It’s been said in Bhagavad Gita that Krishna and Krishna’s name is the same. So, when you chant Hare Krishna, it actually means that Krishna is dancing on your tongue. So what is Hare Krishna? It is regarded as the Maha Mantra – the great mantra – he has been mentioned in Kali-Santarana Upanishad. This is where the 15th-century Bhakti movement originated when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu initiated the teachings. The mantra is a 16-word Vaishnava mantra that goes as:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण
कृष्णा कृष्ण हरे हरे
हरे राम हरे राम
राम राम हरे हरे
It is composed of three words of the Supreme being: “Hare”, “Krishna” and “Rama”.
The benefits of chanting Hare Krishna mantra
1. Control of mind
By chanting the mantra, one can get hold of their mind. We are all slaves to desires, appetites and the pool of whimsical thoughts that our mind can meander into. But as Bhagavad Gita says, “One must conquer the mind. Those who have, their mind is the best of friends. Those who haven’t, their mind will be the greatest enemy.” Chanting Hare Krishna can help one get that peace of mind.
2. Understanding the self
We have become so accustomed to the material universe that we have forgotten our true self- the self of the spiritual. And when we have become so material, we have developed fears of death, old-age, and diseases. We fear the loss of beauty, intelligence, strength and countless other emotions. When we chant Hare Krishna, we realize that we are the pure, changeless spiritual souls, which is different from the material body. The mantra is a pure spiritual sound vibration, and it can help us develop the consciousness to understand our ‘self’.
3. Finding happiness
As Alexander Supertramp in Into the Wild (the book was written by Jon Krakauer) states, “Happiness is only real when shared.” Everyone is in the hunt for happiness, and chanting Hare Krishna allows us to share our contact with God and his spirit, thus leading us to our bliss by entering his association. This is not a material happiness, but instead a transcendental happiness.
The basic law of karma is equivalent to Newton’s third law of motion: “For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction”. Spiritually, it means that for every material action performed, the nature forces an equivalent reaction upon the performer. The Biblical saying goes: “As ye sow, so shall ye reap”. Material activities are the same as planting seeds: You will get the plant of the same seed that you sow. Our material body transforms from one karmic destiny to another. Chanting Hare Krishna can help us build our positive karma as chanting Krishna means that we are chanting the name with transcendental energy.
As a person goes from one karmic destiny to another, he/she is forced to reincarnation in the material world, thus moving from one life to another. The soul is an eternal being and we move from one material body to another. As long as we have the material desire, we will continue to do so. This is known as ‘transmigration of a soul’ or ‘reincarnation’. To free ourselves of this cycle of life, we need moksha and the liberation from the endless wheel of birth and death is also known as ‘samsara’. This can only be achieved when our consciousness is completely free from material desires.
As we chant Hare Krishna, we open ourselves to the natural spiritual desires of the soul. It awakens the original God consciousness within us and associates us with him. Through this, we can attain moksha.
6. The most important benefit – the love of God
The most important benefit of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra is to find God realization and pure love of God. When our consciousness becomes one with God, our spiritual movement is depicted in our characters and behavior, just as how the sun approaches the horizon, it is preceded by warmth and illumination.
Likewise, the name of Krishna is revived in our heart, which has been missing since the start of Kali Yuga. One must understand that before the soul enters the material world, it has unique, special relationship with God, and the strength of the relationship is way stronger than what it is like with the material body. When one chants the mantra, one starts to redevelop and strengthen this relationship with the God.