata scholar and devotee deeply rooted in our tradition.

    Shruti has precedence over all other traditions in the Sanatana Margam, Svaamiji points out.

    I would argue in a friendly way that in terms of metrics, the traditional form has a beginning kind of feeling because of the elongated "AA" in the line Hare Raama Hare Raama, Raama Raama Hare Hare and then a finale kind of feeling in the second line: Hare Krshna Hare Krshna, Krshna Krshna Hare Hare. Musically also, that sounds like a whole in structural terms in that order.

    I would also argue in a non-challenging way that in terms of semantics--the Arttha of the mantram, Krshna was the climax of Avataara-s because of His Poornaavataaratvam and, in any natural sequence the climax should come at the end. Paalpaayasam is served at the very end!!!

    I profoundly admire the Gaudeeya Vaishnavism, and am thankful for their wonderful gifts to all of us Krshna-Bhakta-s --Strotra-s, the philosophy of Achintya Bhedaabheda doctrine, Shree Roopa Gosvaami's treatises, their Shree-Raadhaa-Bhakti, and their intense devotion and above all Shree Jayadeva Bhagvadpaada's revelation in Geeta Govinadam. But I think the Upanishad revelation needs to be respected because it is prior and respected as paramount by our Tradition.

    name kept private

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    Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    I think that if it comes from our Gaudiya acharyas, then there must have been a good reason for it. Especially when the reversal was because starting the Mahamantra with "Hare Rama..." offended the caste-conscious orthodoxy of the day.

    The reversal was made so that everyone could develop a relationship with Krishna without contention from those who still believed in the hierarchical 'caste-by-birth'.

    Since all of Sriman Narayana's names are powerful, whether Gaudiya or not, ISKCON or not, Hindu or not, chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra cleanses the dust of one's own heart and mind, and fills it with love of God.

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    Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    As far as I know there are two recensions of Kalisantarana Upanishad.
    One of them has "hare rama" part first and "hare krishna" after that, however the other has "hare krishna" part first and "hare rama" part after that.

    Now regarding Sri Caitanya.
    The idea that he tampered with the sequence of words in the Hare Krishna maha mantra is not true.
    How do we know this?
    Very simple. None of followers and disciples of Sri Caitanya ever mentioned that he tampered with the sequence of words in the Hare Krishna maha mantra. Sri Caitanya had disciples such as Rupa, Sanatana, Jiva and other Gosvamis who have written books in which they presented in detail his teachings. There are also biographies of Sri Caitanya that have been written by some followers. In all these books there is no mention that he ever did so.

    From the inception of the Gaudiya vaishnava movement Sri Caitanya chanted "hare krishna" part first and "hare rama" part after that.
    Stories about his tampering with mantra are not true. It is also not true that someone tampered with it later in some of the following centuries.


  10. #10

    Re: Questions about the Hare Krishna Mahamantra outside ISKCON

    So, what (or which ) mantra acctually Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu spread and teach in His life ?

    He teach us Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

    or He teach : Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare



    Om Saha Nau-Avatu |
    Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
    Saha Viiryam Karava-Avahai |
    Tejasvi Nau-Adhii-Tam-Astu Maa Vidviss-Aavahai |
    Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

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