The Meaning of the Maha-Mantra

"Hare Krsna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare"

This is the Hare Krishna mantra, or maha-mantra, the great mantra for deliverance. Composed of three of the holy names of God from the Sanskrit scriptures of ancient India, it is transcendental sound vibration. It is not ordinary sound.

The word mantra comes from man (mind) and tra (to free). A mantra is a sound or prayer that frees the mind from the miseries of the material world.

The three holy names in the maha-mantra are Hare, Krishna, and Rama.

Hare is pronounced “huh-ray”.
Hare means the energy of God.
The Sanskrit word for energy is shakti. Shakti has a personal, specifically feminine, dimension to its meaning. So here, energy means the feminine aspect of God. Our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, explained that the name Hare refers to Mother Hara, otherwise known as Radha or Radharani.

Krishna is pronounced with a short “i”. The correct pronunciation is KRISH-na, (not KREESH-na.)
Krishna means the All-Attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead.
There are many attractive qualities to be found in the world, and many people have some degree of one or more of these qualities, but the one who has all of these qualities in full and unlimited measure can only be God. He is the source of all qualities, and in fact of all things in existence.
He is a person, the original person, and the source of all incarnations and manifestations of Himself and of His creation, so He is called not just God but the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Rama is pronounced to rhyme with drama, RAH-muh.
Rama means the reservoir of all pleasure.
If we try to find pleasure independently we will only find brief snippets and it will be mixed with misery. But if we tap into the reservoir of all pleasure, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, by devotional service, we will be connected to the unlimited reservoir of all pleasure.

 

   
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