The scope in meaning of the Hare Krishna mahamantra.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj



Student: Does the mahamantra represent Krishna?

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: Yes, according to realisation. When one will have absolute attraction for Krishna-lila, when one will feel that Krishna-lila is supreme and above law, then the inner meaning of the word Rama in the mahamantra will be Radha-raman Rama.

There is only one centre where all souls and forces are accommodated together. Some say that is Brahma, some say that is Paramatma, some say that is Narayan, and Bhagavatam, the school of Sri Chaitanyadev, Nimbarka Acharya, and others say that this centre is Krishna. So, the source, the ultimate source, is the spring of everything: all power, all beauty, and all existence. But beauty is really the centre, not power and not an inert stage, an indifferent brace of consciousness. The centre is not the all-pervading aspect, the Paramatma, the aspect which pervades everything, the aspect of the cause which we find everywhere within everything. And the centre is not the all-accommodating aspect, Brahma, the aspect within which everything exists, the aspect which embraces all sorts of consciousness. Neither the all-permeating aspect nor the all-containing aspect are the real position of the absolute cause. The absolute cause must be the object of all movements. In Hegelian philosophy, it is by itself and for itself. ‘For itself’ means He exists for Himself and not for others. So, we exist for Him. Bhagavan means bhajaniya: not only does He hold us and not only does He permeate through us all, but He attracts us to give us fulfilment in His service. Here, the ultimate cause comes to the position of Narayan, Purusottam [the Supreme Person]. Then, the question comes: is there any understanding between us and Him that we shall give Him a certain amount and we shall get for ourselves a certain amount? Or is He the absolute master? Does everything of ours belongs to Him? Are we in His possession? Can He make or mar us, do anything at all with us? Does He have such a connection with us that at the cost of our existence He may be gratified? When we accept  His absolute position in this way, then we will find that He is love and He is beautiful. Then, we will come to understand the prime cause of the whole.

Everything ends in the conception of Krishna. So, the remotest connection of the meaning of every word takes us to Him. If we go to make any meaning midway, that will be partial. When Sriman Mahaprabhu came back from Gaya, He expressed this Himself. He began to explain even through the rules of grammar that everything is Krishna and challenged, “If there are any scholars in Nabadwip, then they should come and try to discard My explanation.” He said that every sutra and dhatu alludes to Krishna. What is a dhatu? Dhatu means potency. Whose potency? The ultimate cause. So, ‘to go‘, ‘to sweep’, ‘to move’, any action is Krishna’s sakti: the origin of that action comes from Krishna. All words (sabdas) come from Krishna, and the meanings of all words cannot but show that their ultimate source is the ultimate centre. So, if the meaning of every word is allowed to move without reins, then it will go to Krishna.

Rama, ramana: in its highest sense, you will find that these words to mean only Krishna in Vraja-lila, and not so much Ramachandra. Ramachandra is ramaniya, very beautiful, and when one looks at the figure of Ramachandra, one is charmed, but Krishna is more charming. Ramachandra and Krishna are one and the same, but it is only a posing. Krishna is posing as Rama with charming ways, a charming figure, and charming dealings, but Krishna Himself is more charming. He is the centre of the centre. In this way, ordinarily we may take Rama to mean Rama of Ayodhya, Rama the son of Dasarath, but if we become acquainted with the highest plane of life, the subtle-most plane of life, then we’ll find that the centre of all charm is Krishna. There is also differentiation in the form of Krishna: the Krishna of Vraja is greater than the Krishna of Dvaraka. It is represented in the scripture that when Dvaraka Krishna saw His own portrait as Vraja Krishna, He was charmed: “Oh, how beautiful was I? Now I am not so beautiful.” So, there is differentiation in Krishna also, what to speak of in other incarnations of Him.

We may think Rama means Dasaratha Rama, or that Hare sometimes means Nrsimhadev, but in the ultimate sense, it will come that here Hare is not Hari but Hara. In the vocative case, as lata becomes late and mala became male, so Hara becomes Hare. Hara means She who can capture, who can snatch the highest position. So, we find Radhika. Why? She can snatch away the mind of Krishna, what to speak of others. Hara means Radha in the highest sense of harana, stealing, snatching—attracting. So, Hare Krishna means Radha Krishna. Krishna is He who attracts everybody, and Rama is He who can please everybody, and more specifically Radha-ramana Rama, He who can please even Radhika. With the sense that Rama means He who holds the supreme position of attracting and pleasing everyone, we enter Krishna-lila and find that Rama is Krishna and Hara is Radha. Those who enter that plane cannot deviate from it to any other plane. The plane of Ramachandra is mixed with morality, politics, satisfying subjects, protecting the people, and so on. The absolute transaction of love, in parakiya-rasa especially, is found in Krishna-avatar. When one enters that plane, one becomes charmed there and can’t come down to see things from any other plane. It is the central and highest position, and gradually we are to come to know that.


Spoken on 2 October 1981.