The Cleansing Power of Swamiji’s Hare Krishna Mantra
When I hear the chorus from the 1966 "Happening" album: (Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare), I think of it washing out the sins of those boys and a few girls who were up to their necks in the New York City counterculture. Not only counterculture, but square culture. Square culture we had been raised in and rebelled from. Now on top of it, we had the corrupt film, or icing, of trying to be young hippies.
So much nonsense we picked up from others—our leaders—Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg. We were such confused people. Then suddenly, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna"—Prabhupada's beating on his one-headed drum led us out of all of it. All that sin getting washed out. Hare Krishna is a washing song, a cleansing song.
It's a different kind of cleansing because it produces tears. Those tears clean the body and soul and mind. And whether we know it or not, the chanting can take us out of the material world if we just keep with it. It's not like any other singing. It seems to be ordinary, but that's because we don't understand what liberation is. Liberation doesn't mean that suddenly your body is immune from birth, death, disease, and old age, or that you suddenly sprout two extra arms. It means that instead of doing things for yourself, you do them for Krishna under the spiritual master's direction.
In our case, we found ourselves chanting just a few blocks away, in Tompkins Square Park, to the thud of several conga drums and the strummed chords of a folk guitar. We would normally have been chanting political slogans, but we were chanting the Hare Krishna mantra with the Swami. It was a washing, cleansing.[ meditations ]