Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

In the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, what does ‘Hare’ mean?

By on July 2, 2016 in Insights with 24 Comments

Meaning-Of-HareQuestion to Radhanath Swami: In the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, what does ‘Hare’ mean?

Radhanath Swami Answers: ‘Hari’ is a name of Krishna. ‘Hari’ means one who steals our hearts by his all attractive, all beautiful, and all loving qualities. And ‘Hare’ is a calling for ‘Hara’. Hara is the feminine aspect of God. In many traditions, both in the East and in the West, especially in the more mystical depths of their philosophy, there is the concept of feminine divinity. And in India the male and female aspects of the divine are inseparable. Sita-Ram, Radha-Krishna, Laxmi-Narayan, and within the cosmic context Parvati-Shiva. These are all ways of expressing the same one truth, the male and the female aspects of God.

The female aspect of God is the supreme mother of all living beings, the male aspect is the supreme father. And the love they share for one another is the origin of all love, in all of existence. And Hara is the name of that feminine potency who in my tradition we call Radha. And as the divine mother she is the ultimate fountainhead or the source of grace, of compassion, of forgiveness. And it is through these gifts that we can awaken our true love for the divine or for God.

So we first approach Hare, ‘O my supreme beloved mother, O Radha’. And ‘Krishna’ means the all-attractive one, one who eternally processes complete beauty, knowledge, fame, wealth and humility and renunciation.


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  • Gopinath Chandra

    This is taken from the interview on Spirit Matters. When the interviewer asks this question, Radhanath Swami pauses. It’s a long silence…..perhaps the longest in the entire interview. Any thoughts why Maharaj gave such a long pause after this particular question?

    • Piyush Singh

      I guess, he must be thinking that how to maintain a balance in the answer so that the answer makes sense to any one even if new to the Bhakti tradition and at the same time also to maintain the needed level of details for everyone’s benefit :). Am I right?

      • Gopinath Chandra

        According to me, it was a moment of ecstasy for him. I am sure he was taken aback that the interviewer asked him this wonderful question, in response to which he got the opportunity to speak about Srimati Radharani.Such opportunities come rarely while you are preaching in the outside world.

        I just shared my thoughts.

        • Piyush Singh

          Actually to me also this makes a lot of sense.

          Such a question is rare during this type of interviews and this must have really thrilled HH Radhanath Swami and could answer the question with so much precision.

          Thank you for sharing this wonderful thought process.

        • NSP

          Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It is good to know the background. your explanation makes a lot of sense. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj very nicely brought out the glories of feminine aspect of God.

        • Anand Patil

          I agree with you. Even when I heard the interview I was zapped by the knowledge the interviewer had about the Maha Mantra. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        • Sumit Sharma

          To me also, it looks that way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  • Piyush Singh

    Well answered by HH Radhanath Swami. The answer is really useful. I myself also used to often wonder that is Krishna and Ram are there in the mantra then why Radha and Seeta are not present in the mantra, but this is now made clear by this answer that Hare is approach that divine beloved mother.

    Wonderful answer.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Well said. This was a mystery for me as well. But now things are more clear. Another important point which Radhanath Swami has brought in is that we always take the name of feminine aspect of God.

      • Piyush Singh

        So true.

    • Laxmikanth

      ya it makes clear , its actually addressing to divine mother

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Amazing answer! The meaning of the words in the Mahamantra has been explained very nicely – about the male and female aspects of the Supreme Lord.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Yes very true. Nice to see how Radhanath Swami has described this in a wonderful way.

  • Sumit Sharma

    An interesting answer by Radhanath Swami. It’s so nice to hear that how in every tradition/religion, the female aspect of God is there. And so wonderful to find that with the help of feminine aspect of God, we can approach God.

    • NSP

      Nice observation! I agree!

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes. Really nice to know this.

  • Laxmikanth

    very clear and properly framed answer by Radhanath swami , meaning of Hara , hare and hari, concept of supreme father and mother and way of approaching them with humility.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes, this is a very precise and useful answer.

  • NSP

    Thanks to HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj for explaining the mahamantra so clearly!

  • Carl Farrel

    Srila Prabhupada explains that Srimati Radharani is the transformation of Krsna’s supreme love. She is the personification of all spiritual love. And that love is so powerful that it overpowers the all-powerful or Krsna

  • Laura Hutton

    The six Goswami’s taught that in spirit of separation we should aspire always to be servant of the servant of Srimati Radharani. Radharani’s only desire to please Shyamasundar in any situation. We do not aspire to approach Krishna directly because Krishna is Radharani’s property

  • Keith Swanson

    Caring for each other with patience, tolerance, and humility is part of what it means to walk a spiritual path. Chanting of the holy names helps one to walk through this path

  • James Clarke

    Srila Prabhupada said we must strengthen our intelligence by hearing every day the message of Godhead and Chanting the Holy names

  • Charlotte Crain

    When devotee chants the name, Hare Krishna, Shri Radha, the name Krishna is Krishna – namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis – the Lord is directly appeared within the name, and as we are chanting we are worshipping that name. We are offering our sincere intent to serve and please the lord as we are chanting the holy names. We are offering our gratitude and love to the Lord as we are chanting the holy names.