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His Divine Grace, Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, Founder Acarya of the Hare Krishna Movement

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Srimad Bhagavatam 3.29.11-12

Posted 7/17/2018

From a recent Srimad Bhagavatam class (3.29.11-12) :

"The manifestation of unadulterated devotional service is exhibited when one’s mind is at once attracted to hearing the transcendental name and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is residing in everyone’s heart. Just as the water of the Ganges flows naturally down towards the ocean, such devotional ecstasy, uninterrupted by any material condition, flows towards the Supreme Lord."

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11 points summarising Krishna Consciousness

Posted 6/6/2016

It is not fully possible to condense the immense science of Krishna consciousness down into a few words. But for the sake of brevity, here is a list of eleven important points that constitute the essence of Vaisnava philosophy:

1.     We are not our bodies but eternal spirit souls, parts and parcels of the Supreme Soul (Krsna). As such, we are all brothers, and Krsna is ultimately our common father.

 2.     We are currently in a conditioned state of consciousness that is unnatural for the soul. Due to the influence of maya (illusion), we believe that we can enjoy permanently in this temporary existence although factually that is not possible.

 3. We can achieve a state free from anxiety and come to a state of pure, unending, blissful consciousness in this lifetime by cultivating our original Krishna consciousness.

4. Krsna is the eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, and all-attractive Personality of Godhead. He is the seed-giving father of all living beings, and He is the sustaining energy of the entire cosmic creation.

5. Without recognition of a supreme sentient being, morality is meaningless and just becomes a matter of one opinion over another. Accepting Krsna as the central object of all activities gives society a shared moral framework that is of benefit to all members.

 6.     The Absolute Truth is contained in all the great scriptures of the world. However, the oldest known revealed scriptures in existence are the Vedic literatures, most notably the Bhagavad-gita, which is the literal record of God's actual words.

7. Vedic knowledge is to be received from a genuine spiritual master in a chain of disciplic succession (parampara). Such a spiritual master has no selfish motives and their mind is firmly fixed on Krsna.

8. The Vedic culture teaches many paths of yoga, including karma yoga, jnana yoga and ashtanga yoga. However, Bhakti yoga is the most immediate means of connecting oneself with Krsna, which is the ultimate goal of all yogas.

9. Bhakti yoga is the performance of loving and devoted service to Krsna, performed in a state of Krsna consciousness. Such service may be varied and dynamic, but always done for the pleasure of Krsna.

10. We should perform all our actions as offerings to Krsna and do nothing for our own sense gratification. This is especially true of the food we eat, which should be offered to Krsna before eating. Then Krsna becomes the offering and purifies us.

11. The recommended means for achieving the mature stage of love of God in this age of Kali, or quarrel, is to chant the holy names of the Lord. The easiest method for most people is to chant the Hare Krsna mantra:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

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What is the Hare Krishna movement?

Posted 5/21/2016

What is the Hare Krishna Movement?

For many, the words ‘Hare Krishna’ conjure up images of shaven-headed, robed monks dancing and chanting on the streets, bells and drums, sweet-smelling incense, or tasty and well-priced vegetarian food. A little background on the Hare Krishna’s will give one appreciation for these unusual, but ancient practices.

The Krsna consciousness movement is a genuine, historically authorised, natural and transcendental movement. Practitioners  are not hippies, new-agers or sentimentalists. It is not a new ‘fad’ or cult created in recent years by some charismatic guru. In fact, there is no such beginning to the Krishna consciousness movement. The movement is based on the principles of transcendental knowledge.

Transcendental knowledge is absolute and is never relative to time, place and circumstance; it is always factual. It is knowledge that is application to all persons, at all times. It is not a matter of belief or faith. You can believe or not believe, but the truth will remain the same. This essential point, called ‘Sanatana-dharma’,  is the eternal never changing truth about our real identity. Our real identity is of spiritual soul, part and parcel of the Supreme whole. The Supreme whole is known as the greatest personality, ‘Krsna’ in the Vedic Scriptures. When we act in cooperation with the Supreme Soul, we act in our original transcendental state. This knowledge is understood and fully realised whilst practicing the process of Krishna Consciousness. And so, the Krishna Consciousness movement is that establishment where one can learn and practice this science of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

Although there is no beginning to knowledge or truth, there have been many advocates and teachers of this knowledge since the beginning of recorded history. Lord Sri Krishna himself advented both 5000 years ago, and again 500 years ago as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. These are both factual historical personalities that propounded the Krishna Consciousness movement. Krishna spoke transcendental knowledge to His friend and disciple Arjuna at Kuruksetra, which was later compiled by Srila Vyasadeva into the Bhagavad-Gita (part of the Mahabharata). The well-known and accepted Bhagavad-Gita is known to contain the topmost transcendental teachings of all the Vedic literatures, because it describes the topmost subject matters in detail:

  • īśvara, the supreme controller,
  • the jīvas, the controlled living entities. 
  • Prakti (material nature)
  • Kala, or time (the duration of existence of the whole universe or the manifestation of material nature)
  • karma (activity)

“The cosmic manifestation is full of different activities. All living entities are engaged in different activities. From Bhagavad-gītā we must learn what God is, what the living entities are, what prakrti is, what the cosmic manifestation is and how it is controlled by time, and what the activities of the living entities are.” (Bhagavad Gita, Introduction)

Lord Krishna spoke of these subjects in great detail to Arjuna, knowing that it would benefit not only Arjuna, but all that would hear it in the future.

To maintain absolute integrity, transcendental knowledge is handed down perfectly intact via a chain of bona fide teachers and disciples.  This chain has reached the modern age with the teachings coming from His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada started the Hare Krishna movement as we recognise it today: These iconic practices of the Hare Krishna movement such as sankirtan (congregational chanting of the name of Lord Krishna) are the means of coming to full realisation of transcendental knowledge, the highest perfection of life.

The Krishna Consciousness movement offers a process for one to achieve the highest perfection of life: to understand and learn to love the Supreme Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Because of our conditioned state, we have forgotten the art of loving the Supreme. To have a loving relationship with the Supreme is the natural state of every living being; it is not artificial or imposed. However, this original relationship which is full of bliss, knowledge and eternality, is covered and lost in a materially conditioned state. Although we still hanker for this relationship, we will never be able to fulfill that hankering to our full satisfaction whilst in a state of materialistic consciousness.

The most fundamental practice is the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra —Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Chanting this mantra gradually elevates the consciousness of the chanter, until one becomes aware of their original spiritual position in relation to Krishna. This process was given by Krishna himself as Lord Caitanya to make it simple for the people of this fast-paced, materially focused modern age to achieve spiritual perfection. Other methods of yoga, whilst aiming at a similar perfection, are impractical and impossible for most people to perform because of the extreme physical and mental austerities required. However, the Hare Krishna mantra is available to people of all ages, races, religions and beliefs. 

 This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore distributing sublime information to the entire human society to the effect that by simply chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can become perfect in this life and return to their original blissful position.

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