We see how the sounds affect us so much. If someone praises us, or speak sweet words to us, we feel happy. And, if suddenly, someone shouts at us or swears us, this immediately will put us down.

There are two types of sounds in this world: material sounds and transcendental sounds. Apart from the names of the Supreme Lord and the words spoken by Lord or by His pure devotees, all the other sounds we can find in this world are material.

The nature of the material sounds is that they affect only our mind and senses. The transcendental sounds, however, can reach into our soul and, in this way, awaken our spiritual potency.

According to the Vedas, or the Indian religious texts, the best way to develop this love for God is to chant His sacred names, especially the Hare Krsna mantra, also known as maha mantra.

Hare means we are invoking the energy of Lord and Krsna means we are invoking Lord Himself, who, after attracting everyone, gives them pleasure and love. God is always with His internal energy and performing playful activities or pastimes, that is why He is also known as Rama. The internal energy of Lord is known as Shrimati Radhika, or Radha.

If we chant this hare krsna mantra all our sinful activities will be destroyed and we will develop pure devotional service (bhakti) towards God, the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. In this way, one should endeavour to chant and absorb himself in the sacred name of Lord, because there is no difference between God and His name.

According to the Vedic scriptures, the most ancient scriptures on Earth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, appeared in this current era (Kali-yuga) in the form of a devotee. This incarnation of Lord, which is also Lord Himself is called Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in India about 500 years ago and did a revolution of love wherever He would go. This philosophy of chanting the Holy Names of Lord as a spiritual practice was especially initiated or propagated in this current era by Him. He told: “All glories to the chanting of the names of Krishna, which cleanses the mirror of the heart and completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence”.

All our spiritual masters are part of the spiritual family of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And, because of the constant chanting of the names Hare Krishna, the followers of Mahaprabhu, the vaishnavas, are popularly known as “the hare krishnas”.

The term vaishnava means “those who worship Lord Vishnu”. Many people think that in ancient Indian culture there are many Gods. Actually, the Vedas discuss only one Supreme Absolute Truth, who manifests eternally in His personal aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also known as Krishna.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has many names like Krishna, Rama, Vishnu etc, according to His different activities and pastimes. The other “gods” we hear about like Shiva or Ganesha are actually demigods, which means that they are servants of God and that they help Him taking care of the material creation. In this way, we should never disrespect the demigods, but also know that Lord Krishna (God) is the Supreme.

Srila Gurudev explains:

“Maha means ‘great’ and mantra means ‘mystic power’. So, according to the Vaisnava philosophy, this maha mantra is:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

In this maha mantra, there are 16 names and 32 syllables. So first, that is called Hare. Hare means Radhe. In the Sanskrit word, Srimati Radhika’s original name is ‘Hara’. She steals the heart of Krsna with Her sweet divine love, for this regard She is called Hara. “Hare Krsna mano iti hara”. So according to the vocative case, that is called Hare, which means ‘He Srimati Radhike’.

Krsna means Krs-Na. Krs, this verbal root Krs, means ‘to attract’. So Krsna, He attracts all the living entities towards Him and Na means that He gives pleasure to all the livings entities.

So, Hare Krsna means Radhe Krsna. And Hare Rama, Rama means “Ramayan titi Rama”, Krsna, He is always playing with Srimati Radhika, so Krsna’s one name is called Radha Raman. So in this way, in the Maha Mantra there are 8 couple of names:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

It means:

Radhe Krsna Radhe Krsna
Krsna Krsna Radhe Radhe
Radhe Rama Radhe Rama
Rama Rama Radhe Radhe

Krsna, He always stays with His internal potency, svarupa sakti, Srimati Radhika. So according to this philosophy, Hare Krishna means Radhe Krishna: Krishna always stays with Srimati Radhika.

Bhakti means devotional service, yoga means to add, to connect, that means, how to connect with the Lord with the devotional service to the Lord.

(2015, on a Skype call to Brazilian devotees)