Hare Krishna – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you heard the word “Hare Krishna”? What comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you might think of it as a religious sect, or perhaps even a cult. You might picture devotees with long hair and colorful robes, chanting and playing music. And you’d be right, to a certain extent. But there’s much more than meets the eye. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.



Hare Krishna means “Hare has come.” It is a Hindu chant and is chanted to join the community of devotees together. The chant is often repeated three times and then repeated one more time before ending with “Hare Krishna.”

Hare Krishnas are a religious sect within Hinduism that believe in renouncing all worldly possessions, austerities, and rituals and chanting the Lord’s names.

The word “hare” means “to be victorious or successful,” and therefore, it’s used in conjunction with words like “Krishna” and “Hare.” It can also mean “possessor of knowledge,” which makes sense given that the word is derived from Sanskrit and means “one who knows.”

Example Usage

  • Hare Krishna! Are you Okay?
  • I went to a Hare Krishna temple, and it was beautifully serene.
  • Have you ever heard people chanting Hare Krishna?
  • She is doing her Hare Krishna dance.


The Hare Krishna mantra is of ancient origin and has been maintained for thousands of years by great Vedic sages and scriptures. From the 1960s onward, the mantra gained recognition outside India through the movement of AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as “Hare Krishna”). As a result, the Hare Krishna mantra has been mentioned in popular culture and songs, including George Harrison’s solo single, “My Sweet Lord.”

This mantra has got its significance and has been used for several reasons over the years. It is typically chanted as a way to achieve enlightenment or to invoke Krishna’s blessings. Among other phrases, Hare Krishna is also known as Maha Mantra or Great Mantra. In some parts of the world the phrase and even the sect can take on a more serious meaning, while in others it is more of a casual religious reference.

Phrases Similar to Hare Krishna

Some of the other phrases that are similar to “Hare Krishna” include

  • “Om Namah Shivaya” means I bow to Shiva.
  • “Hare Rama,” which means “O God,”
  • “Radhe Krishna,” which also means “O God,”
  • “Jai Sri Krishna” means victory of Krishna.
  • “Hare Rama Hare Krishna.” “Lord, the power of God, please serve me.”

Phrases opposite to Hare Krishna

  • “Durga Mata” means the goddess of war.
  • “ Kali Ma” is the dark goddess.
  • “Shiva,” the god of destruction.

What is The Correct Saying?

The correct saying is “Hare Krishna hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.” This is the most commonly used mantra and is repeated multiple times in succession.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say, Hare Krishna

There are many ways people incorrectly say, “Hare Krishna.” Some of the most common ways are listed below.

  •   Saying “hara” instead of “hare.”

The correct pronunciation is “hara,” not “hare.” Hara is a Sanskrit word that means “seizing.”  The word “hare” originates from English and means “a great speed.”

  • Leaving out the second “a” in “Krishna.”

The correct pronunciation is “Krish-na,” not “Krishn.” Krishna is a Sanskrit word for “black” or “dark-colored.”

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Hare Krishna

Well, since it is a proper name, you would capitalize it. You might see it as “Hare Krishna” or “Harekrishna .”Both are considered acceptable. It is usually spoken to other devotees of the same faith, or said following an affirmation. In most cases it can be used in place of God willing, or if God wills.


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