Gopal Guru Goswami’s explanation of the Maha Mantra
Hare! O Hari, steal my mind and deliver me from bondage to this material world.
Krishna! O Krishna, attract my mind.
Hare! O Hari! Capture my mind with the sweetness of Your name, form and pastimes.
Krishna! O Krishna! Send me the association of Your devotees who will purify my mind through instructions about Your devotional service.
Krishna! O Krishna! Give me unflinching faith in Your name, form, qualities and pastimes.
Krishna! O Krishna! Give me a taste for Your name, form, qualities and pastimes.
Hare! O Hari! Make me worthy to engage in Your service.
Hare! O Hari, Radha! Order me personally in the service You wish me to perform.
Hare! O Hari, Radha! Talk to me about Your own favorite pastimes with Your beloved Lord
Rama! O Rama! Talk to me about Your own favorite pastimes with Your beloved Radha.
Hare! O Hari, Radha! Show me Your intimate pastimes with Your beloved Lord.
Rama! O Rama! Show me Your intimate pastimes with Your beloved Radha.
Rama! O Rama! Engage me in hearing, chanting and remembering Your name, form, qualities, pastimes.
Rama! O Rama! As I enter into those pastimes by the path of meditation, make me worthy to engage in Your service.
Hare! O Hari! Please accept me and take pleasure from the service that I offer You.
Hare! O Hari! Take pleasure in me and enjoy with me.
Hare! Radha is known as Hari because She steals Krishna’s mind. I call out to Her, O Hare! O Radhe!
Krishna! The Lord is known as Krishna because he attracts Radha’s mind. Therefore I call out to Him, O Lord! O Krishna!
Hare! Radha steals Krishna’s sense of public shame and His self-possession. She steals everything of His and is thus known as Hari. I therefore call out to Her, O Radhe! O Hare!
Krishna! He drags away all of Radha’s sense of shame and Her self-possession. Therefore I call out to Him, O Lord! O Krishna!
Krishna. Wherever Radha is standing, or wherever She happens to be going, She thinks, Krishna is watching Me, He is touching Me, He is pulling on my bodice. He is tugging at Me. I call out to Him, O Lord! O Krishna!
Krishna! Then Krishna makes Radha feel a thrill of excitement as He pulls Her toward the woods. I call out to Him, O Lord! O Krishna!
Hare! Wherever Krishna goes, wherever He is situated, He sees Radha in front of Him, by His side, all around Him. In this way She disturbs His mind. I call out to Her, O Radhe! O Hare!
Hare! She once again steals Krishna away, making Him come to Her kunj. She is thus known as Hara. I call out to Her, O Radhe! O Hare!
Hare! She once again steals Krishna away, making Him come into the forest. She is thus known as Hara. I call out to Her, O Radhe! O Hare!
Rama! Krishna is known as Rama because He brings Radha pleasure with His joking words and loving glances. I call out to Him, O Krishna! O Rama!
Hare! She robs Krishna of the momentary self-control He is able to muster in Her presence. She is thus known as Hari. I call out to Her, O Radhe! O Hare!
Rama! Krishna delights in kissing Radha, in touching Her breasts and in embracing Her. He is thus known as Rama, and so I call out to Him, O Lord! O Rama!
Rama! Krishna causes Radha to reach the pinnacle of loving excitement, so that She becomes aggressively active in the love battle, like a man. He is thus known as Rama, and so I call out to Him, O Lord! O Rama!
Rama! All this brings extra delight to Krishna. He is thus known as Rama, and so I call out to Him, O Lord! O Rama!
Hare! Once again, at the end of the Rasa dance, as Radha leaves to return home, She steals Krishna’s mind and takes it away with Her. She is thus known as Hara, and I therefore call out to Her, O Radhe! O Hare!
Hare! Krishna also steals Radha’s mind, taking it with Him as He leaves. He is thus known as Hari, and I call out to Him, O Krishna! O Hare!
Jiva Goswami’s Maha-mantrartha-vyakhy
Krishna steals everyone’s mind, but Radharani steals even His when She makes use of Her divine talents. Therefore She is known as Hara.
Because He forcibly pulls Radha from Her home with the sound of His flute filled with His loveliness, that Lord of all enchanting virtues is known as Krishna.
It is heard that doe-eyed Radha was taken by Krishna during the Rasa dance to spend time with Him alone in a secret grove in the forest. She is therefore known as Hara.
The black effulgence of Krishna’s body turns even the gold of Radharani’s skin to black when He embraces Her. He is thus known as Krishna.
When Radharani ordered Krishna to build the most beautiful water tank in the world (as a penance for killing Arishtasura), He called all the holy rivers and tanks to bring water to fill it. Thus He is known as Krishna.
Because He is forcibly attracted into the forests on the Yamuna’s banks by Radha’s ecstatic love, where He becomes Her playful lover, He is known by the wise as Krishna.
While living in Gokula, Krishna destroyed the powerful demon known as Arishta. At that time, Radha called out to Him with great emotion. Doing so, she stole His mind and so is known as Hara.
Filled with sweet affection, Radha sometimes glorifies Krishna’s pastimes quietly, and sometimes She sings them aloud. Thus those who know the secrets of divine rasa call Her Hara.
Sometimes Krishna becomes so absorbed in Radha’s love that His beloved flute slips from His hand. Mad with the desire to enjoy pastimes in the forest bowers with Krishna, Radha steals Krishna’s flute. That goddess is thus known as Hara.
When Krishna, the expert embracer, makes love with Radha in the forest bowers or the caves of Govardhan, He is known as Rama.
Radha most compassionately destroys the miseries of Her devotees and gives them great joy every single day. Therefore she is known as Hara.
Krishna, with His beautiful blackish form, submerges the minds of those who worship Him in an ocean of supreme bliss. Therefore He is known by the name Rama.
In a temple forest groves, Radharani brings the infallible Krishna to the pinnacle of joy with Her love. Therefore She is called Rama. Since Krishna is always by Her side, He is known as Rama.
When Krishna heard the cries of the Vrajavasis, who were afraid of the forest fire, He quickly swallowed it up, drying their tears. By giving them joy in this way, He is known as Rama.
Krishna left Vraja for Mathura in order to slay the demons, but later returned, drawn by the desire to be alone with Radha. Because She attracted Him back to Vraja, She is known as Hara.
When the son of Nanda returned to Vraja after many years in Mathura and Dvaraka, He took away all the distress of its residents. His every action steals the heart of Srimati Radharani, and so He is known as Hari.
“Illumination on the jewels of meaning in the Holy Name.”
by Srila Raghunath Das Goswami
In Krishna’s absence, Radharani chants the Maha Mantra.
One day, Radha was feeling separation from Krishna and was meditating on the reunion She hoped to have with Him. In order to rid Herself of the depression She felt in His absence, She began to repeatedly chant His names:
O Hare! You steal my mind with Your sweetness.
With Her next utterance of the name Krishna, She explained how that is possible. The name Krishna comes from the combination of the syllables krs, which means everything, and na, which means an identity steeped in bliss. Thus Krishna is the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, who attracts and tempts everyone in every direction with the supreme joy of His own being, a joy which is superior to any other.
So, Hari, You take away even My most strongly-held character traits, like self-control, shame, and fear of My superiors.
Then, Krishna, You draw us out of our houses and into the forest.
Then, when I have entered the woods, You suddenly appear out of nowhere and start pulling on my blouse.
Then, Krishna, You start touching My breasts.
Then, O Hari, You wrap Me in Your arms and lead Me off to the bed of flower petals.
Then, O Hari, while I am sitting there helplessly, You tear off My skirt as well.
And so, O Hari, by taking My clothes off My body, You take away all the sufferings accumulated in My soul as a result of My separation from You.
Then, O Rama, You enjoy with Me to Your full satisfaction.
By so doing, O Hari, whatever little recalcitrance was left in Me, that too was stolen by You.
And so, O Rama, I become so frenzied with passion that I take the initiative in lovemaking, like a man.
Then, O Rama, You who are the crest-jewel of the charming! Without any interference, I can now relish the beauty of Your Youthful face, indeed the very beauty of Your very soul with both of my eyes.
Then O Rama, not only do You engage Me in lovemaking by actively taking the role of a lover, even though this is true. It is as though You were also incarnate in the very act of love itself as its essence.
Then, O Hari, You capture the deer of My mind like a lion. In other words, Your loving makes me faint with bliss.
Because You are a lion, O Hari, You have shown such self-confidence, proficiency and boldness in the art of love.
Being separated from You, my dearest lover, it seems that even a moment is like a million millennia. How then will I be able to suffer through this age-long separation? Please consider this fact.
This is the summary meaning of the sixteen names of the Maha Mantra. Having chanted them in this spirit, Krishna is attracted by Radha’s chanting of these magnet-like names and he suddenly appears to experience the ecstasy of union. May the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna fulfill the desires of Her sakhis, His cowherd friends, as well as of all those who today are engaged in the practices of devotional service in the hope of one day attaining the same mood of love.