MADHU BINDAVAH

THE FORMATION OF THE MAHAMANTRA

The meaning implicit within Sriman Mahaprabhu’s divine gift

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Mahamantra-in-Sanskrit

 

Student: In Durgapur, there was a gentleman who was arguing from the Kali-santarara-upanisad by quoting a verse where I think Lord Brahma was stating the mahamantra with Hare Rama first and Hare Krishna afterwards. He asked me, “How do you adjust this in your philosophy?” I told him that in the Ananta-samhita, the Garuda-purana, and one other Purana, the Hare Krishna mantra is given as we chant it. I also said that Lord Brahma appeared as Namacharya Srila Haridas Thakur, and we are following his example.

Srila Sridhar Maharaj: In the Kali-santarana-upanisad it is so, and in the Agni-purana and Brahmanda-purana, it is there half and half. They say that because it comes from an Upanisad, it is a Vedic mantra, and because ordinary people do not have any entrance into Vedic mantras, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu adjusted the mantram, cancelled the concern that it is a Vedic mantra thereby, and gave it to all. There is a section of people on the Uttar Pradesh side who love Sri Chaitanyadev that like to give their opinion like this. But ours is that Hare Rama being mentioned first is a superficial thing. Some may say Ramavatara took place first and Krishnavatara occurred afterward, so first Rama, Hare Rama, should be mentioned and then Hare Krishna. Our deeper meaning is that in a compound (dvandva), when two similar things are connected together, not historical precedent but consideration of development in conception should be emphasised. It is mentioned in the Puranas that Krishna-nam is higher than Rama-nam:

rama rameti rameti rame rame manorame
sahasra-namabhis tulyam rama-nama varanane
(Padma-purana)

sahasra-namnam punyanam trir-avrttya tu yat phalam
ekavrttya tu krishnasya namaikam tat prayachchhati
(Brahmanda-purana)

“Three Names of Rama are equal to one Name of Krishna.” In this way it has been mentioned in the Puranas. So, Krishna-nam is superior to Rama-nam, and in the formation of compounds (dvandva samas), emphasis is given to the superior of the elements. So, Krishna-nam is to come first. This is one point.

Another point is that everything is moving in a cyclic order and what is first and what is next cannot be ascertained in the eternal cycle: whether Krishna is before or Rama is before. So, from that consideration also, if we take it that Krishna-nam does not relate to a posterity in the eternal cycle, then from any place we may begin.

Another higher thing of our sampradaya, a secret, is that our meaning is not concerned with Rama-lila. In the name of Rama we find Radha Raman Rama,  wholesale in Krishna Consciousness, not Rama consciousness of Godhead. Mahaprabhu’s highest conception of theism is Svayam Bhagavan Krishna and His lila. So, independent of all time, we are concerned only with Vrndavan-lila, Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s lila and not Rama a historical predecessor avatar of Krishna. That is really the purpose of Mahaprabhu, that there is no mention or connection with Rama-lila at all.

References

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
iti sodasakam namnam kali-kalmasa-nasanam
natah parataropayah sarva-vedesu drsyate
(Kali-santarara-upanisad)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare: no greater means is seen throughout all the scriptures than these sixteen names which destroy the pollution of Kali.”

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
ratanti halaya vapi te krtartha na samsayah
(Agni-purana)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare: those who chant this mantra, even neglectfully, become fulfilled. Of this there is no doubt.”

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
sodasaitani namani dvatrimsad varnakani hi
kalau yuge mahamantrah sammato jiva-tarane
varjayitva tu namaitad durjanaih parikalpitam
chandobaddham susiddhanta-viruddham nabhyaset padam
tarakam brahma-namaitad brahmana gurunadina
kali-santaranadyasu sruti-svadhigatam hareh
praptam sri-brahma-sisyena sri-naradena dhimata
namaitad uttamam srauta-paramparyena brahmanah
utsrjyaitan mahamantram ye tv anyat kalpitam padam
mahanameti gayanti te sastra-guru langhanah
tattva-virodha-samprktam tadrsam daurjanam matam
sravatha pariharyam syad atma-hitarthina sada
(Ananta-samhita)

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare: these sixteen names made up of thirty-two syllables are the mahamantra for the liberation of all souls in the Age of Kali. Never reject these Names and take to any unscrupulous person’s metrical inventions which are contradictory to the proper conclusions of the scriptures. The original Guru Lord Brahma received these liberating spiritual Names from the Lord in the Kali-santarana-upanisad, and wise Narada, a disciple of Lord Brahma in the Vedic lineage, received these supreme Names from Brahma. Anyone who rejects this mahamantra and chants any other invention as a ‘great name’ is thus a transgressor against the scriptures and their original Guru. Those who desire the soul’s benefit should always and in every respect reject the fallacious opinion of such unscrupulous persons.”

rama rameti rameti rame rame manorame
sahasra-namabhis tulyam rama-nama varanane
(Padma-purana)

[Siva says:] “‘Rama Rama Rama’. I take pleasure in the beautiful Name of Rama. O Durga, the Name of Rama is equal to one thousand Names of Visnu.”

sahasra-namnam punyanam trir-avrttya tu yat phalam
ekavrttya tu Krishnasya namaikam tat prayachchhati
(Brahmanda-purana)

“Once chanting Krishna’s Name gives the same result as chanting one thousand Holy Names of Visnu three times.”

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern exponent of the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the school of Srila Rupa Goswami. Subtle and profound yet vivid and practical, his representation of both the broadest and deepest spiritual truths has and continues to fortify and nurture the faith of spiritual aspirants the world over. For more information on Srila Sridhar Maharaj, please visit his biography page.
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