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The Hare Krishna mantra, also referred to reverentially as the Maha Mantra ("Great Mantra"), is a sixteen-word Vaishnava mantra made well known outside of India by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as 'the Hare Krishnas')[1]. It is believed by practitioners to bring about a higher state of consciousness when heard, spoken, meditated upon, or sung out loud[2]. According to Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, this higher consciousness ultimately takes the form of pure love of God (Krishna).

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

Rama and Krishna both appear as names of Vishnu in the Vishnu sahasranama and refer primarily to the 7th and 8th Maha Avataras of Vishnu[4]. "Hare" can be interpreted as either the vocative of Hari, another name of Vishnu meaning "he who removes illusion", or as the vocative of Harā[5], a name of Rādhā, Krishna's eternal consort or Shakti. According to A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Harā refers to "the energy of God" while Krishna and Rama refer to God himself, meaning "He who is All-Attractive" and "He who is the Source of All Pleasure".[6] Rama can also refer to Radha-Raman, another name of Krishna meaning beloved of Radha[7], or as a shortened form of Balarama, Krishna's first expansion.[8]

The mantra is repeated, either out loud (kirtan), softly to oneself (japa), or internally within the mind. Srila Prabhupada describes the process of chanting the Maha Mantra as follows:

"Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind; this consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived ...[]... This chanting of 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare' is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness - namely sensual, mental, and intellectual ...[]... As such anyone can take part in the chanting without any previous qualification."

The eighth and principal Avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, the preserver, the eighth child of Vasu-deva and Devaki, the principle expounder of Vedantism. Crowley considered him to be a human being, a Magus of A:. A:., whose Word has survived as INRI. This formula expresses the secret workings of harmonious change within Nature. In this capacity, Crowley identified Krishna with a complex of other mythic figures, especially Dionysus, Osiris, Baldur, Adonis, Attis, Marsyas and Jesus Christ. The word of Krishna as a Magus of Ind was AUM, the Word of Dionysus as a Magus of Hellas was IAO. See Chapter 71 of Liber Aleph and Chapter 7 of The Book of Lies. The name Krishna means "the Dark One," and he is usually depicted with dark blue skin, and playing a flute.

According to the legend, Kansa, the cruel king of the Yâdavas at Mathura (near Âgra), usurper of his own father's throne, heard a voice one day which predicted that a child of his sister Devaki would destroy him. In his terror, he went to Devaki and killed the six of her newborn children that he could find. The seventh, Balarâma, though conceived by Devaki, had been, by the grace of the gods, borne by her sister. The eighth, Krishna, born on the vernal equinox, had been smuggled out of Mathura along with his brother Balarâma and switched with the child of a peasant. Kansa noticed that two of Devaki's children were missing, and ordered the massacre of every strong-looking male child in the city.

While Kansa massacred the children of Mathura, the infant Krishna lay safely the stable of Nanden, surrounded by cowherds. Brahmâ, Shiva and the other gods visited him to pay him tribute, showering him with flowers. Marked by the gods with a Srivatsa (looped cross) on his breast, Krishna grew up in safety in the country, sporting with milkmaids, playing his flute, disputing with holy men, and engaging in various heroics and pranks. The Hindu "Song of Songs," the Gîtâ Govinda, contains a type of erotic mysticism couched in the stories of Krishna and the milkmaids.

Kansa, having finally discovered the ruse, determined to lure the two youths to the city, there to capture and slay them. He announced a great tournament, to which all the country folk were invited. The brothers and their fellow cow-herds accepted the invitation and went to Mathura. Krishna, being divine, easily bested all of Kansa's champions and eluded all of Kansa's traps. Finally, he leapt up to the dais on which Kansa sat, dragged him down by the hair and killed him.

Krishna assumed his rightful place as ruler of Mathura, then descended into the city of the dead to recover his six slain brothers. With a sudden blast on his conch shell, he so frightened Yama, the lord of death, that he was able to escape with his brothers.

He later became involved in the Mahâbhârata, the great war between the Kurus and the Pândavas, serving as the charioteer of Arjuna, "the Bright One." At the commencement of the fighting, Arjuna faltered, and told Krishna that he was unable to strike against his beloved brothers the Kurus. Krishna revealed to him the necessity for a warrior to fight, and to abandon personal considerations in the accomplishment of his Dharma (destiny, or true will). Krishna's exposition to Arjuna is set forth in the Bhagavad Gîtâ, or "Song of God," which is included in the Liber E and A:. A:. Section 1 reading lists. In 1885, Sir Edward Arnold, author of The Light of Asia, produced an English poetic version of the Bhagavad Gîtâ called "The Song Celestial," which is included in Section 2 of the A:. A:. reading list. The Bhagavad Gîtâ is one chapter of a larger work, the Mahâbhârata, the complete history of the Great War. The Mahâbhârata is one of the great classics of Hinduism, as well as of human history, and deserves the attention of every Thelemite.

After the great war, Krishna returned to Mathura and eventually died. Seated cross-legged in the forest, he was wounded in his single vulnerable place, his left heel, by an arrow shot by the hunter Jarâ (which means "cold" or "old age"), who had mistaken Krishna for a deer. Krishna pronounced his forgiveness of Jarâ, saying he "knew not what he did," and sent him to heaven in his own chariot before he died himself.

Having died in the far West of India, Krishna's bones were carried at the command of Vishnu to Puri, in the far East of India. Here his bones were enshrined, and his worship under the name Jaganath ("Lord of the World," the origin of our word Juggernaut) was instituted.

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The Hindu God Krishna