While exploring another spiritual practice years ago, I was encouraged to “choose a mantra” and begin repeating it silently whenever I had the chance. Many options from Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity were presented, but I chose the maha-mantra (though I didn’t know that was what it was called at the time). Although it was quite long compared to some of the others, I had already been acquainted with it through the song “My Sweet Lord”, which played on the radio quite often while I was growing up. So for several years, whenever I had a free moment, I would repeat “hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama” to myself all through the day.
Although I wasn’t ever saying it out loud, it really did get me through some difficult times. I particularly remember being hospitalized one night (the only night I’ve ever spent in a hospital so far, thank goodness), unable to sleep, surrounded by strangers, and just repeating the maha-mantra over and over again to keep myself from focusing on the pain. Years later, after I had given up the practice, I was very ill on a boat and the words just suddenly came back to me. So I repeated them over and over until I finally managed to get to a doctor.
So I’m pleased (but not very surprised) to learn in this lesson that Krishna was with me that whole time. 🙂
Thank you so much for your story. Although I have been chanting for many years, there have been times when I also found that the maha-mantra could help me rise above even very extreme pain, revealing to me that I am, truly, not my physical body or mind, but your consciousness.
I first heard of the Maha-Mantra when George Harrison and John Lennon discussed it during a reported interview in the late 60’s. Then I became more curious about its impact when George Harrison’s albums, “All Things Must Pass,” and “Living In The Material World” were released. The insert for the (vinyl) album of “Material World” had a wonderful oversized picture of Krishna and Arjuna from the cover of “Bhagavad-gita As it Is” – I bought the book and loved it. I attended the Temple in Evanston, IL near Chicago a few times for the Sunday feasts. At that time I was newly married and my home and work situation at that time didn’t support a serious devotion to Krishna Consciousness. I flirted with it again briefly in 2004/5 – but again drifted away. I have been a spiritual seeker all of my life (since 17, I’m 66 now!!) and I keep coming back to Krishna and the Maha-Mantra as the foundation of my spiritual life. Thank you for reviving Krishna Consciousness for me. All Glories to Sri Krishna!!!
I’m very happy to hear that we have helped you in reconnecting with the maha-mantra. In the Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krishna assures us that there is never any loss on our spiritual path, but that each step forward remains our permanent progress even if we take a detour here or there.