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“The Hare Krishna Maha-mantra: Our Ultimate Benefactor” (Back to…

Saturday, 08 December 2018 / Published in Recent Media / 80 views

“The Hare Krishna Maha-mantra: Our Ultimate Benefactor” (Back to Godhead, Vol. 53, No. 2)
Satyaraja Das: “‘Hare’ can refer to both Hari, or Krishna, the Supreme Lord, and Radha, known as Mother Hara. When perceived in the latter sense, common in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, it is an address to God’s energy, specifically His spiritual pleasure potency (hladini-shakti), who is also known as His female manifestation: Radhika. The word hari also means “thief.” In relation to Radha and Krishna, it refers to Their stealing of each other’s hearts, and the hearts of all living beings.”

[Note: The quoted selections below are from Jiva Goswami’s Maha-mantrartha Dipika]

“‘Krishna steals everyone’s mind. Yet, due to Sri Radha’s expert nature, She steals even His. She is thus known as Hara.’”

“‘He inexorably attracts Sri Radha with the sweet sound of His flute music. For this reason the enchanting Lord is known as Krishna.’”

“‘With a fully loving heart, Sri Radha sometimes quietly sings the glories of Hari, and sometimes She sings them aloud. Those who are expert in the secrets of divine sentiments call Her Hara.’ By such divine repetition, i.e., japa and kirtana, Sri Radha sets an example of how to steal Krishna’s heart.”

“‘Radha, who is most merciful, obliterates the miseries of Her devotees, affording them daily happiness. Therefore She is known as Hara.’ Radhika steals away the miseries of the devotees.”

“‘When the son of Nanda (Krishna) returned to Vraja, He thereby took away all the suffering of all the devotees who live there. By exhibiting such compassion, He stole the heart of Sri Radha. Thus He is known as Hari.’ In this last word of the maha-mantra, then, Sri Jiva sees Krishna rather than Radha, for He steals Her heart with His all-encompassing love. In other words, most commentators think that the “Hare” at the end of the mantra is yet another reference to Radha, but no, Jiva indicates that it is instead a veiled reference to Krishna.”

“Chanting Krishna’s name gives direct experience of God’s attributes (Bhakti-sandarbha 264) and awakens intense passion (anuraga) for Him, causing one to dance, cry, scream, and laugh like a madman (Bhakti-sandarbha 263). Jiva further tells us that singing the names out loud (anugiyate), especially, is much more effective than quiet recitation – japa, which, as mentioned above, is also an essential practice. Jiva tells us that people who engage in loud chanting (kirtana) are humanity’s greatest benefactors (Bhakti-sandarbha 269). This latter point speaks to the profound phenomenon of kirtana, especially when enacted congregationally (sankirtana), for if even nonbelievers merely hear the transcendental sound, they become purified and their spiritual life moves forward. This is why devotees go out into the streets (nagara-sankirtana) – it is for the benefit of all souls. ‘Indeed, among all spiritual practices,’ writes Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (“Sri Namasankirtana” in The Gaudiya, Vol. 23, No. 10), ‘sankirtana is the best and foremost means of attaining the grace of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. Other types of sadhana, or devotional practices, are worthy of being called such only if they favorably assist the performance of sankirtana; otherwise they should be known as obstructions to actual sadhana. Whether one is a child or an old or young man, male or female, learned or illiterate, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, pious or sinful – regardless of the condition of life someone may be in – there is no spiritual practice for him other than Sri Krishna nama-sankirtana.’”

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