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Thread: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

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    A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Namaste,

    I am a sadhaka of this mahamantra for some time. I always wondered about its meaning, and why it is advocated to chant this mahamantra for ISKCON devotees by their masters.

    As opposed to the popular belief that Krishna in the mahamantra refers to Lord Krishna and Rama refers to Lord Rama, I initially thought that Hare Rama meant Krishna's brother Balarama.

    It is to be noted so many Ramas are described in Hindu scriptures - Bhargava Rama, Parasu Rama, Balarama and so forth.

    But recently I concluded that Rama in the mahamantra does not refer to any person other than Krishna himself.

    We shall see why -

    The term 'Krish' in Sanskrit means 'small, lean, emaciated'. Which means something to become scant/lesser/weak. 'Krishna' means dark/black. Also Krishna means 'All attractive'.

    Thus, by Krishna, I believe it means a request made to the Lord by chanting the mahamantra that our darkness and weaknesses be emaciated/weakened/taken away/put to peril and that we become all attractive like the lord himself, in our mental qualities.

    I believe the first Hare Krishna Hare Krishna refers to the darkness part being put to wane away and the Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare part refers to the all attractive part growing in potency.

    Similarly for the Rama part -

    'Ra' refers to Rahu/desires, and 'ma' also refers to 'me' and 'myself'.

    Thus, simply deducing from these meanings, I propose that Hare Rama Hare Rama means a plea to the Lord to make us selfless/desireless.

    That means the negative side of 'Ra' and 'ma' (to become desireless/selfless). On a positive note, 'Ra' and 'ma' also mean 'my desires fulfilling'.

    Therefore, I propose that Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare means, 'O Lord Krishna, kindly make me as desireless and selfless as can be but also kindly fulfill my justifiable desires'.

    So this is my simplistic definition or meaning for the mahamantra. Can the learned devotees here opine on the same?

    Many thanks.

    HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  2. #2

    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Namaste Viraja,

    Its a wonderful insight to have on the chanting hare krsna maha mantra. I dont think there is a fixed definition by any translation each meaning and each insight makes the mantra blossom deeper and further, so each meaning which we meditate or connect with the chanting in japa or kirtan is ever expanding and revealing more and more, so it becomes more appreciated when devotees find new levels new meanings within sadhana. They become more personal revelations within the sadhana and how we connect with the transcendent.

    Rama, for a meditation can also be the full embodiment of Sri, ra ~light and sound combined is absolute and ma~ shakti, when chanting rama it brings sound light which is core of consciousness energy, nothing can really define what it is because its constantly expanding within its own source , it is as you have so nicely revealed, it is also balarama giving strength and is expansion of paramatma, the sound vibration is non different to parabrahman, so its nature is to be all inclusive, ever expanding beyond limits, sound also becomes silent, the sound brings silence to the desires of the mind which seeks objects, in that silence there is divine sound and light, heard with divine ears and seen with divine eyes only, that divyam is the nature of rama, rama and radha are one and the same.

    Usually within the Gaudia tradition Rama is not directly on sri ramacandra, as sri ramacandra is within treta yuga and maha mantra is outside of all yugas but comes into kali yuga in the form of audible sound vibration to engage the mind the senses to something higher.

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    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Quote Originally Posted by markandeya 108 dasa View Post
    Namaste Viraja,

    Its a wonderful insight to have on the chanting hare krsna maha mantra. I dont think there is a fixed definition by any translation each meaning and each insight makes the mantra blossom deeper and further, so each meaning which we meditate or connect with the chanting in japa or kirtan is ever expanding and revealing more and more, so it becomes more appreciated when devotees find new levels new meanings within sadhana. They become more personal revelations within the sadhana and how we connect with the transcendent.

    Rama, for a meditation can also be the full embodiment of Sri, ra ~light and sound combined is absolute and ma~ shakti, when chanting rama it brings sound light which is core of consciousness energy, nothing can really define what it is because its constantly expanding within its own source , it is as you have so nicely revealed, it is also balarama giving strength and is expansion of paramatma, the sound vibration is non different to parabrahman, so its nature is to be all inclusive, ever expanding beyond limits, sound also becomes silent, the sound brings silence to the desires of the mind which seeks objects, in that silence there is divine sound and light, heard with divine ears and seen with divine eyes only, that divyam is the nature of rama, rama and radha are one and the same.

    Usually within the Gaudia tradition Rama is not directly on sri ramacandra, as sri ramacandra is within treta yuga and maha mantra is outside of all yugas but comes into kali yuga in the form of audible sound vibration to engage the mind the senses to something higher.
    Namaste Markandeya ji,

    So nice to know of the association between the term Rama and light/sound mode of the divine!

    Putting into perspective this new definition of light/sound combination for the term 'Rama', then it sounds like 'Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare' then becomes a plea to the divine to illuminate one's self.

    Should that then become that, this mahamantra is the essence of 'Achintya Beda Abeda' Tattwa?!

    As per my understanding of this tattwa, it means that, in a nutshell, that when individual jeevatmans become as illumined as the divine himself, then they feel his eternal presence within oneself always (which indirectly means the jeevatman becomes as glorious as the paramatman).

    My understanding of Achintya Bedabeda theory could be flawed, but nevertheless it was noteworthy to become aware of the light/sound connection with the term 'Rama' and thank you for the same!

    With warm regards,

    Viraja.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  4. #4

    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Namaste Viraj,

    Yes when the jivatma, is absorbed into the divine consciousness there is no difference, all differences are removed, this oneness is acintya or inconceivable outside of realization, the citta is absorbed and luminous and will take on the same qualities of parabrahman, or all the vibhuti ( divine attributes) is shared with the jivatma, which is anti matter and will burn all attachments to the process and causes of rebirth.

    In Gaudia Vaisnavsim sri chaitanya mahaprabhu is acintya beda abeda tattva, combination of sri and chaitanya in one consciousness , its not a philosophy or view, its divine state of being where radha and krsna are within the same consciousness which enjoys rasa bhava, the supreme pleasure potency~rama, all connected through hladini shakti or yoga maya. The maha mantra is an expansion of all this through sound which resonates on 4 levels of Vak ( sound speech ) within each yuga ( cycles of mind/consciousness) audible, manas~mind~ supra mind buddhi and mauna ~silence ( which is only silent to mind and senses )


    The mahamantra will take effect on all levels.

    Maya works on three levels within harinam leading to the highest bliss of advaita , firstly maya will clean the citta of klesha ( poisons) and upadhi ( limitations) mahamaya brings universal consciousness outside of the limited self view and yoga maya into divine samadhi~bhajan. All potencies are within the Mahamantra which is an incarnation/ expansion of OMkara.

    Hare Krsna
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 27 September 2020 at 04:19 AM.

  5. #5

    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Hare Krsna,

    The process of Bhakti Yoga is to surrender to Adi para shakti, who according to Bhagavad Gita is the Supreme Origin of everything (even krsna) as he is saying that one should surrender to mam, mam is his divine origin and activity jan~ma and kar~ ma, which is divyam~ Her divine brilliance, although there is no start or end or no ordinary birth or activity of krsna because there is no difference between him and adi para shakti, this is also acintya beda abeda tattva of advaita~not two. So the mantra is dedicated to Mam, Maya , Shakti for it is by her power that brings the citta which is also shakti into the divine creation of krsna consciousness.

    The initial plea is for the citta not to serve the senses and the objects of the senses, this causes klesha and is the great limitation of the full potential, where one thinks i am man woman, i am certain race colour and national , basically i am the body idea, which sees difference, us and them, this is whats is creating dukkha ( dissatisfaction) both individually and collectedly in the world and fuelled only by ignorance, ignorance of what , ignorance of the real swarupa ~identity of the citta which is brahma, brahma ( brahman) realization is brh expansion of ma~shakti, when citta is released from serving the senses for individual needs the citta expands by power of shakti into mam. So the first intention with the mahamantra to adi para shakti is please engage me or absorb me into your nature, or disengage me from this ghastly self serving materialism( bodily concept) which causes suffering to all beings within the world. By the power of shakti as prasada the citta then follows the inward path, and by release from the prison of bodily identification the citta is freed and follows and is absorbed into higher realms and states, one goes from serving the individual self through the 5 senses to parabhakti~seva.

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    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Namaste Markandeya ji,

    Thank you for all the nice and useful clarificatory information shared. Haribol.

    Viraja.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Namaste,

    I am a sadhaka of this mahamantra for some time. I always wondered about its meaning, and why it is advocated to chant this mahamantra for ISKCON devotees by their masters.

    As opposed to the popular belief that Krishna in the mahamantra refers to Lord Krishna and Rama refers to Lord Rama, I initially thought that Hare Rama meant Krishna's brother Balarama.

    It is to be noted so many Ramas are described in Hindu scriptures - Bhargava Rama, Parasu Rama, Balarama and so forth.

    But recently I concluded that Rama in the mahamantra does not refer to any person other than Krishna himself.

    We shall see why -

    The term 'Krish' in Sanskrit means 'small, lean, emaciated'. Which means something to become scant/lesser/weak. 'Krishna' means dark/black. Also Krishna means 'All attractive'.

    Thus, by Krishna, I believe it means a request made to the Lord by chanting the mahamantra that our darkness and weaknesses be emaciated/weakened/taken away/put to peril and that we become all attractive like the lord himself, in our mental qualities.

    I believe the first Hare Krishna Hare Krishna refers to the darkness part being put to wane away and the Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare part refers to the all attractive part growing in potency.

    Similarly for the Rama part -

    'Ra' refers to Rahu/desires, and 'ma' also refers to 'me' and 'myself'.

    Thus, simply deducing from these meanings, I propose that Hare Rama Hare Rama means a plea to the Lord to make us selfless/desireless.

    That means the negative side of 'Ra' and 'ma' (to become desireless/selfless). On a positive note, 'Ra' and 'ma' also mean 'my desires fulfilling'.

    Therefore, I propose that Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare means, 'O Lord Krishna, kindly make me as desireless and selfless as can be but also kindly fulfill my justifiable desires'.

    So this is my simplistic definition or meaning for the mahamantra. Can the learned devotees here opine on the same?

    Many thanks.

    HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
    Namaste


    This mahamantra found in kalisantaran Upanishad starting with hare ram first. According to kalisantaran Upanishad the mahamantra consists of sixteen names. The story is :


    At the end of Dvāpara yuga, Nāradawent to Brahma and addressed him thus: "O Lord, how shall I, roaming over the earth, be able to cross Kali?" To which Brahma thus replied: "Well asked. Hearken to that which all Śrutis (the Vedas) keep secret and hidden, through which one may cross the saṃsāra of Kali. He shakes off Kali through the mere uttering of the name of the Lord Nārāyaṇa, who is the primeval Puruṣa." Again Nārada asked Brahma: "What is the name?" To which Hiraṇyagarbha (Brahma) replied thus: (the words are "1. Hare, 2. Rāma, 3. Hare, 4. Rāma, 5. Rāma, 6. Rāma, 7. Hare, 8. Hare; 9. Hare 10. Kṛṣṇa, 11. Hare, 12. Kṛṣṇa, 13. Kṛṣṇa, 14. Kṛṣṇa 15. Hare, 16. Hare. These sixteen names (words) are destructive of the evil effects of Kali. No better means than this is to be seen in all the Vedas. These (sixteen names) destroy the āvaraṇa (or the centripetal force which produces the sense of individuality) of jīva surrounded by the sixteen kalās (rays). Then like the sphere of the sun which shines fully after the clouds (screening it) disperse, Parabrahman (alone) shines."
    Nārada asked: "O Lord, what are the rules to be observed with reference to it?" To which Brahma replied that there were no rules for it. Whoever in a pure or an impure state, utters these always, attains the same world of, or proximity with, or the same form of, or absorption into Brahma.


    Now my point is when the sutrakar himself giving the interpretation of the verse , is there any need to make another imaginary interpretation ?

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    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Quote Originally Posted by jopmala View Post

    Now my point is when the sutrakar himself giving the interpretation of the verse , is there any need to make another imaginary interpretation ?
    That is precisely the point!

    What makes anyone think what I wrote in the OP 'should' only be imaginary? It could be factual.

    While referring to principles of dharma, strict adherence to Shastra may be necessary, but I don't think banning creative thinking is a right measure.

    Besides, you have just given a mere list of all the 16 words in the Mahamantra, have you anywhere given what is the meaning of each word and why it is used as 'Hare Krishna' twice followed by 'Krishna Krishna Hare Hare', etc.... Nowhere I see such explanations given by you. Therefore I am trying to interpret them, according to Sanskit and such.

    Pranam.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  9. #9

    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Hare Krsna,

    This is very important and interesting to discuss and is within many discussion's that i have been in and witnessed in the past . About literal or traditional understanding and translation's and creativity.

    Each episode of teachings that come from each acharya or lineage, shastra or guru and sadhu often has its own flavour, style and manifestation. In India the language , food and culture can change every 15-20 km but there seems to be some continuum , an expansion of the same reality but with diversity. Each person has a different finger print, when anyone is hit with experience they will be effected in a unique way, the Absolute works within everyone slightly different but each experience is based in the same reality. The more we refine this the closer we get to swa dharma or following ones own nature, one's unique imprint within the whole, not guided by the outer world of controllers or information but by the indweller, paramatma atariyami or the supersoul.

    Who then is to say in what way that process of unification within the conscious experience is. Keeping balance of ancient traditions but also aware that shakti can manifest the Absolute reality in so many more ways than we can ever imagine or conceive. Even Krsna Lila Rama Lila and Shiva Loka can expand into more greater things but remain always absolute. Why do we want to limit the transcendent. But then again its not good to interpret and make up things with mental speculations, as I and others have repeatedly seen with some teachings and translations which are a long way off the mark and do no help at all.

    This will always be a ongoing process or rediscovery and expansion and adaption , because the outside world is always changing, the teachings will change, devotees will always get deeper insights into the infinite and all expanding nature of ultimate reality as it without our modifications, it doesn't remain static.

    Im just being neutral here that creativity and Absolute Truth of the unchanging can co exists and work together.

    Hare Krsna
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 17 November 2020 at 04:02 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: A new interpretation of 'Hare Krishna' Mahamantra

    Hare Krsna

    I was also thinking about Bhagavad Gita, and how many translated versions there are of Bhagavad Gita. In one Advaita group in facebook i am in, one person asked what is the version of Bhagavad Gita that one would recommend. It was one of the most busiest and most replied post with so many versions of Bhagavad Gita, so many more than i had heard of. This is the strength of Bhagavad Gita , not a weakness as some may think.

    In modern times due to the way people are educated literally and empirically with less creativity and people from strict religious backgrounds seem to want truth to be like this or like that and that's the only way that it is, literal and dogmatic thinking lacks creativity is rigid and limits not only the person but the expansion of infinite potential of the infinite manifesting within the consciousness of that being and they remain locked in duality and extremisms one way or another.

    Considering Bhagavad Gita is the individual inner journey of the jiva represented by Arjuna that means the way the truth is realized is unique to each person, even if they experience the same things and arrive at the same realization eventually, it will still be unique to the individual waking up, each and everyone has a Bhagavad Gita within them, personal to only to them.

    We can take the texts as pramanas~authorities , but lightly ( not dogmatically ) most who are used to reading the texts will always notice new meaning , or something extra is always realized within that text or sloka, in this way we allow the knowledge of what is compressed into text to constantly reveal itself and peel back deeper layers of meaning. It is said that even jivan mukta takes pleasure in hearing Bhagavad Gita over and over again. The modern education and old religious guard are detrimental to this process.

    When i hear the literal definition's of Bhagavad Gita and we cant question or impose our own realization it reminds me of what Church Christianity about, it says it in the book, God said it so don't question it, you cant add anything more to what God and the Word has said, they always want to shut truth up, their control is being threatened, they are the opposite to liberation, freedom and self expression . These are all man made power structures, there is nothing more profound than when a person realizes something within themselves and for themselves. When i was active back in ISKCON in late 80's and early 90's to see how people were effected by hari nam, how it changed their lives, saved peoples lives, inspired people in so many different ways was very inspiring, people from all walks of life and backgrounds and situations , but sadly within that same movement there became a stage when people couldn't understand their own experiences, because they were supposed be living by someone else's words or it had to be align with guru, sadhu and shastra, then the balance is lost, i have seen this over and over again and the consequences.

    We are part empirical, our physical side needs definition and structure, how to cook, how to follow a manual for technical things but we are also very creative, mind in its natural state is very lucid and buoyant , physical elements are fixed or moving at slow rates of speed and has very little manoeuvre, creativity is abundant and limitless. Creativity is shakti, shakti manifests new unlimited things infinitely, maybe this is why is shakti is often times regarded as rivers or waters because water is always flowing it has no real shape but can take shape around any objects.

    Also what we can see around the world is how the dharma spread to others countries and how it synthesized into the fabric of the pre existing culture. India itself is one example with so many traditions and manifestations of shakti and divinity but these are realties that have no boarder, they do not come from the Earth or a location where man can claim it as ones own, they are discoveries in realms that surpass the geographic location.

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