kirtan translations

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by tiki_god7, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. tiki_god7

    tiki_god7 Member

    so I've been listening to some Krishna Das kirtan recordings and am really getting into it and like singing along. I think I'd get a lot more out of it though if I understood more what they were saying. so correct me if I'm wrong but isn't hari (pronounced with a rolling r and an ay at the end?) another name of Vishnu?
    If so wouldn't hari krishna be like saying vishnu krishna?
    and then as far as sita and jai I have no idea, can somebody shed some light on this for me.

    And again correct me if I'm wrong but is not Vishnu the supreme ultimate god and krishna like an aspect or personality of Vishnu. And then is Ram like Vishnu incarnated in human form?
  2. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Hari and Hare are different words. Hari (har-ee) is a name of God usually applied to Krishna or Shiva.
    Hare (ha-ray) is a word indicating God's Shakti or energy. In the Hare Krishna maha mantra, Hare means Sri Radha, Krishna's consort.

    Jai or Jaya means 'victory', hece Jai Sri Krishna means victory to Krishna.

    Sita is the consort of Rama, an incarnation or Avatar of Vishnu.

    There are various schools of Hindu philosophy, and Krishna is given a different significance by them. Some say Krishna is the supreme, and Vishnu is an avatar, or a form of Krishna. Others say Vishnu is supreme and Krishna and Ram (Rama) are an appearance of God here in the world (like jesus).

    Generally, Krishna and Rama are thought of as Avatars, Ram being the earlier one.

    The other explanation is that the supreme, Brahman, has no form and manifests in all these various forms of Gods, Avatars etc. and also as human beings and the entire cosmos.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Love & peace.
  3. tiki_god7

    tiki_god7 Member

    yeah that is helpful, thank you....but what does the phrase hare kirshna or hare rama mean then? as well as Sita Rama what exactly am I sayin when I chant that?

    I'm also unfamiliar with sri radha
  4. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    OK -I'll try but please understand this is not comprehensive.

    Hare Krishna - Krishna is a form of God, the details of whether he is Vishnu's avatar or vice versa is not so important. So the Krishna part is addressed to Him.
    Hare is His energy or Shakti.So the Hare Krishna mantra is adressing God and His energy.
    Rama is another name of God, and Sita is His consort. His story is told in Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic.

    Krishna is often shown in pictures along with His consort, Sri Radha (also Radhe - same being). This comes from the Puranas, Indian scriptures, and esp. from the Bhagavata Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam). In this work, Krishna's earthly incarnation is described, which includes His love affair with Radha.


    But also, Radha is an incarnation of the Shakti - so Radha-Krishna represent God with His creative energy. As do other 'pairs' of deities - Sita-Ram, Shiva-Shakti, Lakshmi-Narayana.

    For a basic intro to all this I suggest reading the Bhagavad Gita, there are many translations, but a good one is by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.
    For stories of Krishna's incarnation, there is the book' Krsna' by Swami Prabhupada, founder of the Hare Krishna movement in the west. But although he gives the stories, he also gives his own interpretation to them, which is not universally shared by Hindus. The book can be found online
  5. Bhaskar

    Bhaskar Members

    Excellent explanation Bill, but there is one thing I would like to point out. The bhagavatam and other ancient texts actually make no mention of Radha, only of the gopikas as a group. Radha's first appearance is in Geeta Govindam written in the 17th century (very recent) by the great poet Jayadeva.

    Tiki_god, basically by chanting hare rama or sita rama or hare krishna or radhe krishna, what you are doing is basically repeating the name of the Lord, the sanskrit word is namasmaranam (remembering the name). When this is suung with a tune it is called namasankeertanam (the singing of the name) or divyanamasankeertanam (singing of the divine name). The idea is to spend your time remembering the lord, in whichever form is dear to your heart. Constant repetition and remembrance is one way of developing devotion and single mindedness. This singleminded focus is a great help during meditation. Also as love for the lords grows within you, there is great joy that comes with it and, as I have been finding out, life becomes so much easier, a beautiful sprightly dance, with the universe as your partner. It is good however, to have some knowledge of what you are doing, some intellectual understanding also, because the paths of devotion, knowledge/meditation and action are inseparable, they go hand in hand.
  6. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Of course you are right Bhaskar - Radha isn't mentioned in the Bhagavatam.
  7. Bhaskar

    Bhaskar Members

    But of course, Krishna's glory is given an extra sheen by Radha. It also does not mean that she had no historical place in the story of Krishna. After all, Rama, Krishna etc are not mentioned in most of the vedas. There is mention of Vishnu and Rudra (shiva) but not in the ways in which they are known to us, more as concepts rather than forms.
  8. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    These short quotes from Sri Aurobindo are interesting in this context.

    "Do you remember the story of Sri Krishna and the 'Gopis,

    how Narada found him differently occupied in each house to which he went, present to each Gopi in a different body, yet always the same Sri Krishna? Apart from the devotional meaning of the story , which you know, it is a good image of his World-Lila. He is sarva, everyone, each Purusha with his apparently different Prakriti and action is he, and yet at the same time he is the Purushottama who is with Radha, the Para Prakriti, and can withdraw all these into himself when he wills and put them out again when he wills. From one point of view they are one with him, from another one yet different, from yet another always different because they always exist, latent in him or expressed at his pleasure. There is no profit in disputing about these standpoints. - Wait until you see God and know yourself and him and then debate and discussion will be unnecessary

    If we regard Vaikuntha or Goloka each as the world of a Divinity , Vishnu or Krishna, we would be naturally led to seek its place or its origin in the overmind plane. The overmind is the plane of the highest worlds of the Gods. But Vaikuntha and Goloka are human conceptions of states of being that are beyond humanity .Goloka is evidently a world of Love, Beauty and Ananda full of spiritual radiances (the cow is the symbol of spiritual Light) of which the souls there are keepers or possessors, Gopas and Gopis. It is not necessary to assign any single plane to this manifestation -in fact, there can be a reflection. or possession of it or of its conditions on any plane of consciousness -the mental, vital or even the subtle physical plane.

    The story of Brindavan does not enter into the main story of the Mahabharata and has a Puranic origin and it could be maintained that it was intended all along to have a symbolic character. At one time I accepted that explanation, but I had to abandon it afterwards; there is nothing in the Puranas that betrays any such intention. It seems to me that it is related as something that actually occurred or occurs somewhere. The Gopis are to them realities and not symbols. It was for them at the least an occult truth, and occult and symbolic are not the same thing; the symbol may be only a significant mental construction or only a fanciful invention, but the occult is a reality which is actual somewhere, behind the material scene as it were and can have its truth for the terrestrial life and its influence upon it may even embody itself there. The Lila of the Gopis seems to be conceived as something which is always going on in a divine Gokul and which projected itself in an earthly Brindavan and can always be realised and its meaning made actual in the soul. It is to be presumed that the writers of the Puranas took it as having been actually projected on earth in the life of the incarnate Krishna and it has been so accepted by the religious mind of India.

    Some say Krishna never lived, he is a myth. They mean on earth; for if Brindavan existed nowhere, the Bhagavatt could not have been written."

    Sri Aurobindo

  9. Bhaskar

    Bhaskar Members

    Brindavan exists. I have been there. Kurukshetra exists, I have gone there, its near Delhi. Chitrakoot exists (along with Bharatha's stone). Ayodhya exists. Dwarka exists. All these places are real. Some of the symbols of the events still live there. To then deny the reality of the histories and existence of the characters is to turn a blind eye to the truth.
  10. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    I don't think it's the earthly Brindaban that is meant here.
    But whatever, I think what is meant is that the stories in the Puranas and elsewhere are not necessarily literally true. But they're more than symbols also. It seems that Sri A is saying it all exists and all takes place, but not here on earth - on a higher plane of existence.

    To me, it seems very unlikely that the stories are literal truth.
    You yourself pointed out my error in saying that Radha is mentioned in the Bhagavatam (shows how long it is since I read it). Is it really concievable that if this story were literal, historic fact there would be no record of it up till the 17th century? To me it seems clear that it is a later addition. But does that make it un-true? We can say it reflects truth, embodies truth. We can't say with any certainty that it represents actual events that took place on earth.

    Where does poetry end and 'hard fact' begin?
  11. Bhaskar

    Bhaskar Members

    It is thus that I can explain your doubt.

    In the structure of time according to Hinduism, 432,000 years is one Kali yuga. Double of that is one Dwapara Yuga. Triple of the Kali Yuga is the Treta Yuga and four times is the Satya Yuga. One set of all these four yugas is one cycle of creation of the universe, meaning the universe is created, undergoes satya, treta, dwapar and kali yugas. Then it is destroyed, and again created. One such set of 4 yugas, one cycle of creation is called one kalpa.

    All avatars of Vishnu take place in each kalpa. In each kalpa Ramavatar takes place, in each Kalpa Krishnavatar takes place etc etc. This is why there are multiple stories about them. The leelas are similar, yet different in each kalpa. In each kalpa Ravana kidnaps seeta and Rama comes and destoys the asuras and wins her back. However, the story behind Ravana is different in each Kalpa. In one he and Kumbhakarna were reincarnations of Jaya and Vijaya under a curse. In another he was the reincarnation of Jalandhar. Similarly the reasons for the avatar were different. In one kalpa Vishnu was cursed by Narada that he must be born as a man. In one the Lord was coaxed by the aged manu and his wife to be born as their children (the manu became Dasharatha) in yet another kalpa Sri Rama was cursed by the wife Jalandhar.

    The point is bhagawan's leelas are infinite, the stories and glories of bhagawan are infinite. And they are real, they occured on earth. All these places exist. Meerabai went to Brindavan. Sant Tukaram was taken to Vaikuntha loka in a pushapakavimana (chariot of flowers) in full public view. All the places spoken of in the scriptures are there on Earth. The monkey army of Sri Rama built the bridge of stones to Lanka. These stones are still there, you can see them in maps. In Chitrakoota, there is still the place where Sri Rama resided. Kurukshetra battlefield is still there. And when you go to these places you can feel the sanctity, the immense divine vibrations that still exist there after so many centuries.

    Multiple versions of the stories of Bhagawan, in this case, are all true. When someone challenged Sant Tulsidasji about the differences between his Ramacharitmanas and Valmiki muni's original Ramayana, Tulsidasji simply said,"My Rama did thus." In whichever way you wish to percieve Him, Bhagawan will come to you in that form.

    I can assure you, even heaven and hell and everything in between, are only spheres of experience on Earth. For a fly that gets caught in the batter for bajjis and is then deep friend in boiling oil, life is Hell, just the way we picture it. It is hot, it is terribly paiinful, some enormously powerful being grabs you and dips you in boiling oil, etc...

    If we pass off all scriptures as just nice pieces of poetry and not as truth, then what have we learnt. In this case, for us, if the proof of actually visiting the places and seeing the remains is not proof enough, we must at least have shraddha in the words of the hundreds of masters who tell us it is true fact, history. Mahabharata is an itihasa. Ramayana is an itihasa. Itihasa literally means "history". My questioning has been satisfied sufficiently that I have full shraddha in my Guru's words, he says it happened ad I believe him.

    Of course, what is important is not wether or not these things happened, but what we gain from these tales. If learn nothing from them no amount of belief is useful.
  12. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    I'm not sure about this. It seems to me that the stories can only have come from either direct eye-witness accounts, or some form of vision given to the people who wrote them.

    The first is unlikely - if it is so, why did it take many thousands of years to write down the stories of the Bhagavatam? It is said, I know by traditionalists that they were all written by Vyasa at the same time, but modern scholarship dates the Puranas to the middle-ages.

    For a fly caught in batter life may be very unpleasant, and also short! That's the difference between pain here and hell. Hell goes on forever. Or so it is said.

    The fact that the places mentioned in the scriptures are real places does't prove their literal truth. Sherlock Holmes stories are set in London, a city in which I have lived, but that doesn't mean Holmes actually existed.

    But I don't think it matters if these tales are literal truth or not. They contain truth.
  13. tiki_god7

    tiki_god7 Member

    how does hell fit into it with reincarnation? aren't we reincarnated until we get it right? or is hell just a way of saying that your next life is going to be hellish if you're a sinner?
  14. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Sorry tiki_god - I meant hell according to the christian concept.
    But one Hindu philosopher, Mahdva, did also believe in eternal damnation, although his philosophy is very un-typical.
    The idea is that the soul goes round and round on the wheel of re-incarnation until it achieves liberation. What Mahdva and co would say is that it can become so polluted with evil that it falls into a permanant abyss. Hell. Certain Buddhist schools also believe much the same thing - they call eternal damnation 'the diamond hell'.
    Other Hindu teachings though also speak of temporary heavens and hells which it is believed the soul can end up in after death - but the word temporary is crucial - after some time spent either suffering in a hell or enjoying in a heaven, the soul comes back here to resume it's quest for liberation.
  15. Bhaskar

    Bhaskar Members

    I never said hell is eternal. But remember that how short or how long something is is very relative. 5 seceonds underwater, struggling for breath seems like an eternity to one who cannot swim (me for example...nearly drowned 3 times). 5 days wityh Guruji seem to pass like moments, leaving me thirsting for more. A lot can be packed into a moment.

    Your argument of sherlock holmes is fine. However, what if you went to 221 b Baker street and found the old apartment, dilapidated, but tell tale signs of his existence were there?

    In the Ramanathar temple in Rameshwaram stands a shivalingam made by Sita. When Hanumanji brought another lingam, Sri Rama suggested that he move it. Hanuman wrapped his tail around it and tried to move it but it would not budge even to his great strength. The story is there in Ramayana and the lingam stands for all who go there to see, complete with the markings made by Hanuman's tail. Hanuman's lingam is also there, installed alongside by Sri Rama.

    At Dhanushkodi begins the bridge, sometimes called Adam's bridge, which connects Lanka and India. The story of how it was built is in the Ramayana. The story of how Rama broke it down is also there, which is why the bridge is submerged by water. Nasa satellite pictures have shown it there. Also nearby is the Kodandaramaswamy temple, which is where Vibheeshana was crowned king by Sri Rama and not far from there is a small hill called Gandhamadhana parvatam, where Sri Rama's footprints are preserved.

    When the bridge was being built by the vanara army for Rama, the squirrels wanted to help him, so they brought pebbles. These were of course, quite useless, but Sri Rama, touched by their love, stroked them and the markings of his fingers are still seen on squirrels in the lines that run along their backs. This story is also in Ramayana and is one of my favourites.

    And as in the case of the vedas, the puranas also were written by vyasa rishi. However, for many generations before they were passed down in the guru shishya lineage by word of mouth. It was for the future generatiosn in the kali yuga, who would find it near impossible to memorize it all that Sri Vyasa put it down in writing.

    Don't believe? Not necessary. Go and see. You will not smell Sherlock Holmes' shag tobbaco in Baker Street, but you can feel Sri Rama's presence in Rameswaram. You can feel Hanumanji's presence there.
  16. BlackBillBlake

    BlackBillBlake Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Actually, people do go to Baker street in search of 221b! Mainly Japanese and American tourists. I used to work just around the corner from there back in the late 70's.

    There are different views on the origin of scriptures. It is good to see different sides of the issue explored.

    Only one thing to add - I don't think one need go anywhere to find the Divine presence. It is everywhere. It is within us all. To go may give you a boost. The same is true of European cathedrals which were once centres of pilgrimage. But there, often the reason for the place being sacred was possesion of holy relics - which were more often than not fakes. I myself have seen in a French cathedral an ornate gold and jewelled casket which was/is purported to contain the holy foreskin - the only bit of Jesus body which could have been left on the earth after His ascent. But still, the pilgrims had their spiritual experience!

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