The Four Syllable & Five Syllable Mantras



Gaura-gopala mantra-mantra composed of the four syllables ra-dha-krs-na.

Gaura Mantra the four syllable mantra is ”gau-ra-an-ga”


Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains the Gaura-gopala mantra in his Amrta-pravaha-bhasya. Worshipers of Sri Gaurasundara accept the four syllables gau-ra-an-ga as the Gaura mantra, but pure worshipers of Radha and Krsna accept the four syllables ra-dha krs-na as the Gaura-gopala mantra. However, Vaisnavas consider Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu nondifferent from Radha-Krsna (sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsna nahe anya). Therefore one who chants the mantra “gauranga” and one who chants the names of Radha and Krsna are on the same level.

tara iccha balavan pascatyete than than 
hoy jate gauranger nam
prthivite nagaradi asamudra nada nadi
sakalei loy krsna nam


By his strong desire, the holy name of Lord Gauranga will spread throughout all the countries of the Western world. In all the cities, towns, and villages on the earth, from all the oceans, seas, rivers, and streams, everyone will chant the holy name of Krsna.


You mention that they have not even heard of Lord Gauranga. So that is their misfortune, and our misfortune also. Our big, big godbrothers in India, they could not preach Lord Gauranga’s name all over India.


Srila Narottama dasa Thakura prays that he will have the association of a person - either a householder or a man in the renounced order of life- who is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and is always crying the holy name of Lord Caitanya.


guru-laksana, sisya-laksana, donhara pariksana
sevya-bhagavan, sarva-mantra-vicarana


The word sarva-mantra-vicarana in the present verse of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta means “considering all different types of mantras.” There are different kinds of mantras for different kinds of devotees. There is the mantra known as the dvadasaksara mantra, composed of twelve syllables, and there is the mantra composed of eighteen syllables. Similarly, there are the Narasimha mantra, the Rama mantra, the Gopala mantra and so on. Each and every mantra has its own spiritual significance.


The spiritual master has to select a mantra for his disciple according to the disciple’s ability to chant different mantras. (Madhya 24.330)


Here is an important point. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to invent a way to capture the Mayavadis and others who did not take interest in the Krsna consciousness movement. This is the symptom of an acarya. An acarya who comes for the service of the Lord cannot be expected to conform to a stereotype, for he must find the ways and means by which Krsna consciousness may be spread (Ref Adi 7.31-32)

Note: It was only Prabhupada who was able to select not only the mantra but had the potency to reduce the number of rounds from 64 to minimum of 16 rounds.



So this benediction is offered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who has very kindly come here, Nitai-Gaura. So you take advantage of His mercy. You are very fortunate that Nitai-Gaura is here. If you simply chant Nitai-Gaura and dance, then you’ll become happy. There is no difficulty. There is no difficulty. You are chanting “Jaya Sacinandana.” This simple chanting, “Jaya Sacinandana,” “Hare Krsna,” this chanting and dancing, yajnaih sankirtanair prayaih yajanti hi sumedhasah. This is not I am manufacturing. It is the injunction of the sastra. In this age, simply by chanting and dancing, yajnaih sankirtanair prayaih, you get complete spiritual service.


ara kabe nitai-canda karuna karibe
samsara vasana mora kabe tuccha ha’be


This is the grace of Nityananda Prabhu. Narottama dasa Thakura explains, ara kabe nitai-canda, karuna karibe. Narottama dasa Thakura is aspiring for the day when Nityananda Prabhu will be pleased upon him. Just like Jagai-Madhai was delivered by the mercy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, so we have to pray Nityananda Prabhu. He’s very merciful. He’s so kind, Baladeva, He gives spiritual strength. Then we can approach the Supreme Lord. Therefore we chant “Nitai-Gaura.” This is the process. We cannot change this policy. Panca-tattva must be worshiped; otherwise wherefrom we shall get…? The spiritual master… Nityananda Prabhu is the spiritual master. Or spiritual master is the replica, representation, of Nityananda Prabhu. So when Nityananda Prabhu is pleased, then we become detached from this material attraction.



Ajamila chanted the four syllables of the hari-nama Narayana,and therefore the order carriers of Narayana, the Visnudutas, also immediately arrived there. By chanting the four syllables of the name Narayana, he was saved from the gravest danger of falling down.


The Visnudutas therefore instructed that because he had chanted the four syllables of the name Narayana at the time of his death, he was freed from all sinful reactions.


” Although calling the name of his son, he nevertheless uttered the four syllables na-ra-ya-na. Simply by chanting the name of Narayana in this way, he sufficiently atoned for the sinful reactions of millions of lives.


Extracting the four syllables that are the heart of the four Vedas, Lord Hari makes the word Narayana. Day and night chanting this name, we become purified. We do not know any other better way to please Lord Hari.



Gopa-kumara was so inspired by the glories of Lord Jagannatha and the Lord’s ksetra that he gave up all external and internal affinity to the kingdom and everything related to it. He at once began his journey to Jagannatha Puri, heading off in the general direction of Orissa. While on the road he constantly chanted the four syllables of Lord Jagannatha’s name.



Haladhra Balarama Mantra
Five Syllable mantra “Nityananda”

Ref Adi 8.31


But if one only chants, with some slight faith, the holy names of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, very quickly he is cleansed of all offenses. Thus as soon as he chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.



Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura remarks in this connection that if one takes shelter of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda, follows Their instructions to become more tolerant than the tree and humbler than the grass, and in this way chants the holy name of the Lord, very soon he achieves the platform of transcendental loving service to the Lord, and tears appear in his eyes. There are offenses to be considered in chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, but there are no such considerations in chanting the names of Gaura-Nityananda. Therefore, if one chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra but his life is still full of sinful activities, it will be very difficult for him to achieve the platform of loving service to the Lord. But if in spite of being an offender one chants the holy names of Gaura-Nityananda, he is very quickly freed from the reactions to his offenses. Therefore, one should first approach Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, or worship Guru-Gauranga, and then come to the stage of worshiping Radha-Krsna. In our Krsna consciousness movement, our students are first advised to worship Guru-Gauranga, and then, when they are somewhat advanced, the Radha-Krsna Deity is installed, and they are engaged in the worship of the Lord.


One should first take shelter of Gaura-Nityananda in order to reach, ultimately, Radha-Krsna. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura sings in this connection:


gauranga balite ha’be pulaka sarira
hari hari balite nayane ba’be nira
ara kabe nitai-candera karuna ha-ibe
samsara-vasana mora kabe tuccha habe
visaya chadiya kabe suddha habe mana
kabe hama heraba sri-vrndavana


In the beginning one should very regularly chant Sri Gaurasundara’s holy name and then chant the holy name of Lord Nityananda. Thus one’s heart will be cleansed of impure desires for material enjoyment. Then one can approach Vrndavana-dhama to worship Lord Krsna. Unless one is favored by Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, there is no need to go to Vrndavana, for unless one’s mind is purified, he cannot see Vrndavana, even if he goes there. Actually going to Vrndavana involves taking shelter of the Six Gosvamis by reading the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Vidagdha-madhava, Lalita-madhava and the other books that they have given. In this way one can understand the transcendental loving affairs between Radha and Krsna. Kabe hama bujhaba se yugala-piriti. The conjugal love between Radha and Krsna is not an ordinary human affair; it is fully transcendental. In order to understand Radha and Krsna, worship Them and engage in Their loving service, one must be guided by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and the Six Gosvamis, Lord Caitanya’s direct disciples.


For an ordinary man, worship of Sri Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu or the Panca-tattva is easier than worship of Radha and Krsna. Unless one is very fortunate, he should not be induced to worship Radha-Krsna directly. A neophyte student who is not sufficiently educated or enlightened should not indulge in the worship of Sri Radha and Krsna or the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. Even if he does so, he cannot get the desired result. One should therefore chant the names of Nitai-Gaura and worship Them without false prestige. Since everyone within this material world is more or less influenced by sinful activities, in the beginning it is essential that one take to the worship of Guru-Gauranga and ask their favor, for thus despite all his disqualifications one will very soon become qualified to worship the Radha-Krsna vigraha.


It should be noted in this connection that the holy names of Lord Krsna and Gaurasundara are both identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should not consider one name to be more potent than the other. Considering the position of the people of this age, however, the chanting of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s name is more essential than the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the most magnanimous incarnation and His mercy is very easily achieved. Therefore one must first take shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by chanting sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda. By serving Gaura-Nityananda one is freed from the entanglements of material existence and thus becomes qualified to worship the Radha-Krsna Deity.


Yoga Student:…to chant the names of Nitai-Gauranga before we encourage them so much to chant the maha-mantra?


Prabhupada:No. Why? Now, what is the difference, Nitai-Gauranga and Hare Krsna? Nitai-Gauranga and Hare Krsna, there is no difference. Nitai-Gauranga is also nice. Whatever he finds convenient, let him chant.


You need to be a member of ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT to add comments!

Join ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT