Origin of Hare Krishna Movement & Meaning of Hare Krishna Chanting
Hare Krishna chanting is a sure way to get in touch with the divine. Also known as the Maha Mantra, chanting this mantra brings us closer to God. A very important part of the Hare Krishna Movement, the Hare Krishna Chant is definitely synonymous with divinity. But what is the Hare Krishna Movement, and what does chanting God’s name really do? Here, we shall answer such questions for you.
Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is also popularly known as the Hare Krishna Movement. Spreading the holy word of Lord Krishna as stated in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the Hare Krishna Movement is based on its teachings. In other words, it is dedicated to spreading Krishna consciousness.
A part of the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, the Hare Krishna Movement is a monotheistic tradition within the Vedic or Hindu culture. The Hare Krishna Movement is dedicated to Lord Krishna who appeared on earth and recited the Bhagavad Gita around five thousand years back.
Lord Krishna appeared on the mother earth to teach the people of Kaliyuga, how to recite the names of God, and how to become His pure devotee. Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was the combined form of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna.
According to the Hare Krishna Movement, you can free yourself from the miseries of this world and attain a state of bliss, if you chant God’s sacred names. For this purpose, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu popularized the holy mantra and focused on the listening to the chanting of this mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”.
Lord Krishna appeared on the earth to teach the people of Kaliyuga, how to recite the names of God, and how to become His pure devotee. Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who was the combined form of Sri Radha and Sri Krishna. According to the Hare Krishna Movement, you can free yourself from the miseries of this world and attain a state of bliss, if you chant God’s sacred names.
For this purpose, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu popularized the holy mantra and focused on the listening to the chanting of this mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”.
Further Journey of Hare Krishna Movement
- In the year 1965, Swami Srila Prabhupada took the Hare Krishna Movement further and set up ISKCON in New York. He left Vrindavan to spread the movement in western countries. He went to Boston with a bundle of Lord Krishna’s books. Although that was the struggling phase for him, he worked hard to spread the message of Bhagavad Gita by delivering lectures on it on a weekly basis.
- After a lot of struggle, he successfully founded ISKCON in New York in the year 1966.
- In the time period of 1966-1968, thousands of people joined the Hare Krishna Movement that made it possible to establish the temples in the big cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Seattle, New Mexico, and Montreal.
- During the time period from 1970 to 1977, major holy pilgrimage centers were also established in the various corners of India like Vrindavan, Mayapur, and Mumbai. The largest ISKCON temple is in Mumbai.
- Srila Prabhupada left his mortal body in the year 1977. Before his death, he established 108 temples around the world and had more than 10,000 members.
The Successful Hare Krishna Movement
The Hare Krishna Movement has successfully achieved its goals. Although less than fifty years on the global stage, ISKCON has expanded widely since its founding by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda in New York City in 1966.
It includes five hundred major centers, temples, and rural communities, nearly one hundred affiliated vegetarian restaurants, thousands of namahattas or local meeting groups, a wide variety of community projects, and millions of congregational members worldwide.
Also, ISKCON is working for various noble causes. So be a part of Krishna Consciousness and serve humanity for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord and thus make your human life successful.
What Does the Chant Hare Krishna Mean?
The chant Hare Krishna is also known as the Maha Mantra within the Hare Krishna Movement. When you chant Hare, you are evoking the lord’s Supreme energy. Krishna means the one who is all-attractive, and Rama means he who is the reservoir of all pleasure.
The complete chant is:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Does Chanting Hare Krishna Work?
According to Srila Prabhupada, “The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of the Maha Mantra, is the sublime method of reviving our Krishna consciousness.” It gives you spiritual realization, something that we all must try to attain.
It is the aim of devotees of Lord Krishna to follow this divine path and to reach out to the Supreme Lord Krishna and come closer to Him. Chanting the maha-mantra will break the illusion of life, which is referred to as Maya.
Only after letting go of our material world, or the laws under which we live, will we find the utmost happiness in this life. There is a sense of ecstasy that you will experience upon chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and that is the ultimate goal.
What is the Benefit of Chanting Hare Krishna?
It is important to understand that chanting Hare Krishna does not only bring you material gain but also the spiritual gain as well. The benefit of chanting the Maha Mantra far exceeds the temporary benefits of this material world. The mantra illuminates your consciousness, brings you closer to Lord Krishna, and breaks all illusions of this life.
Most importantly, it helps you understand yourself, about dharma, and shows you that your soul is eternal and is thus beyond life and death. Finally, following the path of Lord Krishna, and sincerely chanting of the Maha Mantra is a way to find Moksha.
How Many Times Should We Chant the Hare Krishna Mantra?
The Hare Krishna mantra should be chanted 108 times, 16 times a day. However, there are some ground rules to this, as you cannot expect to take the Lord’s name, and continue in your path of a contaminated materialistic lifestyle.
Hence, the one who is chanting the mantra must not have an illicit sex life; should not eat meat; should not gamble, and should not be intoxicated. In regards to sexual activities, it must be noted that it should only be done after marriage and for the purpose of having children.
Why Do We Chant the Hare Krishna 108 Times?
The mala with 108 beads are required to chant Hare Krishna 108 times. This is because it represents the path of the sun and the moon. It is believed that there are 108 steps that the sun and the moon take. Yet another reason is that the beads represent Krishna’s confidential servants. So, chanting the supreme personality of godhead 108 times is advisable.