om — O Lord; hrām hrīm hrūm — the seeds of the mantra, chanted for a successful result; om — O Lord; namaḥ — respectful obeisances; bhagavate — unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hṛṣīkeśāya — unto Hṛṣīkeśa, the Lord of the senses; sarva-guṇa — with all transcendental qualities; viśeṣaiḥ — with all varieties; vilakṣita — particularly observed; ātmane — unto the soul of all living entities; ākūtīnām — of all kinds of activity; cittīnām — of all kinds of knowledge; cetasām — of the functions of the mind, such as determination and mental effort; viśeṣāṇām — of their respective objects; ca — and; adhipataye — unto the master; ṣoḍaśa-kalāya — whose parts are the sixteen original ingredients of creation (namely the five objects of the senses and the eleven senses, including the mind); chandaḥ-mayāya — unto the enjoyer of all ritualistic ceremonies; anna-mayāya — who maintains all living entities by supplying the necessities of life; amṛta-mayāya — who awards eternal life; sarva-mayāya — who is all-pervading; sahase — the powerful; ojase — who supplies strength to the senses; balāya — who supplies strength to the body; kāntāya — the supreme husband or master of all living entities; kāmāya — who supplies all necessities for the devotees; namaḥ — respectful obeisances; te — unto You; ubhayatra — always (during both day and night, or both in this life and the next); bhūyāt — may there be all good fortune.
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, the controller of all my senses and the origin of everything. As the supreme master of all bodily, mental and intellectual activities, He is the only enjoyer of their results. The five sense objects and eleven senses, including the mind, are His partial manifestations. He supplies all the necessities of life, which are His energy and thus nondifferent from Him, and He is the cause of everyone’s bodily and mental prowess, which is also nondifferent from Him. Indeed, He is the husband and provider of necessities for all living entities. The purpose of all the Vedas is to worship Him. Therefore let us all offer Him our respectful obeisances. May He always be favorable toward us in this life and the next.
In this verse the word māyāmaya is further explained in regard to how the Lord expands His mercy in different ways. Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: the energies of the Supreme Lord are understood in different ways. In this verse He is described as the original source of everything, even our body, senses, mind, activities, prowess, bodily strength, mental strength and determination for securing the necessities of life. Indeed, the Lord’s energies can be perceived in everything. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.8), raso ’ham apsu kaunteya: the taste of water is also Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the active principle of everything we need for our maintenance.
This verse offering respectful obeisances unto the Lord was composed by Ramā, the goddess of fortune, and is full of spiritual power. Under the guidance of a spiritual master, everyone should chant this mantra and thus become a complete and perfect devotee of the Lord. One may chant this mantra for complete liberation from material bondage, and after liberation one may continue to chant it while worshiping the Supreme Lord in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. All mantras, of course, are meant for this life and the next life, as Kṛṣṇa Himself confirms in Bhagavad-gītā (9.14):
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
“Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, the great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.” A devotee who both in this life and the next chants the mahā-mantra, or any mantra, is called nitya-yuktopāsaka.