Yoga, Kirtan and the Maha Mantra

Krishna dances
Krishna dances (Photo credit: Andrea Kirkby)

“Yoga” is the Indian word for self-realization. There are eight stages:

  1. Yama – Improving how you treat others; non-violence, etc.
  2. Niyama – Improving how you treat yourself; cleanliness, etc.
  3. Asana – Calmness of the body
  4. Pranayama – Calmness of the breath
  5. Pratyahara – Calmness of the mind
  6. Dharana – Concentration on the subject
  7. Dhyana – “Meditation” full focus on the subject
  8. Samadhi – Absolute absorption in the subject

The big question is, “what subject”? The founder of Yoga, Patanjali, says that any subject is OK, but the best subject is “mantra” – God in the form of sound.

There are many mantra. The most potent are those composed of God’s names; The more intimate and personal the names, the more powerful the mantra.  The greatest mantra (“maha-mantra”) is composed of the most intimate names of God: Hari, Krishna, and Rāma.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare

Singing this mantra with music is the easiest and most powerful way to concentrate on it (“Dharana”). There are infinite meanings within this mantra, but I will try to express one as “Brilliance of Beauty. Brilliance of Bliss.” In other words, “May my soul be enchanted by his brilliant beauty. May my soul delight in his brilliant bliss.”

These names of God very easily draw the soul into full loving absorption with Krishna.

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