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What is a Mantra?


In Sanskrit, man means “mind” and tra means “freeing.” So a mantra is a combination of transcendental, spiritual sounds meant to liberate the mind from the anxieties of life in the material world.

Ancient India’s Vedic literatures single out one mantra as the maha (great) mantra. The Kali-santarana Upanishad explains, “These sixteen words— Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—are especially meant for counteracting the ill effects of the present age of quarrel and anxiety.”

The Narada-pancharatra adds, “All mantras and all processes for self-realization are compressed into the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.” Five centuries ago, while spreading the maha-mantra throughout the Indian subcontinent, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu prayed, “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Your holy name You have invested all Your transcendental energies.”

The name Krishna means “the all-attractive one,” the name Rama means “the all- pleasing one,” and the name Hare is an address to the Lord’s devotional energy. So the maha-mantra means, “O all-attractive, all-pleasing Lord, O energy of the Lord, please engage me in Your devotional service.”

Chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, and your life will be sublime. We guarantee it. You'll never know if you never try.

Have any experiences, realizations, or stories about chanting the maha-mantra you'd like to share? Contact us.