The Grind, December 12, 2012
This week, one of my projects is talking about the Hare Krishna mantra.
There are unlimited ways to describe it, talk about it, and define it. I've been trying—for a long time—to figure out how to introduce it in our Intro section so those who don't know about it might begin to appreciate and want to try chanting it themselves.
Those of us who've been chanting Hare Krishna for a while may notice a tendency to take it for granted. The daily chanting can become as much a part of life as brushing teeth (both of which I hope you do every day, and if not I hope you will consider making the effort). One significant difference between dental hygiene and chanting Hare Krishna, though, is that tooth brushing deals with the material body. There's a technique for doing it, there are good reasons behind developing its regular practice, and it's relatively easy to explain. A few two-dimensional "how-to" diagrams can get the whole idea across.
But the Hare Krishna mantra, so we're told, is Krishna Himself in the form of His names. Krishna is the unlimited supreme person, with a personality so infinitely faceted that no one person could ever hope to fully describe Him. Even great saints, devotees, and sages have admitted their inability to fully glorify Krishna or His names.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.30.41, Purport says,
"It is not possible to measure the complete glories of the Supreme Lord, who is unlimited. Even the Lord Himself in His incarnation as Ananta, or Sesa, cannot describe His own glories. Although Ananta has many thousands of faces and has been glorifying the Lord for many, many years, He could not find the limit of the glories of the Lord. Thus it is not possible to estimate the complete potencies and glories of the Supreme Lord."
Just as every person has a unique relationship with Krishna; everyone also has a unique relationship with His names. We chant for a variety of reasons. We're not all the same. We don't all have identical desires—material or spiritual. The Srimad-Bhagavatam describes that in Kamsa's wrestling arena, different spectators saw Krishna differently. The ladies saw Him as the most attractive male, the wrestlers saw Him as a thunderbolt, Kamsa saw Krishna as death personified, and Krishna's cowherd friends saw Him as one of them. Each one was right. There's no "one way" to talk about the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So, what's your reason for chanting Hare Krishna? How do you benefit from it? How would you describe the Hare Krishna mantra to someone who knows nothing at all about Krishna—or mantras?