Which Form of God is referred to as 'Hari' in our scriptures? Does 'Hari' mean the Formless Brahman also?

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    If I have to speak without bias, Isvara, Adi Pursha Narayana, Paramesvara, Sri krishna, Sri Hari are all addressed to one Paramatma with different namas. There are only two entities = Hari, Hara (Shiva Shakti) thats why if you see Hari and Parvati devi will have more similarities in tattva. When this two entities becomes one, this Universe will not be existing! How things are existing outside in Universe, same way it exists inside humans. If you know what is inside, you can know there's no outside and no inside, no gender, no kind of dualities. Everything becomes one. – Parabrahman Jyoti Apr 23 '19 at 3:59
  • This is also not identification-request – Rickross Apr 23 '19 at 6:44
  • @Rickross okay. Corrected both,Thanks – user17294 Apr 23 '19 at 6:46
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    Hari is Vishnu. Is there a catch in the question? – user16581 Apr 23 '19 at 7:09
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    Hari cannot refer to formless Brahman. You just gave it form by assigning the ‘form’’ which is an organization of letters ‘h’ ‘a’ ‘r’ ‘i’ and assigning a meaning due to such association to it! So what really can describe formless Brahman to certain extent? – Gopal Anantharaman Apr 29 '19 at 20:10

As the Vishnu Sahasranamam states, Hari is regarded as a name of Sri Vishnu:

kālaneminihā vīraḥ śauriḥ śūrajaneśvaraḥ | trilōkātmā trilōkeśaḥ keśavaḥ keśihā hariḥ
|| 69 ||

The word "Hari" literally means "One who destroys Samsara."

We know from Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita itself that He indeed is the one who liberates jivas from Samsara:

ye tu sarvāṇi karmāṇi mayi sannyasya mat-paraḥ ananyenaiva yogena māṁ dhyāyanta upāsate teṣhām ahaṁ samuddhartā mṛityu-saṁsāra-sāgarāt bhavāmi na chirāt pārtha mayy āveśhita-chetasām

English Translation: But those who dedicate all their actions to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme goal, worshiping Me and meditating on Me with exclusive devotion, O Parth, I swiftly deliver them from the ocean of birth and death, for their consciousness is united with Me. (Bhagavad-Gita 12.6-7)

Interestingly, Hari is also regarded the name of Mahadeva according to the Shiva Sahasranamam:

nimittastho nimittam cha nandirnandikaro harih nandiishvarashcha nandii cha nandano nandivardhanah || 46 ||

However, "Hari" is more popularly used to refer to Sri Vishnu.

The term "Hari" is also used to refer to an incarnation of Vishnu:

tatrāpi jajñe bhagavān hariṇyāṁ harimedhasaḥ harir ity āhṛto yena gajendro mocito grahāt

In that Manvantara the Lord too was born through Hariṇī from (the loins of) the sage Harimedhā (her husband) and was named Sri Hari, by whom Gajendra, the (celebrated) leader of (a herd) of elephants was extricated from (the grip of) an alligator. (Srimad Bhagavatam 8.1.30)

  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury I expect an answer that will not tamper the meanings of the scriptures in any way to favour or contradict any sect. I think your answer was fine. – user17294 Apr 23 '19 at 12:28
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    @commonman In the preceding verses, it's explicitly mentioned talking about the three modes of nature. So when Hari is being called Nirguna, He is being said to beyond the influence of the three modes of nature, not devoid of all qualities. – Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Apr 23 '19 at 19:40

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The form of God referred to as 'Hari' is Sri Vishnu, Sri Krishna or His different incarnations.

Lord Shiva is also referred to as 'Hari' in the Shiva-Shasranama, but our scriptures do not use the word 'Hari' to imply Lord Shiva. Otherwise, we would not have a separate dhyana-sloka for 'Hari-Hara'. An image of Hari-Hara is enclosed. The dhyana-sloka of Hari-Hara is

shulam chakram pAnchajanyam abi_iti dadhatam karaih/sva-sva-bhushat sva-lilArdha-deham hariharam bhaje//

In the svarupa, both are the same and some names commonly known as of Lord Shiva like 'Swayambhu', 'Sambhu' etc are included in the Vishnu-sahasranama also.

But all our scriptures unianimously mean Lord Vishnu or Lord Krushna by Hari.

So there is no room of confusion here.

Srimad-Bhagavatam however repeatedly speaks of both the aspects of Sri Hari ---with form and without form. For example, Sri Hari Himself describes His formless svarupa as

The Supreme Brahman, who is extremely subtle, being of the nature of pure Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, unlimited and impossible to be conceived with an impure heart (10.88.10).

So yes, 'Hari' means the formless Brahman also.

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