Meaning of the Maha-Mantra
by Bhakta Lorenzo Rubbo
Posted April 26, 2003

Correct me if I am wrong please dear Prabhu's, but is my understanding of the meaning of the maha-mantra correct? Srila Prabhupada said the literal meaning of the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare is "Please, dear Krishna, engage me in your service." Srila Prabhupada also defined each name individually. Krishna, Rama and Hare. These names can have various meanings.

Jayadeva Gosvami speaks of three Ramas: Parasurama, Raghupati Rama and Balarama. All of them are Ramas. Rama also means enjoyment through spiritual life. Spiritual life is all pleasure, and Krsna is all pleasure.

Hare can mean the energy of the Lord or Mother Hara (Radharani). "In the beginning of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra we first address the internal energy of Krsna, Hare. Thus we say, "O Radharani! O Hare! O energy of the Lord!" When we address someone in this way, he usually says, "Yes, what do you want?" The answer is, "Please engage me in Your service." This should be our prayer." - TLK Vs 32

These are the understandings I am suggesting:

The first is that these three names are the para-tattva or Absolute Truth, also known as Bhagavan, Paramatma and Brahman:

"Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding, namely Brahman, or the impersonal all-pervasive spirit; Paramatma, or the localized aspect of the Supreme within the heart of all living entities; and Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna." - Bg 2.2

Interestingly, the relatively modern interpretation of the Absolute Truth by catholics as the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is similar if not identical. All that varies is the depth of understanding, in where Sri Vaisnava literatures excell, as the nature of the Holy Trinity (Bhagavan, Paramatma and Brahmana) is lucidly and voluminously expounded in comparison. Thus the understanding would be such:

Another understanding is this one: Would it be correct to think of Rama as the pleasure the devotee wants to give to the Lord? Thus we would pray to Srimati Radharani (O Hare), please engage me in the service/give spiritual pleasure to (Rama), the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Krishna).

I would appreciate any devotee's feedback on this subject. Are my interpretations correct? What is your mood or thoughts on the names when chanting the maha-mantra?

Your servant,
Bhakta L.Rubbo-Ferraro.