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The ancient mantra

I humbly commend the ancient prayer to all. For I, too, have prayed this prayer and it has blessed me, purified me, touched my interior life with rays of illumination.

The “educated” man’s life, alas is becoming more and more imitative, more and more barren. In the cities we see the domination of money and the circus of elections. In the villages they starve. In the towns they live from hand to mouth, and in petty pursuits and petty thrifts they spend their precious lives. The weary mass look on or submit to power, gold or the glib tongue that revels in godlessness, while rejoicing in democracy! Sick to despair are the poor: while in high places there is struggle for power and the spoil of office.

India, today, is become a theatre of conflict between communities and creeds. Yet there is a hope: for a few there are who in the depths pray and lift their hearts to the eternal. In their souls is peace, the peace of God.

Some of them pray the ancient prayer. I humbly commend it to all. For I, too, have prayed this prayer and it has blessed me, purified me, touched my interior life with rays of illumination. It is the thrilling prayer which, in every home, was recited in ancient India that proclaimed victory to Truth (satyameva jayate), as today, alas India bows down to a flag of surrender—surrender to a decadent West. The prayer of ancient India was:

Hare Rama! Hare Rama! Rama Rama Hare Hare!

Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!

Hare O Hari! Hari—one who taketh away, taketh away sin and sorrow. Hari, the Saviour—of the nation, the race—the Saviour of humanity, the Saviour of the universe.

Invoke the Saviour, O ye that are eager to serve India in these difficult days! Invoke the Saviour of the nations, the Saviour of India and the Indian peoples!

Of this ancient mantra a story is given in an Upanishad, named the Kalisantaranopanishad. The word means “the Upanishad which teaches how to cross Kali.” “Kali” is the Kali age, the Kaliyuga, the present epoch in history. We read in the story that Narada, the Sage and Teacher of men and the gods, passes through many worlds until, at last, he comes to Devaloka and there meets Brahma.

Let him who feels drawn to this ancient mantra chant it, by day and by night. He will be moulded into wisdom.


And to Brahma, Narada says, “O Great One! this age of Kali is terrible, and its maya, illusion of woman and gold and power, is terrible. Tell me what to do to cross the illusion of this Kali age!”

Then says Brahma, “During this age, jivas (human beings) will overcome the influence of Kali merely by uttering the Name of the Lord.” Then Narada asks, “What is that Name?” Brahma answers, “By uttering the following mantra (incantation): Hare Rama! Hare Rama! Rama Rama Hare Hare! Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!

Brahma proceeds to say, “This mantra annihilates the impurities of Kali. This mantra purifies them that utter and them that hear it. This mantra annihilates the avidya (ignorance) of the jiva. As when clouds vanish, the sun shineth forth, so when this mantra removes the clouds of impurity and ignorance, the Supreme reveals Himself!”

Narada asks, “Lord! What are the rules for the chanting of this mantra?” Brahma answers, “No rules! Whoever utters the mantra, utters the Name, again and again, he attains to the fourfold salvation: salokata (entering into the Abode of the Lord); samipata (dwelling near to the Lord);  sarupata (becoming in form like unto the Lord); and sayujayata (being one with the Lord). He who utters this mantra, again and again, he doth forever break the bonds and is liberated.”

He who repeatedly utters this mantra rises above the illusory surface, the maya, appearance, of things. He enters into inward contemplation. He escapes from sensation. He becomes self-possessed. He enters into the depths and is on a plane where he feels nothing but the Lord, nothing but unutterable fullness. He feels as does a sailor, or an exile, returning home!

Let him who feels drawn to this ancient mantra chant it, by day and by night. He will be moulded into wisdom. He will be radiant with love. He will inspire and enthral the hearts of hundreds and thousands of the men and women who seek, if perchance, they find the Eternal Friend and Saviour of humanity.

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