References to the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra Predating the Advent of Lord Caitanya

BY: SUN STAFF


Sep 26, 2012 — CANADA (SUN) —

Although the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra gained great fame throughout India with the advent of our Yuga Avatara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there are numerous references in the Upanishads and Puranas that predate the Lord's manifestation in Navadvipa.

In the Radha Hridya Khanda of the Brahmanda Purana, Romaharsana Suta offers the following prayer to Sri Veda Vyasa:

    yat tvayA kIrtitaM nAtha hari-nAmeti sanjitam
    mantraM brahma-padaM siddhi karaM-tad-vad-no-vibho


    “O master, O mighty one! Please glorify the Hari-nama mantra situated in transcendence, the cause of all perfection!”

    gRhaNAd yasya mantrasya dehI brahma-mayo bhave
    sadhyaH pUtaH surApo ‘pi sarva-siddhi-yuto bhavet
    tad-ahaM te ‘bhidhAsyAmi mahA-bhAgavato hamsi
    hare kRSNa hare kRSNa kRSNa kRSNa hare hare
    hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare
    iti SoDazakaM nAmnAM tri-kAla kalmaSApaham
    nAtaH parataropAyaH sarva vedeSu vidhyate

    “The embodied soul who accepts this mantra will become filled with transcendence, and by accepting it, even a drunkard will attain all perfections. I will recite this mantra to you, for you are a swan-like mahabhagavata.

    ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.’ These sixteen names can destroy the sins of the three worlds, and nothing higher than them is to be found in all the Vedas.”

The Agni Purana states:

    hare kRSNa hare kRSNa kRSNa kRSNa hare hare
    raTanti halayA vApi te kRtArthA na saMzayaH

    “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare: Whoever chants this mantra, even neglectfully, will attain the supreme goal of life. Of this there is no doubt.”

In the Padma Purana we read:

    dvAntriM-sad-akSaraM mantraM nAma-SoDa-zakAnvitam
    prajapan vaiSNavo nityaM rAdhA-kRSNa-sthalaM-labhet

    “Any Vaishnava who chants the mantra consisting of thirty-two syllables and sixteen names will attain the abode of Radha and Krsna.”

Elsewhere in the Padma Purana is the following statement on the congregational chanting of the Hari-nama mahamantra:

    harer nAma mahA-mantrair nazyet pApa pizAcakaM
    harer agra svarair uccair nRtyaM stan-nAmakrin-naraH
    punAti bhuvanaM vipra! gaGgAdi salilaM yathA
    hare pradakzinaM kurvann uccais tan nAma krin naraH
    karatAlAdi sandhAnaM susvaraM kAla zabditam

    “Anyone who dances in front of Sri Hari and loudly chants the hari nama maha-mantra will destroy all witches of sin. Just as the water of sacred rivers like the Ganga purify the universe, similarly those who circumambulate Sri Hari and loudly perform nama sankirtana of the 16-word maha-mantra with sweet voices and while clapping the hands, purify the entire universe.”

The Hare Krsna maha-mantra is also related in the Brahmana Purana, Uttarakhanda, 6.55. The Pippalada-branch of the Atharva Veda states:

    svanAma-mUla-mantreNa sarvaM hlAdayati vibhuH
    sa eve mUlam-mantraM japati haririti kRSNa iti rAma iti

    “The name is the root of all mantras, the splendid one bringing joy to everyone. This root-mantra is chanted as Hari, Krsna and Rama.”

The Kali-santarana Upanisad (2) of Krsna Yajur Veda states:

    hare kRSNa hare kRSNa kRSNa kRSNa hare hare
    hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare
    iti soDazakaM nAmnAM kali-kalmaSa-nAzanam
    nAtaH parataropAyaH sarva-vedeSu dRSyate

    “The sixteen names of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra – ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ -- destroy all the inauspiciousness of the age of Kali. This is the conclusion of all the Vedas.”

Rama-tapaniyopanisad (1.6) explains the meaning of the maha-mantra as follows:

    harati tri-vidhaM tapaM janma-koti-zatodbhavam
    pApaM ca smarataM yasmAt tasmAd dharir iti smRtaH

    “The Lord is known as Hari because He takes away the sins and three types of suffering accumulated over millions of births, of those who remember him.”

    kRSir bhUr-vAcakaH zabdo nas ca nirvRti-zucakaH
    tayor aikyaM paraM brahma kRSNa ity abhidhIyate

    “The root krs indicates the supreme attractiveness of the Lord, the suffix na indicates the supreme joy. Thus, the name Krsna indicates the Supreme Brahman who is the acme of these two characteristics.”

    ramante yogino ’nante satyAnande cid-Atmani
    iti rAma-padenAsau paraM brahmAbhidhIyate

    “The yogis take pleasure in the Supreme Self which is existence, knowledge and bliss absolute. Therefore that truth, known as the Param Brahman is also called Rama.”

The Caitanya Upanisad published by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur also provides a reference to the Hare Krsna maha-mantra:

    sa eva mUla-mantraM japati harir iti kRSNa iti rAma iti (11)

    “He chants the original mantra consisting of Hari, Krsna and Rama.”

    harati hRdaya-granthiM vAsanA-rUpam iti hariH. kRSiH smaraNe tac ca Nas tad ubhaya-melanam iti kRSNaH. ramayati sarvam iti rAma Ananda-rUpaH. atra zloko bhavati (12)

    “He who removes the knot in the heart in the form of material desire, is called Hari. The union by the remembrance of the root krs- and the affix -na, is the hymn of praise - Krsna. He who gives pleasure to everything is the form of bliss - Rama. Thus the verse becomes.”

The Ananta-samhita, one among the voluminous pancaratra-agamas, states:

    hare kRSNa hare kRSNa kRSNa kRSNa hare hare
    hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare
    SoDazaitAni nAmAni dvAtriMzad varNakAni hi
    kalau yuge mahA-mantraH sammato jIvatAraNe
    varjayitvA tu nAmaitad durjanaiH parikalpitam
    chandobaddhaM susiddhAnta viruddhaM nAbhyaset padam
    tArakaM brahma-nAmaitad brahmaNA guruNAdinA
    kalisantaraNAdyAsu zruti-svadhigataM hareH
    prAptaM zrI brahma-ziSyeNa zrI nAradena dhImatA
    nAmaitad-uttamaM zrauta-pAramparyeNa brahmaNaH
    utsRjyaitan-mahA-mantraM ye tvanyat kaepitaM padam
    mahAnAmeti gAyanti te zAstra-guru laNghanaH
    tattva-virodha-saopRktaM tAdRzaM daurjanaM matam
    sravathA parihAryaM syAdAtma-hitArthinA sadA
    hare kRSNa hare kRSNa kRSNa kRSNa hare hare
    hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare

    “‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Rama Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ -- This sixteen-name, thirty-two syllable mantra is the maha-mantra in the age of Kali by which all living beings can be delivered. One should never abandon chanting this maha-mantra and take to other so-called purificatory processes which are practiced by rascals, or engage in chanting other metrical compositions of the name of Krsna that are against the pure conclusions of the scriptures, or are filled with rasabhasa.

    About this divinely spiritual maha-mantra, which delivers one from material existence, the original guru, Lord Brahma, has said, kali-santararadi srutite, ‘The srutis have declared this mantra to be the best means of deliverance in the age of Kali’. Having all heard this from Brahma, the sons and disciples of Brahma, beginning with Narada, all accepted the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and, having meditated on it, attained perfection.”

In Jnanamrita Sara, a scripture belonging to the Pancaratrika corpus of literature, the following statements are found:

    ziSya ‘syodaG mukha-sthasya harer-nAmAni SoDaza
    saMzrAvyaiva tato dagdhAn mantraM trai-lokya-mangalam

    “Located next to him (the guru), the disciple should hear the sixteen names of Hari from his mouth, thus taking shelter of the mantra which protects from inauspiciousness and causes auspiciousness for the three worlds.” In the Brahma Yamala, belonging to the tantrika corpus of literature, the following statement is found:

    hariM binA nAsti kiJcat pApani-stArakaM kalau
    tasmAl-lokod-dhArANa-ArthaM hari-nAma prakAzayet
    sarvatra mucyate loko mahA-pApAt kalau yuge
    hare-kRSNa-pada-dvandvaM kRSNeti ca pada-dvayam
    tathA hare-pada-dvandvaM hare-rAma iti dvayam
    tad-ante ca mahA-devI rAma rAma dvayaM vadet
    hare hare tato brUyAd harinAma samud dharet
    mahA-mantraM ca kRSNasya sarvapApa praNASakamiti

    “Without Hari, there is no way to eradicate the sins of the age of Kali, and therefore it is essential that Hari-nama should be manifest in all the worlds. In this way the entire world can be delivered from the great sins of the age of Kali. First one should twice chant ‘Hare Krsna’, then twice ‘Krsna, then twice ‘Hare’, then twice ‘Hare Rama’, and in the end, O Maha-Devi, one should chant ‘Rama’ twice, and then ‘Hare Hare’. In this way one should pronounce Krsna’s Hari-nama maha-mantra, which destroys all sins.” In the Radha Tantra, the following discussion is found:

    zRNu mAtarmahAmAye vizva-bIja-svarUpiNi
    hari nAmno mahAmAye kramaG vad surezvari

    “Hear me, O mother Mahamaya, seed of the universe personified, mistress of the gods! Please explain the sequence of Hari-nama.”

    hare kRSNa hare kRSNa kRSNa kRSNa hare hare
    hare rAma hare rAma rAma rAma hare hare
    dvAtriM zadakSarANyeva kalau nAmAni sarvadam
    etanmantraM suta zreSTha prathamaM zRNuyAnnaraH

    “O best of sons! ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’, these thirty-two syllables and sixteen names are always the names for the age of Kali. This mantra should be first heard by all human beings.”


Compilation by Madhavananda das


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