Mantra: “man” means “mind” and “tra” means “to deliver”.Thus a mantra is a transcendental sound vibration with potency to liberate the mind from material conditioning.
“Hare” is the vocative case (addressing form) of “Hari”. This is another name for Krsna. Also, another name for Srimati Radharani is Hara, and “Hare” is again the vocative case of this name. Thus, “Hare” refers either to Lord Hari or to Srimati Radharani. “Krsna” means “The All-Attractive”. The syllable “krs” is the attractive aspect of the Lord and “na” is derived from the word “ananda”, “spiritual bliss”. “Rama” means “spiritual enjoyment”. It is a name of Sri Balarama, but also of Sri Ramacandra. The Hare Krsna maha-mantra expresses the following prayer: “Oh energy of Krsna (Hare,Radhe), Oh Krsna, please engage me in Your devotional service.”
Our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are complete when we say śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. As preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we first offer our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting this Pañca-tattva mantra; then we say Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. There are ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Pañca-tattva mantra.
CC Adi 7.4, Purport: In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.32) there is the following statement regarding Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu:
kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
“In the Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient intelligence will worship the Lord, who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of the saṅkīrtana-yajña.” Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, His incarnation Śrī Advaita Prabhu, His internal potency Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu and His marginal potency Śrīvāsa Prabhu. He is in the midst of them as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should know that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always accompanied by these other tattvas. Therefore our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are complete when we say śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda.
As preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we first offer our obeisances to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting this Pañca-tattva mantra; then we say Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. There are ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but these are not considered in the chanting of the Pañca-tattva mantra, namely, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is known as mahā-vadānyāvatāra, the most magnanimous incarnation, for He does not consider the offenses of the fallen souls.
Thus to derive the full benefit of the chanting of the mahā-mantra (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare), we must first take shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, learn the Pañca-tattva mahā-mantra, and then chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. That will be very effective.
Krsna 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 the process 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 Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower states of consciousness–namely sensual, mental and intellectual. There is no need of understanding the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation nor 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. Even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it. The chanting should be hears, however, from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effect can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of a nondevotee should be avoided, as much as milk touched by the lips of a serpent causes poisonous effect.
The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord. Both Krsna and Rama are forms of addressing directly the Lord, and they mena ” the highest pleasure, eternal.” Hara is the supreme pleasure potency of the Lord. This potency, when addressed are Hare, helps us in reaching the Supreme Lord.
The material energy, called as maya, is also one of the multipotencies of the Lord, as much as we are also marginal potency of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior energy than matter. When the superior energy is in contact with inferior energy, it becomes an incompatible situation. But when the supreme marginal potency is in contact with the spiritual potency, Hara,it becomes the happy, normal condition of the living entity.
The three words, namely Hara, Krsna and Rama, are transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra, and 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 a genuine cry by the chold for the mother. Mother Hara helps in achieving the grace of the supreme father, Hari, or Krsna, and the Lord reveals Himself to such a sincere devotee.
No other means, therefore, of spiritual realization is as effective in this age, as chanting the maha-mantra, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
One must come to the understanding that the holy name of the Lord and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself are identical.
One cannot reach this conclusion unless one is offenseless in chanting the holy name.
By our material calculation we see a difference between the name and the substance, but in the spiritual world the Absolute is always absolute: the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Absolute are all as good as the Absolute Himself.
Thus one is understood to be an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead if he considers himself an eternal servant of the holy name and in this spirit distributes the holy name to the world.
One who chants in that spirit, without offenses, is certainly elevated to the platform of understanding that the holy name and the Personality of Godhead are identical.
To chant the holy name of the Lord just to counteract one’s sinful activities, or to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name, is offensive (nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ).
By observing the four restrictions and avoiding the ten offenses to the Holy Name (including committing sins on the strength of chanting) you will become qualified to receive the mercy of the Lord and thus advance yourself in His transcendental loving service.
The chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is recommended even for persons who commit offenses, because if they continue chanting they will gradually chant offenselessly.
Even if in the beginning one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra with offenses, one will become free from such offenses by chanting again and again.
Since He is absolute, He can appear Himself in the picture of His glorification, the two things being identical.
Śrīla Nārada chants the glorification of the Lord not for his personal benefit but because the glorifications are identical with the Lord.
Nārada Muni penetrates into the presence of the Lord by the transcendental chanting. If you chant this simple process, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, you’ll very quickly clear up your heart and you will understand, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the simple process of chanting the Holy name of Krishna for the people of this fallen age of Kali.
Mechanical chanting is not as powerful as chanting of the holy name without offenses.
The words “Hare Kṛṣṇa” should be very distinctly pronounced and heard.
Sometimes one mechanically produces a hissing sound instead of chanting with the proper pronunciation with the help of the lips and tongue.
If you are not spiritually advanced, this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra also will not appeal.
It will be happening mechanically. But by chanting you will gradually advance, then you will understand that this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is not different from Kṛṣṇa.
While you chant, you hear also. You don’t turn your attention to anything else, mechanically chanting and thinking of something.
The nāmābhāsa stage is between that of nāma-aparādha, or chanting of the holy name with offenses, and pure chanting.
Chanting the holy name of the Lord inoffensively will help one get immediate shelter at Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet.
This means that by chanting purely, one will immediately be situated on the transcendental platform.
Vaiṣṇavas strictly follow the directions of the śāstras regarding how one can be liberated simply by a slight awakening of pure chanting of the holy name.
All sins and offences are erased and liberation is attained in the clearing stage of chanting the holy name, called nāma-ābhāsa, which comes long before pure chanting.
The purification of chanting harer nāma means as soon as you chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa immediately you will see the form of Kṛṣṇa, you will realize the qualities of Kṛṣṇa, you will immediately remember the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.
That is pure chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
There are ten offenses which one can commit while chanting the transcendental names, and these should be avoided as far as possible, but in any event, one should try to chant the holy names of the Lord at all times.
By chanting the holy names of the Lord, which are innumerable, one can actually associate with the Lord personally, and by such constant personal touch with the all-spiritual Lord, one will become spiritually self-realized. Everything is exalted.
Therefore there are nine processes. śravaṇam kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam, arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyam, so many. They are all exalted.
One must try for the point when he simply hears Krishna and immediately all of Krishna, His Pastimes, His Form, His Quality, are in his thoughts. So to always be immersed in thoughts of Krishna this is our process.
Always to be chanting. But because you cannot do that, therefore you must fix up a number. Saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ. Saṅkhyā-pūrvaka, that “I must chant so many times.” That is determination.
Revival of the dormant affection or love of Godhead does not depend on the mechanical system of hearing and chanting, but it solely and wholly depends on the causeless mercy of the Lord.
If one goes on chanting the holy names of the Lord, which are not different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, naturally his mind becomes absorbed in thought of the Lord.
Even if a person is born in a family of caṇḍālas—the lowest birth one can get in human society—he is glorious if he chants the holy names of the Lord.
The process of worshiping the Lord is considered to be very easy and complete, for anyone can sit down anywhere and in any condition of life and simply chant the holy names of the Lord.
The Vedas indicate that simply by chanting the holy names of the Lord one can without a doubt become spiritually advanced.
Those who are very sharp in their intelligence should adopt this process of chanting the holy names of the Lord.
By chanting the holy names of the Lord, we associate with the Lord personally.
One need only chant the holy names of the Lord and strictly follow the principles forbidding sinful activity.
One should try to avoid offenses in the service of the Lord and in chanting the holy names of the Lord.