“Transcendentally the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical, being absolute. The holy name of the Lord is as powerful as the Lord. The Lord is the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, and He has innumerable names, which are all nondifferent from Him and are equally powerful also.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.18.19 Purport)
The means of rescue in this age is simple and straightforward. What do we need rescue from? Obviously, there is suffering. What causes the suffering? There are three primary sources. We see acts of God, things in nature that are impossible to stop. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, heat waves, blizzards – the only hope is to try to contain the damage these events inflict.
There are other living entities. A person goes into a school and randomly starts shooting people. Another person always chews food with their mouth open, annoying others around them. There are the aggressors who try to enter the home, the community, and even the nation, with ill intentions. There are mean people who purposefully try to make others unhappy, taking joy in their misery.
The third kind of misery comes from within. The physical ailments of the body are easy to identify, but there is mental agony as well. Even if it seems like the other kinds of miseries are missing, there is always the issue of direction in life. You can have everything but still be unhappy. You can be the most successful person in the business world and still feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. You may have won the lottery, but you still need a way to pass the time in peace.
The Sanskrit word mantra means something that delivers the mind. The person suffering from the misery brought on from within can find the greatest relief through a mantra, which is nothing more than sound. The Sanskrit word maha means great. The maha-mantra is therefore the greatest sound vibration to deliver the mind.
The maha-mantra is simple, containing sixteen total words, with three distinct ones.
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
This is the greatest deliverer due to what the sound represents. The word Krishna means “all-attractive.” Rama means “the source of all transcendental pleasure,” and Hare addresses the energy belonging to the all-attractive and always blissful one. You might have guessed it, but Krishna is also a name for the Divine. The same goes for Rama and Hare.
Actually, the name Krishna and the divine personality are identical. It is for this reason that the maha-mantra can deliver; the sound is empowered with the unimaginable and amazing potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You don’t have to specifically visit a house of worship to get help. You don’t have to go through rigorous austerities in order to please a higher being and win their favor.
You can just recite the maha-mantra. It’s as simple as that. The Supreme Lord Krishna arrives in the mind to deliver. Ideally, He is called upon not for any material benediction. A person may be distressed, desirous of wealth, inquisitive, or looking for more knowledge of the Absolute when they chant this mantra. They may be asking something from God, which is completely understandable.
The presence is key, and through enough association in the mind, the desires start to vanish. That is the definition of true happiness: being without desires. True desirelessness is wanting only the happiness of the Supreme Lord and those who serve Him. This is real altruism. It is a state that can be achieved, as the omnipotent one is capable of anything. He can turn the most miserable circumstance into something pleasurable. He can turn a distressed mind into a blissful one. He can turn the material creation that is difficult to overcome like a fort into something like a puddle the size of a calf’s hoof-print.
samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda or the giver of mukti, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoofprint. Param padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuntha, is his goal, not the place where there is danger in every step of life.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.14.58)
One of Krishna’s names is Mukunda. This means one who grants liberation. Ending association with the threefold miseries of life is liberation. There is something beyond that as well, namely activity. A glimpse of that life comes to those who start chanting the maha-mantra. The more they chant, the more they advance. And the further progress they make towards the destiny of devotion, the happier they feel.
So simple the process to chant,
No excuse to say you can’t.
From that single process alone,
Life’s rapidest advancement shown.
The mantra a sound to deliver the mind,
Identical to Lord and energy to find.
Material ocean previously deep and vast,
Mukunda shrinking to hoof-print puddle to surpass.