Visakha-devi dasi: “When I frist met the devotees, I had no interest in spiritual life. But my work as a writer forced me to talk and argue with them. Eventually I met rila Prabhupada, the spiritual master of the Hare Krishna movement, and read his books. My faith and understanding slowly grew, despite myself. The scriptures and the saints and spiritual masters through the ages all say that chanting the Lord’s holy names is the best way to make spiritual advancement in this difficult time. Besides, it’s practical; it works. Materially and spiritually, my life has changed for the better since I’ve been chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.”
Turiyasangitananda (Alice Coltrane) musician: “When you’re chanting the maha-mantra, your soul responds, because the soul knows these names. The soul relates to them, the soul is enlivened, the soul is lifted up upon hearing the names of the Lord. It’s something people whould open their hearts to and experience. They don’t have to be any certain age—they can even be children. And they don’t even have to understand the meaning of the words. Whether they understand or not, the hearing of that chanting is going to produce their spiritual good.”
Satyasena dasa, book distributor: “Each day when I go to distribute my spiritual master’s books, I see that everyone is looking for happiness from sensual satisfaction. My job is to let them know they can get a higher pleasure from chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Since God is absolute, He is personally present in His name—Krishna which means ‘the all-attractive.’ So chanting Hare Krishna is the most satisfying, beautiful experience, because it puts you directly in touch with the most satisfying, beautiful person.”
In Gainesville (home of the University of Florida) there’s one fraternity that’s quite different from the others. At the Radha-Krishna temple (pictured below) everyone chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. So they naturally relate to one another (and to everyone else) as kindred souls—fully happy and satisfied in their relationship with the Supreme Friend, Krishna.
Find out more about Krishna consciousness in this issue of BACK TO GODHEAD.
A short statement of the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness
The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a worldwide community of devotees practicing bhakti-yoga, the eternal science of loving service to God. The Society was founded in 1966 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a pure devotee of God representing an unbroken chain of spiritual masters originating with Lord Krishna Himself. The following eight principles are the basis of the Krishna consciousness movement.
We invite all our readers to consider them with an open mind and then visit one of the ISKCON centers to see how they are being applied in everyday life.
1. By sincerely cultivating a bona fide spiritual science, we can be free from anxiety and come to a state of pure, unending, blissful consciousness in this lifetime.
2. We are not our bodies but eternal spirit souls, parts and parcels of God (Krishna). As such, we are all brothers, and Krishna is ultimately our common father.
3. Krishna 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.
4. 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.
5. We should learn the Vedic knowledge from a genuine spiritual master—one who has no selfish motives and whose mind is firmly fixed on Krishna.
6. Before we eat, we should offer to the Lord the food that sustains us. Then Krishna becomes the offering and purifies us.
7. We should perform all our actions as offerings to Krishna and do nothing for our own sense gratification.
8. 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 Krishna mantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.