Today marks the Disappearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. We honor it with a half day fast, followed by a nice vegetarian feast.
Hare Krsna Maha-mantra
Purport by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे |
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे ||
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
The Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is known as the mahāmantra, or the greatest of sound vibrations. The mahamantra is a thirty-two syllable mantra chanted requesting Harā (another name of His supreme pleasure energy, personified by Srimati Radharani), and the Supreme Lord (given by two of His names, Krsna, the All-Attractive One, and Rama, the Reservoir of Pleasure) an opportunity to serve Them.
There are four cosmic ages, namely, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. Satya Yuga is known as the “Golden Age”, for values of truth and virtues were at the peak. In Treta Yuga (the age where Lord Sri Ramacandra appeared), vice was introduced. Then, Dvapara Yuga (the age when Sri Krsna appeared on Earth) took place, where vice and virtue was leveled off. Following Dvapara Yuga is the darkest age, known as Kali Yuga. It began approximately five thousand years ago, after Sri Krsna left the world. Throughout each age, the prescribed method of salvation changed. In Satya Yuga, strict penances and austerities was the path of salvation. Then, Treta Yuga introduced the concept of conducting sacrifices as mentioned in scriptures. Dvapara Yuga’s method of salvation comprised of developing personal relations with the Lord.
In Kali Yuga, however, lifespan, intelligence, and qualities are significantly lowered. Therefore, performing severe penance and austerities is impractical. Conducting sacrifices per scriptures is immensely difficult, for those scriptures are not easily accessible, and conductors of such sacrifices are not present on Earth. Receiving personal association and forming relations with the Lord was only fortunate for a few. Therefore, such methods are not practical and applicable for this age. Therefore, the Brhad Naradiya Purana has claimed:
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
“Only the Holy Name, Only the Holy Name, Only the Holy Name, is the only way. There is no other way, no other way, no other way in this Age of Kali”
Therefore, it is clearly indicated that in Kali Yuga, the only method of salvation is by chanting the holy name of God. However, the most powerful mantra for salvation was hidden in confidentiality until this age. It wasn’t until the late fifteenth century when the mahamantra was openly revealed by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Typically, the Lord does not incarnate on Earth during Kali Yuga, until the very end. However, this Kali Yuga was especially fortunate to have Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s incarnation of gold appear on earth. Through His mission to spread the movement of devotional service in degraded age, He brought the Hare Krsna mahamantra openly for all to benefit.