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The Hare Krishna Mantra

Updated on October 7, 2012

The Hare Krishna Mantra

'Hare Krishna' is a powerful Hindu mantra, which focuses on Lord Vishnu, the most popular God in the religion. It is believed to enable one to achieve salvation and a peaceful state through devoted repetition. Among mantras from the traditional Indian religious stream, the ‘Hare Krishna’ is best known in the Western world. This can be attributed to the efforts of A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Prabhupad traveled around the globe 14 times in the last 11 years of his life to spread awareness of the ‘Hare Krishna’.

Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna with Radha
Lord Krishna with Radha

Words of the Mantra

This 16-word mantra goes like this:

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

As can be seen, the mantra constitutes just three words: ‘Hare’, ‘Krishna’ and ‘Rama’.

‘Krishna’ and ‘Rama’ refer to the names of Lord Vishnu in different eras. It is believed that Vishnu appears on earth in every era, or yug, to set down the law of truth and morality. For thousands of years, Hindus have been praying to God by chanting these two names with great faith and devotion. This has infused the words with intense energy. So powerful are they that just chanting the names can allow one to enter the meditative state easily. The third word, ‘Hare’ comes from 'Haran', meaning to remove or to end. One who says ‘hare Krishna’ is, in effect, asking God to remove his sadness, flaws and pain and to bestow him with happiness instead.

Chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra

What does one have to keep in mind when chanting the Hare Krishna mantra? First, it is important to recite the words with absolute faith. The chanter should bear in mind the meaning of the words, and ask God to obliterate his/her unhappiness and pain. If one succeeds in doing so, it is said that one would experience the Krishna Consciousness, which refers to the state of euphoria attained from reciting the mantra.

The mantra is relatively easy to memorise. Chanting can be done anytime and anywhere. Chanters should try to devote at least 15 minutes every day for meditation. He/she should find a quiet spot and sit in a comfortable pose to do this.

The mantra can be recited either silently or aloud. Both work fine, as long as the chanter bears in mind the meaning of the mantra during meditation. It is believed that chanting the Hare Krishna mantra makes for simple yet effective meditation. The chanter will soon reap the benefits of experiencing joy and calm.


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