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Beach 1: The First Prostration
Wave 2: Names ad infinitum for the nameless
Drop 11: The Krishna name
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That the name of God itself constitutes a mantra is the grand principle of the naama-smarana ( = remembering of God's names) and naama-sankirtana ( = musical singing of God's names) embedded in the Hindu tradition. This has been most dramatically confirmed by the modern International Krishna Consciousness Movement by the meteoric popularity generated by them for the 'hare krishna' mantra:
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare /
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare //
The ecstasy with which the Krishna Consciousness devotees dance and jump at the musical chanting of this mantra, accompanied by cymbals, singly and collectively, for hours together, is a sight to be seen to be believed. God is harih, because the root word har means to destroy; He destroys samsaara (= the cycle of births and deaths) as well as sins of man. He carries away ( = harati) the sins of even evil-minded people. He attracts everything by His charm, therefore He is Krishna. He is Krishna, also because the root Kr indicates Existence and the syllable na indicates Bliss. By His very existence He gives bliss, therefore Krishna. From this meaning several traditions about the word Krishna have arisen. Whatever ritualistic purifications are prescribed in the form of penances and sacrifices, they are all superseded by the very remembrance of Krishna the Lord -- says an age-old verse. Says another such verse: The only medicine to cure the one bitten sharply by the serpent of samsaara is the great mantra glorifying the Lord Vishnu, namely 'Krishna'. The sanctity of the hare krishna mantra goes back to one of the Upanishads, known as kali-santarana-Upanishad.
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February 28, 1999
Copyright V. Krishnamurthy