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What Is Hare Krishna?

This is a classic and comprehensive explanation of the purpose of the Hare Krishna movement and it's signature activity, chanting Hare Krishna, given by His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the movement's spiritual master.

This transcendental vibration of chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna , Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method of reviving our Krsna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter since time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by the material atmosphere.

In this polluted concept of life, we are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. This illusion is called maya -- our hard struggle for existence for winning over the stringent laws of material nature.

This illusory struggle against material nature can at once be stopped by the revival of our Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. It is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived, and therefore the process of chanting Hare Krsna is recommended by authorities for this age.

By practical experience, also, we can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or "the great chanting for deliverance," one can at once feel transcendental ecstasy from the spiritual stratum. When one is actually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind, and intelligence, one is situated on the transcendental plane.

This chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna , Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower stages of consciousness, namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual platform, and as such anyone can take part in this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualification and dance in ecstasy. We have seen it practically -- even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it.

The chanting should be heard, however, from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that the immediate effect can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of nondevotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.

The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord. Both Krsna and Rama are forms of directly addressing the Lord, and they mean "the highest pleasure." Hara is the supreme pleasure potency of the Lord. This potency, addressed as Hare, helps us in reaching the Supreme Lord.

The material energy, known as maya, is also one of the multipotencies of the Lord. The living entities are described as an energy that is superior to matter. When the superior energy is in contact with inferior energy, it becomes an incompatible situation. But when the marginal potency is in contact with the supreme spiritual potency, Hara, it becomes the happy, normal condition of the living entity.

The three words -- namely Hare, Krsna, and Rama -- are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra, and the chanting is the spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy, Hara, for giving protection to the conditioned souls. The chanting is exactly like genuine crying by the child for his mother. Mother Hara helps in achieving the grace of the supreme father Hari, or Krsna, and the Lord reveals Himself to such sincere devotees.

Therefore no other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age as chanting the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna , Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

-Srila Prabhupada





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