[Advaita-l] What does "Hare Krishna" Mean?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Oct 22 13:10:53 CDT 2003

On Mon, 20 Oct 2003, S Jayanarayanan wrote:

> >
> The word "vivashaH" can mean, according to Apte's Sanskrit Dictionary,
> "helpless" or "uncontrolled" or "dead". Or as I read in another place,
> "a state of swooning".

The primary meaning is death or literally lack of life.  Viva means life
compare vivasvan "life giver" a name of the Sun or even the English word
vivify "bring to life" which derives from the same root.

> The words "sadyo vimuchyeta" speaks directly of
> "immediate liberation".

Immediate _release_.  The equation of release from rebirth with final
liberation depends on your philosophical outlook.  My point is that the
text does not come out unambiguously in favor of one interpretation or

> But that's not the only verse, there are umpteen more, I just searched
> again (in ISKCON, no less) and found other verses, maybe you can help
> with the Sanskrit original on these also:
> http://www.srimadbhagavatam.org/canto6/chapter2.html
> Knowingly or unknowingly chanting the name of the One praised in the
> verses is that which, like fire does with dry grass, burns to ashes the
> sins of a person. (6.2.18)

ajnAnAdathavA jnAnAduttamashlokanAma yat |
saMkIrtitamaghaM puMso dahedegho yathA'nalaH || 18 ||

Reciting the name in these supreme verses with understanding or without,
burns the sins of a man like fire burns dry grass.

This is occurs after the story of Ajamila who as Raghavendra mentioned was
a very wicked man.  As he was dying he called for his son Narayana.
Because he was saying the Lords name (even though he meant it to refer to
his son) the servants of Yamaraja did not take him.

> http://www.srimadbhagavatam.org/canto5/chapter25.html
> Any person in distress who accidentally heard of, or whatever fallen
> soul who just for fun could chant or repeat His name, will instantly
> see the endless sinful of human association vanquished; of whom else
> but Lord Ananta Sesa should any seeker of salvation take shelter?
> (BhAgavatam 5.25.11)

yannAma shrutamanukIrtayedaksmAdArto
  vA yadi patitaH pralambhanAdvA |
hantyaMhaH sapadi nrNAmasheShamanyaM kaM
  sheShAdbhagavata AshreyenmumukshuH || 13 ||

That name which even if heard or recited by accident or by a person in
distress or jokingly, immediately destroys the remainder of the sins of
Man.  With whom but Bhagavan Shesha should the seeker of Liberation take

In my Sanskrit edition of Bhagavata Purana (Nirnaya Sagara reprint by Nag
Prakashan,)  this is 5.25.13.  The verses from 7 to 13 are in praharshini
meter instead of the usual shloka.  This is because it is a digression
from the main text where Shukadevaji is relating a dialog between
Maharshi Narada and Tumburu Gandharva in the court of Brahmaji.

I concur with Raghavendra that such verses are arthavada.  They are meant
to glorify the power of namasankirtana to destroy sins which is quite
consistent with the tenets of Advaita Vedanta.  They are not advocating a
replacement for other nitya and naimittika karma.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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