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Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

Devanagari script:

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण | कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे |
हरे राम हरे राम | राम राम हरे हरे


hare kṛṣhṇa hare kṛṣhṇa, kṛṣhṇa kṛṣhṇa hare hare,
hare rāma hare rāma, rāma rāma hare hare



overview: This is one of the most beloved, popular mantras chanted around the world, referred to as the "Maha Mantra" (Great Mantra) by lovers of Krishna. There are two main interpretations of its meaning. First, it can be seen more generally as a Vaishnav mantra, since Rama and Krishna are both avatars of Vishnu, who is also called Hari (which, in the evocative case becomes "hare," as in "O Hari"). And second, it can be seen more specifically as expressing the love of Radha and Krishna, as you'll read in the quotes below.

"Radha calls out 'Hare Krishna, Krishna, where are you?' Krishna responds to her 'Hare Rama, O delightful one, I am looking for you as well.' Their divine dialogue is full of longing that overflows and enhances our devotion."  ~ Shyamdas

"Repeating Hare Krishna... can bring us an unparalleled experience of the sweetness of love. Without knowing the stories of Krishna, who in his charm lulled cowhands and cowgirls away from their chores just to be in his presence, there is a subtler Krishna we can recognize when we chant with devotion and innocence. That is the Krishna consciousness accessible to all of us when our love overflows and we recognize we are not separate beings, but on self at our core."  ~ Jo Ann Levitt

"These three words, namely Hare, Krishna, and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the Maha Mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His (feminine) energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. The chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother's precence."  ~ A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

"In the Maha Mantra, the word Hare is a form of the name Hara, which means divine energy and thereby indicates Radha. By chanting this mantra, one simultaneously supplicates both Radha and Krishna. The great saint Chaitanya taught that one who attains success in this chanting will experience the true meaning of love."  ~ Krishna Dharma

"Maharaj-ji always said that the Hare Krishna mantra was the 'Mahamantra,' the Great Mantra, and it was chanted constantly in his temples whenever he was there."  ~ Krishna Das