His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our Krishna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya or illusion. Maya means "that which is not." And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, this is called illusion. In this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can at once be stopped by the revival of our Krishna consciousness.
Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind; this consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. And this process of chanting Hare Krishna 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 factually 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 Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna 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, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation or 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, that 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, as much as milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.
The word Hare is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of directly addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama 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, called maya, is also one of the multipotencies of the Lord. And we, the living entities, are also the energy -- marginal energy -- of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, it becomes an incompatible situation. But when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the supreme spiritual energy, called Hara, the living entity is established in its happy normal condition.
These three words, namely Hare, Krishna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy, Hara, for giving protection to the conditioned soul. The chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the grace of the supreme father Hari, or Krishna, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely. No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age as chanting the maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare